The Cincinnati Reds earned the right to play in the one-game Wild Card playoff Tuesday night against the division-rival Pittsburgh Pirates.
Thinking about heading down to the game? Here are some tips for the trip, with the help of the folks at Roadtrippers.com.
DRIVE TIME: Downtown Cincinnati to Pittsburgh is a 300-mile, five-and-a-half-hour drive, so be prepared to make some scenic stops on the way as to pace oneself. We have 9 suggestions and a route to map them on below.
GAS: Filling up a tank or two on the way out to the Steel City will cost you around $56 one-way, or approximately $112 round-trip, depending on your gas mileage.
WHERE TO STAY: Hotels nearby PNC Park vary in location and price, with rooms from $69 a night to $223. You can explore fares with the help of Google, by clicking here.
9 THINGS TO DO ON THE WAY; ONCE YOU GET THERE:
1. Blue Ash Chili; Blue Ash, Ohio
On your way out of the I-275 loop, take something Cincinnati with you to fill that stomach on your drive. Blue Ash Chili is conveniently located just off I-71 in Blue Ash, and will help you get through the next two days without some hometown grub. Get it to go if you dare, as that chili mess can easily spill on seats and steering wheels.
2. Ohio Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
Keep the sports theme alive and drive by the famous Ohio Stadium on The Ohio State University's campus.
The stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 1974.With a capacity of 102,329, it is the fourth largest football stadium in the United States and the seventh largest non-racing stadium in the world. There may not be a game to see, but it's a site to marvel at.
3. Weasel Boy Brewery; Zanesville, Ohio
You've probably never considered stopping in Zanesville to enjoy the sites and sounds, but Weasel Boy is plenty reason enough for a first. Stop in and try one of their many delicious brews to get the tailgate started (be sure to designate the driver for the remaining two hours of the trip). From their Oktoberfest, to their mango wheat and the dancing ferret IPA, the curious concoctions named after critters won't leave you unsatisfied that you stopped.
4. Michael's Beef House II; Wheeling, W.Va.
Have a few extra minutes on your trip? Michael's Beef House II is worth the time. Split a traditional roast beef sandwich among your passengers so as to not spoil a pre-game dinner, but you won't be disappointed. All their sandwiches are well-done with juicy beef, sprinkled with seasoned salt and packed high on a sesame seed bun with horseradish. An easy on-the-go snack, and you're in-and-out in just a few minutes.
5. Western PA Sports Museum; Pittsburgh, Pa.
More on the sports portion of this trip, The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum captures the unforgettable and almost forgotten tales of Pittsburgh sports through hundreds of one-of-a-kind sports artifacts, more than 70 hands-on interactive exhibits, and 20 audio-visual programs. While you might not be a Pittsburgh fan, you have to appreciate their exploits. Great for the kids too.
6. Primanti Bros; Pittsburgh, Pa.
You must be hungry by now. For something relatively quick, stop by for Pittsburgh's most famous sandwich shops, complete with coleslaw and fries on every compilation of meat, cheese and bread. Sit in one of their Pittsburgh sports-centric eateries to take a load off, or grab one to go and take the view in of the city at our next destination.
7. Mount Washington via the Monongahela Incline; Pittsburgh, Pa.
The most spectacular view of the city can be found from The oldest and steepest incline in the United States, both during the ride and finally at the top from Mount Washington. Pittsburgh has capitalized on its beauty by installing several large cement stands for you to stand literally on air and take in all that the three rivers has to offer. You can see every corner of the city from here, and take a second to relax before hitting the ballpark scene. Great at night and by day.
8. Hough's; Pittsburgh, Pa.
If you have time before or after the game, taking the drive through the steep Steel City east to Hough's is worth it just for the views, but when you throw in the 250+ bottled beers and 60 draughts, you can see why it has made a name for itself in this city. Plenty of affordable fare to chow on here whether it's in anticipation of first pitch or celebrating a Reds win after the final out.
9. Jerome Bettis Grille 36; Pittsburgh, Pa.
Just outside of Heinz Field and adjacent to PNC Park, this eatery named after "The Bus" will allow a more structured sit down experience. This spot has been voted Pittsburgh’s best sports restaurant every year since it opened. An award-winning menu compliments a fiery athletic atmosphere that will get even the most lacking of sports fan reason to cheer.
DESTINATION: PNC Park; Pittsburgh, Pa.; First pitch: Tuesday at 8 p.m.
WHERE TO SIT: There isn't a bad seat in the house in this barely more than 10-year-old stadium, but the only way you're getting a ticket is through third-party vendors. Stubhub should do the trick, but be prepared to fork over more than $100 per ticket. Because this city hasn't seen a baseball playoff game in more than 20 years. As for specific location, try and stay on the dugout side of the foul lines, where you'll be rewarded not just a good view of a competitive matchup, but of the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline.
333Seat.com also has an array of selections for Wild Card round tickets. Their prices were about the same as Stubhub, but with fewer choices.
WHAT TO EAT: The hot dogs are fine at PNC Park, but the pulled pork pierogi sandwiches will leave your mouth watering (located near section 130). Couple it with an IC Light (Iron City Light), and you'll be rooting not just for your Redlegs but for more vendors like PNC Park has to open up at GABP back in Cincinnati.
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