It’s safe to say that Pittsburgh is one of my favorite cities. I went to college in Pittsburgh so some of my favorite memories and favorite people are there.
The Steel City is definitely underrated and not usually a place most 20-somethings think of as the perfect weekend getaway but the city offers the perfect blend of unique/quirky art scene, amazing nightlife, great museum culture, and (most importantly) affordability. The city is a four and half hour drive from D.C., but it’s definitely worth the trip!
Where to Eat and Drink
Eat a Primanti’s Sandwich
Pittsburgh is famous for its massive Primanti’s Sandwiches: pastrami sandwiches stuffed with coleslaw and french fries — yes, inside the sandwich. Urban Legend says the sandwich was popularized around the time when coal and steel industries were booming in Pittsburgh and workers simply didn’t have enough time (or space) to eat it all separately so locals started added their sides straight into the sandwich. The things are MASSIVE so definitely get one to share. The original location is in the Strip District but i’m partial to the Market Square location.
Grab Drinks on Southside
Surprisingly enough, Pittsburgh has the most bars per capita in the U.S! This makes for great weekend nights. The best place to go out is Pittsburgh’s SouthSide. East Carson is a mile-long strip of bars. Some are grungy pool bars, some are swanky clubs, some are classic college dive bars with a ton of character. The best part is, if you don’t like the bar you’re at there are literally dozens of other choices just feet away.
What to Do
Walk the Strip District
The Strip is one of my favorite places and always elicits the BEST response. I remember the first time I told my parents we were going to the Strip District for breakfast — they both turned pale and looked like they got the wind knocked out of them. Fear not! No nudies here, just a long strip of shops, farmers markets, Mom and Pop restaurants, and local hyper-specific groceries stores. It’s a ton of fun to walk around and be in the hustle and bustle. Also, Pittsburgh’s best breakfast place is in the Strip! Pamela’s always has a super long line but I promise you the hotcakes make it worth it!
Catch a Game
Pittsburgh is home to three pretty great teams, the Pirates (baseball), the Penguins (hockey), and the Steelers (football, duh). Depending on the time in the season they can be surprisingly affordable! PNC Park, the Pirate’s home field, has by far the best view. It’s just across the river from downtown pittsburgh and faces west so you always get the most gorgeous sunset behind the skyline (and also watching athletic men in tight pants doesn’t hurt the view!)
What to See
Visit Some of Pittsburgh’s Famous Museums
Pittsburgh has a really cool quirky art scene and of course a ton of insta-worthy spots! Andy Warhol, most known for his famous Campbell’s Soup artwork, was a Pittsburgh-native though he spent most of his adult life in New York. The Warhol houses some of his most famous work and frequently features interactive art pieces that are Warhol-esque. The Mattress Factory is also a must-see in Pittsburgh! It’s a contemporary interactive lab/museum that frequently switches up it’s exhibits so it’s hard to see the same museum twice!
See The City from the Top of Mt Washington
If you don’t go to the top of Mt. Washington, did you even go to Pittsburgh? Fret not, this mountain does not require any hiking boots. Instead take an incline up (I’m partial to the Mon Incline but the Duquesne is great too) to the top and grab some ice cream and take a few selfies. You get an amazing view of Pittsburgh’s point, the place where the three rivers meet, and if you’re lucky, another gorgeous sunset behind the skyline.