Pittsburgh is one of the hottest travel destinations right now. From Harper’s Bazaar and Travel + Leisure to Vogue, everyone wants you to visit the Steel City. Whether you’re looking to eat your way through the city or wanting to find some Insta-worthy hidden gems, use this list as a choose-your-own-adventure guide to the best 24 hours in Pittsburgh.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
If you like to get your blood pumping first thing in the morning, you’ll want to hit one of Pittsburgh’s many trails. You can walk, run, or bike along one of the rivers. If you’re a visiting runner, meet up with the Steel City Road Runners to find a local run buddy who can show you around town.
If you’re flying or road tripping to the Burgh, you’ll want to stretch out those legs. Head to Amazing Yoga to find your flow. This studio is perfect for yogis of every experience level with classes that are guaranteed to leave you sweaty but energized.
This spot in Lawrenceville is always on point, but breakfast is next level. There’s a full coffee bar featuring Parlor coffee and you can expect menu features like a brunch salad, lox Benedict, and house-made granola.
Adda Coffee and Tea
Get your caffeine fix at this new-ish Shadyside spot. The sun-filled space is the perfect place to enjoy your coffee or tea, along with a rotating toast menu, daily quiche, and a range of muffins and pastries.
Fair warning: There will be a line at Square Cafe. But it’s worth the wait. The menu changes with the season, but you can always expect some of the best breakfast eats in Pittsburgh. Their gluten-free and vegan offerings make this spot great for everyone from your carnivore pals to plant-based friends.
Banh Mi and Ti
Bringing Vietnamese food to Lawrenceville, this place is perfection. Refuel for an afternoon of shopping on Butler Street with a banh mi sandwich and a boba tea. Hang out on the front patio while you enjoy your snack and pack any leftovers for a post-lunch lunch.
Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History
Head to the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History at lunchtime to beat the crowds. Here, you won’t have to choose between dinosaur bones or Van Gogh, you can have it all. Pop into the James Beard-nominated Carnegie Cafe afterward for a seasonal salad or sandwich… and maybe a beer or glass of wine — we won’t judge. This is your perfect day, after all!
Take a stroll through the Mexican War Streets and end up at Randyland, the art project Randy Gilson has been working on for over 20 years. It’s open from 10am to 5:30pm every day and while it’s free, donations to continue the upkeep of Randyland are appreciated.
Walking into DiAnoia’s transports you out of the Strip District and into Italy. Their paninis, salads, and pasta dishes are among the best Italian eats in Pittsburgh (and that’s saying a lot!). Their cafe items will give you the caffeine boost you need to get through the rest of your day. Don’t miss the Pistachio Cardamom Cappuccino or Calabrian Mocha.
An incubator for up-start restaurateurs, Smallman Galley is one of Pittsburgh’s coolest spots. You can get a different dish from each of the four concepts and a local beer to wash it all down at the bar. If you’re traveling with a crew, Smallman Galley is your spot because you can never have too many options.
Andy Warhol Museum
If you didn’t know, Andy Warhol was born, raised, and buried in Pittsburgh. This museum pays homage to some of his lesser known — but still important — work. You can spend hours watching his films, his TV show from the 80s, checking out his early sketches, and of course, snapping lots of photos of some of his more iconic work as well.
Take a Tour at Wigle Whiskey
Even if you’re not a huge whiskey person, you’ll still enjoy a tour of this local distillery. You’ll taste their current offerings — and some of their experiential whiskeys — while learning about the distilling process. In the warmer months, they have a garden and patio to enjoy a custom cocktail afterwards.
Arsenal Cider House
When the weather’s nice, you have to check out Arsenal Cider House. Their outdoor seating area is among the best in the city and you can bring your own snacks — or call for delivery — if their chef isn’t grilling in the garden.
Shop Butler Street
You’ll find some of the best shopping in all Pittsburgh along Butler Street in Lawrenceville. From cool boutiques to antique stores, there’s so much to explore. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing you’re supporting a local business.
Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream
While there’s typically a line out the door in the evenings, afternoon is a great time to get a sugary hit at Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. With flavors like Salty Hazelnut, Peppermint Brownie, and Pear-Port Wine Sorbet, you can’t go wrong.
Whether you’re a climbing guru or you’re still learning the ropes, you’re sure to have a good time at Ascend. Plus, you can use break a sweat with some free weights or take a yoga class while you’re there, too. Hit the showers before you go to freshen up before a big night out.
Eastern European food gets a vegan makeover at Apteka. In addition to some of the best (and not to mention, Pittsburgh-y) food in Pittsburgh, this spot also has a killer wine list and delicious (but expensive) cocktails too.
Make a reservation now if you’re thinking about heading to Tako — even if it’s months out. Yes, the tables go that fast. It’s worth the forward planning for their inventive cocktails, table side make-your-own-guac adventure, and of course, tacos. Go bold and order the Tako taco.
Morcilla wasn’t named one of Bon Appetit’s Hottest Restaurants in 2016 for no reason. Justin Severino’s newest restaurant continues to bring a strong charcuterie game, as well as crudo, croquetas, tapas, and of course, a solid cocktail and wine list. Make a reservation or go early to ensure you get a table.
Where else will you find an all-you-can-bowl deal for $10.95 on the weekends? If you’re going to one of Butler Street’s bars, head to Arsenal Bowl for a different type of pregame — and actually be able to catch up with your friends (or reflect on your perfect Pittsburgh day) without having to shout at each other.
Dance, eat pizza, repeat at Spirit in Lawrenceville. This two-story bar (and pizza restaurant) always has great music, often has live DJs and bands, and their drink prices can’t be beat. It’s the best place to dance the night away in Pittsburgh, if you ask us.
Ever since Ace opened in East Liberty, it’s been the go-to for a nightcap or a game of cornhole in the gymnasium. It’s the place to see and be seen in Pittsburgh. If you’re feeling peckish, their bar also offers bites like duck fat kettle corn, pierogies (you’re still in Pittsburgh!), and confit buffalo wings.
Come for the drinks, stay for the Instagram-worthy atmosphere. Tucked away in Squirrel Hill, it’s hard not to have a good time at Hidden Harbor. From rum-infused drinks to Hawaiian-themed bites, it’s easy to lose track of time once you enter their doors.
Row House Cinema
You might not be able to catch the latest flick at Row House, but you’ll be able to catch all the best indie movies you’ve ever read about or that classic sci-fi film you just haven’t had a chance to watch yet. Located next door to Beirport, you can get a local brew before, during, or after the show.
Switch up your normal late night routine in favor of the latest off-Broadway plays at City Theatre in the South Side. There are two stages and the theatre features Gordon Lounge, located in the lobby, that serves coffee, cocktails, sweets, and snacks starting one hour before showtime.