Great Getaways: Pittsburgh (the Rustbelt's Portland)

Photos courtesy of Fairmont, Pittsburgh; Warhol museum photos courtesy of VisitPittsburgh



Hours from Buffalo: Under five
Time needed:A weekend
One must-see: The Duquesne Incline
One must-eat:Pittsburgh’s famous coleslaw-and-french fry-topped sandwich at Primanti Brothers
Best for:Couples and families


Many readily compare Buffalo to Pittsburgh, but one of the most obvious differences between the Rust Belt sister cities is Pittsburgh’s hilly terrain. The Inclines, as they are known, embrace the area’s elevations by allowing visitors to ride cable cars from the city’s river valleys to the vistas atop Mount Washington. Built in the 1870s, the remaining Inclines consist of the Duquesne and the Monongahela. While Duquesne is recognized for its tourist-thrilling views and quaint gift shop and museum, the Monongahela is viewed as evryday transport and has easy access to Station Square, a shopping area and light rail station. (;


The Carnegie Museums (Museum of Natural History, Science Center, Museum of Art, and Andy Warhol Museum) each provide exciting, top-notch museum experiences. For families, the hands-on Science Center is sure to be a hit, and you won’t want to miss the superior dinosaur collection at the Museum of Natural History. ( For the art-minded, the Warhol Museum is one of the world’s most exhaustive and nuanced collections centered around the work of a single artist (, and the Museum of Art features ever-changing exhibits as well as respected collections of contemporary and fine art, architecture, and decorative art and design.


Pittsburgh’s growing dining scene has begun to capture the attention of the national press. Check out comforting, sustainable cuisine at Dinette, impeccable gastropub grub at Meat and Potatoes, nose-to-tail cuisine at Root 174, and small plates at Tender Bar & Kitchen. Excellent craft cocktails can be found at Acacia, where newspaper-covered windows and mustachioed bartenders provide a speakeasy experience. Nationally lauded (and Pittsburgh darling) chef Kevin Sousa has three restaurants—Salt of the Earth, Union Pig & Chicken, and the cute hot dog haven, Station Street. A stop at any of them should be wedged into your itinerary. With so many edible options, consider planning ahead by visiting, a well-compiled resource for those looking for the hottest places to eat in the city.


Lawrenceville offers cute boutiques and coffeeshops in a walkable neighborhood, be sure and stop into Pavement or Pageboy. High-end shopping options can be found in the Shadyside neighborhood, clustered along Walnut Street and Ellsworth Avenue.


Pittsburgh’s Fairmont is a solid recommendation for singles, couples, and families. Spa services and a fitness center are among the amenities, and cooking classes are offered on a monthly or private basis at Habitat, a fine restaurant housed within the hotel that focuses on local ingredients. Family travel packages are also available, and an assortment of kid-friendly touches (like milk and cookie room service and an in-house canine ambassador, Edie) mean mom and dad might even manage a little down-time themselves. (


See all of our Great Getaways from this issue here.




Christa Glennie Seychew is Spree's senior editor.



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