The University of Pittsburgh, or “Pitt,” as the fans call it, is something of a football powerhouse in the northeast. The earliest iteration of the team informally banded together in 1889 before the school officially recognized the team the following year.
At the time, Pitt was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania, and they experienced a rough start. More recently, however, Pitt has been a perennial bowl game contender with nine bowl games between 2010 and 2019. Holding a competitive edge within the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Panthers are ready to play. If you’re there on game day, you’ll see Roc the Panther, the school’s costumed mascot, making the rounds at the stadium.
The Pittsburgh Steelers share Heinz Field with the Pittsburgh Panthers, which is one of the very few instances of a college team and an NFL team sharing a stadium. Each team has a separate locker room, and they have both been Heinz Field tenants ever since the stadium opened in 2001.
Though it may not be the largest stadium in college football, Heinz Field is a modern stadium that comfortably seats 68,000. When the stadium is not hosting back-to-back football games on Saturdays and Sundays, it hosts concerts, high-profile soccer matches, and other sporting events.
You might assume that because the University of Pittsburgh plays at an NFL stadium that the tickets might be too pricey, but they’re often fairly reasonable. When the team plays against high-ranked opponents or rivals, tickets tend to sell between $35 and $50, which depends on where you’re sitting. For games against lower-ranked teams, expect to pay around $20. Pitt also competes in men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, baseball, and other sports.
The school is located in Pittsburgh, which is on the western side of Pennsylvania near the Monongahela River. Apart from visiting for a football game, the university sits among several cities, in case you feel like making a day-trip out of it. Cleveland, Ohio is about 2.5 hours northwest of Pittsburgh near Lake Erie. Mount Morris, Pennsylvania is home to High Point Raceway 1.5 hour to the south of Heinz Field. Also to the east, you’ll find New York City, Philadelphia, or Baltimore.
Heinz Field RV parking is very limited at Pitt games, and day-of-game RV parking passes are not sold. Contact stadium organizers by phone in advance to purchase a parking pass. If spaces are full, park your RV elsewhere in the city or at a campground and find transportation to the game.
Since Pittsburgh is a large city, travelers can expect a robust public transportation system, one that offers bus and light rail routes. There are several ways to get to the stadium using the bus or light rail, but it depends on where you start your journey. Review the Port Authority website to save yourself some stress on game day. As a last resort, you could use a ride-sharing service to get yourself to the game, though this option is often on the pricier side.
Since Panthers Stadium RV parking can be difficult to obtain, it may be easier to consider alternative options. Look for full-service RV campgrounds with hookups, hot showers, and activities that interest your crew. Regardless of where you camp, remember to monitor tank levels for water and fuel as you travel.
RV campgrounds can be relaxing, as you turn a weekend trip into a mini-vacation. One place that is perfect for an overnight stay, or more, is the Washington / Pittsburgh SW KOA, which is less than an hour south from Pittsburgh. This campground welcomes RVs as long as 86 feet, and they offer hookups, a dog park, showers, and even a pool.
There’s no better way to get around Pittsburgh than by riding on the Port Authority transportation system. Visitors can ride the bus or rail from almost anywhere in the city to get to the stadium, and it’s relatively affordable. Once inside the stadium, you can hop on an escalator to reach your seat, or elevators are reserved for guests with disabilities.
At the start of the football season, which is around early September, Pittsburgh’s weather is perfect for being outdoors. Pack light, comfortable clothing and plenty of Pitt-branded apparel. As the season comes to a close in December, however, you may want to have warm clothing and dress in layers. A cozy jacket can make the difference when watching a three-hour-long outdoor football game in the cold.
While tailgating at Panthers Stadium may be limited, it’s still a great idea to pack a grill and an ice chest for your own game day activities. Cooking a few burgers or steaks at the campground is a great way to relax and even make some new friends. You may also want to bring a few chairs and a tent for maximum comfort.
When traveling away from home, it’s essential to keep a first-aid kit in your RV for emergencies, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Include items such as bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, antibiotic cream, gauze, and other essential medical items. A few back-ups for personal medications are also helpful, especially for diabetic and allergy needs.
Again, tailgating might not be an option, so plan to cook outside of your RV at your campground. Stock up at any of Pittsburgh’s grocery stores and feed your Panthers family before the game. Planning to cook French fries and burgers? It’s worth noting that the Heinz condiment company, the stadium’s namesake, invented ketchup right here in Pittsburgh.
For the uninitiated, Pittsburgh cuisine may be unfamiliar. If you’re only there for a few days, you at least have to try the famous Primanti Brothers Sandwich, which has coleslaw and french fries inside the sandwich and is usually available next to Heinz Field. Thinking international? Thanks to Pittsburgh’s Polish immigrant community, the city is known for its amazing pierogies, which are a kind of dumpling.
Oh boy, do they have concession stands at Heinz Field. Take your pick of all kinds of tasty food such as steaks, burgers, pizza, pierogis, nachos, and so much more. The smorgasbord of food notwithstanding, the stadium also has several stores within, which is great if you plan on purchasing a Pitt or Steelers jersey or other memorabilia.
Before arriving at Pitt Panther Stadium, make sure you’re not accidentally carrying any prohibited items. Clear bags, for example, are the only kinds of bags allowed inside, except for small clutch purses. Other items such as noisemakers, selfie sticks, weapons, and large cameras are not allowed inside Heinz Field.
With the average low temperature in January bottoming out at 23 degrees, visitors can correctly assume that it can get bitingly cold in Pennsylvania. It also tends to snow in the winter. Summers, however, are warm and somewhat pleasant. Monitor a travel app for Allegheny County during your travels to Panther Country.
At Heinz Field, you’ll find five first-aid rooms, which can also be used by nursing mothers who need privacy. If you feel ill or are in need of medical assistance, head to the nearest first-aid room. Ask a stadium staff member for directions if you’re unsure of where the first-aid rooms are located. For serious injuries, call 911 or head to a local hospital. The Allegheny General Hospital is eight minutes away from the stadium by car.