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The most common response we got when we told people that we were visiting Pittsburgh last month was “why?” I would explain that I had a bestie going to school there and then wonder endlessly why everyone was so negative about it. I had heard good things from my friend and had wanted to go there since I realized we could easily get there from Manhattan.
I have to say: those people’s lack of interest with Pittsburgh baffles me. It is an awesome city, and I would go there even if one of my favorite humans didn’t live there. Both hubby and I were super into it. There is a cool, clean, downtown area that has three major sports teams playing in the middle of it plus there are quite a few slightly more rural neighborhoods that each have a main street and its own character.
Another thing I enjoyed was the mixture of hills, rivers and bridges. I learned very quickly that Pittsburgh has the most bridges in one city (446!!!!), and it really is astounding. My (lack of) driving skills would not be able to handle it, but I enjoyed staring out the window as we drove from bridge to bridge. The nature was on point too. I love my cities, but getting to be in a place with rolling hills and beautiful rivers was so refreshing. The way the houses are just nestled into the hills overlooking bridges… it’s dreamy.
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If you get all the way to the bottom, you’ll see that I also included a link to a public Google Map where I shared the locations of all these places I visited. I highly recommend making your own Google Maps when you go to a new city (in advance of your trip and after). That way you can see the proximity of everything you want to visit in relation to each other as well as track where you’ve been. That way when you go back five years later, you can easily remember where to go for the best chicken and waffles you’ve ever had (stay tuned).
How We Got From NYC to Pittsburgh:
I can’t speak much to the different options to get to Pittsburgh besides the one we chose which was a Greyhound bus. Our trip was from NYC (Port Authority Bus Station) to Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (Greyhound Station). We had to take a subway to the NYC station from our home and then we took the bus for 8 hours. Yeah, that’s a long time.
I honestly did not mind it, but I’m a fan of road trips. I will say that if I went alone, I may have been uncomfortable, because I hate having to squeeze next to a stranger for that long and our bus was jam packed both ways. There was very few empty seats and room to spread out.
I looked up some of the other options, so here’s a little price comparison:
- Greyhound bus: $75 roundtrip
- Flight: $200-$250 roundtrip
- Wanderu train: $200 roundtrip
The Duquesne Incline
This is a little inclined train thing that goes straight up the side of a hill to some great views of Pittsburgh. It costs $2.50 each way. On the way up, we had to wait for maybe ten minutes, but as we were trying to go down there was a long line. We actually got to lazy to wait in that so we ended up Ubering our way back down to the parking lot where this first photo was taken.
It’s a short little ride, but I think it’s worth the $2.50 to say you’ve done it. Also, you’re going to want to go up and see Mt. Washington, so why not ride this there instead of trying to parallel park somewhere by the observatory point.
I wish we went on a less foggy day, but regardless the views from Mount Washington were insane. You can see most of downtown, all the stadiums, Point State Park and more. After we got off at the top of the Duequesne Incline, we just exited, made a right and walked down the side of the road to get to this scenic spot. It took about three minutes to walk to it and we mostly had it to ourselves.
This is a must-see for any visitors to Pittsburgh, in my opinion.
We got lunch at Burgatory downtown. It’s a chain, so their are a few to choose from if you want to try it. This place is all about burgers, beers and milkshakes, so hubs and I knew we’d fit right in. I ordered the Trippin’ Chicken which was a chicken burger with brie, mushrooms, truffle mayo and pretzel buns. It was seriously tasty and came with delicious potato chips.
The only problem: we had ordered this beautiful Expresso Love “hard shake” first. It’s made with expresso, dark chocolate… and PATRON. I can be picky with alcohol tossed into food, but this mixed so perfectly. You could tell their was alcohol, but it wasn’t overbearing.
My recommendation would be to go for either food or milkshakes OR split a shake and a burger with someone.
This was definitely the most unique spot we saw on our trip. Randyland is a free (donations accepted), outdoor art display. It’s literally a courtyard full of nicknacks, yard furniture, mirrors, murals and more: all painted in bright colors. It’s so trippy, interesting and definitely a photo opp. We just wandered around for 3o minutes just looking at everything. It’s unlike any art display I’ve ever seen before.
It’s open from 10am- 5:30pm everyday, and easy to get to from downtown. Definitely a great spot for a short trip as it doesn’t require as much time as some of the larger museums Pittsburgh has.
Point Brugge Cafe
You all know by now that I love my brunch. I would go to brunch every day if I could, so I consider myself a bit of a brunch aficionado. Point Brugge was one of THE BEST brunches I’ve had. I do think it was largely based on my meal choice, but everyone else we were with had good food too. The chicken and waffles was just beyond great and only $14, so that’s a double whammy in my book.
Apparently Point Brugge Cafe is Belgium-inspired, but I know nothing about Belgium food so I can’t comment it’s authenticity when it comes to that. What I can say, is that our food just had such a unique flavor and interesting ingredients. On paper, it looked a little scary to order chicken and waffles that was made with a “curry yogurt marinated chicken thigh, sweet potato ginger waffle, and peanut sauce.” I have no idea how all these came together to taste as good as it did, but it was mind blowing.
Hubs got the photo immediately below this, which was a special that day… that neither of can remember. Ugh. It was some sort scramble, I believe. It was also extremely tasty and unique. We also split a side of mac n’ cheese that was unnecessary with all our food, but worth it. It came out in a cast iron skillet bubbling. That’s how mac n’ cheese should always come out, in my opinion.
This cafe is in a random spot in a residential area in the Point Breeze neighborhood. Even if it’s no where near where you’re staying, I’d still stop by. Be prepared for a wait if you go for Sunday brunch. Just remember it’s worth it!
The National Aviary
This was one of the more random choices we made, but it sounded interesting. We wandered around the aviary for a couple hours to see all the unique exhibits and pretty birds (as I prayed desperately that I would not get crapped on). There were some unique birds I had not seen up close, but in general I’m not a huge zoo/aviary person. I always think I am and then leave remembering I mainly just like dogs.. or the gorillas at the Bronx Zoo. Oh my gosh. Those guy rule.
My favorite part of the aviary was actually not a bird though… we attended a sloth feeding show and sat front row. It was adorable! Unfortunately it’s like $150 to feed one yourself, so I’d just pay the $15 admission and get as close as you can to it instead.
Biking around the city
On the last day, we were just walking around downtown when we came across a nextbike station, and husband suggested we spent our last couple of hours riding those. I am a big ol’ chicken when it comes to riding bikes in the streets, so luckily we just went down to the riverside and rode next to it until we got to Point State Park. It was a perfect day for exploring, and biking was a great means of transportation. I think had we not had our friend with a car there, we may have relied more on these nextbikes. There were docking stations everywhere and so easy to use once you downloaded the app. This quickly became on of my favorite parts of the trip!
Other places we went:
- The Church Brew Works: This was an old church turned into a brewery. It’s pretty cool and they have beer flights for $11 which is just madness to this Manhattanite.
- PNC Park: We got to see a Pirates game while we were there! In fact, they played (and lost to) the Mets. My friend helped pick seats across from the skyline, and we gorged on the unhealthy stadium food, as one does.
- Tequila Cowboy: After the game, we went to this cool bar and lounge that had three different rooms. One was 90’s, one was country and one was karaoke. All were decorated accordingly. As someone who loves those three types of music when I’m out, I can totally see myself enjoying a very fun night out there after a few (like 7 drinks). We enjoyed it and were relatively sober!
- Bruegger’s Bagels: Another chain, but a great spot for a bagel sandwich breakfast. No bagels have yet to beat my NYC spot, but I did like mine and these types of places are perfect to grab and go, so you can get to sightseeing.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral: We went to church at this beautiful, big cathedral on Sunday.
- Industry Public House: I had had quite a few before this stop, but this was a neat little bar in Lawrenceville. I just ordered a regular ol’ Coors light, but I will say it seemed to have a great atmosphere.
I made a little map that’s viewable to the public if you want to check out where everything is that we went to, than just click the map or here. It even has some of the photos above so you can see where those were taken!