Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Favorite Places : Pittsburgh

If you've been reading here for any amount of time, you probably know that I love my hometown.  I've lived in a few different cities in my life and have traveled to towns across the world, but nothing has quite the same feel as Pittsburgh.  I describe it to people as having a small town feel with big city amenities, and I'm never shocked when Pittsburgh is given awards and recognition- from Most Livable City to Best Travel Destination.  It truly is a magical place and I'm lucky to call it home!

I was so excited when I saw Andrea's schedule for her Show and Tell linkup, and one topic in particular caught my attention.  Today is the day I've been waiting for- showing off your hometown!  I've been planning and thinking about this post for a while, and I'm really hoping that you all enjoy it!  I'm sharing my favorite things in Pittsburgh in a few categories- Eat, Drink, See, Run, Do, and Shop.

I hope that I convince you all to move to (or at least visit) Pittsburgh with this post!  I promise- we're more than a dirty old steel town.  Just give it a chance!


Eat

Southside Works:  2705 S Water St


Hofbrauhaus is by far my favorite restaurant.  This is the perfect place to enjoy some great food, lots of beer, and German music.  The main beer hall is filled with communal tables and booths where you can watch the game on multiple TVs and listen to live oompah music.  Outside is a beer garden which is amazing on a nice day.  It's more relaxed and quiet outdoors, so it's perfect for chilling out, and enjoying the beautiful view of the Monongahela river.  The location of the restaurant is terrific as well- it is situation on the Southside river trail (which I'll talk about below) and in the fun Southside Works area.  After dinner, make sure to walk around the shops, stop in Big Dog Coffee or catch a movie at the theatre.


Oakland: 221 Schenley Drive

If you're looking for a non-chain restaurant, I would recommend The Porch, which is described as a neighborhood bistro in the heart of vibrant, bustling Oakland.  I went to this restaurant shortly after it opened and have been back multiple times since, and I've always had an amazing experience at the restaurant.  Their pizzas are absolutely incredible, they have an extensive beer and cocktail menu, and it's just a fun place to check out.  The location is ideal as well- it's located on Pitt's campus, so after stuffing yourself with pizza you can walk around campus, check out the nearby Carnegie library and museums, or relax in Schenley Plaza (if you stop by in the summer, there's usually yoga and tai chi classes on the plaza!).  Right down the street from the Porch is one of my favorite places, Phipps Conservatory, which I talk about below.




Drink

Squirrel Hill: 5827 Forbes Ave.
North Side: 1501 Buena Vista St.


There are a lot of coffee shops that I love in Pittsburgh, but Commonplace has taken the top spot.  Their drinks are incredible, but I also find their space really aesthetically inspiring.  For me, design is almost more important than the taste of the drink itself, and why I continue to visit a certain shop over another.  I love the industrial feel of this place, with local art on the walls and an outdoor patio that offers the perfect spot to people watch.  Don't get me wrong- their drinks are also incredible!  If you're looking for the perfect place to relax and get some Instagram-able latte art- look no further. 




Squirrel Hill: 1704-1706 Shady Avenue

There have been so many breweries opening up in Pittsburgh in the last few years (with more to come) so I couldn't just pick one.  I went with the next best thing- Independent Brewing!  This is a newer place that serves all local brews and food.  The beer menu is always changing and there are no "normal" beers on this menu.  I've tried everything from a cucumber IPA to a jalapeno stout (and everything in between), so I love visiting and trying something new each time I visit.  I also like how you can try out beers from all of the smaller breweries in the area without needing to go on a bar tour!  They also serve some terrific food and have outdoor seating, so what more could you ask for?




See

Oakland: 1 Schenley Drive


After you're done eating at the Porch (see above) make sure you check out Phipps!  This is pretty much a gigantic greenhouse, filled with flowers and plants and beautiful glass sculptures by the incredible Dale Chihuly.  Each room in the conservatory has a different theme and feel, and my favorite is the tropical room which is multi-level and filled with waterfalls, tropical flora, and winding paths.  I really feel like I'm transported to different countries and time periods as I walk around the exhibits!  There are always different exhibits and events going on (the pictures I'm sharing are from the Christmas Lights exhibit), so every time you come back you'll experience something new.  This place is a must-visit!   


Mt Washington


If you've ever seen a picture of Pittsburgh, chances are it was taken on top of Mt Washington.  Head up the historic inclines and walk along Grandview Avenue to get breathtaking views of the city. Really though- If you don't Instagram a picture of the three rivers, did you even visit Pittsburgh at all?  There are overlooks along the road to give you the perfect spot to get a picture, and splurge-worth restaurants to stop in to really get a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  If that's not in your budget, I would recommend checking out Redbeard's or Shiloh Grill.  




Run



River Trails



I absolutely love water, so the three rivers are my favorite features of Pittsburgh.  Even better than looking at them is running on along them!  Luckily for me (and for you) there are trails that run along all three rivers that are absolutely gorgeous.  They all connect to each other in multiple places, which allow for endless miles of running and biking.  The Southside Trail (which I mention above) even connects to the Great Allegheny Passage trail that goes all the way to Washington, DC!  If that's not enough miles of trails for you- I don't know what to tell you!  You can find more information about the trails here!


Riverview, Frick, Highland, and Schenley Park



If river trails aren't your thing, maybe you'll like the parks in Pittsburgh.  There are four city parks scattered across the city that all have their own unique feel.  Riverview is very remote and quiet filled with amazing trails and a 2 mile paved loop; Frick is the largest and boasts amazing trails and a soon-to-open nature center; Highland has several beautiful fountains and gardens along with the Pittsburgh Zoo; and Schenley is packed with entertainment for everyone- tennis courts, frisbee golf course, ice skating rink, trails, tracks, and more!  I would recommend checking out each park to experience the amazing natural side of Pittsburgh.  Plus, I just can't pick my favorite!  If you want to find out more information about the parks, click here!




Do



North Shore



The North Shore is a hot spot in Pittsburgh.  It's across the Allegheny River from the "Golden Triangle" (aka Downtown) and is the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers.  If you're visiting the city in the summer, a baseball game is a must.  The stadium is constantly named the best in the country for its amazing view and great amenities.  There are multiple restaurants within walking distance of both stadiums, including the newly opened Burgatory and a Beer Market (tip- bring your own food because they don't serve any).  There are other things to do in the area if you're not into sports, like renting a kayak or a bike, or simply walking around and enjoying the beautiful view!


Southside


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If you're coming to Pittsburgh to party, you'll want to head to the Southside.  Along East Carson Street you'll find over 80 bars- one of the highest concentrations of bars in the United States.  You really can't go wrong with any place along this road and the variety is incredible.  There truly is something for everyone!  A unique choice is OTB (Over The Bar), which is a bicycle themed bar, or Double Wide Grill where you can find BBQ and vegan specialties on the same menu.  If you're not in to the bar scene, there are plenty of other attractions in this area!  Just be prepared for expensive cab rides, traffic, and rowdy crowds if you're visiting at night.





Shop



Strip District


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The Strip District is a must-visit neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  Here, you'll find some classic Pittsburgh restaurants like Pamela's Diner and Primanti Brothers along with up and coming places like Gaucho (which was named one of Yelp's top 10 places in the U.S. to eat in 2015) and Peace, Love and Little Donuts.  Beyond restaurants, the Strip also has family-run shops that sell every food imaginable, and the best and cheapest souvenirs and sports gear to support all of our black and gold teams!  The Strip is a landmark for locals and visitors alike, so make sure you stop by as early as possible to beat the rush and take your time checking out all the fun shops!  Before you go, stop in Klavon's for an old fashioned ice cream experience.


Shadyside Shops


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If you're looking for actual shops, I would check out Shadyside.  Along Walnut Street, there are plenty of stores to keep everyone happy- from a running store, Lululemon and Athletica to Sephora, Gap and JCrew- this street is awesome!  There are also lots of great restaurants and bars in this area to stay energized during a shopping trip.  In the summer, the neighborhood also hosts art shows, concerts, yard sales and more.  You can find all of these events at Think Shadyside!


Interested in more Pittsburgh posts?

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh?  What did you think?
What is the one thing I have to check out in your hometown?

linking up with Amanda

48 comments:

  1. I'm from just-outside of philly but i've never actually visited pittsburgh! When I do I'll be sure to take up some of your suggestions!

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  2. Thank you for this! My fiancé and I have been talking about visiting Pittsburg for a long time, and promised we will finally make it there this year! Now we have places to look for!

    I had the pleasure of visiting Pittsburg back in 2003, my ex-husband's family was from Sewickley. We visited the Duquesne Incline, and walked around the shops that were near there. It was a great trip! but We need to get back there soon!

    I live in Mechanicsburg, very close to Harrisburg and Hershey PA... so to pick one thing only is really difficult... So I'm going to say you would have to visit 1. The state Capitol, 2. West Shore Farmer's Market and 3. Hershey Park.

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    1. You definitely do need to come back! The city has changed SO much recently so you'll be shocked! Dan's family lives near Mechanicsburg so I've been to some of those places!

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  3. I've never been to Pittsburg. It's never even crossed my mind. Wow, 80 bars in one area?! That's crazy. That graffiti wall looks neat! Definitely looks like there's enough to do to make for an exciting weekend.

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  4. I enjoyed dinner at the Porch with Dan when I was in town. Great place.

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  5. My best friend lived in Pittsburgh right out of college and then I married a wonderful man from Cranberry Township, so I have been visiting Pittsburgh for FOREVER. The town has really grown on me! It really is a nice, clean city! Thanks for the suggestions-- I'll have to see if we can do some of them the next time I'm visiting the in laws.

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  6. Oh how fun! I'm glad you're doing this linkup too and it's so fun to see your take on it. Love checking out Pittsburgh from an insider's point of view like this! I've never been but it looks like it has some really cool places to see and things to do!

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    1. You definitely need to make a trip Gina!

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  7. Never been to Commonplace Coffee or the Porch, I'll have to tack them on my list. I love checking out different independent coffee shops.

    Fun Fact : My hometown has the original US Hofbrauhaus due to the ridiculous German population in Cincinnati. On that vein we host what I'm told is the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany each year spanning through Downtown & into our German neighborhood MainStrasse Village.

    Favorite thing about my hometown? Probably an up & coming neighborhood Over-The-Rhine. They're going Lawrenceville-esqe & lots of new breweries are opening up. It's also home to our "Strip District", a half inside, half outside year-round market.

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    1. I've been to that Hofbrauhaus! Also the one in Munich, and I love how different they all are. Really cool :)

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  8. I love seeing Pittsburgh, my niece attends college at the University of Pitt!!

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  9. Pittsburgh love all the way <3 <3 You highlighted so many great places! The North Shore seems to be getting a lot of great new places (Southern Tier is opening a brewpub there)... my best friend is getting married at Phipps this fall so I'm excited to see what a wedding will look like at an already gorgeous venue. Can't wait to move back to my favorite city later this year <3

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  10. Ohhhh take me to South Side! That looks like my kind of town with my kind of people. What a beautiful city. You're lucky!

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  11. I've never been to Pittsburgh but reading this you're making me want to add it to my list of cities to travel to! I love that view from Mt. Washington. And that cucumber IPA sounds amazing haha.

    My favorite place in the town I live in now is the river walk. It's this short little strip that runs along the Mississippi River and it's my favorite place to run or just go on a walk!

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    1. You definitely need to add it to your list :) River walks are the best!

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  12. I've only been to Pittsburgh once but loved it! My husband went to school near Pittsburgh so he loves it because he went a lot. Apparently we need to make a trip out there soon!

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  13. I loooveeee German restaurants also! Those river trails are gorgeous - I'm a huge fan of running along the water also and so spoiled by it because I almost always run along a river or lake here in Seattle.

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    1. I love living in a place with lots of water!

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  14. LOVE me some PGH. I need to come back STAT! Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, South Side, LOVE IT ALLLLLL

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  15. I love seeing other people's Pittsburgh favorites! I once read a blog from someone who was from Pittsburgh but doesn't live here anymore, and I had to smile when she wrote that her favorite restaurant is Eat N Park. :)

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    1. HAH that sounds like my sister! She loves that place!

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  16. My parents grew up in Aliquippa, so I have a deep seeded love of all thing Pittsburgh as its where my grandparents and may extended family members still are. In all our moving, Pittsburgh was a constant "home".

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    1. I love how it gives that homey feeling, even if you didn't grow up there. Such a special place!

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  17. This is great! The Mr. and I keep adding Pittsburgh to our list of trips to take. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. You definitely need to make it a priority! Such a great city!

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  18. What a fun recap, very cool to learn more about your hometown.

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  19. Your post makes me want to come visit Pittsburgh! I have been to Philly, but not Pittsburgh! Thanks for sharing about your city!

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    1. In my humble (and biased) opinion, Pittsburgh is far superior ;)

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  20. this is awesome! i have never been to pittsburgh but i'll keep this for when we hopefully get there!

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  21. I really need to take advantage of living in the North east! I've never been to Pittsburgh but my friends all go to Pennsic which I believe is just outside of Pittsburgh. It's the HUGE Ren Faire that lasts I believe a week! I'll to venture out there one of these days!

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    1. The Renaissance Fair is SO much fun! Highly recommend checking it out :)

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  22. OMG this post! I lived in Pittsburgh for 4 years when I was in college (Hail to Pitt!) and I absolutely loved it! It's got the coolest vibe - definitely feels small town even though it's huge, and I love all the cool old architecture. Plus, the Cathedral of Learning is the coolest place ever!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear you like the city so much :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  23. I love the east coast because it has so much history! <33 It's like going back to our roots.

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  24. I went to college at Pitt so I LOVED reminiscing over your post! I miss my runs in Schenley Park and dancing on tables at Hofbrahaus with our giant mugs of beer! Can't wait to be back in the 'burgh this summer :)

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