What they call the Steel City, we see as a golden opportunity. Skip the LIRR crowds and hop a 50-minute flight for a dose of art, nightlife, and buzzy restaurants in Pittsburgh. Yes, really.
Spend your nights in the recently restored and ideally located Mansions on Fifth. Housed in two of Millionaire’s Row’s historic beauties, the just-opened boutique hotel slash art gallery is strolling distance to boutiques and cafes. Tip: Try the free house breakfast.
A few blocks from Millionaire’s Row, the traditional savory pancakes at Crepes Parisiennes (732 Filbert Street; 412-683-2333) will put a million-dollar smile on your face.
For those seeking open air, there is Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. The 2,000-acre spread is just about an hour’s drive from downtown and eleven miles from architectural landmark Fallingwater.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater turns 75 this year. Go tell our homie happy birthday.
The seasonal fare at Salt of the Earth earned chef/owner Kevin Sousa a 2011 James Beard nomination for best new restaurant. Sit at one of the communal tables downstairs and order the scallops with pickled banana, uni, black sesame, cauliflower, and coffee.
Dinette, a pizza and wine bar, serves ingredient-driven thin-crust pies (try the salt-cured anchovies, jalapenos, capers, and fresh mozzarella) topped with herbs and veggies from its rooftop garden.
Longtime local favorite Umi keeps the crowds coming back with fresh fish, upscale sushi, and cocktails that make getting up from the tatami tables something of a comedy show.
Another Pittsburgh go-to, Casbah serves sangria sweetened with agave and salads made from locally grown ingredients on one of the coolest patios in town.
Imbibe on the South Side. East Carson Street has bars for days, most notably Charlie Murdoch’s Dueling Pianos Rock Show where — every Friday and Saturday — drinks and thrills are cheap. You can request any song, but “Black and Yellow” will bring the converted church down.
For a more low-key evening, head to Embury in the Strip District for pre-Prohibition-style cocktails made from fresh ingredients.
A pioneer in the contemporary art boom, The Mattress Factory is one of the few museums in the world dedicated exclusively to full-room installations. Seventeen permanent displays plus temporary works by a rotating cast of artists in residence make it easy (and fun) to get lost.
Once you find your way out, pop over to The Andy Warhol Museum to view hundreds of prints, drawings, photos, films, and more by the city’s most beloved son.
Join Kayak Pittsburgh for a swan’s-eye view of PNC Park, Heinz Field, and downtown. Spot urban wildlife or paddle to where the city’s three rivers meet. Just don’t get carried away or you’ll end up in Ohio.
Head to Choices (5416 Walnut Street; 412-687-7600) in Shadyside, where Jeff Malkin stocks standouts by Alexander McQueen and Opening Ceremony. If you’re worried about overpacking, Irene Neuwirth’s lapis faceted earrings are a lighter decision.
In Sewickley, uncover indie lines like NSF and Odd Molly at Bailey & Bailey. You’ll also spot Elizabeth and James, Tibi, and DVF, but we prefer to focus on the shop’s envy-worthy accessories.