Who knows what about Pittsburgh?
February 16, 2017 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Going for few days in early March and would love any and all suggestions on foods, drinks, and things to do.
posted by john m to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (23 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Not from there but went on a work trip and followed this advice.

An awesome gallery: Wood Street Galleries

Restaurants I liked:
Butcher and the Rye
Meat and Potatoes

Nice places to walk:
Point State Park
Market Square
Penn Avenue
North Shore Riverfront Park

And of course the Andy Warhol Museum
posted by anya32 at 11:30 AM on February 16, 2017

Be sure to take a ride on the Duquesne Incline.
The Oakland Neighborhood has museums and great dining, and the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.
And the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is a world-class group and their concert hall (Heinz Hall) is beautiful.

(source: born and raised there)
posted by eusebis_w_adorno at 11:36 AM on February 16, 2017

If you enjoy installation art, the Mattress Factory usually has some pretty interesting exhibits in it.

Bicycle Heaven is also a really neat place to visit, especially if you're into bikes and bike history.

Mineo's Pizza is absolutely delicious, as are the blueberry pancakes (and really everything else) at Pamela's Diner.

The Cathedral of Learning is also pretty interesting and can give you a nice view of the city.

If you're a baseball fan and you're going to be in town when the Pirates are playing, go to a game, but park downtown and walk across the Clemente Bridge with other fans. It's a really great experience and PNC Park is a great place to catch a game.

Honestly, I love pretty much everything about Pittsburgh, and I would move back there in a heartbeat. I'm envious of you for getting to visit there. Have a great time!
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:46 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

My blog post on our long weekend in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago.
posted by COD at 11:59 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Museums - if you're into modern art, there's of course the Warhol. I honestly feel like a lot of people go there because they feel like they're "supposed to." (I love modern art. My husband does not.) The last few visits we were there were mostly CMU/Pitt students dragging out of town parents. Same part of town there is also a Children's Museum and directly across the street from that our Aviary. (Not sure the size and ages of your party.) We currently have a baby owl at the aviary you can "meet" and several of the other exhibits are fairly hands on. It is small, maybe two hours if you sit in on every presentation. Oh, and a baby sloth!!!

Our natural history museum is also part of our art museum - they're one admission and connected. (Also to the main branch of our library system.) Within walking distance of that is the Cathedral of Learning as well as Phipps Conservatory (if you like plants). Across the street from the library is a place called The Porch - we like it because of the beer list and being fairly vegetarian friendly, but keep in mind that you're smack in the middle of Pitt/CMU so you'll be battling students for tables.

Personally I almost always recommend that folks go to the Heinz History Center in the Strip - even more so if you're a sports fan. Depending on your generation, the ability to have your picture taken in front of the Mister Roger's Neighborhood Tree is worth the price of admission.

We also have a zoo and a science center - both of which I would only recommend if you have kids in your group. Or if you really really like miniature railroads. They're nice for locals, but if you're swooping in and out in a weekend, they're not distinctive from others in the country. (Polar bears? We have those, they're pretty cool. If the weather is cold the penguins march through the zoo...)

(I'm clearly a local. The Pittsburgh Mefis are a fairly amazing group of folks. I'm sure you're going to get a ton of suggestions from other people.)

What do you like to do? Eat? Interests? (Come on I'm a librarian, let me tailor your trip for you.)
posted by librarianamy at 12:05 PM on February 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

I can speak mostly about the Strip District, but if you're going to be in that area:

Pamela's for breakfast - cash only, and if you're going on a weekend make sure you get there early.
Thin Man Sandwich Shop - maybe overwhelmingly foodie; braised rutabaga, or sardine & quinoa, or chicken liver mousse. If you're feeling adventurous, everything I've had there is awesome. Not open on Mondays.
Gaucho for lunch or dinner - Argentinian grill, and make sure you get the alfajores for dessert.
21st Street Coffee if you want great hipster coffee, La Prima if you prefer classic italian espresso.
I've heard Bar Marco is pretty great for food and drinks, although I can't vouch for it personally. Kaya is semi-caribbean cuisine and is also fantastic. There's a sushi stand inside Wholey's that is pretty great.

The Strip has a lot of neat little specialty stores that make it pretty fun to walk around even if you're not buying anything, and a lot of vendors set up tables on sidewalks on the weekend. The Heinz History museum is not too far away if you're interested in that as well, and the entire neighborhood has some great character and good views.

I'm a local who spends pretty much every other weekend on the strip, so feel free to memail if you have any questions (especially related to food).
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:09 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Speaking of the Strip, Reyna's Foods makes fresh tortillas that are SO GOOD. There are many reasons to visit the Strip, especially on a weekend, but Reyna's is definitely one of them.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:19 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

We enjoyed the tour and tasting at the Wigle distillery.
posted by Lescha at 12:34 PM on February 16, 2017

If you like beer, East End Brewing is worth a stop. They have events sometimes, too - Trivia Night is fun.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill is a great spot to stop for Xiao Long Bao if you're in that area!
posted by sevensnowflakes at 12:46 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh! And if you like ridiculously good burgers, stop by the Highland Park Pub and walk straight to the back, where Applewood Smoke Burger Co makes deeply incredible burgers (their beer-battered onion rings are good, too). I like the "Hell with the Lid Off" burger, but it definitely comes with ... digestive repercussions (but so worth it).

I'm not even that much of a burger person but man ... these ones I crave.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you have any kids with you or can temporarily acquire some, the Children's Museum has a bunch of Mr. Rogers artifacts that are pretty nice for grownups to ponder, too.
posted by Etrigan at 1:20 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

A friend's brother owns the Allegheny City Brewery.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:34 PM on February 16, 2017

Rather than just linking to my suggestion for a previous Ask, I'll just link to the Ask itself.

There's a bit of overlap, but there still should be a few things there not mentioned here already.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2017

I really enjoyed the food at Apteka - hipstery vegan Eastern European cuisine and interesting cocktails.
posted by blerghamot at 2:31 PM on February 16, 2017

Tip about Gaucho - go for a late lunch or super early dinner (around 2:30), especially if you are here on a workday. Otherwise you will wait a very, very long time just to order your food.

Enrico's Biscotti Cafe on the Strip is a great stop for lunch.

If you love animals of the feline persuasion and enjoy wine, the Colony Cafe just opened!
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:02 PM on February 16, 2017

So many great options here. I came to give an answer but saw all the great Pittsburghers already took care of that! Is there anything specific you are interested in? Where are you staying?
posted by plo_veggie at 4:53 PM on February 16, 2017

Y'all are awesome! Thank you everyone for the help. I've been wanting to get to Pittsburgh forever, and it looks like this is just gonna be a good taste to make me come back again.

Some details: we'll be 2 dudes in town for the A10 basketball tournament. We'll be staying by PNC Park, coming across the river for the games. Good cheap breakfast and/or good bar near by?

In previous years in Brooklyn for the tournament we've found time to get one good dinner and a handful of lunches. We're used to eating well here in Richmond, its how we judge other cities :)

Hoping for one good afternoon of targeted exploration. Bicycle Heaven sounds, well, heavenly. Traveling rule of thumb is to get to the highest place in town, so I think we gotta get to the Duquesne Incline. Hoping to have weather and time to hop on a bike and just explore and soak up the city.
posted by john m at 5:03 PM on February 16, 2017

I've never lived in Pittsburgh but I've been there several times.

The Warhol Museum, as mentioned repeatedly, is actually fantastic. I used to think Warhol was overrated... until I went there. Now I get it. Last time I was in town, there was an Ai Wei Wei exhibit at the Warhol. Whatever they have on display you should go see it.

My favorite restaurant is All India. If you like Indian food, this is really good.

Dobra Tea is a really great spot for tea.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2017

Ok, on your hotel side of the river, I'd recommend Burghatory for a quick dinner & drinks. Pro tip: the milkshakes are worth it, but we have stupid blue laws so you can only get a to go cup on the nonalcoholic ones. (You're also walking distance to the Warhol, fwiw.)

Coming across the bridge, right next to each other are Six Penn Kitchen, which caters to the theater crowd but I like their bars. And recently opened is Pork & Beans, which I have to say we went to one of their beer dinners and I almost died & went to heaven. You're also going to pass Tako, and the aforementioned Butcher & the Rye - the latter three are all part of the same restaurant group.

Fwiw, there is a Burghatory inside the arena, and a Tako in one of the club seats areas.
posted by librarianamy at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2017

Oh, and a Southern Tier Brewing recently opened by where you're staying. We haven't been yet, because we hear it's still crazy crowded with newness.

We actually have two inclines, the Monongahela & the Duquesne. Some differences: The Duquesne is maintained by a historical group, and the Mon is run by our Port Authority. Park at the bottom for the Duq & there's nothing else there. At the top you'll be by the restaurants that people pay more for the view than the food, though I hear good things about Altius. Park at the bottom for the Mon & you're in Station Square, which is a touristy old train station with shops & restaurants (of Hard Rock chain quality). There's less to do at the top of the Mon, but you'll be by the overlooks. And if you walk back onto Shiloh Street there are some local neighborhood bars & restaurants (Shiloh Grille).
posted by librarianamy at 7:12 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Definitely go to the Strip District for weekend breakfasts. There's both street food and diners and also some boozy brunchy restaurants that I've never been to because that's not my thing, but take your pick.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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