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  • Writer's pictureAly Thompson

Explore My City: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has it all! From the moment you enter through the tunnels the 'burgh will take your breath away. It's the place full of life, rich culture, amazing places to eat, hidden gems to explore, and has something for everyone.



Whether you are walking down the streets looking up at the high rises or taking a stroll through Point State Park. These are my favorite hidden gems to explore time and time again.


"Using paints, plants, plastic animals, yard sale finds and discarded construction materials, creator Randy Gilson has transformed his home and surrounding buildings into a colorful Pittsburgh landmark. This vibrant set of buildings is a centerpiece that continues to attract both tourists and locals". And yes this place is real and instagram worthy!

Location: 1501 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Instagram: @randyland.pgh

The Mexican War Streets:

"The Mexican War Streets, originally known as the "Buena Vista Tract", is a historic district in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The district is densely filled with restored row houses, community gardens, and tree-lined streets and alleyways." This is a perfect place to admire architecture, a quiet walk, and a perfect place to take pictures.

Strawberry Way:

"Strawberry Way is an alley in the heart of downtown  Pittsburgh that's been transformed into an eclectic outdoor seating area that attracts people from all walks of life: business professionals, students and artists. The street has been painted in a vibrant and funky pattern and in the summer months filled with multi-colored tables and chairs. The seating area provides a fun experience for lunch hour or just to take a break and enjoy the views of surrounding buildings. This is one of those little gems I'd love to stumble across as a tourist in another city. Definitely worth enjoying and not taking for granted as a city resident or area local." - Karla D.

Location: Strawberry Way Pittsburgh, PA 15129

The Color Park:

The Color Park is part of Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the South Side.

This is absolutely one of those hidden city gems that shouldn't be missed out on.

A spray paint park turning ruin into art and beauty. Great river and city views as well as fun, lively and wonderful artwork. - Pittsburgh Parks

Location: 1 S 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Facebook: The Color Park

Mattress Factory:

"Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world." - Mattress Factory

Location: 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Union Station Rotunda:

Union Station (or Pennsylvania Station, commonly called Penn Station) is a historic train station at Grant Street and Liberty Avenue. It was one of several passenger rail stations that served Pittsburgh during the 20th century (other stations included the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station, the Baltimore and Ohio Station, and Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal), and it is the only surviving station in active use."

Location: 1100 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania



I promise you that you will never leave Pittsburgh hungry. Pittsburgh is full of original eats sure to keep you coming back for more.

Primanti Brothers:

"Pittsburgh food cannot be a subject of conversation without mentioning the Primanti Brother’s sandwich.  It is the most famous meal between slices of bread in Pittsburgh.  (Well, many argue The Cheese Steak is their most famous sandwich.)  From a Jumbo & Cheese to Black Angus Steak Sirloin, many Primanti Brother’s sandwiches are topped with a special preparation of French fries and coleslaw.  It all started in the Great Depression at a lunch cart in the Strip District that later turned into a restaurant owned by Joe Primanti and his nephew John.   A Primanti Brothers’ sandwich is a true taste of Pittsburgh." - Primantis

Location: 1832 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Instagram: @primantibros

Condado Tacos:

"Condado Tacos offers a unique Mexican dining experience with the personable opportunity to build your own tacos. The main concept of the restaurant is to allow guests to construct their own tacos to their liking, whilst also serving up a tasty selection of tequilas and margaritas." - Trend Hunter

Location: 971 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @condadotacos

Pamela's Diner:

"The decor is straight out of the 1950s, the menu is standard diner fare, and if you're not there on a weekend to see the huge crowds you may never know that it is one of the most popular places in the city. But the second you try their hotcakes your world will change.

Pamela's crepe-style hotcakes are among the best we've ever had: the light and fluffy center is complimented by an insanely crispy edge for a textural pop you don't get in a traditional pancake." - Discover the Burgh

Location: 232 North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15209

Meat + Potatoes:

"Meat & Potatoes, located in the heart of the Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, is the city’s first gastropub. The menu at Meat & Potatoes features simple and approachable fare from Chef/Owner Richard DeShantz, emphasizing the traditional-yet-satisfying staples of the American pantry, paired with a curated selection of handcrafted libations honoring Prohibition & the Repeal." - M+P

Location: 649 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Nola on the Square:

"NOLA ON THE SQUARE, a New Orleans Jazz Brasserie located on beautifully renovated Market Square. A breathtaking transformation of the storied 1902 Landmark Tavern, a Nouveau Creole menu, live jazz and blues music Friday and Saturday evenings all contribute to that Big Easy vibe." - Nola

Location: 24 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Facebook: @nolapgh


"In an elegantly rehabilitated warehouse tucked alongside old Pennsylvania rail lines, Eleven Contemporary Kitchen offers a seasonal menu and outstanding wine list. Located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, Eleven pays homage to the city’s history with its industrial backbone and polished interior." - Eleven

Location: 1150 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @elevenpgh



These are some of the most happening places in Pittsburgh creating an experience to remember and instagram too.

Cinderland's Warehouse:

"The building is a two-floor funhouse that can entertain approximately 350 people. Downstairs, there’s a large production brewing space, an open kitchen, a small section for shuffleboard and other games, a warm-toned dining area and a barrel-aging room which also will serve as a private dining room. Upstairs has comfortable chairs that are perfect lounging with a beer or two, a breezy space that can be rented for big parties and private events and a patio that seats about 70 people." - Pittsburgh

Location: 2601 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @cinderlandsbeer

Bob's Garage:

"It's a festival of lights all year long at Bob's Garage on Freeport Road, in Blawnox. Depending on when you show up, the bar will be illuminated in light displays that offer thematic representations of Easter, St. Patrick's Day, summertime or Halloween." - Pittsburgh City Paper

Location: 1372 Freeport Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15238

Facebook: Bob's Garage

Hidden Harbor:

Off to the islands we go... "Aloha! Tucked away in Pittsburgh's quietly eclectic Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Hidden Harbor is a comfortable and inviting location, serving tropical drinks and Caribbean bites in the American tiki tradition, with a touch of modern inspiration." - HH

Location: 1708 Shady Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Instagram: @hiddenharborpgh

Arcade Comedy Theater:

"Arcade Comedy Theater is a 501(c)3 non-profit theater organization located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District that produces, presents, and educates in the art of comedy. The Arcade was founded in 2013 as the city’s first non-profit theater exclusively dedicated to comedy, with a mission to strengthen and enrich the community through laughter for all." - ACT

Location: 943 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @arcadecomedy

Pinball Perfection:

Competitive? "T`HE NATIONS LARGEST PINBALL MUSEUM WITH OVER 286 MACHINES AND COUNTING." You can go for a tour and play on the machines a perfect date night or family outing. - Pinball Perfection

Location: 231 Perry Hwy, Pittsburgh, PA 15229

Facebook: @pindan.pinball


"Find the best German food, beer, and festival events at Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. Located in SouthSide Works Cinema: German brewery modeled like the Munich original has seasonal beer, Bavarian fare & costumed servers." - Hofbrauhaus

Location: 2705 S Water St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203



Pittsburgh has some many amazing views in unexpected places. Be sure to check out one or all of these locations and take in the 360 degree views.

Over Eden:

"High above Eden Way, perched on the rooftop of a former trade school in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, is a restaurant and garden bar waiting to be discovered. Enter Over Eden, where cultures intersect, glasses are raised, and plates are shared. Bright flavors, smoky grilled meats, sauces to share, snacks to pass, and platters piled high with house-baked bread and local veg await. And there’s a view." - Open Table

Location: Located in: TRYP by Wyndham Pittsburgh/Lawrenceville - 177 40th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Instagram: @overedenpgh

Flag Staff Hill:

"Flagstaff Hill is a large, gently sloping hill in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, located near Oakland. It is a popular space to frolic for students from nearby Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The City of Pittsburgh offers free summertime outdoor movies there, part of its Dollar Bank Cinema in the Parks program, as well as free summer concerts. Flagstaff Hill lies adjacent to Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens." - Pittsburgh Parks

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Frick Park:

"Known as Pittsburgh's woodland park for its extensive trails throughout steep valleys and wooded slopes, Frick Park is an ideal escape from the noise of the city." - Pittsburgh Parks

Location: 1981 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Emerald View Park:

"Stitching together three historic parks, Emerald View Park is the premier place to view Pittsburgh's spectacular skyline (and sunrise too).

The 257-acre Emerald View Park was born out of a grassroots effort to combine wooded hillsides, the Grand View Scenic Byway, and three historic park spaces: Grandview, Olympia, and Mount Washington." - Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Location: Bailey Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15211

PPG Place:

"PPG Place sits atop a 5.5 acre, three-city-block site in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, adjacent to historic Market Square. The shimmering glass complex is centered on a 40-story office tower, reflecting the skies, hills, rivers, and buildings of one of America’s most livable cities"- PPG Place

Location: 1 PPG Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15272

Phipps Conservatory:

"A green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Oakland neighborhood, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has provided a world-class garden experience to its visitors since 1893. Explore the beauty and wonders of nature at Phipps, encompassing 15 acres including a 14-room glasshouse and 23 distinct gardens. Experience industry-leading sustainable architecture and green practices, stunning seasonal flower shows, exclusive commissioned exhibits, renowned orchid and bonsai collections and more. This historic landmark is just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh in Schenley Park." - Phipps

Location: 1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213



Before leaving Pittsburgh you have to treat yourself to some sweets and cool eats native to the 'burgh.


I scream, you scream, we all scream for (millie's) ice cream! "Handmade ice creams, sorbets, & gelatos. Seasonal, local, ethical, additive-free: only the good stuff. Made, scooped, and served with love in PGH." - Millies

Location: 246 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @millies

Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop:

"Grandpa Joe’s is filled wall to wall (to ceiling!) with every candy you can imagine, as well as hundreds of glass bottle soda pops and novelty gift items. We’re a locally-owned Candy Shop, born in Pittsburgh. We’re grateful for all the support we receive from our hometown. We show our gratitude by making sure every single customer who walks through our doors receives the absolute best customer service. Our passionate and knowledgeable staff is made up entirely of candy experts/historians/lovers, so when you come looking for “that one candy you used to get as a child,” we guarantee we’ll figure it out (or die trying)." - Grandpa Joe's

Location: 2124 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @grandpajoes

4121 Main:

"Nestled in the center of Pittsburgh, between the neighborhoods of Bloomfield and Lawrenceville, sits a beautiful 1920’s tiny storefront at 4121 Main Street.

A concept shop where the name is the same as the address, 4121 MAIN functions as a gallery featuring flowers, fine art, and a high end coffee bar. Join the founder Thommy Conroy, as he shares his respective expertise in coffee, floristry, event planning, and art collecting, for inspired creativity and conversation." - 4121 Main

Location: 4121 Main St, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Instagram: @4121main

Fudge Farm:

"Fudge Farm is famous for its Mania Milkshakes, Gluten Free Fudge, Handmade Chocolates & Indoor Swings!" - Fudge Farm

Location: 1503 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Instagram: @fudge_farm

Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company:

"Sinful Sweets Chocolate specializes in handmade gourmet chocolate candies, cupcakes and edible cookie dough hand-made in Pittsburgh." - Sinful Sweets

Location: 539 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Instagram: @sinfulsweetspgh

Pittsburgh Popcorn Company:

"What started as just a tiny popcorn shop in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District has grown into a mini Popcorn Revolution. Making popcorn here is no joke. Every day our customers visit our stores to find us working hard-popping, drizzling, laughing, and coating in front of their eyes. There is always something new and exciting to sample. “Turkey stuffing popcorn anyone?!” It all starts with corn harvested from nearby Lancaster County. From there we add a mix of inspirations: childhood favorites, family gatherings, and seasonal ingredients." - PPC

Location: 209 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222



All around the city are small boutiques, crafty corners and everything in between that are aesthetically pleasing and magazine worthy.

Candle Lab:

"At The Candle Lab, we believe that scent plays a key role in our daily experiences.  We want to help you use the magic of custom fragrance to create those experiences for maximum enjoyment.  You’ll be amazed at how consciously crafting the scents that surround you can enhance you day-to-day life.   Whether you choose to pour a candle, mix a lotion, or craft a room spray, you’ll find your perfect scent - and have fun creating it!" - Candle Lab

Location: 4409 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Instagram: @thecandlelab

Madeleine Bakery:

"Madeleine Bakery & Bistro is a small, family bakery and eatery in the Regent Square neighborhood of Wilkinsburg." There is no missing this place on the corner with its jaw-dropping arched windows and greenery.

Location: 609 S Trenton Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Roxanne's Dried Flowers:

"In the middle of Pittsburgh's bustling strip district, you will find a haven of sensory delights. Filled with exotic plants, beautiful dried and preserved flowers, natural ephemera, and perfumes of the garden, Roxanne's Dried Flowers has served as a favorite place for inspiration and rejuvenation for over twenty years." - Roxanne's

Location: 2115 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Jonathan Moran Woodworks:

"If you’re looking for a way to vamp up your home with some wooden accent pieces, Jonathan Moran Woodworks is your new favorite place to shop.

A local woodworker, Moran's store in the Strip District is run by his wife, Mindy Moran. It features an array of wooden items that can be beautifully displayed in your home." - Pittsburgh

Location: 108 19th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Calling all antique lovers + thrifters: Artifacts is an "expansive showroom selling antique furnishings, home decor accessories & oriental rugs."