Pittsburgh has often been referred to as a “blue collar town.” While that may be true in many respects, the nickname doesn’t really capture the full essence of the city. You see, Pittsburgh is far more than friendly, hard working people who welcome tourists with wide smiles and a sincere, “Hello, how are you?” A contagious charm permeates the city that is palpable from the moment you arrive until you decide it’s time to leave.
Some of the world’s greatest cities have been built near rivers, and Pittsburgh is no exception as the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers played a major role in the city’s development. Architecture and water enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that there are 446 bridges throughout the city.
Built on the back of industrious steel workers, the “Steel City” has played an important part in U.S. history from the early days of the French and Indian War, to the Revolutionary War, to the infamous Whiskey Rebellion and the American Civil War with its secretive Underground Railroad stops.
(Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix)
Today, Pittsburgh welcomes visitors with open arms by offering tourists a virtual smorgasbord of attractions and activities from which to choose. Some of these are exclusive to the city. Only in Pittsburgh will you find the nation’s only free-standing bird zoo at the National Aviary. Visit the Cathedral of Learning, the tallest educational building in the country at the University of Pittsburgh, or the world’s “greenest” skyscraper at The Tower at PNC Plaza. The list of tourist attractions never seems to end and includes the USS Requin, the only ship of the U.S. Navy to be named after the requin shark, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, the largest vintage car race held on city streets.
(Butcher and the Rye)
Foodies flock to Pittsburgh in order to discover what several national magazines have described as “No. 1 Food City” in the United States or the “Next Big Food Town.” The food explosion has been fueled by chef-driven fare, new restaurant concepts and a cutting-edge beverage scene. Today, the city boasts a variety of restaurants all within an easy walking distance of downtown hotels. Theater-goers will take in a show at one of the nine theaters within the 14-square-block Cultural District, then opt for cocktails and dessert at Union Standard or Nine on Nine. Among the many newer eateries gaining attention are Butcher and the Rye, takö, Ten Penny, Revel + Roost, Emporio: A Meatball Joint and Pork and Beans.
Tourists and locals alike love the Strip District, a neighborhood that is all grit and pure Pittsburgh. With its ethnic grocers, sidewalk vendors and string of small shops, the Strip is a scene seven days a week. If you can’t decide what type of food to eat, take a culinary walking tour with Burgh Bits and Bites to whet your appetite. The craft beer scene is all the rage with more than 30 breweries in Allegheny County alone. The city is becoming a hub for micro-breweries and has developed several craft beer experiences throughout the area.
The list of accommodations is extensive and ranges from luxurious hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts such as the Parador Inn, an exquisite B&B owned by host Ed Menzer, who fell in love with the concept on his first trip to Puerto Rico. The Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh found its home in the old Salvation Army Building in 2017. As one of the city’s newest hotels, the Distrikt has 185 bedrooms and suites across 10 floors. The gymnasium was converted into a restaurant, and he former chapel is now a modern coffee and juice den by day and a cocktail and oyster bar by night. Once a YMCA, The Ace Hotel Pittsburgh preserved the original façade of the YMCA along with the building’s terrazzo floors and the lobby’s marble staircase. The lobby of the hotel is decorated with a soft palette of earth tones, while the guestrooms have a minimalist and retro feel. The food changes from season to season but always features hearty, farm-driven food sourced from local ranches, purveyors and artisans.
(Football Sunday in Pittsburgh)
Pittsburgh is bursting with excitement, and no visit to the city would be complete without experiencing one of its many sporting events. The Steelers, Pirates and Penguins all offer high quality competition, as do many of its collegiate teams, and attending a sporting event here will give you a true feeling of the electric atmosphere that encompasses the city. Locals love their sports, but they love their city even more.