This article is part of the wheelchair travel blog series, Accessible Gameday. In this series, I’ll share my experiences with wheelchair accessibility at ballparks and sports stadiums around the country.
The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team was founded in 1881 and played in the inaugural World Series in 1903. Since that first appearance, the Pirates have claimed 5 World Series titles of their own, most recently in 1979. The team has played ball at PNC Park since 2001, and the stadium is far ahead of its time with respect to wheelchair accessibility.
On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to experience a Pirates game myself, thanks to the support of Visit Pittsburgh. That experience led me to write this article detailing what attending a Pirates game is like for people with disabilities.
Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets & ADA Seating
The Pirates offer ADA seating in more than 45 sections throughout PNC Park. Every price point is covered, from the most affordable seats on the 300-level to the all-inclusive seats behind home plate. Fans with accessibility needs are given a level of choice which I have yet to see matched by another baseball team.
The screenshot of the Pirates’ online ticketing system, seen above, has wheelchair icons to identify the locations of wheelchair accessible seating. The seat map is filled with them!
Single-game tickets can be purchased online at www.pirates.com. From the ticketing page, it is possible to browse a seat map that displays only ADA accessible seats. Click the link that says either “Need ADA Seats?” or “Click here for real-time ADA/Handicap Seating” – the link text depends on whether you are using the standard or interactive seat map.
My seat was in section 127, along the third base side of the field. While ticket pricing is variable according to the date, game time and opponent, the cost of my ticket was just $32 for a Tuesday night game against the Chicago White Sox.
Accessible seating on the 100-level is very good, as it protects fans from the elements – neither rain nor (too much) sun are appealing, and the upper level overhang provides a shield. Unfortunately, this overhang is much more extended than those in other MLB ballparks, restricting the view of fly balls and, in some sections, portions of the scoreboard.
During the game, I toured the ballpark to check out the view from other accessible sections. I have provided the photographs below to help make you aware of the different seating options for wheelchair users at PNC Park.
The outfield seats in section 141 offer up a fantastic view of the field and provide wheelchair users plenty of space. Some of these seats are on wheels, and can be remove3d to make way for wheelchair users. Other seats are fixed in place, intended for use by companions. A select few fold out of the way, making space for wheelchairs. If you don’t mind the outfield, section 141 is a great choice.
Another section of seats in the outfield are wheelchair accessible, listed as section OF-WC. These seats are located in front of/below sections 142 through 145. Nearly all of the seats here are on wheels and can be easily moved to make space for wheelchairs. Due to the likelihood of dangerous fly balls, the team placed see-through netting in front of this section. If you decide to purchase tickets in section OF-WC, I recommend avoiding seat numbers 59 through 82, which have a restricted view (seen in the photo above).
If you care more about the view than baseball, section 317 is where you should sit. From nowhere in the stadium will you capture a better picture of the Pirates ballpark and the skyline of the City of Pittsburgh. It is this view that makes PNC Park one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of professional sports.
When you arrive at your section, an usher will adjust the seats to accommodate you and your guests. This may include rolling a wheeled seating section out of the way, or folding a seat to make space for a wheelchair.
For more information on ADA seating or to purchase tickets, visit the Pirates ticket office outside the stadium or call ticket services at +1 (412) 321-2827.
PNC Park Wheelchair Accessibility
Opened in 2001, PNC Park is a modern baseball stadium that was built with ADA accessibility regulations in mind. I found everything easy to access, and I’d like to highlight a few things here.
I entered through the center field gate, and the security inspection was a non-issue. If you are bringing a purse, backpack or bag to the game, expect for it to be searched.
All bathroom facilities at PNC Park are wheelchair accessible, with locations spread throughout the ballpark.
For those who require access to a family restroom or companion care bathroom, they are available at sections 109, 110, 115, 119, 132, 133, 147, 305, 315 and 331. Club locations also offer accessible family bathrooms.
Elevators & Ramps
The journey to your seat on the upper levels is made easier with elevators located near sections 101, 113, 117 and 125.
A circular ramp, or rotunda, also provides access to each level of the ballpark. The rotunda is located next to left field. It was fun to roll down the rotunda ramp, but my electric wheelchair limited me to a max speed of 6 miles per hour.
Having had a full day touring the city, I went to the 7 p.m. Pirates game looking to enjoy dinner at the ballpark. The choices were numerous, from the Pulled Pork Pierogie Hoagie to The Chicken Waffle Sandwich.
Since I’m not a foodie, I enjoyed a more traditional ballpark meal – a hot dog and fries. But the Crabfries I ordered weren’t your typical French fries. A world-famous ballpark snack, the Pirates describe them as a “one-of-a-kind crinkle cut fry” that is seasoned with “secret spices and served with a white cheese sauce.” The Crabfries are a bit pricey at $10, but they were worth every penny. It’s best to share a single order with a friend, though!
Concession stands at PNC Park are staffed by a helpful staff, and each was wheelchair accessible. For a full list of food and drink options, consult the Pirates’ concessions guide.
Location & Accessible Transportation
The Pirates’ PNC Park is located just across the Allegheny River from Downtown Pittsburgh. The ballpark’s address is:
115 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
Getting to PNC Park is easy, with multiple accessible transportation options available. Fans can order a wheelchair taxi, or ride public transportation.
Multiple city bus routes stop near the ballpark, and the accessible North Side light rail station is located just three blocks away. North Side station is within the downtown free fare zone, offering free connections to multiple stations in central Pittsburgh.
Fans making their way to the ballpark from downtown may also enjoy crossing the Allegheny River via the iconic Roberto Clemente/6th Street Bridge, which has a wheelchair accessible walkway.
The high level of accessibility at PNC Park makes a trip to the ballpark possible for countless wheelchair users. Whether you are a Pittsburgh local or enjoying a vacation in the Steel City, attending a Pirates baseball game is an experience you won’t want to miss out on. With a fantastic gameday atmosphere, visitors will have a fun time cheering on the home team. Go Bucs!