Pittsburgh City Guide

I thought it would be fun to put together some of my favorite spots around the city as well as some of the more popular spots to eat, sleep and play. This is definitely not a complete list, but some of the places I know the best or are tried and true spots. Hopefully this can be helpful for someone visiting or moving to our beautiful city.

Where to stay

Hotel Monaco – This is a small boutique hotel. It has a rooftop beer garden and a restaurant called The Commoner that I’ve heard is amazing.
Fairmont Pittsburgh – Upscale hotel located downtown. Has great views of the city.
The Renaissance Hotel – Overlooks the river. Close to lots of things downtown and on the North Shore. Very beautiful inside.

Where to get breakfast/brunch

Park Bruges – Features all the classic brunch meals plus has a full bar. You can choose from prefixed menu that includes an alcoholic drink or order off the regular menu.
Square Café – Casual spot in Regent Square.
The Grand Concourse – Nicer buffet style brunch with booze.
Pamela’s – Super casual. No booze. Get the potatoes!

Where to get lunch

Mad Mex – Tex Mex inspired food. I recommend the triple dipper appetizer and the wingos tacos.
Primanti Brothers – A Pittsburgh classic with giant sandwiches topped with slaw and fries. I always get the queso and chips appetizer and the ham and cheese sandwhich.
Noodlehead – Thai restaurant featuring a simple menu and giant portions.
Emiliano’s Mexican Restaurant – Best Mexican food in the city.
Benjamin’s Western Avenue Burger Bar – Cute burger joint in the North Side.

Where to hit happy hour

Dive Bar & Grill – Specials on beer, Smirnoff drinks and wine. Plus half-off most appetizers.
The Elbow Room – Beer specials and half off some appetizers.
Burgatory – Half-off draft beers and appetizers as well as $5 house cocktails. Get the strawberry basil shag cocktail and the truffle and gorgonzola fries appetizer.

Where to get dinner

Sienna Mercato – This restaurant has three levels that are all awesome. The bottom is meatballs, the middle is pizzas/pastas and the top is a beer garden.
Eleven – This is probably one of the nicest restaurants in the city.
Harris Grill – Unique menu. Nice patio. I always get the big bowl of food with potatoes, grilled vegetables and grilled chicken.
Smoke – If you get one thing here make it the queso appetizer. All of the tacos are awesome. They smoke all the meats in-house.
Meat and Potatoes – This has been a hot spot for years. The dinner menu features everything from duck and lamb to roasted chicken.

Where to go out

Goldmark – In Lawrenceville. Definitely hipster. Usually has a DJ and/or a theme night.
Buckhead Saloon – In Station Square. Has a DJ on the weekend. Lots of dancing. Also serves food and shows sporting events.
Mario’s – Locations in Shadyside and Southside. Popular spot for college kids. Has DJs and live music.
Diesel – Located in Southside. Has multiple levels. Offers bottle service. Usually gets some big names for live music. Also has DJs.

What to do for fun

Andy Warhol Museum – One of the most interesting places I’ve seen. Features tons of his works.
Row House Cinema – Plays old movies. Next door to a bottle shop, so you can bring beers in to watch the movies. You can get a discount if you dress up like a character from the movie you are seeing.
Kennywood – Classic amusement park.
Venture Outdoors/Kayak Pittsburgh – They have spots all around the city where you can kayak on the rivers and lakes.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium – Fun idea for a family.
The National Aviary – You have to see the penguins!
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – They change the plants/shows for the season. Try to go to the Christmas show if you can!

Touristy things to do

Just Ducky Tour – Take a tour around the city in a boat on wheels that also turns into an actual boat and takes you into the river.
Mon Incline – You have to go up the incline and see the view from the overlook on Mount Washington. So beautiful!

Where to shop

Ross Park Mall – Just outside of the city is Ross Township. Indoor mall with a mix of desiger and regular stores.
The Waterfront – Indoor/outdoor mall located in Homestead just outside of the city. Has several restaurants as well as a nice movie theater.
Southside Works – Outdoor shopping area in the Southside. Some upscale shops.
Lawrenceville – There are lots of boutiques to shop on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
The Mall at Robinson – This is a huge shopping area near the airport. There’s also an Ikea out in this area as well.

Where to get pampered

Esspa Kozmetika – Located in Aspinwall just outside the city, this is one of the nicest spas in Pittsburgh. They also recently opened a blowdry bar next to the spa.
M Nails – This Shadyside nail salon is my favorite. It’s clean, fast, affordable and they always do a great job.
Destefino Beauty Bar – Located in Southside. They offer a range of services. Their photos always look amazing on Instagram

What are some of your favorite spots that you always recommend? I’d love to hear them!


One thought on “Pittsburgh City Guide

  1. Hi Emily. Made it to your blog through Eva’s. She was my roommate through most of college at IUP. I really like this post because ever since I graduated IUP, I always make it back to Pittsburgh a few times a year to see Eva and other friends. I’m dating someone new after 5 1/2 years from my previous relationship, and I’ve only been able to take him to Pittsburgh once, so we did tourist-y things for his first visit, but he fell in LOVE with the city. It’s got gorgeous views (because where we’re at now is rural and nature-esque) while still having that hipster vibe we like, super safe as well to walk around, and driving isn’t as bad as some other cities I’ve been to or lived in (Detroit). I also noticed it always makes certain news articles for having the best median housing prices for a city. Anyway, I’m waiting for him to graduate, and we’d like to move to Pittsburgh after! I’ve been to most of the spots on your list, so feel free to add more! Lol. Also, I just started blogging a week and a half ago myself. Feel free to look around. http://www.theprontiperspective.com. My newest up is about work but there’s other fun stuff. I’ll also be doing some topics Eva is. I have some drafts but not posted of those yet.


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