Satisfy Your Craving for Art: Pittsburgh serves it up!
By Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, Advicesisters.com
Pittsburgh town is a smoky ol’ town, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh town is a smoky ol’ town, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh town is a smoky ol’ town
Solid iron from McKeesport down
Pittsburgh, Lord God, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a Great Ole Town (By Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger)
The Pittsburgh that Woodie and Pete sang about in 1941, has changed, and I’m not blowing smoke about this! On a recent press tour to Pittsburgh hosted by the Laurel Highlands and Visit Pittsburgh, I was able to experience the transformation that this City has experienced. The smokestacks and steel mills are no more, and environmental programs have helped to clean up the pollution Guthrie, Seeger sang about. Today’s Pittsburgh is a green city of parks, rivers fresh air and more bridges over clean rivers, than any other City in the world! When you’re thinking about where to go for a your next vacation, especially if you are an art, food and culture lover, today’s Pittsburgh will surprise and delight you. Pittsburgh serves it up!
Pittsburgh has a user-friendly, casual vibe, and its many neighborhoods serve up a lot more than Rolling Rock Beer and those famous, fries. Pittsburgh serves up a whopping helping of arts and culture throughout its 90 neighborhoods, from murals, to galleries and museums, to entire houses as art. The city is known as the “Hollywood of the East” and hosts its own Pittsburgh Fashion Week now it its 6th year.
A good place to stay while savoring the City’s art scene is the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Downtown, offering all the amenities tourists and business travelers require from coffee makers (upon request) in your room, to complimentary coffee every morning in the Lobby. Kimpton Hotels have several unique features. The hotel offers wine and snacks (after work hours) in the lobby where you can meet and mingle with other guests. You can also request a goldfish to keep you company during your stay. Walk around the immediate downtown area and enjoy some of the unique architecture. Even better, try a walking tour about whatever interests you through Pittsburgh Tours and More. Some of the popular tours include holiday tours, movie tours, architecture tours, winery tours, or the Flavor of Pittsburgh Food Tour. Check out local cuisine in some of Pittsburgh’s diverse neighborhoods on a Burgh, Bits and Bites foodie walking tour.
When it comes to art and culture, you can easily spend an entire day visiting the Frick Art & Historical Center. Located in Pittsburgh’s East End, the museum and its multiple collections include fine and decorative arts and artifacts. You can also tour Clayton, Henry Clay Frick’s home (one of the few intact homes from Pittsburgh’s lost “Millionaire’s Row). Enjoy lunch or even tea-time at the charming cafe near the visitor’s center.
No art enthusiast can visit Pittsburgh without reserving a few days to visit the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh which include the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum. If you have the time you can spend a day at each, but leave at least a couple hours to view the diverse collections.
For modern art lovers, new art is being created and displayed all over the City in various ways (contact VisitPITTSBURGH for more information). Two unique venues featuring today’s artists are the Society for Contemporary Craft and the Mattress Factory . The Society for Contemporary Craft focuses on important social issues through the eyes of the artists. It also offers free craft classes for both adult and children. The Mattress Factory has a main museum featuring large modern art installations as well as out-buildings located throughout the neighborhood containing small to entire house art installations.
Tje City of Pittsburgh is working on an ambitious project, the ReNew Festival , featuring events and art exhibitions from local and international artists plus the North American Premiere of Drap Art, using found materials, and promoting creative recycling through art and events.
When you need to recharge, Pittsburgh has plenty of unique eateries to choose from. Take some time to visit the Strip District with it’s colorful shops and gourmet stores. Have breakfast or lunch at Pamela’s Diner featuring swoon-worthy comfort food. Apart from the “everything on a roll” Primati sandwich, more sophisticated palettes will enjoy modern Asian cuisine at the PAN Asian Kitchen in the Lawrenceville section of town. The Church Brew Works is housed in a former church, where you can sample their exclusive craft beers (and plenty of others) and enjoy generous portions at affordable prices. For truly elegant dining in another unusual setting, make reservations at the Grand Concourse at Station Square. The huge restaurant is housed in the former Pennsylvania and Lake Erie Railroad Station. One of the dining areas features picture windows, offering spectacular river views.
Tantalizingly close to Pittsburgh is the Laurel Highlands, with natural beauty and two must-see houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. To plan your stay, a helpful source of information is the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. *The Advice Sisters will be featuring the Laurel Highlands in our next article on advicesisters.com. Splurge on a few nights at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort with it’s own $45 million art collection that you can tour with a guide, and a staggering amount of recreational opportunities for both children and adults.
On your way to the Laurel Highlands is the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Well worth the visit, this stunning, newly-renovated museum offers beautiful vistas of the surrounding area. Its collections include a little bit of everything, from traditional and folk art from the region to modern art installations. The galleries are nicely curated with a logical flow through. A food cart is available at the museum, but a must for dinner is the unique setting of the nearby Supper Club at Greensburg Station, offering a farm-to-table menu served in the charm of a working 1911 train station.
Getting there: The estimated drive time to Pittsburgh from New York City is 6 hours, and just 4 hours from Washington DC. Plan on making stops to experience the scenery and local flavor across Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is also easily accessible by plane, train or bus. Any time of year is good time to visit. For more information contact VisitPITTSBURGH and the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau
*all photos (c) by Alison Blackman