Pittsburgh. First thoughts? War history, the blue collar boom, coal to steal to aluminum, Penguins, Steelers and the beloved Pirates…. But what about the foodie scene, trendy bars, modern street art, techs latest innovations, booming real-estate…. And the list goes on. The best way to describe this city, a growing destination on the up rise as a tourist destination, young entrepreneurial hub and art lovers paradise. The city has turned around and grown so rapidly that the majority of people, even those versed in North American travel, have no idea of all the outstanding cultural treasures to discover when visiting this west Pennsylvanian city.
There is plenty for the young professional to discover, but to make your travels a bit easier we are sharing some destination do’s with you here;
Getting there is the first part of the equation. Fan favourite Porter Airlines most recently launched their bidaily flight path direct from Toronto to Pittsburgh (and when we say direct we mean it). This one hour door to door flight gets you to Pittsburgh in less time than it takes you to get to work most days… Top that off with an airline that stole everyone’s heart (and continues to do so), there is no excuse. Porter keeps their clients happy with free snacks and beverages, well-dressed stewardesses and great lounge.
This location is relatively new to both the Fairmont and Pittsburgh. Built in 2010, the Fairmont Pittsburgh was developed in anticipation for the growing popularity of the city. The building serves as a hotel, condo and hotspot to locals and visitors. They have an outstanding Health Club facility that allows locals working and living in the neighbourhood to join. Within the Health Club they also offer their spa treatments ranging from manicures to facials. This location is very much inspired by the art and heritage of the city with a modern twist, not to mention the incredible services, staff and on site dinning. Both Andys lobby bar and Habitat fine dining attract foodies and travel conesours for their international menu and renown chef Jason Dalling.
The newest addition to the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, Tako, has taken downtown Pittsburgh by storm with their wide range of taco’s and over 300 tequila and mezcals. They also happen to be an archway away from their sister restaurant Butcher in the Rye (also known for signature whiskey and bourbon drinsk). They offer an Octopus taco, which is inspired by the octopus mural covering the walls of the restaurant. With back walls that are covered in faux vines, tables inspired by wood outdoor benches, and a lit up Tequila sign, the restaurants tries to replicate that back alley story of the wanderer in mexico, lost in an alley with a bit too much to drink….. of course in our story, they find luxurious imported tequila and top tacos (no alley food here).
Atlas Bottle Works
Local brews are a big industry in Pittsburgh. Many people are unaware of the struggles the state of Pennsylvania faces with liquor laws, but due to their misfortune many restaurantaurs face, up has risen plenty of breweries, distilleries and wineries. This particular one located in mid Lawrenceville (known as the Brooklyn of Pittsburgh) offers over 700 brews, many of which are local, feature funky art inspired labels, and can be sold separately or mix and matched in a box of six. The best part of this spot, the lower level is an event space or public bar when not rented out. The basement features a few little hidden tables, on tap beer and a cozy hide away.
Andy Warhol Museum
Andy Warhol art influence is present in most areas and aspects of the city from the airport to the bridge names, but visiting the museum dedicated to his life is a completely different experience. Chronologically organized on seven floors, you can experience the entire Andy Warhol story from life as a little boy and his mother’s art influence, to his later years and exploration through children’s books. They have plenty of experiential instalations and on a Friday each month art currators open a box of Andy’s stuff where the public can attend and watch the process, everyone discovering the treasures all together.
Mid Atlantic Mercantile
Strangely enough, since the downtown core of Pittsburgh has undergone such a recent and rapidly growth, there is barely any retail store fronts. Kaufman’s department store originated in Pittsburgh, which has long time now been Macy’s, but they closed their only door in Pittsburgh last spring. Locals flee to the subborbs for big box or department store shopping, but luckily spots like Lawrenceville and Garfield offer amazing smaller boutiques to explore. A must see is Mid Atlantic Mercantile. This gem features many locally sourced fashion designers as well as small accessories. Not everything is from local designers (think items from love and lemons mixed with wool knit collots from Pittsburgh designers) but they try to make a great selection of items for visitors that still reflects shopping locally.