The Strip District, dubbed “The Strip” by locals, is the quintessential Pittsburgh neighborhood. Though it is a small section of the city, this half-mile of land is full of character from dive bars to dance clubs, coffee shops to museums, and kitschy shops to markets. To get the full Strip District experience, plan to spend an entire weekend day or more in this neighborhood.
Try the Coffee
Grab a coffee at La Prima Espresso Co., an authentic Italian coffeehouse. If you're more of a tea person, you can also check out Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange, which offers a large selection of high quality tea.
Take a break for lunch at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, an Argentinian restaurant so popular that there’s often a line out the door. Worth the wait, the steak burger and the Camarones (shrimp with garlic, rosemary, lemon, and olive oil) are stand-out items and the restaurant is BYOB with no corkage fee. Other lunch options include S&D Polish Deli for pierogis or Bella Notte for pizza.
Visit the Heinz History Center
Located in the Strip District, the Heinz History Center is Pittsburgh’s history museum, named after Senator John Heinz. Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, Heinz History Center chronicles 250 years of regional history. Within the History Center is the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, a must-see for sports fans.
Check Out the Society for Contemporary Craft
Art-lovers should check out the Society for Contemporary Craft, which presents the work of local, national, and international artists. The gallery focuses on “cutting edge exhibitions focused on multicultural diversity and non-mainstream art.” The Society’s store has a wide range of eclectic items for purchase.
Take a Tour of Wigle Whiskey
At Wigle Whiskey, you can learn about the distilling process and the history of the Whiskey Rebellion, plus enjoy a cocktail and a tasting along the way. This animated tour takes about an hour and is a great way to learn about the quirky history of Pittsburgh.
Go Out for Dinner
At dinnertime, head to Bar Marco (advance reservations are recommended) for a gourmet meal and handcrafted cocktails in a trendy setting. Bar Marco made national headlines recently when it instituted a no-tipping policy, opting instead to pay workers a salaried wage. A few other dinner ideas: Kaya for island cuisine, Roland’s for seafood, and Eleven for contemporary American cuisine.
Eat Ice Cream
Save room for dessert at Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor, a 1920s-era ice cream parlor that has maintained its original look. Ingredients are locally-sourced and the ice cream is hand-made.
Nightlife seekers should try Lefty’s if you’re looking for a dive bar (especially if you want to watch a Steelers game), Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle for an Irish pub, Cioppino for cigars, and Cavo for a nightclub.
If you get the late night munchies, stop by the original Primanti Bros. for the classic Pittsburgh sandwich stacked high with meat, cheese, coleslaw, and french fries.