Since Mrs. Pineapple covered some great things to do in some of the rural areas outside of Steel City, I’ll try to give you a virtual tour of some hot spots in and around the city itself.
I currently don’t live in Pittsburgh proper, but spent four years living downtown during my college days and have been working in the City of Bridges (there are 446 crossing our three rivers) for the last six years. Long gone are the days of steel mills running the region’s economy and the dirty image the city is still trying to shake. Pittsburghers take pride in being the big city with a small-town feel and hometown pride is common among residents in the region. We even have our own language, n’at.
First up, a trip to Pittsburgh cannot be complete without taking in some type of professional sporting event or activity. After all, it is the City of Champions! If you’re looking for something to do in the spring through early fall, check out the Pirates at PNC Park.
While our baseball team has been suffering from 16 consecutive seasons with a losing record, the ballpark alone is worth the visit. PNC Park was truly built with the fan experience in mind and it has been consistently ranked as the best ballpark in the country since it opened in 2003. While I prefer to sit in the outfield, first-time visitors should aim for tickets anywhere behind the dugouts or home plate for the best views of the Pittsburgh skyline, which is spectacular from that angle. For the most part, tickets are easy to come by unless you want to attend a fireworks night. (People in Western PA love fireworks, especially since the Firework Capital of the America is in New Castle, PA, about 45 miles north of the city.)
Tickets to see Pittsburgh Steeler football and Penguin hockey games are a little harder to get a hold of, but doable if you are willing to pay for them. If you want to learn more about sports history in Pittsburgh, check out the Western Pennsylvania Sport Museum. With greats like Mario Lemeiux, Roberto Clemente and Terry Bradshaw having a hand in dubbing Pittsburgh “The City of Champions”, any sports fan can appreciate the exhibits the museum offers. However, if you want to go to the only place in the world where you can be in the same room as six Lombardi trophies, I’m guessing you’ll have to wait until the start of the regular season and take a walk through The Great Hall at Heinz Field.
While the sports museum is a great place to go, the most-well known of Pittsburgh’s museum offerings is The Andy Warhol Museum. I’ve been here a few times and even though some of the exhibits and pieces seem weird to me, I don’t mind checking out the colorful, Pop Art collection that made Andy famous.
For a night out, a pretty cool place for dinner, clubbing, and just hanging out, check out Station Square.
This is the home for all of the trendy, national chain restaurants including The Melting Pot, Hard Rock Cafe, Bucco Di Beppo, and Joe’s Crab Shack. For clubbing, you could head to Saddle Ridge if you’re up for some country tunes and line dancing, or you could go to The Matrix, where there are four rooms with a music variety ranging from salsa and top 40, to ’80s and techno. (Miss Deviled Egg spent many a night shakin’ it at the Matrix with her friends during her college years. Oh, the memories!) If you are up for a night of heavy partying, head further down East Carson Street to what’s known as Pittsburgh’s South Side. While new developments in the area have brought some cool shops and restaurants, the South Side is best known for having about 80 bars, and all are pretty much within walking distance of each other (Depending on how much you drink at each, I guess!).
For a day of fun, be sure to go to Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s historic amusement park.
If roller coasters are your thing, Kennywood has The Thunderbolt and the Jack Rabbit; both are wooden coasters that use a natural ravine to get the ride started. There isn’t a lift chain at the beginning of these rides, so you get the scary, fly down the hill part right off the bat. If you want to ride a steel coaster, the Phantoms Revenge is the park’s biggest and fastest. There are other roller coasters, as well as water rides, family classics, and newer amusement rides. Over the years, the park has maintained its historic feel while making the necessary updates to make it a competitive attraction among other national parks.
But, despite doing all of this, you probably won’t have a true Pittsburgh experience until you eat a Primanti Brothers sandwich, and then take a ride on one of the city’s two inclines. A Primanti Brothers sandwich is unique because it comes with fries and cole slaw on the sandwich.
I know, it looks a little gross, but it tastes awesome! If you are in town, you HAVE to try one!
As for the inclines, head to Station Square to catch the Mon Incline to Mt. Washington. I love the view, especially at night!
The incline pictured is the Duquesne Incline. The Mon Incline looks the same but is closer to the city and within walking distance from Station Square.
So there you have it””a speedy tour of some of Pittsburgh’s most popular attractions and hot spots. Just beware: if someone tells you, “Kennywood’s open,” they may not be talking about the park!
See all the posts in the Honeymoon in my Hometown Series here!