I’ve been in Pittsburgh for a week and already feel I have a pretty good idea of what makes this city so beloved by the people who live here. (Seriously, have you ever met a Pittsburgh? They never shut up about how great this place is.) I’m staying a month and look forward to getting to know the area even better, but you don’t have to stay quite that long to get a feel for what Pittsburgh is all about. Here’s how to get to know Pittsburgh in a weekend.
Hit the Strip on Saturday morning.
Yep, Pittsburgh has a Strip – but don’t expect casinos or call girls in this riverside neighborhood. It’s more like hipster heaven, but working class folks are welcome with open arms (mainly because I suspect hipsters are hard to come by in this part of the country.) Grab a gourmet coffee and do your shopping for organic produce. You can also pick up a jar of olives as big as your head at the Greek grocer and fresh pizza dough at the Italian one. Between shops you’ll find street vendors hocking everything from Indian crafts to Steelers garb, and everyone’s busy with customers.
Visit the Senator John Heinz History Center.
The History Center isn’t a world famous museum, but it’s the fastest to understand what makes Pittsburgh tick. One half of the building is dedicated to the city’s rich sports history and the other to the inventions and technology that were created or perfected here. This unique blend of disciplines is a perfect example of the city’s industrial diversity.
Have dinner at Primanti Brothers.
There are 17 Primanti Brothers locations in the Pittsburgh with the original being on 18th Street in the Strip District. The sandwich shop serves up meat, fries and coleslaw – all of it between two thick slices of bread. Yeah, it’s unique – like everything else about the Burgh. You have to try it at least once.
Hit the Carnegie Museums on Sunday morning.
Before you go, learn to pronounce it like a Yinzer – Car-NEHG-ee. The Science Center is open Sunday mornings and is a fabulous place for kids to learn through hands-on exhibits, but the real jewels are the Art and Natural History museums. (The original T-Rex!) Unfortunately, you can’t get into these museums until noon on Sundays, which will only work if the Steelers have a night game.
Because, yes, you must…
Watch a Steelers game on Sunday.
Few cities are as passionate about their sports as Pittsburgh, and at the top of their athletic heap is the NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you can’t get into Heinz Field to watch live (and you won’t), you can head to one of the bars on the South Side, or just step into any living room in town. Bring your black and gold and a case of beer and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Not football season? No problem. You can watch one of the other two professional sports teams play with everyone else.
Photos by Britt Reints