Travel Guide | Pennsylvania

12 Hours in Pittsburgh

A guide to one day in the steel city.

Not long ago a booming industrial town, Pittsburgh has transformed itself over recent years into both a center for technological and medical advances as well as a hub for entertainment, nightlife and great food. You could spend weeks exploring the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, but if you’ve only got a short time in the city of steel there’s a few things you definitely shouldn’t miss.

Start your day with a yummy breakfast at one of a few Pittsburgh favorites: Pamela’s Diner is a classic breakfast/brunch spot located in the Strip District. This area of the city is filled with lots of funky shops as well as Pittsburgh sportswear stands and stores lining the street (we love our sports). The Yard is another great brunch spot possibly due to its bottomless mimosas and unlimited Bloody Mary bar on the weekends. You can find them in Market Square, which is downtown, or in Shadyside, a cool neighborhood just outside of town.

Once you’ve had your breakfast fill and one too many mimosas, you’ve got endless options for the afternoon! If you’re feeling active, rent a bike at one of the many stations around town and check out all of the bike paths and trails. The city is bike friendly, and there are multiple trails along the rivers with great views of the city and its neighborhoods. Simply return the bike to any of the stations when you’re done.

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Sometimes you feel like embracing your inner tourist by taking one of these Just Ducky tours of town!

Maybe you prefer watching sports over participating in them. If so, you’re in luck! Pittsburghers love their sports teams. No matter what season you’re in town you can catch a game, whether it’s a Pirates baseball game at PNC park, a Steelers football game at Heinz field or a Penguins hockey game at Consol Energy Center, you’ll be able to share the electric passion those from Pittsburgh have for our athletes.

Athleticism not your thing? Maybe you’re more into art. Check out the Andy Warhol museum, one of the largest museums dedicated to a single artist, or the Mattress Factory, a multi-building museum with rotating exhibits. Both are not your typical art gallery and are interesting even to those who do not consider themselves art connoisseurs.

If you’re feeling a bit exhausted from cramming all this excitement in and need a little caffeine pick-me-up, head to local coffee shop. Find one of the Coffee Tree Roasters locations around town where their coffee is locally roasted. My favorite spot is located in the Shadyside neighborhood; its garage door style wall is lifted during the summer months so you can share the sidewalk and views with all the other shop-goers. The Beehive coffeehouse on East Carson Street in the city’s Southside neighborhood is a funky alternative coffee shop and even serves alcohol during its late night hours!

There’s almost always events going on somewhere around town in the evenings, especially in the summer months. These include art festivals, rooftop movie nights and outdoor concerts. This is just something you’ll have to keep an eye out for before coming to town!

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Block parties take place around town in the summer months.

Finally, you’re ready to end your day by letting loose with a few drinks somewhere. The city has some awesome rooftop bars in town like the Biergarten at the Hotel Monaco or the Uptown Rooftop Lounge. East Carson Street is full of bars of all types all within walking distance of each other. Lawrenceville is another good night life neighborhood to check out just outside of town, one of the many neighborhoods transforming itself from the city’s industrial past.

No matter what you’re looking to do, Pittsburgh most likely has it. Hopefully you’ll have more than a day to spend in this growing city!

12 Hours in Pittsburgh


Alexandria Polanosky

Ohio University | 8 stories

Alexandria attends Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and is currently studying Photojournalism with a specialization in Environmental Studies. Alexandria is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After recently studying for a semester in South Africa, Alexandria's horizons have expanded and she has come to find there is so much more to the world than the small, cozy college town of Athens. Though her experience abroad was wonderful, she strives to acknowledge the beauty that can be found every day no matter where you find yourself. You can find her travel blog at

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