COVID TRAVEL DIARIES: 36 HOURS IN PITTSBURGH

Determined to find attractions even during Covid we began our journey in the dead of winter going west from New York City.

The first stop about 5 hours later was Pittsburgh. The city completely surprised me.  Instead of steel processing and smoke spewing towers of my imagination Pittsburgh turned out to be a lovely city of rivers, bridges and universities.

Unfortunately the lovely historic downtown was totally abandoned but as a flipside we got a great deal on a Fairfield Inn, a new hotel overlooking one of the three rivers bordering the downtown.  Numerous bridges over the three rivers, Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio, when lit at night create an enchanted atmosphere and a sense of a much larger metropolis then it is.

In those one a half days we managed to visit three museums: 1). Andy Warhol, a 5 story extensive collection of his works and a very informative documentary. Since Andy Warhol was an avid movie maker in addition to being a painter, there is a spot where one can sit down and take a screen test that lasts for about five minutes. The screen test gets recorded and emailed to you few minutes later. 2). Carnegie science center – not worth it unless you go with kids. Even now, there were too many of those little super-spreaders running around and touching everything so we left in a hurry. 3). Carnegie Art Museum – a nice collection of every style and period providing for a nice and relaxing visit.

A notable area is the Mexican Wars district north of downtown.[i]  Again it was mostly abandoned now even on a weekend and we barely found a place for lunch –a Mesa Luna café, quality food in a nice setting. 

In the evenings, we explored the “entertainment” districts. The first is a Strip District north west of downtown and the second is Lawrenceville right up north from there.  Both have several restaurants open for indoor dining.  I was glad to note that all adhere to CDC guidelines and occupancy is limited and masks are required.

In the Strip District the choices were extremely limited and we ended up eating in Roland’s Seafood Grill – a basic sports bar setting having some seafood but mainly the usual burger/wings menu.

The next night we went to Lawrenceville, a much livelier area and ended up in a really nice and more upscale “The Abby”, a good food and a very good bar.

There two attractions that we didn’t get to see were the Mattress Factory Museum and the Cathedral of Learning closed to visitors because of Covid. Cathedral of Learning is a Gothic building at the Pittsburgh University and apparently is a site not to be missed. Oh well, next time…maybe.

Apparently, the area south of downtown around Mt. Washington is also worth a visit, but at that point we felt that we squeezed out of our visit everything worthwhile doing we kept moving west towards Ohio.


[i] The Mexican War Streets, originally known as the “Buena Vista Tract”, is a historic district in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The district is densely filled with restored row houses, community gardens, and tree-lined streets and alleyways. The area dates to around the time of the Mexican–American War. The 27-acre (11 ha) district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 with 119 buildings deemed to contribute to the historic character of the district. Wikipedia.  

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