Good lord, our readers left 121 comments with tips on visiting and living in Pittsburgh. We starred all the best ones so you can read without filler. Check out some very boiled-down highlights below. Yes, all 1500 words of this is still just the tip of the Pittsburgh. When we do Hack Your City a day late, we bring the goods.
Each Monday on Hack Your City, we ask readers for your best tips on a city: driving tips, restaurant recs, things to do, and any other advice for visitors and locals. Then on Thursday, we present the best comments. We’re working our way around the U.S. and around the globe.
- “It’s Pittsburgher, not Pittsburghian. And according to my father when I was growing up there, a real Pittsburgher is someone that mows their lawn with their shirt off.”—Nynjah
- “The city is in a time of transition where you see a lot of younger, more liberal minded individuals such as myself living with the older conservative crowd that has been here for generations. Smile and be yourself and everyone will get along great. Complain about all the potholes in the city with a stranger and you’ll talk for an hour.”—Braden Whited
- “It’s really lacking in diversity (though not quite to the levels of the Pacific Northwest). The city has boomed recently, but it has unfortunately been ‘rich get richer’ in a lot of ways. Bourdain touched on this quite a bit in the Pittsburgh episode of Parts Unknown.”—OakAged
- “Vegan/vegetarian DO NOT MISS: Apteka. Just go.”—theratoni. “[Apteka] made me Instagram a salad. A SALAD. It was so incredibly delicious. Hands down the best salad I’ve ever had. The best dish I had that evening. A SALAD. Order Salatka 1.”—sayahillman
- “Try the Original Hotdog Shop, affectionately referred to as ‘The O.’ In addition to delicious hotdogs, they also have some amazing fries. Don’t be tempted to order anything bigger than the small size. Even the small is enough for multiple people to share and is a mountain of potatoes nearly filling an entire cafeteria-style tray.”—Duke of Kent
- In the longterm, “you’ll be surprised at the quality of the local church’s spaghetti dinners and weekly fish fry,” says abmoraz. “Many of the ethnic clubs (Slovak Club, Polish Club, German Bundts, etc…) and the service clubs (American Legion, VFW, The Moose, etc…) have public hours for meals that are pretty tasty and affordable.”
- “Just avoid Primanti Bros altogether, not worth it. If you must have some greasy food, go to Pamela’s and you won’t need to eat again for the rest of the day.”—muwenk
- “Point Brugge, Tako, Butcher and the Rye, Piccolo Forno, any of the Big Burrito restaurants are going to be great dinner spots.”—notfornothin567
- “Carson Street Deli: Get yourself a Donnie Brasco sandwich (buffalo chicken, pepper jack, banana peppers, egg salad), a pint of delicious local craft beer, and have actual conversations because there are only two TVs and if they’re on they’re tuned to Turner Classic Movies. It may be in South Side but the C.H.U.D.s really only come out at night.”—onetonjake
- “Church Brew Works does a novelty pierogi of the day appetizer that’s been good every time I’ve tried it. But also try the traditional kind, available basically everywhere.”—Lifehacker health editor and Pittsburgher Beth Skwarecki
- “The Sharp Edge Bistro downtown. Atmosphere is good, all the beers are delicious (nobody does beer as well as Belgium), and a mussel pot steamed in beer + frites was absolutely awesome.”—_beveryman
- “If breweries are your thing, take a walking tour of Lawrenceville. There are 5 breweries within ~1.5 miles of each other: Hop Farm, Full Pint / Wild Side, Roundabout, Cinderlands and Eleventh Hour. That doesn’t even include Arsenal Cider.”—wooderice
- “Pittsburgh is a good beer town and it can be done in two days. You’ll want to stay downtown and go up one river per day. Start at Dancing Gnome then Hitchhiker in Sharpsburg, go down to Grist House and Strange Roots in Millvale, then end at Roundabout in Lawrenceville. The next day go to Brew Gentlemen in Braddock, Voodoo in Homestead, then end at Fatheads in the southside.”—sdot
- “Do not drink Iron City. Even if you’re at Primanti’s eating a capicola (get the capicola!) at midnight after a Penguins win and you’re feeling very local, just don’t.”—RobTrev
- “The Church Brew Works is a great place to grab a bite to eat and a drink to sip. It’s also the place where my first ancestors from Ireland got married in America. Kinda funny considering much of my family history is full of alcoholics. It’s also interesting to be drinking (other than communion) in a former Catholic church.”—wadeboggsthirdliver
- “Check out the Heinz History Center. Don’t worry: it’s not just about the ketchup brand (although it is pretty interesting). It’s basically an all-encompassing museum about the history of Pittsburgh.”—Craig Lloyd
- “Best underrated museum: the Center for PostNatural History. It’s very small, but also free, so don’t complain. I guarantee you will learn something new and possibly unsettling.”—Beth Skwarecki
- “Lumberjaxes axe throwing in Millvale.”—Open2Discussion
- “Despite Pittsburgh’s reputation for being dirty and smoggy there are tons of outdoor activities to be done. We have lots of wonderful parks, and miles upon miles of paved trails all along the rivers, one of which connects to the Great Allegheny Passage which can take you all the way to DC. We’ve got bike rentals all over the place and you can also rent a kayak and paddle around in the river.”—As Du Volant
- “Carnegie Science Center does a Floyd laser show Fridays at midnight.”—Brom
- “The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is one of the most acclaimed symphonies in the US, and even abroad. And Heinz Hall is a spectacle unto itself. They do a number of pops concerts if western classical music isn’t your thing.”—samosamancer
- “If you like art/architecture, take a walk through Pitt Uni’s Cathedral of Learning. Aside from the overall beauty, a lot of the seminar rooms have themes that are REALLY well done, like the Swiss room where all the chairs have the cantons’ arms, and the Byzantine Room with mosaics everywhere.”—Skullsfortheskullthrone
- “St. Anthony’s in Troy Hill has the largest number of Catholic relics outside of the Vatican, including relics from every Apostle and three (purported) pieces of the True Cross.”—Michael Reed
- “Monroeville Mall if you’re a fan of the original Dawn of the Dead.”—PaulL
- Pittsburgh has a lot of weird and distinctive streets, some worth seeing: “There’s the city’s last remaining wooden street,” says anklebiterpgh. “There is the Bridge to Nowhere,” jokes abmoraz.
- Over a dozen people mentioned the Strip District. OakAged says: “Walk around and go to PennMac, S&D Polish Deli, Wholey’s, and grab a beer at East End Brewer’s taprooom or tour Wigle Whiskey. If you want a full meal check out Smallman Galley, Kaya, or Bar Marco.” Mike Cook says about Wholey’s, “Their fresh squeezed OJ and homemade peanut butter are amazing!” He also recs PA Libations, Pittsburgh Popcorn, and Art of Steel. Theratoni suggests Gaucho. “Don’t be surprised when downtown and the Strip District empty out early. Once people pack into the theaters for shows it gets pretty dead,” says notfornothin567. “Shopping on the weekends in the Strip District is lots of fun but do it in the morning,” says planelover.
- “Unless looking for a pub crawl with drunk Yinzers avoid South Side.”—i-spock. Others agree: don’t go there, it is a fratty place.
- “North Side: booming neighborhood with multiple museums including: RandyLand, The Mattress Factory, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Stroll the historic Mexican War Streets if you like architecture and historic homes.”—jper (in a guide to several good neighborhoods)
- “If you make it there in the middle of July, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is amazing to watch. There’s literally hundreds of old cars during the show days and people race some of those vintage cars around the park. And it’s all 100% free!”—ShadowPryde
- “Avoid the Incline. It is novel and historic, but there is not much to do at the top beside take a few photos.”—rymas1. If you do go up the Duquesne Incline, says notfornothin567, “have a beer at Shiloh Grill when you get to the top. Or there is a really great Ghosts of Pittsburgh walking tour which I highly recommend.”
- “The Pittsburgh Left: A lot of intersections lack left-turn-only lanes. If the first car in oncoming traffic is turning left and you’re at a stoplight, Pittsburgh Left is letting them turn before you go straight.”—WoT14
- “Pittsburgh left applies to the first and only the first vehicle stopped at the red light without dedicated left-turn lane. Don’t be a jagoff.”—muwenk
- “OMG enter the city through the Fort Pitt tunnel. DO IT. No video does this justice. You have to be there. (This is the most direct route if you are coming from the airport anyway.)”—Beth Skwarecki
- “Pittsburgh is a 3-dimensional city. It is a collective of 30+ towns between 3 major rivers strewn over a bunch of hills and valleys. Roads are stacked upon roads, especially downtown. Your GPS is going to get confused as to whether you are on 2nd Ave, 376, or the Blvd of the Allies.”—abmoraz
That’s it! See so many more tips on the original thread under the Staff tab. Put your own tips right below. Come back next week when we’re going to Thailand!