I have always wanted to go to Pennsylvania.
Not only because the history is beyond cool (one of the original 13 colonies AND it’s where the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted). On top of that I’ve heard great things about Pittsburgh. Of course we all know about the Pittsburgh Steelers football team but there is soooooo much more. This amazing city is now a destination for food and art!
As you know, it is rare that I take a trip without sharing highlights. We all need them. Especially if you are escaping for a few days. This is something I am fan of because travel is not just for the holidays or summer. It’s a way to treat yourself for working hard. A weekend away can do wonders anytime of year. I hope these highlights help inspire your travel plans.
Pittsburg was not easy to narrow down. This to be expected when a city sits at the intersection of THREE rivers. It is scenic and there is a lot to experience…but I did it for you : ). Here are my 5 favorites for a day in Pittsburgh….
Where to stay…
I flew in on Alaska Airlines (the non-stop flight from Seattle to Pittsburgh is awesome) and went straight to the Kimpton Hotel Monaco. Perfect place to stay for a weekend…although I would actually live here if they would let me. It’s a new boutique hotel in a building with history. Your art experience will begin when you walk in, because art and sculptures are a central part of their decor. It’s too beautiful for words. The photos will have to do.
Where to have coffee…
Now it should come as no surprise that coffee shops and cafes were top of mind. Everyone needs a place to start their day when exploring a city…and I plan to legally change my middle name to coffee (it has a nice ring to it doesn’t it). Constellation Coffee was one of my absolute favorites. The “no fuss” minimalist decor allows you to focus fully on the flavors. Their coffee is the real deal and their staff is awesome.
Where to lunch….
So – the Andy Warhol Museum (who knew this was in Pittsburgh?). I had such limited time that I wasn’t able to make it, but- from what I’ve heard, it’s worth a trip to be blown away by his story and art. After you visit (tell me how it is!!), you will need a light lunch. I emphasis “light” because dinner should be an all out feast when traveling. Apteka is a must. First of all, you will feel like you were transported to Eastern Europe. Can we say best pierogies of my life! The food was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Yes, it is vegan but you won’t notice. I am a bonafide carnivore and loved every bite.
Where to hang out…
The afternoon called for a trip to the Mattress Factory Museum. Not kidding my friends, don’t knock it til your try it. It was so much fun!
It had already been a full day but so I needed a place to hang out before dinner. The Whitfield is a tavern that is operated by the Ace Hotel in East Liberty. I was there for drinks but could not ignore the menu which included house made english muffins and mushroom gravy over biscuits with pea shoots, lemon and charred scallions. I fell over.
They also encourage you to hang out in the tavern or the hotel lobby (which is a thing because of the couches, long/wide tables, AND Stumptown Coffee 🙂 How great is that?
My drink of choice was the tasty Last Stand, made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, old overholt rye, demerara, orange bitters, aztec chocolate bitters. Indeed, no one will stand after a few of those.
Where to have dinner…
I recommend The Vandal for dinner (or brunch the next day). It’s worth noting that they really know how to do Eastern European food in Pittsburgh (again, who knew). This stunning hyper-seasonal neighborhood cafe and wine bar was the perfect way to end the day. The ambiance is a bit romantic. Since I was on a special date with myself, that was appreciated.
Try their salad with goat cheese, dilly peppers, bread crumbs, tomatoes. A salty, crunchy, spicy – with the addition of dilly peppers – next level dish. The smoked trout, potato latkes, herbs, csalamade (a Hungarian mixture of pickled cabbage, carrot, onion and peppers, all shredded as thinly as possible), pickled egg, and roe made my day! And epic combination of creamy textures and savory flavors. If your still up for a cocktail, the spiced apple cocktail with calvados, spiced whiskey, and lemon is heaven in a glass.
I told you how hard it was to narrow down my favorites in Pittsburgh. So, here is list of places to shop, eat, and drink that you should check out. You may have to escape to Pittsburgh more than once 😉
Let me know if you book a flight! I’d love to hear how it goes. Reach out to me on social media or add a note here.
- Butcher & The Rye
- Muddy waters oyster bar
- Kahuna poke and juice bar
- Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette
[Post is sponsored. All opinions are my own. Written copy by Tonja Brown and Christiann Koepke]