A Weekend in Pittsburgh

Most of us know that Pittsburgh is a great town, and those of us that don’t, well, are truly missing out. From food to things to do and where to go, Pittsburgh’s got it.

1620 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
Located in what was once St. Elizabeth Church, the appropriately named Altar Bar is now a live music destination. The venue can hold up to 650 people and is spread across three floors. You’ll find two bars and a VIP lounge inside. Altar Bar has hosted acts that range from Snoop Dogg to Sum 41; check the website for upcoming performances.
901 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
A dive bar with a sandwich counter at the back, Sammy’s is a Pittsburgh institution. Don’t come here expecting an extensive menu or try to order off-menu, but if you’re looking for an outstanding corned-beef sandwich garnished with sauerkraut and a kosher dill, this is the place. And if you stick around long enough to get peckish again, you can munch on the free popcorn.
1 Wild Place
The Pittsburgh Zoo is impressively comprehensive, providing a look at a vast array of diverse creatures, as well as habitats. The exhibits range from Asian forest to African savannah, with the aquarium covering fresh and salt water species from the Amazon to the Antarctic. There’s also a petting zoo in the ‘Kids Kingdom,’ which is sure to be a hit with the little ones.
60 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
Pamela’s is a Pittsburgh establishment through and through, and has been serving up classic breakfast fare done well since the 1980s. If you’re a hotcake lover, you owe it to yourself to check this place out—and make sure you order yourself a side of their famous potatoes. Get your name on the list early to avoid a long wait!
4400 Forbes Avenue
Whether you’re a fan of awe-inspiring dinosaur skeletons & dioramas, or 19th century European painting, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have you more than covered. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a great place to learn about the history and development of life and human cultures, while the Carnegie Museum of Art offers a broad spectrum of collections, including contemporary art, photography, decorative arts and design, and the Heinz Architectural Center. The best part is, admission to one buys you admission to both, so you can indulge your interests in the Jurassic period and Impressionism in one go.
1197 W Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
Some things are touristy for good reason. The Duquesne Incline can be a great way to familiarize yourself with Pittsburgh and its environs when you first arrive, offering an amazing river and cityscape view. A good option any time of year. Not far off is the Monongahela Incline—if you’re feeling like you want to get the most out of both, you can take one up Mt. Washington, walk along the top, and take the other down (at which point you’ll know you’ve covered all the bases!). Plus, riding a cable car up a steep hill is something that comes naturally to a San Franciscan—not that I’m biased or anything.
1601 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
Gaucho is a BYOB gem in the Strip District, serving up steak, pulled chicken, and chorizo sandwiches from a wood fire grill in a friendly atmosphere. It’s a hole in the wall of a restaurant, without much seating—there’s a wrap-around counter that you can stand at while you eat in a pinch, as well as a small patio. A welcome addition to Pittsburgh’s ethnically and culinarily diverse Strip, and well worth a visit.
2100 Smallman Street
At the heart of the Strip District’s local and fresh food movement is the Pittsburgh Public Market, which is home to a number of cafes, eateries & gourmet food shops. A great place to browse, shop, grab a cup of coffee, or pick out a bottle of wine.
33 Terminal Way #537a, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
During the warmer months, kayaking the Allegheny River with Kayak Pittsburgh can be a great way to introduce yourself to the city, and get a sense for the lay of the land—not to mention take in some fantastic skyline views! They’ve recently added stand-up paddle boarding to their repertoire, and also offer bike rentals—one of the best ways to discover the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along water’s edge.
3 Rivers Heritage Trail System
Whether you like to run, stroll or cycle, take advantage of the The Three Rivers Heritage Trail while in Pittsburgh. Stretching for 24 miles, the pedestrian path follows the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers across some beautiful space. Run by the Friends of the Riverfront, they have a dedicated following to build trails, parks and public spaces along the water that engage the community with their waterways. As a visitor it’s so nice to be able to take advantage of the gorgeous spaces they’ve created right outside the hotel!
3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, USA
If you find yourself in the Steel City, do pay your homage to some terrific beer and far-better-than-pub-grub food at this church turned brewery. The beer gets brewed right there at the altar and the original pews are used as dining seating. Salud!
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