It doesn’t matter if you’re a newcomer to the Steel City or if you’ve lived here for 30 years – there are some ‘musts’ you need to experience in order to be considered a well-rounded Pittsburgher.
Yes, chowing down on a Primanti’s sandwich is mandatory. As is scoping out some of the most beautiful views our city has to offer. These things aren’t just for tourists. They’re an essential part of what gives Pittsburgh its unique charm. So until you check out and checked off everything on this list, you can’t call yourself a true Pittsburgher. Take a look to see how you stack up to the real yinzers out there.
Visiting one of the city’s most breathtaking overlooks isn’t just a tourist activity. In fact, it’s practically mandatory for anyone who lives in – and wants to truly appreciate – this city. This spot is also prime time for prom pictures, wedding proposals, and date nights. If you’ve never been, make it a true Pittsburgher two-in-one by pairing your trip to Mt. Washington with a ride on the Incline.
Whether you’re riding the Racer, chowing down on some Potato Patch fries, or waiting in line at the Phantom’s Revenge, there’s not doubt that a trip to Pittsburgh’s famed amusement park belongs on this list. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, go for the Yinzer Trifecta: Kennywood, Sandcastle, and Idlewild on consecutive weekends. Disneyland? No thanks, we’re good.
Cliche? Sure is. But eating a Primanti’s sammich is a rite of passage around here. In fact, if you live here and never dined on a fry + coleslaw topped sandwich, you’re in danger of having your Pittsburgher card revoked. Bonus points if you eat way too much. Double bonus points if wash your meal down with an Iron City beer.
Pittsburghers are prideful folks. That statement is especially true when it comes to supporting the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Phrases like, “City of Champions”, “Raise the Jolly Roger”, “It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh” have been known to give Pittsburghers goosebumps. If you’re not into sports, you pretend. And no matter where you’re from, you learn to love the local teams or root against them at your own discretion.
Around here we have a language all our own. It’s a little something known as Pittsburghese. We “worsh” the dishes, drink “Ahrn City”, watch the “Stillers, n’at. Want to fit in in a hurry? Ask “yinz guys” if they’d like to go for a beer “dahntahn”. Or sneak the word “slippy” into a sentence. You’ll find yourself wondering why it ever had the extra syllable in the first place.
Picnics are an ideal summer activity and Point State Park is the perfect place for one. Gather up your friends and family, pack some snacks, and a frisbee or football, and park yourself on the massive green lawn by the river. You can gaze at the fountain – and even dip your toes in it. If you’re not picnicking, consider kayaking around the Point after renting a boat from Kayak Pittsburgh. Heck, you could even snag a ride from the bike share and pedal around the fountain.
A long day at work was made worse when someone stole your yogurt out of the fridge. So you’re already a little salty. Any relief you felt when the clock struck 5pm disappeared when you came to a dead stop in the Fort Pitt Tunnels. “How is this even possible”, you’ll wonder. Then you realize there’s some jag using the West End exit lane to scoot ahead of all the traffic. Don’t think the Liberty Tubes are any more forgiving. You will be enraged by a sea of brake lights there too.
At the height of a Pittsburgh winter, parking spaces are pure gold. Protect them by any means necessary. Folding chairs are the preferred and unofficial method. But don’t be surprised to see construction cone or trash can holding someone’s spot. Fun fact, placing a chair in a parking spot is actually illegal. But that doesn’t seem to stop anyone. And it doesn’t change that fact that you will respect thy neighbor’s parking chair.
image via fine arts america
From art galleries to museums and a bunch of unique DIY spots, Pittsburgh is ripe with ways to get cultured. See for yourself just how massive dinosaurs were, learn about the proper preparation for an Egyptian mummy, and check out the original works of Andy Warhol. The Carnegie Museum umbrella covers the Art Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Science Center. While you’re at it, pick up an Allegheny Library card and spend some time in the stacks.
Take in the city while exploring all three rivers. The Gateway Clipper offers options for everyone, from the kid-friendly Good Ship Lollipop to Moonlight Dance party cruise featuring dinner, drinks and dancing. Clipper boats sail every single day, so you’ll have no problem fitting a ride into your schedule if you haven’t already. The docks are located in Station Square, where you’ve probably seen this thing making its way down the Mon.
There is nothing quite like spending a weekend morning in the sprawling market that is the Strip District. You’ll find vendors hawking bread, fish, cheese, sandwiches and numerous other treats. But the vendors aren’t the only lure of the crowded market. You can get specialty items here that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, like mung bean pancakes at New Sambok Korean grocery store, or some fresh coppa secca at Parma Sausage. If you love to cook, eat, or just people-watch, the Strip District shopping scene will bring Pittsburgh a little closer to your heart.
Taking a trip on one of Pittsburgh’s most unique forms of transportation is a great way to get to and from your Mt. Washington sightseeing sessions. Amazingly, the Incline was first opened to the public in 1877, and it has certainly stood the test of time. At the very top, you will find a host of restaurants and a beautiful view. Plus, there’s a gift shop and mini-museum detailing the history of the famous trolley. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, and every Pittsburgher should take the ride.
What’s a “Pittsburgh Wedding” you wonder? Two words: cookie table. This epic display of treats and sweets, is enough to make you want to crash a wedding. As the New York Times explained, For as long as anyone here can remember, wedding receptions in Pittsburgh have featured cookie tables, laden with dozens of homemade old-fashioned offerings like lady locks, pizzelles and buckeyes… on the big day, hungry guests ravage the buffet, piling plates high and packing more in takeout containers so they can have them for breakfast the next day. No one is certain of its origin. But we can all agree that we never want it to end.
You might be a Pittsburgher if…you brag to everyone else about how much you love this place. Whether you mention the great food scene, the sports teams, the beauty of the skyline, or the unique charm of each neighborhood, it’s easy to see why this place is so beloved. If you aren’t raving about Pittsburgh just yet, give it some time. It’ll win you over. It gets all of us eventually.
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