It's Opening Day In Market Square

You can take us out to the ballgame at PNC Park, where the ump yells "Play Ball" at 1:35 p.m. Thursday for the first game of the 2011 baseball season as the Buccos take the diamond in America's best ballpark. But we'll also be catching the first pitch of the Downtown Season Opener when Mayor Luke Ravenstahl officially inaugurates the 2011 Outdoor Season at 10 a.m. in the center of another historic diamond — Market Square.

Now if you've been paying attention — and we know you do — you've noticed that tables and chairs have been popping up the past week in the Square like daffodils in your backyard. And speaking of daffodils, everyone's favorite buttercups are adding a little bit of sunshine throughout  planters in the Square, thanks to the green thumb folks of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Of course, we encourage everyone to have as much fun as possible just about anytime they visit the Square, especially now that more outdoor activities are on the schedule. But did you know that there's a serious side to the Square, as well? History buffs will want to get on track to learn more about the Square's role in the Underground Railroad, the secret network of land routes and safe houses that helped runaway slaves escape bondage below the Mason-Dixon line. Check out the Big and Little Dipper lighting display —and a brand new historical plaque —  in the middle of the Square. Check out next week's blog post for more on that...

Warmer weather also signals the start of the al fresco dining season in the Square. Actually, we've already spotted more than a few hardy and hungry souls enjoying their lunches in the Square. But as the temps climb — and more tables and chairs appear — the Square will be the place to feast upon the many taste temptations that surround the terrazzo plaza. And we're more than willing to admit that we've been around the block quite a few times or two, sampling the diversity of cuisines found in the Square.

Back to baseball, keep in mind that the Pirates schedule gives you 81 good reasons to visit the Square before and after games for pre- and post-games snacks and beverages. Plus, parking in Downtown for most home evening and weekend home games is one of the best bargains around, since most garages post a $5 flat rate. So even if there are extra innings, there's never an extra charge.

Of course, one of the best ways to beat the traffic and parking concerns is to pedal on down to the Square. With more and more publications ranking Pittsburgh as one of the bike-friendliest and accessible cities in the U.S.A., you can freewheel to the Square and lock up your ride for free on any of the many artsy bike racks on the perimeter. There's no better time of year than now to keep those big wheels rolling.

Now everyone knows that diamonds are a Square's best friend, which is why our Market Square will soon be sporting some sparkling gems created by artist Carin Mincemoyer. Carin's electrifying Diamond, Diamonds installation of 80 glass "diamonds" gently powered by energy-saving LED lights will hang from two lamp posts at the Square's entrance on Market Street.  Look for them later this spring. We've been saying this for a while now, but it's truer than ever — this really is the Square's time to shine.

With so much happening in the Square — and just about everywhere else Downtown — the best way to keep up with everything is to check the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership calendar of events often. All you have to do is click here. Or check out the calendar featuring only events in Market Square. It's the best way to make sure you get a great seat for all that's going on Downtown. See you at the opener!


  1. Hey, any word on when Winghart's will be serving?

  2. Any day now. We will keep you posted. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to find out as soon as we do.