For YEARS, Nazari and I never had a chance attend a sporting event together as spectators, because he was always working the games. Then, a few years ago, his schedule opened up and he surprised me with Penguins tickets for my birthday. While the notion of finally going to a game together was nice... I was less than enthused. While I am a hockey fan (or a hockey "fan" as Nazari would say), it's more by association and for the social construct of the game, than the actual game itself. But, after experiencing a Penguins game in person, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised! Now, we try to get to a game a season and always have the best time!
As it turns out, hockey games are the perfect blend of quality entertainment, and quality time together. There is a really balanced amount of actual game watching time, and hanging out time. The energy in the arena is unparalleled. The game is action packed and a ton of fun to watch. And every seat is a good one (which is great news as tickets can definitely get pricey).
General, good to know info:
If you haven't been to a game before, it's COLD in there, and gets more so the closer you get to the ice - so dress accordingly (pants, closed toed shoes, layers, and gloves).
Food and beverages inside of the arena are EXPENSIVE. So go prepared to pay a pretty penny, or plan to eat ahead of time.
If you aren't up for splurging for the actual tickets, you can bring a chair and set up shop directly outside of the arena for FREE, and watch the game on a big screen that is set up for all home games on the corner of Washington Place and Fifth Avenue.
There are some fun FREE activities prior to the game, outside of the arena (cornhole, hockey shooting, etc) by the Centre Avenue entrance near Cambria Suites.
It's worth it to plan to be there e a r l y. You can grab your seats before the place gets super crowded. You can watch the team warm up, see some neat scoreboard videos, and grab some food without waiting in a massive line.
There are two 20 minutes time segments between periods. (We tend to go on a walk around the arena to take a break from sitting, talk, and possibly grab some food.)
Tickets range from $84.00-$300
Parking is typically $10-20
An average beer is $9. An average meal is $13. (We tend to bring empty water bottles and fill them up at a water fountain once inside).
If you are a student, you can sign up for student rush and obtain tickets for a discounted rate! (As low as $41.00!)
It is a TON of fun - regardless of how big of a hockey fan you are.
There are a TON of great food options in and around the arena (Lis's favorite is Burgatory; Naz's is Primantis).
While it is very entertaining, there is still a lot of margin for quality time and great conversation.
Often they are giving away shirts and towels.
You get to go downtown, and there is an incredible view of the skyline.
It is EXPENSIVE.
It does tend to be crowded. Between periods, lines for the bathrooms are quite long, and at most food stops you will wait a good 10-20 minutes.
The arena is in the heart of downtown, so parking can be tricky. You can find free street parking (which we always commit to doing), or there are a number of paid garages and parking lots all around the stadium and along Fifth Avenue (many are CASH ONLY). The more you are willing to walk, the cheaper the parking.
Traffic leaving the game can be reeeeeally congested. If you can afford to hang out for awhile, it may be worth it. Otherwise, BOLT out of there as fast as you can (and be ready to sit for awhile.)
Naz: 9 overall. 10 when the Penguins win.
The price tag of this date likely makes it unrealistic to be a go to option. However, if you haven't been before, it is definitely worth saving up to try it at least once!