In the midst of an extreme makeover, Pittsburgh has evolved from steel town to boom town. A city of 90 neighborhoods, three rivers and year-round fun, at its core is a robust arts and culture scene, headlined by major talents like Andy Warhol. Pittsburgh’s cool factor is climbing by the day, thanks to an influx of new hotels, restaurants and attractions that make it ripe for discovery.
9:30 AM – P&G’s PAMELA'S DINER
60 21 ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
Loyal customers can’t seem to agree on what they love most about P&G’s – the hotcakes, the corned beef hash or the retro décor. Doesn’t matter. This popular hangout knows how to serve up wickedly good breakfasts and strong coffee every time. Expect lines out the door on weekends, but your wait won’t be in vain as this place delivers.
11 AM – ‘BURGH BITS AND BITES TOUR
1711 LIBERTY AVE. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
Rather than wasting time researching all the great places in The Strip, this food tour will take you straight to all the best spots. Popular stops include Enrico Biscotti, which produces more than 1,000 pounds of baked
Italian cookies each day, and the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, selling the
best Italian gourmet since 1902.
1:30 PM – THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM
117 SANDUSKY ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15212
Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol never settled for just 15 minutes of fame. He relished the spotlight and would be plenty amused at the scale of this museum dedicated solely to him. It’s the largest collection of a single artist in the U.S., and spread over seven floors, it's packed with paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and multi-media exhibits.
3:30 PM – THE MATTRESS FACTORY
500 SAMPSONIA WAY PITTSBURGH, PA 15212
Edgy, love them or hate them kind of pieces, this unique museum has been showcasing modern art in residence since 1977 and includes the likes of Damien Hurst, James Turrell and Greer Lankton. Regardless of your reaction, they're thought provoking with 17 permanent installations and rotating exhibits to see.
6 PM – DINNER WITH ITALIAN FLAIR
127 S. 17TH ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15203
Pittsburgh has a vibrant Italian community and a winner among locals is Dish Osteria & Bar. Its homemade pastas (like gnocchi with braised short rib ragout) are wonderfully light, which is necessary to save room for their rediculous chocolate bread pudding. Make sure to make reservations.
8 PM – HEINZ HALL
600 PENN AVE. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
This historic venue built in 1927 was originally a movie
theater, but throughout the years, it’s morphed into a busy entertainment hub, attracting top international and domestic talent. Rock,
jazz, blues, opera, classical concerts, and comedy acts all fill the schedule, along with a number of Broadway shows. If you’ve ever felt the sting
of ticket prices in NYC, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the kinder
11 PM – GRAB A NIGHT CAP
212 6TH ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
Before turning in for the night, swing by Butcher and the Rye, a lively spot in the cultural district famous for its ample booze offerings. There’s a wall of whiskey with 600 variations sourced from the best distillers in the world. If bourbon is your thing, you’ll have 300-plus to choose from, but cocktail lovers won’t be disappointed either by the superbly crafted Moscow Mules.
10 AM – GET THE BEST VIEW IN TOWN
1197 WEST CARSON ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15219
Take the Duquesne Incline up to the observation deck on top of Mount Washington for Instagram-worthy views of Pittsburgh’s skyline. The century-old, wooden cable car opened in 1877, which is a nifty way to soak up some history while seeing the city's scenery at its best.
11 AM – TOUR BY KAYAK
33 TERMINAL WAY #537 PITTSBURGH, PA 15219
Surrounded by water, local outfitters like Kayak Pittsburgh offer kayak rentals by the hour so you can paddle along the North Shore. You'll pass a few of the more than 446 bridges, many crossing the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, as well as the massive fountain at Point State Park.
1 PM – CHURCH BREW WORKS
3525 LIBERTY AVE. PITTSBURGH, PA 15201
Unlike any other church, you've been in, the only thing holy here are the brews. Award-winning sips include Celestial Gold, Pipe Organ Pale Ale and a dark lager that locals go crazy for, amply named the Pious Monk Dunkel. Paired with elevated pub fare like beer battered bison corn dogs and sautéed pierogies, this is one spiritual lunch stop.
2:30 PM – TRIO OF CARNEGIE MUSEUMS
400 FORBES AVE. PITTSBURGH, PA 15213
When business tycoon Andrew Carnegie infused money into the community, he didn't stop with just one museum. Three institutions under one massive roof, the Carnegie Museum of Art has an eclectic collection for cultural enthusiasts, while the kiddos may prefer the science museum which highlights a robot making frozen yogurt.
5 PM – SIP WHISKEY AT WIGLE
2401 SMALLMAN ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
Since the 1700s, a number of whiskey makers took up residence in Western Pennsylvania. When Wigle Whiskey opened in 2011 in The Strip District, it seemed to pay homage to the fine craft distillers of years past. Tour the on-site facility and sip critically acclaimed whiskeys, gins and rums – 36 varieties in all. Love what you’ve tasted? There's plenty to take home.
9 PM – ASK, "WANT FRIES WITH THAT?"
46 18TH ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15222
Primanti Bros. has been serving casual pub food since 1933 at this original location, but it's acclaim comes from its unusual sandwiches. Piled high on soft Italian bread, imagine a stack of salami or turkey, topped with crunchy coleslaw, cheese, tomato, crispy French fries, plus sardines or a hard-boiled egg (optional). It’s a monstrosity, but worth every calorie. Come evening, it’s also a lively bar, crammed with people noshing on chicken wings or cheese steak sandwiches, and a pint. If your cravings strike at 3 am, no worries…. the place is open 24 hours a day.
WHERE TO STAY: ACE PITTSBURGH
120 S WHITFIELD ST. PITTSBURGH, PA 15206
Housed in a century-old former YMCA building in East Liberty, this new hotel is a stylish wonder that seamlessly mixes old and new. Mingle with the locals who come to sip Stumptown coffee or hangout over cocktails and play board games and records (yep, vinyl!). Rooms are simple, but chic and functional.