CultureUnited States of America
If you've never considered a trip to Pittsburgh, maybe you should. The former industrial hub has been experiencing a renaissance since the early 2000s, and there's no time like the present to see its dynamic transformation for yourself.
Get your bearings
Start your day looking out over the Pittsburgh skyline. The Duquesne Incline once carried factory workers from the hillside neighborhood of Mount Washington into the city, but now it carries tourists looking to get the best view of the city. Fully funded by private donations, the cable car dates back to the 1800s and has been lovingly restored to maintain its authenticity and functionality. Whether you start at the top or the bottom, it's without a doubt the best way to get the big picture of Pittsburgh, offering views of all the city's landmarks with a piece of history thrown in for good measure.
City of Bridges
Pittsburgh is surrounded by three rivers: the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio. There are over 400 bridges criss crossing these rivers and the city's hilly surroundings, and they make up an integral part of Pittsburgh's skyline. But nothing beats crossing them on foot or by car. On your way to downtown, take a small detour to stroll over the Smithfield Street Bridge, or wait until you're downtown and cross the Rachel Carson Bridge, the Andy Warhol Bridge, or the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
Head downtown to explore the city's metropolitan districts. The Central Business District is home to Market Square, a charming pedestrian zone replete with cafes and restaurants that's always buzzing with activity. Stop here for a coffee to-go before heading to the other downtown districts.
Pittsburgh has occasionally been called the Paris of Appalachia, and while there may be very few visual similarities, the sheer number of cultural events is astounding. The nearby Cultural District is home to the majority of the city's theatres, concert halls, and world-class museums. One of the city's most famous attractions is just across the bridge: the Andy Warhol Museum is a seven-floor homage to one of Pittsburgh's finest.
Farther north, the Strip District is one of the most popular tourist spots in the city thanks to numerous restaurants, bars and shops. Much of the city's heavy industry left the area in the mid to late 20th century, and boutiques, international restaurants, and specialty coffeehouses have taken their place. The best way to get here is by car or bus from downtown.
Pittsburgh is home to a myriad of restaurants from fine dining to food trucks, and the variety of cuisine is bound to delight. It's almost impossible to make a bad choice for lunch here, but if there's one thing that Pittsburgh does extremely well it's the pierogi, a Polish dumpling traditionally filled with a variety of ingredients such as cheese and potato. Eastern European immigrants brought the dish with them from Europe, and its popularity only grew. Stop by S&D Polish Deli in the Strip District for some classic pillowy goodness, or head to Apteka in the East End for a wide variety of East and Central European menu items including the ubiquitous pierogi.
On the outskirts
Downtown has plenty to see, but the outer neighborhoods of Pittsburgh have much to offer in their own right. Even if you can't see all of them in one day, it's worth a trip off the beaten track to get a sense of at least one or two.
Oakland is arguably the second city center of Pittsburgh after downtown, home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. It's full of green spaces on the campus lawns, and home to one of the cities two main parks, Schenley Park. The park encompasses 456 acres of land, including dense forest and hiking trails. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (pictured) can also be found in Schenley Park, with 14 rooms and lavish outdoor gardens.
Located in the city's northeast corner, Lawrenceville was once Pittsburgh's up-and-coming neighborhood, but it's now one of the most desirable places to live in the city. Nonetheless, Lawrenceville is still Pittsburgh's capital of cool with some of the city's trendiest cafes, shops and restaurants. Stroll along the streets lined with shabby-chic Victorian-style houses and stop into hipster boutiques selling everything from vintage clothes to handmade jewelry.