Before (and after) we went to Pittsburgh, we were constantly asked why we would want to go there. There were two main reasons – it was a handy stopover between Chicago and New York and also because we wanted to check out a non-touristy city where normal American people live.
We had originally planned on couch surfing, but at the last minute we got cold feet and ended up booking a night at the Sheraton.
We didn’t have much planned for when we were in Pittsburgh, probably because there isn’t all that much to do. I gathered most of my inspiration from Pinterest, which I almost use exclusively for travel research now because I’m a visual person and choose places to visit based on how awesome they look – rather than how great they sound. You can check out my Pittsburgh Pinterest board here if you would like.
We arrived at the accommodation super early and we were fortunate that our room was ready. This meant that we could have a nap before heading out for the day.
The first thing that we did was take a ride on the Monongahela Incline (built in 1870) which took us up the side of Mt Washington. We went in the cable car up the side of the mountain which was incredibly steep, but definitely worth it to get a great view of the city of Pittsburgh, get our bearings and also take in a large number of the cities bridges (for which it is known). This is one of the two inclines that still exist in Pittsburgh – the other is the Duquesne Incline and you can read about them here.
After the incline, we went for a walk around downtown which, to be honest, was not very inspiring. Between the both of us, we’ve seen some pretty memorable cities in our time and downtown Pittsburgh probably isn’t in our top ten (or twenty). There were some interesting stores and buildings, but we didn’t stay long before heading to the Oakland area. This is where the universities are and also some really nice gardens. One of my all time favourite buildings I’ve actually ever seen was here – The Cathedral of Learning which is amazing gothic styled architecture which was build in 1926.
We went inside the Cathedral of Learning and look the elevator all the way to the top where we could see all the surrounding areas, which was really very impressive. The whole building on the inside looks like it could have been Hogwarts. Also in the area is the Natural History Museum, a library, the University of Pittsburgh and other buildings that we didn’t get around to seeing.
We also checked out Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. When I say checked out, we didn’t actually go inside. We walked around the area and checked out the gardens and buildings around the outside of it. It was really busy and we were being savvy with funds. We found a cool Christopher Columbus memorial statue, a padlock bridge and a square patch of concrete that we couldn’t figure out – so is hereby known as the hacky-sack square.
It was still December at this point of our trip, so it became really cold in the afternoon. We went back to our hotel for a bit before heading down to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
We didn’t run into Abby Lee Miller or anyone from the cast of Dance Moms while we were in Pittsburgh which was pretty disappointing, but, for a one day stopover it wasn’t too bad. I’d advise anyone who wanted to check it out – to avoid downtown and just go and check out the Oakland suburbs to the east!
If you’d like, there is footage from our time in Pittsburgh which starts at 12:12 of the video below.
Thanks for reading!