what to do in Pittsburgh
November 18, 2005 10:04 AM   Subscribe

What is there to do this weekend in Pittsburgh?...

I am going to Pittsburgh for a conference this weekend--my boyfriend (25) and I (27) are going to be there tomorrow through Tuesday. We are going to the Andy Warhol Museum, probably the Main Carnegie library, IKEA, some outlet malls an hour away, etc. What else is there to do? Can you suggest things like record stores, good places to eat that aren't expensive (say, no more than $15 for an entree), cool bars, somewhere to see a good movie, etc.? We especially like regular old American food and Mexican food. I love shopping, so cool stores would also be welcome suggestions. We are staying outside of the city at the Holiday Inn Greentree but will have our car with us--is it easy to park in Pittsburgh? Are there other cheap ways to get around? I will only be busy during the day on Monday and Tuesday so we will actually have quite a bit of time to explore. Any and all suggestions are welcome. I have seen the one other post on visiting Pittsburgh, but thought I'd ask for more specific suggestions. Thanks!
posted by fabesfaves to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I moved away from there about four years ago, so some of these suggestions may be out-of-date. In no particular order...

- The Carnegie Library is attached to the Museums of Art and Natural History, and you can park there to explore Oakland, the university section of town. Craig Street (right across from the Museums) has some neat shops. Walk over to the Phipps Conservatory. Also stop by the Cathedral of Learning (the University of Pittsburgh skyscraper).

- Eat at Primanti's (there's one in Oakland, unless Pitt has swallowed it up). Not because it's great food, but it's a uniquely "Pittsburgh" place.

- Head up to the top of Mt. Washington. You can drive there, but take one of the inclines instead (park at Station Square on South Side).

- Our favorite mexican place in the city is Cozumel in Shadyside, though Mad Mex in Oakland is also good. There's a terrific Chinese restaurant and an excellent Thai place (called Thai Place, oddly enough) within a block or two of Cozumel. Also in Shadyside is Pamela's, which has the best breakfast food I've ever had, hands down. (There's also a Pamelas in Squirrel Hill and one in Oakland.) Well worth the effort to find it.

- For dessert head up to Squirrel Hill and go to Gullifty's. The "regular" food there is unremarkable but the dessert menu is breathtaking.

- Go to the Sharp Edge for an incredible beer selection. They remodeled it so it doesn't quite have the wonderful dive-bar atmosphere like it used to, but it's still worth a visit.

Pittsburgh can be a little tricky to drive in because of all the one-way streets and oddly-angled neighborhoods. However, the bus system is unreliable, so you pretty much have to drive everywhere. Allow yourself some time to get to your destination and don't hesitate to stop and ask for directions if you feel you've gotten lost.

(All of these restaurant suggestions are cheap, by the way. For something a little more upscale ($15-$20 an entree) but very unique, try the Church Brew Works on Liberty avenue, a very good restaurant and brewpub located in a gorgeous old church building.)
posted by arco at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2005

Hm. Jerry's Records on Murray Ave. is a great place for vinyl. Paul's is a good place for new indie releases. Check out a concert at Garfield Artworks or The Quiet Storm, which is a nice coffee shop with a vegetarian menu when there's no music going on. Mr. Small's and Club Cafe are also good music venues.

Pamela's is good for breakfast, but it's often very busy. Alexander's is a nice homey Italian restaurant with excellent food.

The Cinemagic theater in Squirrel Hill is a nice small place to see a movie.

I'll be playing a show tomorrow night at The Underground at Carnegie Mellon at 7:30.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:26 AM on November 18, 2005

- Eat at Primanti's (there's one in Oakland, unless Pitt has swallowed it up). Not because it's great food, but it's a uniquely "Pittsburgh" place.

It's still there. And I forgot about Phipps, definitely check that out. Schenley Park is a nice place for a stoll/jog.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:28 AM on November 18, 2005

Pittsburgh is a neighborhood city. Each has its own flavor and personality and most are built to be experienced on a human (rather than car) level.

Squirrel Hill has two small independent movie theatres with both main stream and arty movies. There are also lots of little shops and great restaurants. Gullifty's has great desserts and comfort food, and Chaya has the best sushi in the city.

The Southside (along Carson street) has tons of bars. I like Shootz the best for the large number of pool tables. The area is definitely great for bar-hopping, but there are also lots of quirky restaurants and shops. The Beehive is my favorite coffee shop and Club Cafe might have a good show this weekend if you're lucky.

The Strip District is also one of my favorite places in the city. It is filled with tons of locally-owned ethnic grocery stores and independent shops. Enrico's has great biscotti, and the Pittsburgh Macaroni company has wonderful Italian treats. Mon Ami Chocolat has tons of chocolate delicacies from around the world. This is where I buy most of my souvenirs for friends abroad.

Parking should be fine. The Southside can be a bit tricky, but if you park on a side street you'll be fine.
posted by Alison at 11:14 AM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Don't ferget to brush up on da language n'at before yinz go, tings is differnt in Picksburgh.

Say hi to my family--Go STILLERS!
posted by m@ at 12:08 PM on November 18, 2005

The Mattress Factory is a really fantastic contemporary art museum that you might be interested in. And I'll second the recommendation for Church Brew Works.
posted by Wendy at 12:20 PM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Currently there is a Luke Swank exhibit at the Carnegie Museum.

Now for a couple opposing opinions: The food at Gullifty's is nothing special, and I think the "world famous" desserts are overrated (giant slices of beautiful but bland cakes). Same with the giant mediocre pancakes that Pamela's is known for. I prefer Ritters on Baum or JoJo's in the Strip for a good diner breakfast.

I agree that a shopping trip to the Strip District is the best place for an out of towner. Especially on a Saturday morning. Lots of interesting food markets, other sorts of stores, and odd people, an' 'at.

And yes, if you enjoy the Warhol Museum, you have to check out the Mattress Factory.
posted by booth at 12:36 PM on November 18, 2005

Best pizza in the universe is at Mineo's.

I have lived in Chicago and I should admit am a deep dish fan. A friend of mine from Pittsburg took me to a Steelers game last year and the whole way hyped Mineo's. I thought, "no way is this place as good as he says" especially since I like the Chicago style pies. We stopped off a Mineo's for a slice, one slice, on our way to his mom's house. I begged him to go back every day we were there.

I still talk about that pizza. God was it good.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2005

Heh. I live around the corner from Mineo's in Squirrel Hill. Go there all the time. It is good. Check it out.
posted by driveler at 2:43 PM on November 18, 2005

I like the Napoli Pizzaria better than Mineo's. Plus, they have one of the best steak salads in Pittsburgh.
posted by Alison at 2:51 PM on November 18, 2005

posted by Alison at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2005

If you're online tonight, get up to Mt. Washington now - it's Light Up Night! Pittsburgh aglow and ablaze with light, making the pointy headed accountants at Duquesne Energy slobber with glee.
posted by Dreama at 6:41 PM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

mad mex (1/2 off after 11), the O(famous fries), southside works(ee! a modern addition to pittsburgh!), mattress factory, harrison theatre
posted by ackeber at 8:03 AM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

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