Pittsburgh is known by many names—The 'Burgh, City of Bridges, Steel City, City of Champions (thanks in part to so many Super Bowl and Stanley Cup championships). Regardless of what you call it, Pittsburgh is the perfect place for a weekend getaway from Washington, D.C.
Your drive takes about four hours, plus flight fares are very cheap—typically $100 or less one-way from BWI airport.
White getting there is the easy part, leaving is difficult. That’s because Pittsburgh delivers some incredible value in terms of what you get. Typical hotel rates range from $150 (for standard accommodations) to $250 per night (at the high end). And, it’s quickly becoming a hotspot for food, culture, and entertainment.
You can’t afford to miss this city by the three rivers. Here are just a few of the reasons why Pittsburgh has us coming back for more.
Where to Stay
Some of the newest and hippest hotels are found in East Liberty, just a few minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and home to Pittsburgh’s infamous robber baron, Andrew Carnegie. Not only is the architecture in this neighborhood stunning, the hotel accommodations are too. Stay at the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh if you want a boutique, throwback hotel that’s housed in a former YMCA gymnasium. The bar and restaurant, Whitfield, delivers a showstopping brunch too. If Ace is booked, check next door at the Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh East Liberty, which is pet friendly and adjacent to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater—named for Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly and composer Billy Strayhorn.
Where to Play
So you didn’t make it to the Infinity exhibit at the Hirshhorn this year. Well, you’re in luck. Pittsburgh’s modern art museum, The Mattress Factory, has a permanent collection which includes Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room. After you’ve Instagrammed this room to your heart’s delight, go directly to The Andy Warhol Museum for a lesson in the life of this Pittsburgh pop artist. Some of his most well-known art is on display, and the museum gift shop is a great place to score one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Just across the street from The Warhol Museum is a sacred space of another type—PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates play in one of the most beautiful baseball parks in the country, and the Washington Nationals host a few away-game visits each year, so plan accordingly.
Where to Eat
Really, you could just come to Pittsburgh for one thing, and one thing only—the food. It’s a destination city for emerging chef talent and old standbys. For starters, be sure to start each day at Pamela’s Diner. With five locations, this breakfast spot is easy to find, and it's known for celebrated dishes like razor-thin hotcakes and salads topped with french fries.
Food lovers will also want to pay homage to Pittsburgh’s popular Strip District. This warehouse-industrial area is known for its produce sellers and wholesalers. Be sure to visit the sandwich counter at Wholey’s Fish Market, as well as Primanti Brothers for—you guessed it— sandwiches topped with french fries. But the real reason people from Pittsburgh line up to eat is Gaucho. That’s because the smell of smoke and meat hits you before you even get in the door at this authentic Argentine asado restaurant.
And for a good look at Pittsburgh’s bar culture, Hidden Harbor in sleepy Squirrel Hill is the spot to be. This tiki bar is frequently ranked as one of the best in the country, and it’s the only place where your rum cocktail comes served in a shark mug. Of course, if it’s a late-night party you need, head to the rowdy South Side, which is oversaturated with bars and entertainment. For a bar crawl of your own start at Hofbräuhaus, then head to Excuses Bar & Grill, before finishing the night at Bar 11.