Spending New Years in Pittsburgh was so much fun. Perhaps- like us- you have never thought too much about visiting this city. But being Pennsylvania transplants means we are all about exploring new places and this city was one of the first stops on our list. We were reminded of it being Steeler Nation at every turn- and not just because there was an important home game leading up to a potential Super Bowl entry during our stay.
Literally, this sign greeted us in our hotel lobby:
But we found that Pittsburgh has a lot to offer. Here is what we loved.
Pittsburgh’s Sports Atmosphere
Okay, okay, so yes it’s clearly Steelers country. BUT there is also the Pirates and Penguins, both of which are worthy teams in their own rights. Check out PNC Park right downtown (home of the Pirates) while you stroll through North Shore Riverfront Park. People here love their sports and you will be reminded of it everywhere you go.
Pittsburgh’s College and Universities
Pittsburgh is home to the University of Pittsburgh among many other schools, like Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Chatham University, etc. We enjoyed driving around through campuses and even stumbled on a couple amazing coffee shops and local parks. I can only imagine that these areas would be much more lively when school is “in”!
The city of bridges
There is a reason that Pittsburgh is known as the city of bridges- they are everywhere. In fact, we learned there are over 446 bridges (more than any other place in the world). Some you can walk across, and some you wouldn’t want to walk across… LOL. But they certainly add to the city’s unique skyline.
Did you know Pittsburgh is home to Heinz ketchup and famous for its pierogies? I didn’t either. So how wonderful to stumble upon some awesome food while we were there. Also, they have one of our famous German restaurants- Hofbrauhaus. Why not go have a dunkel and enjoy walking around the Southside Works district.
We stayed at the Sheraton where our room overlooked the Monongahela River and we could walk along Station Square. There were lots of fun restaurants (Hard Rock, Buca di Beppo, The Melting Pot, etc.) that had a fun nightlife after the Steelers game. In fact this area is just fun to be in. Beyond the horse and carriage rides or caricature artists, they sometimes have live music and other activities going on. Not to mention there are some awesome Pittsburgh views while you walk along the river!
Pittsburgh’s downtown area is walkable and filled with little treasures. If you make it during the holiday season, definitely checkout Pittsburgh’s Christmas Market in Market Square, the ice skating rink at PPG Place, and the Christmas Show in the cultural district.
Garden, Zoo, and Aquarium
I’m pretty much always down for walking through botanical gardens, visiting a zoo, or enjoying an aquarium. Located in Schenley Park, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens don’t disappoint! We didn’t have a chance to make it out to the zoo or aquarium, but they are certainly on our list for our next visit (perhaps when it is warmer!).
While you visit, take a ride up one of the inclines or drive up to Mount Washington for the best views of the city. It’s especially fun to see if there is a Steelers or Pirates game going on!
If you have the chance, definitely add Pittsburgh to your list of cities to visit in PA!