Love for Pittsburgh

Working on items number 30 and 31 (and to some extent, #1 as well) from my 40 before 40 list, I recently returned from a week-long excursion to Pittsburgh with Amy, a former coworker turned fast, game for any adventure girlfriend.

Why Pittsburgh?

…was the most common question we faced upon sharing our plans. Even the Pittsburghers (yes, that is what they call themselves, we asked!) were confused as to why we silly Seattleites would venture into their fair city.

Why would we not visit Pittsburgh though? Pittsburghers, your city is fabulous and, whether you like it or not, primed for some spectacular growth. The real estate nerd in me recommends that you take a look at San Francisco and Seattle, and learn from our many successes and mistakes, starting with affordability and traffic.

This post is dedicated to why I love Pittsburgh, and why you should visit.

Reason #1: The neighborhoods are decently walkable, and you’ll be rewarded with incredible street art. It’s vibrant and quirky, and I wish we had more of this in Seattle.

Reason #2: There are some eclectic museums that feature both big and up-and-coming artists, and the music venues are simply stunning. We visited the Mattress Factory, where we saw installations from Yayoi Kusama and Charlie Jansen’s Super Hero Puppet Workshop. If you make it to the Mattress Factory, the James Turrell exhibit is not to be missed. If you’ve been, I’d love to hear your Pleiades experience! We also swung by The Andy Warhol museum, and saw John Prine at Heinz Hall.

Reason #3: The architecture is steeped in the city’s history, and has aged extraordinarily well, especially in contrast to interactive street art. Also, the bridges are marvelous.

Reason #4: Access to outdoor activity! We took a day to drive 1.5 hours south of Pittsburgh to see Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house designed for the Kaufmann family. If you have the time, I’d highly recommend booking this tour. On the way back, we stopped for lunch at a former train station turned whitewater rafting launch point and trailhead.

Reason #5: FOOD! Pittsburgh is having a real food renaissance. My favorite restaurants included Butcher and the Rye and Bar Marco. We also visited two food incubators, the Smallman Galley and the Federal Galley, which was beautifully designed. I love the concept of food incubators because the restaurant industry is notoriously difficult to enter, and incubators showcase new restauranteurs while offering an easier path to entry. Also, we went to Picklesburgh, an annual festival featuring all thing pickles. And I LOVE pickles. Next time though, I think I’ll pass on the pickle ice cream and pickle beer. I might opt for a pickle-rita though.