The Pittsburgh blogosphere is a world unto itself, filled with tremendous variety and talent. From the subject matter to the format to the content, there’s a blog to suit everyone.
So as a blogger, what’s my favorite kind of blog? The practical kind. I enjoy reading Pittsburgh-focused blogs that can help answer my everyday questions about life in the city, such as “Where should I eat tonight?” and “What should I do this weekend?” and “What’s with these crazy Pittsburgh roads?” In this article, I have highlighted the blogs that I find immensely useful on a day-to-day basis.
Where should we eat tonight?
Pittsburgh’s food blogging scene spans the spectrum, from the growing and distributing to the cooking and consuming. I tend to use local food blogs for their restaurant reviews because they answer my frequent question, “Where should we eat tonight?”
Although many local food blogs include restaurant reviews, I particularly enjoy the work of Heidi G. Balas of The Steel Trap who understands that eating out is a holistic experience. “Each element of the experience, from the atmosphere to the drinks to the food to the service, is important for people to know,” says Heidi. With her excellent storytelling skills, she captures the unique vibe of a restaurant and guides readers not only to restaurants with great food, but also to those that offer an appealing environment.
Other local food blogs with restaurant reviews include Yum, Yum Pittsburgh, Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie, Cooks and Eats and Eat PGH. Interested in global cuisine right here in Pittsburgh? Check out The Red Headed Traveler. Gluten-free? There’s a blog for you, too, at the Pittsburgh Gluten Free Blogger.
What’s going on in Pittsburgh this weekend?
Ever get tired of scrolling through difficult-to-navigate event calendars to find a weekend’s entertainment? I do. For this reason, I enjoy Pittsburgh blogs that can help answer my eternal question, “What’s going on in Pittsburgh this weekend?”
Christine Smith, author of Treading Art, understands the frustration of those who don’t have the time to research the large number of events that occur in our region each weekend. She took this problem to heart, creating a curated listing of approximately 20 events called Weekend Treadings on her blog in May of 2012. “Culturally-oriented events are my focus. According to my definition, this means anything ranging from food, art, music, wine, spoken word, community welfare events–and anything that gets Pittsburghers outside and active.”
Although she took a brief hiatus over the summer, her “Weekend Treadings” began again in early August. You can subscribe to get it delivered in newsletter format to your email here.
Interested in other ways to find out about weekend events in the city? Check out NEXTpittsburgh’s own curated Events section, right on the home page, easy to navigate. Also, I put together a listing of family-friendly events in the city each weekend on the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog.
Where can I meet other families?
As every parent knows, the need for a supportive community increases exponentially after having children. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find with our busy schedules and our increasing distance from extended family.
Kelly Hughes, author of the Pgh Momtourage, understands this problem firsthand. Her family moved to Pittsburgh five years ago and they knew only a handful of other people in the city at the time. “I really wanted to meet and connect with other parents,” says Kelly. “I started organizing play dates with families I met at the library, the park, the museums and my church.” Eventually, she had so many interested parents that she created her blog and its Playdate Calendar to help organize them. “Now we run two play dates for Pittsburgh families per month at a variety of venues including local museums, beaches and playgrounds.”
Kelly expressly aims to make these playdates accessible to all families, “They are open to all caregivers, are generally free or very affordable and happen throughout the city. There is no formal joining process to become a part of the Momtourage. You can just RSVP for each event on my blog’s Facebook page.”
What’s on tap?
As evidenced by the explosion of new breweries over the past few years, it’s a whole new world for Pittsburgh craft beer. Same goes for the blogging of it. I reference local craft beer blogs about 50 seconds after I sidle up to a stool at a local bar and ask the bartender, “What’s on tap?”
Jason Cercone of Breaking Brews understands that the world of local craft beer can be difficult to navigate for novices. “I decided to launch my blog one night at the Beer Market before a Pirates game. A guy came in and was irate that he couldn’t get a Bud Light. He made me realize that there are tons of people out there who don’t know what craft beer is, why it’s better and where they can get it.”
Jason started a handy section on his blog entitled Craft Beer Spotlight in March of this year. Updated on the first of every month, it features a local craft brewery or bar. “It’s my favorite part of my blog because I get to meet with the people behind the beers and the businesses that support them. I also get to make craft beer accessible to everyone in our city.”
Jason is also the mastermind behind the soon-to-be-launched Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network. “I will be building on the mission of Breaking Brews by giving bars, restaurants, breweries, distributors and wholesalers a unified platform to promote and advertise their events. The website will feature a daily calendar of events, tappings, happy hours and more. The idea is to keep the focus on craft beer year-round.” The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network has a tentative launch date in late September or early October.
Should I buy tickets to this concert?
Much like the craft beer world, Pittsburgh’s independent music scene is also experiencing extraordinary growth. With a huge number of shows each week, it can be tough to answer the question, “Should I buy tickets to this concert?”
Hugh Twyman of the blog HughShows could be considered the “Godfather” of the Pittsburgh indie music blogging scene. He started his blog in the summer of 2004 in order to capture photographs of concerts throughout the city. In 2010, he launched a section called First/Last, which utilizes a standardized nine-question interview for musicians performing in upcoming concerts in the city. “I’ve done over 750 First/Last interviews on my blog with some notable names including Brian Wilson, Mavis Staples and Bruce Hornsby.” These interviews have informed readers about a musician’s influences, as well as helped them determine if they would like to buy tickets to upcoming shows.
Hugh proudly notes, “My blog’s purpose is to spread the word about the amazing artists in our city. I want others to experience the joy that I have felt over and over again in discovering the cool music right here in Pittsburgh. I suppose I met this goal long ago.”
Another great music blog in the city is the Pittsburgh Music Report.
Should I register for this race?
A quick Google search will reveal a growing number of 5K’s, 10K’s and other foot races in the Pittsburgh region. I ask you, “How does one rationally choose whether to register for a race or not?”
Enter Kristy Brown, 16x marathoner, and founder of the blog, Pittsburgh Runner. Kristy started running marathons in 2008. “After my first marathon, I was hooked. I ran six marathons that first year and even quit smoking,” she says. Now, my long term goal is to run a full and half marathon in all 50 states.” Kristy started Pittsburgh Runner in January of 2013 and it has since become one of the leading running blogs in the city. Her newly created Local Races section promises to be especially useful for other Pittsburgh running enthusiasts.
“I started a Local Races section on my blog in July of this year because I personally like to know a little more about a race before I register. Where is the money going? Is the course measured correctly? What’s the elevation profile? I’ve found that some events are pretty disorganized. Others are overpriced. I want future runners to have firsthand information about a race before they register.”
Kristy also has a comprehensive listing of other local running blogs on her site. Check it out here.
What should I wear today?
To be honest, I was clueless about the developments in the Pittsburgh fashion scene over the past few years until I started researching this article. From Pittsburgh Fashion Week’s glamorous runways, to the emerging street fashion gracing our neighborhoods, Pittsburgh is creating a style all its own. How do I make this relevant to me? Quite simply, I need some inspiration to help answer the question, “What should I wear today?
Chancelor Humphrey of Keep Pittsburgh Dope is a maverick in the field of Pittsburgh fashion and lifestyle blogging. Formerly owner of the blog “Radio Chumps,” Chancelor recently made the bold and visionary decision to move his blog to Instagram, a social media network with increasing following amongst the young, urban and chic crowd.
Using the hashtag #keeppittsburghdope, Chancelor uses his incredible eye for photography to capture stunning images of stylish people throughout the city. “I capture life (styles); looks that can’t be defined or categorized. It’s how one chooses to express themselves in daily life.”
Unlike many other fashion bloggers, Chancelor does not focus on his own personal style preferences. Instead, he features the wide range of individual tastes throughout Pittsburgh. From the young woman in the South Side wearing tapered denim, to a man in Lawrenceville wearing vintage Wingtips, to an elderly lady in Downtown wearing one-of-a-kind accessories, Chancelor snaps photos of all. “I want people to use my photographs to shape their own sense of style, whatever that may be.”
Within the next couple of months, Chancelor will also be launching an associated photoblog that will feature his many Instagram photos.
What’s going on with my neighbors?
Pittsburgh has long been considered a “neighborly” place. In fact, the friendliness of the city was a major draw for me when I decided to settle here. I enjoy a city where my question, “What’s going on with my neighbors?” is enthusiastically welcomed. More importantly, I admire a city where the responses reveal that it’s a place filled with interesting, intelligent and creative folk.
John Chamberlin of the blog Ya Jagoff is perhaps one of the friendliest and kindest of Yinzers. He is also a genuinely hilarious observer of human behavior. His blog features not only the ridiculous antics of the city’s “jagoffs,” but also the incredible talent residing here. He started his Yakkin’ with Ya Jagoff video series to profile accomplished Pittsburghers. In his characteristically light-hearted way, John has interviewed many, many influential Pittsburghers, from Mayor Peduto to Randy Gilson to the owners of the famed Oakmont Bakery.
What’s going on with these roads?
My final featured blog is just for fun. Despite repeated attempts, I haven’t been able to identify the author. But since I get a laugh every time I read it, here it is. The author of Pgh Roads: The Nonsensical Roads of Pittsburgh takes a farcical look at a common source of frustration for all Pittsburghers by answering, “What’s going on with these roads?”
As stated in the About section, the blog “is a way to explore the crazy, dangerous, and odd civil engineering decisions made in our fine city.” It features endless tirades about useless stop signs, vast pot holes, the Pittsburgh “wiggle,” bridge “diapers,” and much more. The best part of the Pgh Roads blog? You can tweet your own absurd road observations to the author at @pgh_roads and he or she will investigate and possibly even write about them.
I hope you enjoyed my whirlwind tour of the practical side of the Pittsburgh blogosphere. Got your own favorite? Feel free to add in the comments below. And stay tuned as NEXTpittsburgh continues its commitment to supporting local bloggers through a soon-to-launch “Best Pittsburgh Blogs”section. Feel free to get in touch about that.