All of the above from their respective linked Wikipedia pages, brought together by yours truly and MS Paint
What do all of the above have in common? I’ll give you a hint: Fred Rogers and Christian Bale (…and Batman, for that matter) are not former or current Steelers. They are all, however, things that bring Pittsburgh to mind. Now granted, maybe I took some creative liberties picking The Dark Knight Rises as the icon for “recent movie filmings,” but that’s because I feel a special connection with its filming, having worked downtown throughout the summer where most of the movie was shot. (I firsthand witnessed many of the scenes, which was often a result of being stuck at the sidewalk closures—but I digress.)
One of the first posts I ever read on Weddingbee was “Honeymoon in My Hometown: Good ol’ San Antone” by Mrs. Petit Four. I remember this being the moment that I became entranced with the site, having offered an alternative but still interesting option for honeymooning. Since I started this blog, I have been collecting ideas for a Pittsburgh-themed version of HIMH (my fingers wanted to type “HIMYM” so badly) and am really, really excited to finally share: Honeymoon in my Hometown: Yinz** Should Come to Pittsburgh N’at! (As a helpful tip, here is a funny link to Pittsburghese.)
I will start this out with a disclaimer: Pittsburgh is a great city and it is perfect for a lot of things. But if you are looking to relax with a drink by the beach, it’s probably not for you. If you want things a bit more slow paced, it’s probably not for you. If you don’t really care for alcohol, it’s probably not for you. (Trust me: Even if you find the most alcohol-free activities in the city, you will inevitably encounter some drunks. Likely friendly drunks, but still.***) If you, however, happen to be a younger or just an overall curious and outgoing couple, perhaps a couple who would rather opt for a mini-moon, specifically a couple on a budget (Rev Fun in Atlanta refers to the cost of everything in Pittsburgh as “1982 prices”)…then the City of Bridges welcomes you with open arms.
Personal photo / Mr. Palm Tree and me on Mount Washington, with the skyline in the back. See, welcoming!
I’ve decided to split the activities/ideas by category. Many of these things and ideas are not all-day commitments, so it’s totally possible to mix and match!
It’s hard to think of Pittsburgh without thinking of sports. I realize that I am biased, considering members of my fiance’s family have painted their houses black-and-gold, but even if you aren’t a sports fan or a Pittsburgh fan, I think a Pirates game is definitely in order. First of all, the Pirates are not our award-winning team, but we Pittsburghers stick by them anyway (…sometimes…ahem). As a result, Pirates games are relaxed and enjoyable, especially for a casual baseball fan. PNC Park is often touted as one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country, with a gorgeous view of the skyline that will capture your attention even if the Pirates fail to do so.
Personal photo / I have no less than 100 pictures like this. This one in particular was taken during a recent game in April.
For post-game festivities, you can walk around the North Shore and take your pick of the multiple bars and eateries available, often with game-day specials. My personal favorite is McFadden’s, located right outside of one of PNC’s gates. It’s huge, so even when it gets crowded it’s not uncomfortable, and the bartenders are a lot of fun and very crowd centered. The Rivers Casino is also located near the stadium.
A bonus: Game transportation in style! PNC Park is located right along one of the city’s three rivers, making it perfectly accessible by the Pittsburgh Water Limo. It’s just $10 for a round trip—which is honestly the best you could hope for parking-wise, with significantly less hassle and much more awesomeness. Super bonus: They serve alcohol on the boat. Super-duper bonus: You can also catch one of the city sightseeing cruises 10 minutes after any home Pirates game!
Speaking of Sightseeing:
Pittsburgh is a ridiculously beautiful city.
Image via Matt Robinson, from PittsburghSkyline.com / A photo of the skyline on a beautiful day. Fun fact: I work in one of these buildings!
Over the past few years, Pittsburgh has come to recognize this and, as a result, has started capitalizing on the sightseeing opportunities. One of the best places to do this is Mount Washington. The main street, Grandview Avenue (so clever, we Pittsburghians are ), has actual “lookout” points. You can see almost all of the city: the skyline, the stadiums, the rivers, the bridges. (Mr. PT and I counted 10 within our immediate sights when we were last there.) It really is beautiful and home to some super kick-ass beach-like houses.
Personal photo / One of the cell phone pictures we took from Mount Washington
Personal photo / Part of the skyline, and Mr. PT
Personal photo / One of the ridiculously awesome houses
As mentioned before, one of the best ways to see the city is from one of our Three Rivers. The Gateway Clipper is a cruise ship that was the venue for many a school dance back in my day, but it is also home to many of the most interesting sightseeing cruises. They offer an evening cruise, a one-hour cruise, a history cruise, and many others for under $30.
Another unique option is the Just Ducky tour. This tour shows you the best of Pittsburgh by land and by sea river.
From the Just Ducky Website / The awesome Just Ducky vehicles that turn into boats ducks!
For around $21, the Just Ducky tour will take you through the downtown area and end in the Three Rivers, providing you with yet another really awesome view of our really awesome skyline.
A few facts are ingrained in me from my days as a tour guide in college, one of which being: Pittsburgh has the second largest college population. (Boston is the first.) Seriously, even naming the six accredited universities (Carlow, Chatham, Point Park, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon University) within five miles of one another, I am barely scraping the availability of higher education. The above fact is just one of the many reasons I cannot imagine a trip to Pittsburgh without a stop in Oakland.
Home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow, and some buildings/parts of Point Park and CMU, Oakland is chock-full of students (and random, well-established what appear to be Italian families smudged in the middle of them). As a result, there are a slew of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops on either side of 10-mile-long Forbes Avenue. Unlike most college campuses, buildings for the various universities—Pitt, especially—are literally sprinkled in among the other buildings. You can go to class on top of Panera and Rue 21, find your dorm room in the middle of a bookstore and a uniform store/across the street from a gas station, and head to a basketball game across from the hospital. Every time I show all of this to a visitor, they comment on how unique it is.
I know that these words aren’t doing it justice, and I simply do not have enough space to attempt it, but trust me when I say that exploring Oakland should be considered a must. (Oakland has a very special spot in my heart. I call it home and I just love it—I could talk about it forever.)
The 42-story, tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere, Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning…
Image via Wikipedia / The Cathedral of Learning, known to many (myself included) as “The Drunk Compass”
…Carnegie Library of Oakland, Peter’s Pub for a Panther Bomb and/or (I would do and, but that’s just me—Pittsburghers like to drink!) Hemingway’s for a shot pitcher, and, of course, Primanti Brothers for one of their famous (literally) sandwiches and a beer…n’at. (I couldn’t help myself!)
Image via Primanti Brothers / Between you and me, make sure you schedule a trip back to wherever you’re staying after eating one of these. Trust me, it’s necessary (but so freakin’ worth it).
Of course, one blog post could never do Pittsburgh justice. I haven’t even touched on the amazing museums, the 21 blocks of bars on Carson Street, Kennywood and Sandcastle, or the awesomeness that is Station Square. I’ve barely touched on the delicious food that’s available, and I’ve certainly not paid proper homage to the various neighborhoods and their respective specialties.
Image via Wikipedia / A list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods—the red circle is where Mr. Palm Tree, MOH, and I live! Also in the area are Groomsman Pythagoras, yet-to-be-nicknamed GM L, and the Best Man R. The Ys live a bit north of us/the city.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest in Pittsburgh—even if not for a honeymoon, maybe for a mini-moon or a weekend getaway (but hopefully for a honeymoon!). We love the city and all of its awesomeness and feel like it’s one of America’s hidden treasures. After all, there’s a reason it’s been voted America’s Most Livable City multiple times by multiple institutions. Ahem. In all sincerity, though, you know how when you go to a beach or a popular vacation destination, like Orlando or even a tropical place like Jamaica? You do really fun things, whether it’s hang out on the beach, explore a theme park, or eat different food—but you might not get a feel for how the people live there, or what a true, authentic “day in the life of…” would be like for a resident. In Pittsburgh, it’s the opposite: We really do all of the above-mentioned things, and we really do have a lot of fun doing them.
For a younger couple on a smaller budget looking to have some fun and explore, Pittsburgh the is perfect destination!
**”Yinz” is an example of Pittsburgh slang and I’ve read it spelled “yens” and “yenz” as well as “yuns.” It’s also something I can safely say I haven’t said since possibly freshman year of high school…but it was still fitting.
***Another “probably not for you” is if you are planning said trip during the winter. Take this with a grain of salt, because I hate winter and am a grump about it, but Western Pennsylvania weather is far too unpredictable for me to advise anyone to take a celebratory trip to Pittsburgh during winter.