Pleasant and Punchy Pittsburgh, PA

By Erin Hancock

You can pack a lot into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in a weekend. The city known mostly for its sports teams and conservative attitude has a whole lot more to offer than you’ve maybe heard. My first visit was a memorable one. Here are the top 5 things that punctuated my worthwhile weekend in Pittsburgh. (And thanks Dan for a great reunion of old friends!)

1. Mattress Factory Modern Art Gallery

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Typically it’s nice to check out the local museum or gallery while traveling simply for the cultural experience, but this one was all fun. The quirky exhibits come one after the other with a consistent hint of the unexpected. The Greer Lankton room (below, right) “It’s all about ME, Not you” is something to see. The American artist was born male and transitioned to female at 21 years of age which apparently played into her focus on feminine images, glamor, dolls and the like. The room is meant to represent the Lankton’s Chicago apartment – full of intricate handmade dolls, tributes to Jesus and Patti Smith and lots of trinkets.  Take time to catch all of the details. Plan your trip to the Mattress Factory here.

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2. Fill Your Belly with Fine Foods then have Cocktails and Conversation


Cure is known best for its Medditerranean flare, delicate meat options, and extensive wine menu. That said, we enjoyed seafood and veggies and had a superb meal too. For a reasonable price tag you can order a tasting menu that brought smiles to most of those seated around us. Plan your visit.

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Whether you identify as hipster or not, you can find tons of great places to enjoy a cocktail that you maybe have never tried before in a funky atmosphere.

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The Livermore in East Liberty, with stellar and creative bartenders Javed and Emily, does not disappoint. Order off their menu or throw a couple ideas out and they will concoct something truly unique. If you are peckish, try their handmade mozzarella in their Caprese as well (thanks Tommy, yummy). Plan your visit.

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Apteka, a Polish-inspired little gem, features vegan fare and cocktails that go down smooth. Don’t miss their perogies. From the first time we entered, we felt like we were visiting old friends. Neil, Claire and the whole crew know how to host guests! Plan your visit.


3.See the sights

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Take time to walk around the city. Enjoy the many bridges over the river, the subtle urban beauty and the architecture. Glance around as you walk to enjoy some colorful street art too.

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4. Three Rivers

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The Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers converge in Pittsburgh. Find a way to escape the city while staying in the city by getting on the river adjacent to downtown. We chose paddle boarding. Not far from PNC park, you’ll find a slew of boats as well as SUP Three Rivers and they’ll hook you up with a great time.


5. Furry Fun

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Pittsburgh, as conservative as it is, has become home to the largest convention of people who dress up like animals. Anthrocon is not just for people who partake, but also for curious onlookers who want to enjoy a colorful parade of elaborate costumes.


There’s also a decent nightlife with clubs like Spirit (which we caught on diva night….bring it on Ms. Houston) and Lucky’s. I’ve only scratched the surface of the fun to be had in PGH. See it for yourself!


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