Disclosure: Visit Pittsburgh invited me to experience Pittsburgh, all opinions are my own.
What do you know abut Pittsburgh? The bridges? The Steelers?
Most know that Pittsburgh is a city located in Western Pennsylvania at the junction of three river. It is known as the Steel City” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses and as the “City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges.
I was invited to Pittsburgh to see the healthy side and learn more about the “Pull Up a Chair” campaign. It has been at least ten years since my last visit and it seems that the city has undergone some shuffling. I however felt instantly welcomed once I reached the city limits.
One look around and it's easy to spot that sustainability and a green healthier life is of high priority. Walkable neighborhoods, a myriad of healthy and vegan food options exist along with plenty of outdoor opportunities to laugh, play or just relax.
What to Do in Pittsburgh?
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens located in Oakland is renowned for its green practices and Center for Sustainable Landscapes,
the conservatory features several indoor and outdoor gardens, including some that are used to make the food offered in the museum café. The Van Gogh in Bloom exhibit captures the artist's paintings in flowers including “Starry Night,” and “Sunflowers” which are my favorites.
Peace, Love & Zen, a popular wellness spa in East Liberty offers a wide variety of services. The Himalayan Salt Cave features gravity chairs and relaxing audio, with health benefits such as relaxation, mood improvement, reduction of inflammation and improved respiratory conditions. The Salt Cave was designed by Margaret Smiechowski, a nationally recognized authority on salt caves, and hand-built by Susan Coe and a dedicated team. The original space was substantially renovated to accommodate the six tons (12,000 pounds) of Himalayan crystal salts used on the walls and floor, as well as the highly specialized halogenerator.
Love, Pittsburgh Shop located on Mt. Washington. This space features
local makers, artists, craftsmen and more and is owned by two women, Monica Yope and Kelly Sanders who are committed to local curators. It's a fun store to browse items made by 100 different artists and makers living in the Pittsburgh region. This location has received Gold Certification from Sustainable PGH as part of their mission to reduce their impact on the environment. If you decline a shopping bag, they’ll donate 50 cents to Tree Pittsburgh, an environmental non-profit dedicated to tree planting, care, education and advocacy.
Ride the Duquesne Incline down Mt. Washington. The incline is a historic attraction and offers a spectacular view of the city skyline. It was originally steam powered and built to carry cargo up and down Mt. Washington. Years later it carried passengers and has become a historic place to visit in the city.
Grandview Overlook Park is situated in Mt Washington near the Duquesne Incline and is the perfect place to snap a picture and include the Pittsburgh landscape.
Grab a bike from one of the city's 100+ locations using the HealthyRidePGH. The city is filled with biking trails that make sightseeing fun. It's a great way to get a glimpse of the three rivers: the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio or follow one of the mapped out trails.
Walk the ‘Burgh is a walking tour detailing the history of the city, as well as an interesting look at the art, architecture and attractions in Downtown Pittsburgh. Lead by a Pittsburgh local, the 1-2 hours tour focuses on the Golden Triangle: the financial and cultural district as well as Point State Park.
What's Good to Eat in Pittsburgh?
The Vandal, a locally-owned and very trendy restaurant in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. The Vandal focuses on locally-sourced and seasonal items and is BYOB. This white colored minimalistic place has a classy aesthetic feel to eat and the food is delicious.
Legume Bistro in the Oakland neighborhood. The ingredient-focused restaurant that has been popular in Pittsburgh since 2007. The restaurant has a chaining menu that is farm to table. Much care is put into creating thoughtful and delicious dishes.
Gluten Free Goat, a neighborhood café in Garfield that caters to most dietary restriction. You can grab fare that is corn, dairy, egg, gluten, and oat free. The bread is made from flour that they grind themselves.; and it’s gluten, soy, corn and oat-free. Try the grilled cheese with shiitake “bacon” and oatmeal creme pie.
The Porch, located in Oakland and quick walk from Phipps Conservatory or the Cathedral of Learning. Cafe-style lunch that can be enjoyed inside or outside where you can enjoy the greenspace.
Apteka, a contemporary restaurant known for its vegan European/Polish fare from what started as a monthly pop-up pierogi night. Local couple Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski serve up the city’s signature pierogies with an added twist.
Fl. 2, located inside the Fairmont Hotel is bright and lively. They offer three meals per day and a menu that has something for everyone. Breakfast which is the most important meal of the day is filling enough to that you will want to skip lunch.
Where to Stay in Pittsburgh?
The Fairmont Pittsburgh is centrally located in downtown close to Market Square. The ceiling to floor windows provide a picturesque view of the city and glimpse inside the ballpark. This LEED certified luxury property was developed according to sustainable design and construction guidelines.
The bathroom was spacious with a tub and walk in shower. Towels were thick and luscious but the robe and toiletries made me never want to leave. The Fairmont Pittsburgh offers Le Labo toiletries from the famed Le Labo perfumery.
The refreshment center was well stocked and reasonably priced. It was hard not to enjoy it all. Rarely will a hotel offer in room wine with premium liquors, so this was a welcomed surprise.
Travel to Pittsburgh
All roads and modes of transportation lead to Pittsburgh. The airport is located roughly 20 miles from downtown in Moon township. Many airlines offer direct flights including American Airlines. Amtrak offer rail service to downtown and there are several bus lines available.
Pittsburgh was ranked as the 5th best city for an active lifestyle by WallHub and considered one of the most livable cities in the U.S. It's also a great place for a visit because as the “Pull Up a Chair” campaign states, you become a part of the community as soon as you arrive.