Pittsburgh is the new Brooklyn - you heard it here first.
When you’re considering your next US vacay, you’d be forgiven for predictably thinking New York’s hipster suburb has everything a traveller needs for craft beer, incredible food and arty vibes.
But Pittsburgh - aka ‘The Steel City’, is currently undergoing a cultural rebirth, rapidly proving itself to be a go-to getaway after being named one of the top US destinations on the rise for 2016 by TripAdvisor. It recently made headlines after its liberal AF mayor, Bill Peduto, took down Trump on Twitter, confirming the city’s commitment to renewable energy after the Trumpington withdrew from the Paris global climate agreement.
It’s green AND woke.
From scene-y hotels to eclectic art spaces, cool industrial buildings that will give your feed an edgy, modernist look to tonnes of open green spaces, Pittsburgh is a city that’s on the brink of being taken over by beardy dudes riding on penny-farthings and every drink being served in a jam jar. Get in quick before everyone else does.
1. It’s like visiting the future
Ya’ll in 2017, meanwhile Pittsburgh is in 3017 with fancy driverless cars.The city is currently trialling automated cars with Uber that can zip you around without anyone behind the wheel, which means no more awkward convos with your driver.
Order a cab with your phone and make like you’re in Minority Report, except without Tom Cruise and those triplets floating in a swimming pool.
2.It’s super arty
The Prince of Pop Art, Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh so it makes sense there’s a whole museum dedicated to him on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, conveniently located at the end of the Andy Warhol bridge. Start on the seventh floor and work your way down, taking in some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century.
If you really want to get your art on, head over to the Mattress Factory, a constantly evolving contemporary space for modern artists. Step into Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, which will make you want a hidden mirrored room covered in polka dots of your own.
3.You can visit the most colourful place on Earth
A short stroll from the Mattress Factory down to Arch Avenue, make sure you stop by Randyland: you can’t miss it. It’s a trippy, technicolour photographer’s paradise created by local artist/legend Randy Gilson, where it’s impossible to be unhappy. Think a mini Disneyland hyped up on Skittles, filled with neon-coloured salvaged art. Get there in the afternoon and you’ll meet the man himself to receive a lesson in love and positivity and a big hug if you’re lucky! We heart Randy.
4.Get yourself clean, have a good meal, do whatever you feel…
…at the Ace Hotel, a cutting edge boutique hotspot set in a former YMCA. Ace hotels have a rep for picking awesome spots and cool, minimalist decor sourced from local artisans (we swooned over the Pinterest-worthy Amish-style Pendleton bed blankets). Grab a cocktail at the bar before eating something tasty in the Whitfield restaurant just off the lobby.
Top tip: Tuesday night is board game night.
5.It won’t break the bank to get there
Transatlantic flights usually mean having to sell off a kidney or other body part, but thanks to WOW air, you can splash your cash on more fun things instead. Flights from London Gatwick via Reykjavik to Pittsburgh start from just £139.99 (one-way, WOW Basic package), with the option to upgrade to more premium packages if you want to spend a bit more on travel.
6.You can eat a sandwich as big as your head
Seeing as it’s the birthplace of Heinz Ketchup, the banana split and the Big Mac, Pittsburgh is full of gastro-joy. At Primanti Bros,you can wrap your chops around their whopping “Almost Famous” sandwich - two thick slices of white bread overstuffed with your choice of meat and cheese, tomatoes, coleslaw, and fries ALL INSIDE THE SANDWICH. When we said Pittsburgh was the future, we weren’t joking.
7.So much food you’ll have to make your trip a cheat week
Pittsburgh has such an energetic food scene, you’d be hard pressed to take in all the mouth-watering options. Luckily then that the lovely people of ‘Burgh Bits and Bites' can take you on a food-tasting adventure around the neighbourhoods. We went on a nommerific tour around Lawrenceville with the super adorable Corrine, sampling everything from cute cupcakes to the ‘Burgh’s best hotdog.
We think we put on about a stone in two days. Totally worth it.
If by the second day you’re not a rolling butterball of food, then make sure you indulge in of one of America’s greatest traditions by going to a baseball game and cheering on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC stadium. Even if you don’t have a hecking clue as to what’s going on, the skits between innings are super fun.
The highlight is definitely the Great Pierogi Race after the seventh inning, where giant pastys race around the pitch. The good money’s on Oliver Onion (OH GOD MOARE FOOD!)
8.Get drunk in a church
Food Sport. Beer. The holy trifecta, and Pittsburghers take their craft beer super seriously. In Shadyside, just a short walk from the Ace Hotel is The Urban Tap, with over 100 beers on tap, and very instagrammable cacti and geodesic cubes in its “urban garden”.
But make a pilgrimage back over to Lawrenceville to The Church Brew Works, a former Roman Catholic Church transformed into a microbrewery of awesomeness. Amen.
'MTVTravelled With…''visitPITTSBURGH (shout out to Tinsy for her excellent tour skills), and stayed in the Ace Hotel.We flew with WOW air;flights to Pittsburgh from London Gatwick via Reykjavik start from £139.99 (one-way, WOW Basic Package).'
'By Becky Suter'