By: Katie Auwaerter | Features Editor
If you haven’t been properly welcomed yet, on behalf of The Duquesne Duke, welcome to Pittsburgh! This former industrial hub that you now call home has a lot to offer, with the title Most Exciting Place in Pennsylvania by real estate blog Movoto. But with a whole city at your disposal, where to begin? Here’s a breakdown of what you can do in the different neighborhoods of the ‘burgh.
Whether you choose the route of the dreaded South Side Steps or venture through the Armstrong Tunnel, at some point you will find yourself going to South Side. While it’s known for its high bar concentration, with 7.9 bars for every 10,000 households according to MarketWatch, there’s a lot more to East Carson Street than the over-21 scene. There are plenty of boutiques and inexpensive restaurants to try, and it’s home to some popular music venues such as The Rex Theater and The Smiling Moose. If you make the trek all the way to The Southside Works, you can treat yo’ self at the Cheesecake Factory before hitting up Urban Outfitters, H&M and Forever 21.
Oakland is more than just the home to the University of Pittsburgh! Though if you want to experience a bit of Pitt, you can check out the Cathedral of Learning, whose interior may remind you of Hogwarts. This 535-foot-tall building also has 29 nationality rooms, representing the city’s ethnic heritage according to the University’s website. Also in Oakland is the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, where you can see dinosaur skeletons and Van Gogh paintings all in the same visit. After seeing some art on the wall, take a stroll to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a massive glass greenhouse filled with local and exotic plants.
Point State Park
Also known as “The Point,” Point State Park is located where the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers come together to form the Ohio. The park is home to a 100-foot fountain and fantastic views of the city, making it a great place to relax and get away from campus. For the more adventurous types, this is a great area to bike and kayak. You can rent kayaks and bikes across the river on the North Shore through Kayak Pittsburgh. For more information, check out www.kayakpittsburgh.org.
If you’re a fan of sports you’ve probable already heard of The North Shore and its two major stadiums: PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While it’s a bit early (and a bit expensive) to go to a Steelers game, grab your peanuts and Cracker Jacks and go to a Pirates game with some friends. Sports not your thing? The North Shore has lots to offer, such as the Andy Warhol Museum, The Carnegie Science Center and the music venue Stage AE.
Being less than a 15-minute walk away from campus, Market Square is a great place to get away from the dining hall to enjoy a bite to eat at one of their 29 restaurants and cafes. If you want to hear some live musical performances, head down to the square for Mellow Mondays and Mid-Week Music on Wednesdays. On Thursdays, Market Square has a farmers market with 30 weekly vendors, as well as live music so you can shop to a beat.
Though the Waterfront may seem like a world away, it’s easily accessible thanks to the Duquesne Loop Bus, which runs on the weekends. Whether you need to buy something specific or to satiate your shopping addiction, the Waterfront is the place to go, with almost 60 stores making up this outdoor shopping center. After shopping til’ you drop, you have 20 restaurants from which to choose, including the well-known Burgatory, known for its sinfully delicious burgers and heavenly milkshakes. The Waterfront is also home to the gargantuan AMC Lowes Movie Theater, where there’s much more than just popcorn to accompany the latest flick.
The Strip District
While The Strip District has plenty of places to get a fantastic meal, it also offers a variety of activities to enjoy. Even if you’re not a history buff, go learn more about the city you’ll be calling home at the Senator John Heinz History Center. With the Library and Archives documenting the past 250 years of life in Western Pennsylvania and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum covering the history of Pittsburgh sports, you’ll soon learn why it’s the largest history museum in the state. You can also visit the Society for Contemporary Craft and see their latest exhibition, “Transform 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics,” and gain a new appreciation for clay as a medium.
While this old Jewish neighborhood is a 30-minute bus ride away, the things to do make it worth the trek. Squirrel Hill is home to Jerry’s Records, which was voted Best Record Store by Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best of the Burgh 2014. If you’re looking for something to do, you can lace up those bowling shoes and knock down a few pins at Forward Lanes Bowling Alley. If thrifting is your thing, you have to go to Avalon Exchange where you can sell or trade the clothing you don’t wear and add to your wardrobe or try a fresh look for your freshman year.