Anytime someone asks me what my favorite city is (besides Miami) I immediately scream Chicago, however Pittsburgh just stole the title.
I think Pittsburgh has just the right amount of quirk, creativity, and city vibes that make it a triple threat. The people have the hipster vibe that I like, they gave zero effs about seeing a lesbian couple and they're big on city culture. We saw a lot of small businesses everywhere
#YesToEntrepreneurs and enriching institutions like their botanical garden.
Here are some of my favorite places we visited while there and please let me know in the comments below if you have any other hidden gems you found in Pittsburgh.
The first photo is at the Zenith . The food was OK but I really love how you walk into a crusty, musty, thrift store or as they call it "Antique Goldmine" and then as you make your way past all the furniture and clothes there's a vegan/ vegetarian restaurant in the back. The owner was super sassy and talkative, but I love that and I appreciated that she came over and spoke with us for a bit and then left to make our food.
One thing you'll notice is that I'm a thrift rat. Lucky for me, so is my wife so while some people travel and have a list of places they MUST go to, we don't mind spending time sifting through racks and checking out all the vintage goodies.
Highway Robbery Vintage. The owner is a young woman and we started talking about Miami and how she loves our city and getting away with her husband out here. She recently became a homeowner which I thought was really awesome and of course I had to support her cause so I bought a top from her for $16.
The writer in me died and went to heaven at Wild Card a super cute stationary store. They have a beautiful curated selection of cards that covered an entire wall. They also have pencils, pens, wrapping paper, jewelry and all sorts of other goodies in stock. This card in particular reminded me of a friend so I took a picture of it. My nickname is "titi" but she would joke around and call me "tits" so I snapped a pic of it and sent it to her. I purchased a business card holder modeled after a composition notebook that cost me about $7.
Melani aka wife of the year looked up a "writers block" no pun intended and took me there as a surprise. City of Asylum is a "sanctuary for writers" here's some history on this really cool place:
City of Asylum creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors. We provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. We offer a broad range of literary programs in a variety of community settings to encourage cross-cultural exchange. We anchor neighborhood economic development by transforming blighted properties into homes for these programs and energizing public spaces through public art with text-based components.
In real life the City of Asylum is actually just a couple of houses, but the work they are doing is incredible. As a writer it was great to know there is a place like this in the world so we had to stop by.
One of babe's favorite artists is Mr. Andy Warhola aka Warhol so we had to do it up at The Andy Warhol Museum. A big reason why she is a lover of this creative is for his friendship with Basquiat who is Melani's favorite artist (she has the tattoos to prove it.) We spent about three hours walking around and learning about his life, art and family. The museum was def worth the $20 p/p fee and I bought some gifts for friends at their gift shop. The store was kind of pricey but has a really nice selection of t-shirts, books, cards and other novelties so I said f-it and did some damage.
Pittsburgh is hosting some serious artists. I would say their most colorful landmark is Randyland.
It's like the Candy Land of found art. It's abstract and surreal like a dream but colorful and bright. Basically everything is repurposed art collected by Randy. His story is unique and he's dedicated his life to this place adding art to it constantly and surviving off donations. Here's the 411 on this place:
"Randyland is the home of artist, Randy Gilson. Located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh's Northside. Randy dipped into his savings from his job as a waiter and started cleaning up the neighborhood, starting with the litter and planting hundreds of mini gardens. With one thousand dollars, he bought whiskey barrels and put them in front of all the empty houses with shrubbery and flowers. The Randyland courtyard is open most everyday between 10:00am and 5:30pm.Visitors are welcomed to explore the public art displays in and around the property. Admission is free. Donation is suggested."
Of the things I love the most in the world two of them are nature and the color green are right up there. We stumbled upon the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden and I would say it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It took us about three hours to walk through all the different green houses and flower and plant displays but I could have been there all day. I was able to purchase student tickets both both of us so the cost was more economic. $16.95 p/p. A few blocks outside of the garden you will find a bridge that holds love locks on almost every link. We snapped some pics of our own and locked our love in. #CornyCoupleGoals
This photo reminded me a lot of our Airbnb host. She pulled out a map for us and told us how to get here. A big part of what makes these trips special are the homes we stay in. On the map she wrote down some of her top places in the city. This photo was taken at Grandview Point, you can type in 1411 Grandview Ave on your Google Maps find it easily. I also linked her Airbnb home above in case you want to stay with her. She was awesome.
This is Beehive Coffeehouse, a nice little coffee shop we stopped by. The decor was really cute and they also has frozen alcoholic beverages. Either get the jitters or get tipsy. I thought it was cool they offered both options.
Here's also some recommendations for other spots we visited while there:
Iron Born Pizza in Smallman Galley Pittsburgh's chef incubator. The concept hosts various foo concepts side by side in community style seating.
Buffalo Exchange- Because we always stop by the Buffalo in every city we visit.
NatuRoll Creamery for "rolled ice cream" lawd it was heavenly.
Noodlehead- For some veggie noodles.
Manor Theatre- We stopped by to watch a movie but we fell asleep.
Square Cafe for breakfast- great food and hella LGBT positive.
Clothes Minded- is a thrift store where I bought these really nice yellow sunglasses. I like that the sign by the register read, "Go ask big corporations for discounts, not me," or something of the sort.
Pho Van- Phó sure, everywhere we go, we must have phó.
Pittsburgh is trendy, dope and totally with the times. This city is amazing with a heavy mix of cultural corners and creative people. I encourage all of you to visit and explore my new favorite city. Drop me a comment below on other gems you discovered while there and let me know what you think of this post.
I'll be back with another #72Hours Nashville real soon.
Stay woke and Roam Free.