Spend 36 Hours in Pittsburgh via The New York Times’ latest travel feature on the city. It’s been seven years since Pittsburgh landed a spot in the coveted national column—see that version of 36 Hours and compare—and there are loads of new dining, shopping, cultural, recreational and lodging destinations recommended by the paper.
In its Weekend Guide Travel section, New York Times writer Brendan Spiegel sets up his whirlwind tour with these descriptive words:
“Sometimes gritty, always hilly, Steel City’s charms are often hidden below the surface. While the revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh has earned lots of attention, lately much of the action is found farther out, in once-overlooked neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and East Liberty. Here, old-school stalwarts mingle with artsy young people, helping to create a city that serves as a canvas for the kind of urban dreams that more crowded and expensive cities can’t foster. It’s a place where abandoned buildings reveal art museums in the making, where decaying industrial sites prove ripe for urban exploration, where residential streets hide kitchens turning out remarkably fresh, local food. Best of all, if you aren’t afraid of a few slopes, it can be easily explored by bike or even on foot.”
The itinerary kicks off on Friday afternoon with a visit to what’s dubbed “Writers’ Way,” (aka the Mexican War Streets tiny but charming alley, Sampsonia Way). The Northside visit includes a stop at City of Asylum’s House Poem, one of four houses-turned-public-art-projects in a neighborhood which is also home to the renowned Mattress Factory art museum. As Spiegel observes: “From industrial eyesores to ultramodern lofts, Pittsburgh has no shortage of architectural styles — but only one building is covered by giant poetry written in Chinese calligraphy. ”
With an appetite, the NYT heads next to Salt of the Earth on Penn Avenue for dinner (Note: this restaurant is soon closing) , followed by craft cocktails at The Livermore and live jazz at the adjacent Cloakroom. Other hotspots for Friday night? Lawrenceville’s Civil War-themed Arsenal Cider House and new Italian bar Grapperia.
Rising early on Saturday, the NYT heads straight to the aromatic Bread and Salt Bakery in Bloomfield to savor baker Rick Easton’s “perfect versions of classic Italian breads like pane antico, made with locally grown wheat,” along with the shop’s irresistible Roman-style pizza taglio.
Saturday calls for shopping local in Lawrenceville, where independent businesses are thriving, such as Pageboy boutique and hair salon, Pittsburgh Furniture Company, Wildcard and Wild Purveyors.
Saturday’s dinner pick? Justin Severino’s Cure, where “charcuterie plates venture far beyond your typical prosciutto trio.” For after-meal entertainment, the NYT heads to the neighborhood-based single-screen Row House Cinema for old-school flicks and to adjoining Atlas Bottle Works for an assortment of craft beers.
Sunday’s Pittsburgh itinerary is packed with cuisine and culture, with trips to La Gourmandine bakery in Lawrencville and the one-of-a-kind Bicycle Heaven museum in Manchester.
Since Pittsburgh is a city you definitely should see on two wheels, the NYT explores the region’s expansive networks of urban trails, recommending stops along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, South Shore Riverfront Park, the Hot Metal Bridge and the Carrie Furnaces.
Where to rest your weary head? For lodging tips, 36 Hours suggests Downtown’s Hotel Monaco and the brand new (Note: not yet open) Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh in East Liberty.