Travel Diary: Pittsburgh – 5 Reasons to Visit Now

what-to-do-pittsburgh

Randyland 

Happy Tuesday! Coming fresh(ish) off of my weekend in Pittshburgh, I couldn’t wait to tell you all about why you should add Pittsburgh to your list ASAP! Full disclosure: Pittsburgh took me entirely by surprise …. in the absolute best way possible! Here’s a list of all the things to do in Pittsburgh (mostly, eat)!

  1. The Food: Pittsburgh has amazing food, you guys! Like, I had SO much good food, I would go back just for that (not exaggerating)!
    1. Day 1: Lunch at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina. This is located in the Strip District, and from what I heard, there are usually long lines. However, when I went, I got there around 2pm on a Wednesday, and didn’t have to wait. The food was good, even considering I’m vegetarian, and everyone I talked to recommended it! ((If you go, let me now if you find my name written on one of the bricks right outside the women’s bathroom!))gaucho-parrilla-argentina-pittsburghThese baby carrots with goat cheese & smoked honey, at Gaucho, were super delicious. Also, their sauces all have very interesting flavors!

      Dinner at Tako: Ok so for this one, make sure y’all make a reservation in advance! For my vegetarians – I got the mushroom tacos and they were great! I’d also highly recommend getting there early or staying after and getting a drink (or a few) at Butcher & the Rye right next door – you guys, they have 800 different kinds of whiskeys (and some really unique cocktails), and the place has a really cool, rustic/country vibe!
    2.  Day 2: Lunch at Pirata in Market Sq. Holy guacamole, you guys – this place was freakin’ amazing! It’s a Caribbean restaurant and rum bar (with 200+ kinds of rum), with REALLY good food. Speaking of guacamole, they have smoked pineapple guacamole that you NEED to get! For lunch, I got jackfruit tacos on beet+corn tortilla, with some really fun sauces.pirata-pittsburgh-market-square-restaurant
      Dinner at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. They have three locations. I’d try calling to check for reservations/wait time. I was by myself so I just walked in to the one in downtown and waited about 10-15 mins. Y’all this is some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had. It was flavorful AF, and the quantity was enough for like 2 meals, at least!Dessert at The Milkshake Factory: Milkshakes on milkshakes on ridiculously delicious milkshakes. Oh, and tons of chocolate, and chocolate covered stuffs, and brownies, and more delicious stuffs. I’m not sure what else to say about this place. Just …. go!
    3.  Day 3: Breakfast De Fer Coffee in the Strip District. I love this neighborhood anyway – it’s great to walk around and browse little shops & boutiques and De Fer Coffee is a real gem. We loved the super chill vibe and the coffee was SO GOOD! The staff is super friendly which is just the icing on the cake. We went out of our way on our last day there just to go back to De Fer!abbey-butler-pittsburgh-brunch
      Dinner at Condado Tacos
      : We were trying to go to a different taco place that had raging reviews but when we got there at like 8pm, it was closed. So, while I was fighting borderline hanger and scrambling to find something good enough, I found Condado Tacos! Y’all this place was bomb. It’s two floors and the vibe is very lively on the main floor and a bit more low-key on the floor below. It’s a build-your-own taco concept where you can customize everything from the shell to the sauce, or you can pick something from their recommended favorites! The firecracker shell was my favorite! I’d make this an absolute must, tbh!

      A couple more suggestions: Noodlehead is a PGH staple so, if you get the chance, I’d definitely suggest checking it out! Another staple that I deliberately didn’t check out (because it didn’t seem like my thing) is Primanti Bros, where they’ll put french fries on just about anything for you.

  2. Randyland: Y’all know I’m color-obsessed, and if you don’t then you must not follow me on Insta! Anyway, Randyland is the most colorful landmark in PGH, and I’d absolutely recommend stopping by and checking out this gem!randyland-pittsburgh
    It’s located in the Mexican War Streets district and open from 10:00am to 5:30pm every day. Entrance is free but a donation is well, and you guys …. you’re gonna wanna make a generous donation. Randy, the owner is always there and is the kindest person, with an incredible heart, and contagious energy! You can read his amazing story here!things-do-pittsburgh-weekend
  3. Andy Warhol MuseumSo, the Warhol museum was the the only thing on my absolute to-do list when I knew I was going to Pittsburgh. I would highly recommend setting aside a few hours (like 4-5 hours) to see this. It’s 7 floors of the most amazing Warhol pieces & stories – I only had about 3 hours there, and definitely felt rushed. Tip: Only Fridays the museum is open late and it’s 1/2 price from 5-10 pm!andy-warhol-museum-pittsburghI fell a little head over heels for this piece. The colors and the intensity of it were quite capturing. ((In case, anybody want to buy me a slightly extravagant gift …. ever)).
  4. The bridges: Apparently, there are a total of 446 bridges in Pittsburgh, but you don’t have to go see all of them. Obviously. Some of the most popular bridges are the identical 3 sisters bridges: Robert Clemente Bridge, Andy Warhol Bridge, and Rachel Carson Bridge, the Fort Pitt Bridge – which is part of the grand entrance into the city through the Fort Pitt tunnel, and the Fort Duquesne and West End Bridges. And one of my favorites – the David McCullough Bridge – it’s a beautiful bridge to walk across! All these bridges are painted a beautiful yellow, which certainly makes for a happy vibe all across the city.pittsburgh-bridges-3-sistersDavid McCullough Bridge, walking back from lunch at Gaucho Parrillo
  5. The Food: Did I mention the food? No, this isn’t a mistake. The food was so good I had to mention it twice.

     

    And then some:

    The Phipps Conservatory is absolutely beautiful! We were there over Thanksgiving so they also had their Christmas lights display, which was a bonus. The conservatory has a range of gardens in different rooms, with various species of plants from all over the world. The majority of it is indoors so it’s a fantastic place to add to your list whenever you’re visiting. It truly is a fantastic experience!

    Point State Park was another little surprise. It’s a beautiful park located at the convergence of the two rivers, and also has a pretty nice view of some of the bridges. Pittsburgh also has some great running/hiking trails all across the city, if that’s your thing.

    Of course, there’s the Duquesne Incline. Take a taxi to the Duquesne Incline and then take the incline up – it’s $5 round trip and they only take cash. At the top of the incline is a gorgeous view of the whole city, and some pretty cool restaurants/bars.

    duquesne-incline-pittsburgh

    There’s also Market Square located in Downtown Pittsburgh, that has tons of bars and restaurants (including Pirata), and there’s always something happening here. The 2nd day I was there, I was walking around Market Sq and discovered a “Block Party” – live music, drinks, people. Can’t go wrong with that, right? The next day, they had an outdoor Spin class that was super lit! In the winter, they have a holiday market and ice skating in Market Sq. So, definitely something to check out while in Pittsburgh!

    Here’s a spot that I, regrettably, didn’t get a chance to check out, but someone I met in Pittsburgh recommended it to me – The Cathedral of Learning that’s located on the UPitt campus. It’s the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere. The Cathedral of Learning houses, amongst other things, 30 Nationality rooms – each nationality room is designed to celebrate a different culture that had an influence on Pittsburgh’s growth, depicting an era prior to 1787, which is when the university was founded.

    Neighborhoods to check out: Shadyside, Lawrenceville, Downtown, Strip District, Oakland, Southside and North Shore.

    Obviously, if you’re a sports person (or even if you’re not), it would be a great idea to visit Pittsburgh when it’s a home game for any of their sports teams, and you’re able to get tickets to a game!

    And there it is. My entire list of things to do in Pittsburgh starts and ends with food, of course! Ready to visit this unexpectedly beautiful city? You can check out these 6 sites + the methodology to find cheap airfaire, and book your flight pronto! Feel free to reach out if you have any question or anything to add to this. If you’re from Pittsburgh or have visited, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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