If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, consider learning how to plan a trip to Pittsburgh, PA — Pennsylvania’s most storied cities. You’ll love the slew of cultural activities, which range from the diverse museum offerings, varied neighborhood flavors and many many sports. However, before you go, don’t forget to check out our quick and comprehensive city travel guide to Pittsburgh to make the most of your trip to the home of the Steelers and the Penguins (among others).
Know Before You Go
Often referred to as the “Steel City” because of its historical dominance in producing iron and steel, Pittsburgh no longer is a major source of metal, though the city still shines. As Travel + Leisure points out, if you’re looking to discover how to plan a trip to Pittsburgh, the town is best to visit from September to October, when the summer vestiges linger, and the beautiful fall foliage really starts to appear. Although the city is not huge, it’s best to have a car to get around and see the various neighborhoods.
Lay of the Land
Pittsburgh is a relatively small city, comprising a variety of neighborhoods with distinct architecture and atmospheres. Tripsavvy put together a cheat sheet to the city’s neighborhoods to give visitors a quick and thorough lay of the land, however, and it is very helpful. Downtown Pittsburgh is where you’ll find a ton of classic, big-city-style buildings, as well as shopping locales, places to stay and a variety of interesting places to see. Head over to The Strip District and Lawrenceville, known for its markets, funky shops and restaurants, too, to enjoy another taste of shopping. But if you’re looking for the touristy attractions (we won’t judge), you’ll find them across the river from Downtown, in North Side and North Shore. South Side and Station Square also offer up a ton of residential houses, shops and restaurants, and the beautiful and elevated Mt. Washington neighborhood has stunning views … but get ready to use those leg muscles to get yourself up there.
OK, so even if you’re not a huge sports fan, you should still get into the Pittsburgh spirit by embracing the city’s beloved teams, like the Steelers and the Penguins. During your time there, try to catch some sort of sporting event in person, or at least join in the fun at one of the many watering holes. Thrillist compiled a list of the city’s best sports bars, like Peter’s Pub and The Beerhive. If you have the kids in tow and want your slice of sports, minus the rowdy and alcohol-chugging crowd, check out Care’s list of family-friendly restaurants, where you can watch sports in the city.
What to Eat
Half the reason people travel (or least sane people) is to eat and try delicious new foods. Luckily, Pittsburgh is a great spot to chow down, and Pittsburgh Magazine put together a list of the city’s Best Restaurants for just this purpose that can help you as you discover how to plan a trip to the town. Winners included Morcilla, a Spanish restaurant featuring pintxos, larger plates and drinks, as well as Spoon, an upscale lounge serving incredible new American cuisine. If you want a taste of local flavor and need a little more specifics on what to order, check out Spoon University’s list of quintessential Pittsburgh eats. Favorites include $9 noodles from thai restaurant Noodlehead, the Burnt Almond Torte from Prantl’s Bakery, and Moules Frites from Point Brugge.
Freelance writer Lauren Paley is an avid writer and traveler. She has lived in Morocco, France, Tel Aviv and Prague, and has traveled to over 25 countries. Her interests include banh mi sandwiches, Boo the dog, trying (and failing) at languages, and outdoor movie theaters.