A Weekend in Pittsburgh

We stopped by Pittsburgh to visit friends from college, Olivia and Brian, who now live in Portugal. The city surprised us with its beauty and vitality. Here are a few of my favorite parts:

1. We stumbled on the best way to enter the city. In my opinion, all first-timers should have to enter the city from I-376. You start by driving through the rolling hills of Ohio/Pennsylvania (and really what feels like West Virginia). The hills get progressively bigger until instead of driving over them, you drive through a tunnel. The tunnel is a little longer than expected, and just when you decide the thrill of a tunnel has worn out and daylight would be nice BAM! You’re on a bridge, looking out over Pittsburgh’s skyline. The sun is just about to set, and the warm light bounces off of the twinkling, glass buildings. As Brian pointed out, the only thing that could make this better was if the city had a radio channel you could tune into as you enter the tunnel, so that majestic music could crescendo just as you burst out of the tunnel.

Pittsburgh, PA skyline

A close second to this experience, if you have to fly in or take another road, is the Duquesne Incline. The cable car was a little rickety for me, but people use it to commute into the city every day and it offers one of the best views of the three rivers.


2. Downtown ice skating in the middle of a very reflective square. Everyone around us was really good and it took me awhile to decide they had all probably grown up in Pittsburgh and thus had more practice. Our weekend in Pittsburgh was the coldest it will get for us in a few years. We’d packed away most of our winter stuff, so thank you Livia to sending us hand-knit hats from Canada just in time! We love them!

olive oil on tap

3. Pittsburgh is a foodie city. This post won’t do that justice. Our favorite little store in the Pittsburgh Public Market had at least a hundred different olive oil flavors to try.

4. A “Pittsburgh left”. (As soon as the light turns green, the first vehicle turning left goes before any of the vehicles driving straight through the intersection).

Suzuki Cathedral of Learning

5. The Cathedral of Learning and all the nationality rooms. Also, that the great hall looks like it came straight out of Harry Potter and was filled with Christmas music by these tiny violinists. After running around all day, this was the perfect place to eat our Iranian Rose dessert from the Conflict Kitchen (tasted like soap) and a Belgian waffle.

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  • Olivia Swenson

    Yayyy, love this!! It was awesome having you guys get a taste of the Pittsburgh we grew to love so much 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about Austin adventures!