What To Do In Pittsburgh

I really enjoyed the What To Do in Notre Dame posts that burger at One Foot Down did for the season opener, and was hoping we could do one for each opponent this year. Thankfully Bryan at Pitt Script is keeping the streak alive and gives us his breakdown of things to do while in Pittsburgh. Take it away Bryan.

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So you’re coming to Pittsburgh for a weekday Pitt football game. From Tampa. In the fall. Those three sentences should be enough to significantly devalue your USF degree. But while you’re here, there’s surprisingly a lot to do in the Steel City.

The North Shore

Heinz Field is located on the North Shore area of the city and is the sports capital of a sports-obsessed city. You can easily walk across one of the bridges from downtown and be sitting on an uncomfortable wooden stool drinking overpriced light beer in no time! Sadly, you missed a magical baseball season that saw the home team finish an impressive 71-91 (it’s a safe assumption the Pirates end the season getting swept my Milwaukee). The actual shame is that you’re just missing a chance to see PNC Park, which, despite the team that plays there, is one of the top three most beautiful ball parks in America.

Next to PNC Park are several sports bars along Federal Street. Closer to Heinz are several larger bars, including McFaddens, Rivertowne, and Bettis’ Grille 36. Bettis’ features dozens of artery clogging entrees, including a 36-ounce burger. The major appeal, however, is its location -- less than 100 steps from Gate A of Heinz Field.

A bit further down the river is the Carnegie Science Center, which is an absolute A+ place to go if you’ve decided to subject your children to a USF-Pitt football game. Lots of games and cool exhibits that trick kids in to learning things.

Even further down is where you may want to go if you’ve left the kids at home – Pittsburgh’s new Rivers Casino (ed note: It's like he knows us!). I’m not a gambler (I have enough vices already), but it has everything you could want, including table games, various restaurants and bars that oddly show you sports lines on a big screen, but don’t let you bet.

As for Heinz Field, it’s a pretty impressive facility. It really is a dual-occupancy stadium, with tons of Pitt and Steelers things to see inside. The more intricate thing to see is the "Great Hall" located on the east side of the stadium, which is a mini-museum to Pitt and Steelers football. Come see things that predate USF football by like 30 years! You know, back when Pitt was good…(ed note: and had nice uniforms)

Oakland

Pitt’s campus is just a few miles from the North Shore. Be sure to check out Pitt’s iconic Cathedral of Learning, which looks like it’s straight out of Harry Potter. Go inside if you get the chance, you won’t be disappointed. After the game, be sure to check out the Victory Lights, as the building is illuminated the night of a Pitt win. Other than that, just walk around. Lots of cool/weird college town stuff to see, but located right in the city.

The South Side

Like the casino, this is definitely somewhere to go if you’re with all adults. Running parallel to rivers is Pittsburgh’s main social district. East Carson Street features literally dozens of bars of differing quality, eccentricity and clientele. As much as I hate to recommend chains, The Hoffbrauhaus (located in the new South Side Works shopping area at the east end of the street) is a much hit spot for their brewed on-site local beers served in giant steins complete with a polka band and periodic toasts. Other recommendations for the South Side are Primanti Brothers (the local Pittsburgh claim-to-fame sandwich), Fatheads (hand-crafted beers) and Smokin’ Joes. At the west end, Carson Street is Station Square, which is quite nice, but a bit "chainy" for my tastes.

Miscellaneous

Other places I’d recommend if you feel like being adventurous:

  • Church Brew Works (3525 Liberty Avenue): just like it sounds – an old church that is now a microbrewery.
  • Shadyside: A neighborhood that borders Oakland with a more "grad school" feel. Tons of bars, restaurants and shopping.
  • Mount Washington: I’m actually not a huge fan, but you can ride either the Duquesne or Monongohela Incline up from the South Side and the views are just incredible.

Pittsburgh is a really nice "East Coast City" despite being closer to Ohio than a body of water. Local government has done a really good job of cleaning it up since the 1980s, and it’s now one of the few places in the Northeast / Midwest that’s growing. That’s in large part to Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and other smaller colleges located within the city that keep pumping out educated 20-somethings with disposable income.

Hope yinz enjoy your stay and go home with a loss.

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I think burger said the same thing about the Notre Dame game. Thanks to Bryan for helping us out this week. If you don't already, make sure to follow him on Twitter, and make sure to visit Pitt Script while they are still in the Big East.

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