Being a native Cleveland-er, I am supposed to hate Pittsburgh right? I mean, it is the evil city to the east, right? RIGHT? Well, in all respect for the blog, I thought I would put this aside and let my true feelings…well…not biased feelings come to surface. In all honesty, there are a lot of things that make this city great and a pretty cool place to see. There are also a lot of things that make it, not so much. Writing these blogs, I want to take a more literal approach. There are blogs all over the internet that make every place seem like this magical town, and while that can be true, it doesn’t give the full story. I want to tell you about the nitty gritty details, and the things that you’re GOING to run into when you visit a place, not what you WANT to run into.
The first thing I want to say about Pittsburgh is that if you aren’t a skilled driver, make sure you are going with someone who is, and make sure to bring a GPS. There are constant road closures in PB, causing their already awful road system to be even worse. Essentially, the entire city is built on a triangle that points into the river, while this might seem cool from the air, it makes for a hell-ish experience on land. The best course of making the roads for a city like this would be to continue straight streets, since a triangle is a bunch of straight lines. So naturally the city did this right? Nope. They decided to have the streets point like a triangle themselves and have a ridiculous amount of curves. This causes the road system to, quite literally, look like a bunch of spaghetti on a triangular plate. Not to mention the fact that nearly all of their streets are bridges and/or highways, so if you end up taking a wrong turn, it is likely that you’ll be heading right back out of town. So if you want to go anywhere, make sure to leave about an hour early…seriously. Also, don’t expect to park in a garage very easily, they are few and far between, leaving you best option as finding a metered spot…hope you’re good at parallel parking! Essentially, the parking situation and driving situation is awful, but there are some things that make this city a little cooler.
While in Pittsburgh, I had the lovely oppritunity to check out the more, cultured, side of things. One of my first stops was this place called “The Mattress Factory.” It’s placed right on the sides of a steep hill, and there are only about four parking spots nearby, so you better make sure to go when no one else is, or right before closing. It’s located on the edge of town however, which makes this a little easier to get to.
It’s called the mattress factory for a very obvious reason…it was ACTUALLY once a mattress factory…seriously. Basically it is not a, pretty much, abandoned building that consists of four or five floors (depending on what they have open at the time). It is an art museum that has some of the weirdest exhibits I have ever seen. I remember one was just a bunch of dots on the floor. Anyways, it was pretty cool to see some of the oddities that it held, and since every time you went up a floor it got weirder, it made you keep wondering how it was going to top what you just were confused about. Honestly, it’s pretty expensive for what it is, and if you’re really not into art then I would probably pass. It was cool to see the dark recesses of peoples minds, but still, it’s not worth $20. Especially when you can get through it in about half an hour. However, if you have some extra time or cash and want to see the underbelly of culture in PB, it’s a pretty cool place to go! Just prepare yourself.
Moving on, I went to PB’s art museum. This, was pretty cool. First of all it was massive, so if you’re into that kind of scene it is a must see. I can’t even explain how many floors I was on, areas, sections, everything. It is definitely worth the price of admission (about $22). I was in this place for about five hours and still didn’t finish it all, it is almost a place you can spend the entire day in. There were some good parts to PB, but this was definitely the highlight. It also has a parking lot! Which is a big deal in this city. The museum sits on an intersection that also has a lot of cool little shops and some cheap places to eat. If there was any advice I would give to PB it would be to check this out, and probably just this. Besides this museum there really isn’t much to downtown besides the sports arenas. Granted, there will always be someone who disagrees with me, but for the common traveler on not only a budget of money but time, you will soon find this to be true.
In short, if you’re heading to PB for a visit or just a drive through, make sure you have someone skilled behind the wheel. It can get pretty hairy pretty quickly, especially if you’re going at night or in bad weather. The best part about the city is the culture. There are a TON of cool little places to eat with their own special menu and sometimes even beers. There are also a lot of museums to check out, and some that can appeal to any crowd.
There is no doubt that much more can be discovered here, but for a person just passing through or not spending a whole bunch of time, those are the things that will stick out, and things that need to be seen. Remember, it’s the steel city, a city that was built on industry, so while entertainment is what gets people to come and stay, that’s not the real intention of this city.
Check more out on The Terrific Travelers page!