Tasty Creme by michaelgoodin via Flickr Creative Commons

Drop that diet for a few days and get ready to dig into the hearty comfort food that dominates the Pennsylvania dining scene. From the classic Philly cheesesteak sandwich to Pennsylvania Dutch classics like funnel cake, scrapple, and soft pretzels you’ve got a lot of snack food to work with. The state is also home to Yuengling, the nation’s oldest beer brewery, which is still going strong. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have excellent and eclectic restaurants that cover the globe, but in the countryside get ready to chow down on filling home-cooked meals.

Bars and Pubbing in Pennsylvania

You can’t go wrong with the nightlife options in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. These are two of the most vibrant cities on the east coast, with hundreds of bars, clubs, music venues, and performing arts troupes to work with. In Philly the best nightlife for visitors is concentrated in Center City and Old City. Of course, local taverns can be found on every corner in the City of Brotherly Love, but to drink top-drawer cocktails in historic style try the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co (112 S. 18th Street, Philadelphia). Clubbing hits its apex at Liquid (613 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia), and for a hip night out drinking try the Standard Tap (901 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia), a hot gastropub in the Northern Liberties neighborhood.

Pittsburgh is no slouch after dark either. Station Square is a reliable area for a great dinner and some drinking in neighboring bars afterwards. Many bars in this district have awesome views of the skyline, but if you want clubbing head to the Strip District. Places like the Firehouse Lounge (2216 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh) and The Sharp Edge (302 S. Clair St, Pittsburgh) offer fantastic urban ambiance with superb drinks and often live music. Pittsburgh is a major beer city as well, so if you see a brewpub like Penn Brewery (800 Vinial St, Pittsburgh) be sure and drop in for a few pints.

Dining and Cuisine in Pennsylvania

The dining options in Pittsburgh run the gamut, but if you want a posh night out try Opus (107 6th Street, Pittsburgh) near the Theater District. Italian is always good in Pennsylvania, and Lidia’s (1400 Smallman St, Pittsburgh) is no exception. For lunch don’t miss the legendary sandwiches of the Primanti Brothers (46 18th Street, Pittsburgh).

Philadelphia serves up even more dining options in Pennsylvania, from addictive Philly cheesesteaks at Cosmi’s Deli (1501 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia) to sublime Italian cuisine at bistro such as Vetri (1312 Spruce St, Philadelphia). Philly is a largely a working-class city, so you can count on amazing (and cheap) breakfasts at local joints like Sabrina’s (910 Christian St, Philadelphia). There’s plenty of creative culinary activity here as well, evident in chic cafés like Fork (306 Market St, Philadelphia). Basically, you can’t go wrong morning, noon, or night in Philly when it comes to eating well.

Click here for Shopping and Leisure in Pennsylvania