Looking to do an easy road trip and catch a game, we decided to drive up to Pittsburgh with our best friend for the Labor Day weekend. I was pleasantly surprised by the options for attractions to visit, so we had no problem finding activities for after the baseball game. If you are looking to take a trip to Pittsburgh yourself, here are my recommendations based on what we experienced.
Honestly, we didn’t even look at accommodations beyond Airbnb, because it is our go to for cheap and pleasant lodging. The Airbnb we chose was in the Perry North area, which is slightly north of downtown Pittsburgh. It was the perfect location, since it was in a quiet suburban neighborhood with easy parking, but was still minutes away from downtown. The Airbnb itself was ADORABLE and well thought out, with its coffee/tea bar, wifi info framed throughout the house, and complimentary toiletries. Jennifer is a great host, so I highly recommend staying with her if you are in Pittsburgh.
We started our weekend with a visit to Randyland, a kaleidoscope of color, found objects and architectural elements assembled together into a quirky outdoor space. Your eye is drawn every which way, and the artist itself in a very enthusiastic tour guide if need be. Photo-ops abound at Randyland!
We then ventured over to the PNC Park to catch the Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates game. Though it was rainy and chilly when we went, it is an enjoyable baseball park with stunning views of downtown and the river. The baseball and football stadiums are situated closely together, so it’s an entertaining area for sports fans, with lots of close options for food/drinks if need be. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for parking, street parking is non-existent in this area.
On our second day in Pittsburgh, we drove over to University of Pittsburgh/Cathedral of Learning area, found easy (and FREE) parking, and enjoyed a pleasant walk through the campus area towards the museums. Take a peek inside the Heinz Memorial Chapel if you walk through the campus lawns. This beautiful gothic church has stunning stain glass and architectural details, and at the time we were visiting had an instrumental concert playing. (St Paul Cathedral is another place to visit for stunning gothic architecture)
Though there are a plethora of museums to choose from in Pittsburgh, we chose to visit the Carnegie Art & History Museum. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap to visit each museum, so we wanted the most bang for our buck. With our student IDs, we got admission to the museum for $10 ($20 for adults) and were able to enjoy two museums for the price of one! The exhibits we enjoyed the most were the ancient architecture, dinosaurs, and modern art.
After the museum, we drove up the hill to the Mt Washington neighborhood, which has observation decks with gorgeous views of the city. You can also take a ride on the historic Duquesne Incline, which are cute trolleys that slowly scale the hill ($5-7 for a round trip ticket). We popped into the local ice cream shop for twisted cones to enjoy before our trek to the bottom on the incline. The line wasn’t bad waiting for the trolley at the top, but once off, we saw the long line waiting for us from the bottom (so be prepared to wait in line for this adventure). Before getting back in line to return to the top, we explored the shops and restaurants at the Station Square.
We enjoyed some local beers at the baseball game, I recommend trying I.C. Iced Mango, but didn’t venture to any other bars besides the Tiki Lounge. Being a retro enthusiast, one challenge on my bucket list is visiting tiki bars in each city we visit. The Tiki Lounge is in an area of town with plenty of bars to choose from (if tiki isn’t your thing) but I enjoyed it’s fun Polynesian decor and my Blue Hawaiian drink.
We enjoyed all the restaurants we visited, which we chose based on local to our attractions and reviews on Yelp (our go-to restaurant rater). Central Ave Slice was a local pizza shop we ate at in the Perry North area. It’s in a town with great small town vibes and has delicious New York style pizza. Stack’d Burgers near the University of Pittsburgh offers a dizzying array of customizable burger choices, and Little Tokyo Bistro has delicious sushi and hibachi grilled food. We also enjoyed some ball park food at PNC Park along with a Pittsburgh staple, a Primanti Brothers Pittsburgher Cheese Steak.
All in all, Pittsburgh was a great city to visit and it would be nice to visit again to see some things we missed, like the Andy Warhol Museum. Hope these recommendations help you on your own trip to Pittsburgh!