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Aug 12, 2008 11:10 PM

3day trip to pittsburgh-where should i eat,stay?

thinking of a 3 night package to visit pittsburgh and wont have a car.What restaurants do local chowhounds recommend that can be accessed by public transportation.Should i stay downtown,or are there certain areas to stay in that are better for nightlife/safety for visiting restaurants?I believe the package hotel is located several miles from downtown.Should i prefer suburbs?North side or south side?.Does anyone do culinary tours,or historic tours?Thank you in advance.

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  1. Hi Mike,
    Could you tell us at which hotel/area you will be staying so we can help you better?


    1. I wouldn't recommend staying the Suburbs, it wouldn't give you the full "Pittsburgh" effect, especially if you're looking for historic tours. I agree with the other reply, it would definitely help if you first chose where to stay, then we could make appropriate recommendations.

      1. Location of the hotel is key. Public transportation from the S/N/W 'burbs isn't all that great especially after recent cutbacks although the East areas are more urban with numerous routes. The one South burb exception I can think of would be if your package hotel happens to be Crowne Plaza South in Upper St. Clair. That's within walking distance of the T (light rail) and can get you to restaurants in both downtown Pittsburgh and Mt. Lebanon.

        Bus schedules, etc. here:

        Pittsburgh is pretty safe. The only areas that might be questionable don't have hotels.

        If you're only in town three days, a suggested itinerary for dinner might be downtown, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. Those three areas offer the highest concentration of CH-worthy options. Shadyside and Sq. Hill are also fun neighborhoods to walk around with numerous shops and cafes so you could spend a hour or two at either ahead of lunch or dinner. You might also try East Liberty (semi-walkable from Shadyside, but can be very confusing to a visitor), which is up and coming with some funkier ethnic places and the Red Room.

        You might also consider the Strip District for lunch, another area that's fun to walk, but I'd do that in the daytime. If you're visiting on a weekday, I'd add Carson St. as a lunch or dinner option, but I wouldn't go out of my to recommend it on Friday or Saturday nights as it can get a bit rowdy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Panini Guy

          There is a Holiday Inn Express on the Southside end of 10th. Could be a good location with decent access to Carson St and points South as well as Downtown.
          Cafe Du Jour comes to mind, but no shortage on Southside.
          I would encourage Strip District for Saturday morning for any combination of breakfast , brunch or lunch. Pamela's on 21st, Enrico's, La Prima. Sq Hill & Shadyside including "Eastside" the new fusion of Shadyside with East Liberty.
          Girasole for Italian and Mulberry St for Gelato, upstairs. There's also a new Hampton b/w Strip and Allegheny River walkable to downtown as well as Strip and Heinz History Ctr.

        2. Downtown isn't the most interesting place in Pittsburgh, so you might have more fun (and save money? I'm not sure I've never rented a hotel room here) staying somewhere else. In any case the city is pretty small so it's not hard to get around by bus-- try Google transit to figure out which ones to take. I actually would recommend using a bike though-- I bike all over the city and its much faster and easier than trying the buses. In general the city is pretty safe.

          definitely check out the strip district (smallman street/penn ave) on weekend mornings for Pamela's and street vendors. the south side (e. carson street) has a ton of bars and bar food-- Primanti's is classic Pittsburgh but I don't think it's that great. Dozen cupcakes (squirrel hill on murray ave or lawrenceville on butler street) has the most amazing cupcakes ever. One of my favorite restaurants is a Middle Eastern place called Ali Baba (Oakland on Craig Street). If you're looking for something fancy i've really been wanting to try Legume Bistro (regent Square on Braddock Ave.). I've heard really good things about it. The Church Brew works is also supposed to be really good. Also a lot of places in Oakland have half-price food 11 pm to 1 am (Mad Mex on Atwood has tasty burritos).

          I've been going to school here for 2 years, and I absolutely love this city-- be sure to check out all of the neighborhoods as well as the museums, Phipps Conservatory, and the Mattress Factory (an interesting contemporary art museum on the North side though this one is harder to get to by bus but is also very close to the Mexican War Streets which are really cool), the Duquesne incline is historic and fun with a great view of the city (beware of restaurants on Mount Washington though they are overpriced and gross). There are tons of cute local businesses and coffee shops all over the place. They do those "ride the ducks" tours where the bus can go in the water and on the street but I don't know anyone who's done that.

          Anyways, these are some of my favorite things to do. I hope you have a good trip!

          1. We just got back from Pittsburgh so I thought I'd chime in.

            We stayed at the Westin convention center location which was a good area for exploring the strip and we were able to walk downtown and to the stadiums from here (a longish but nice walk). The Original Fish restaurant in the hotel is a fine in a pinch but I wouldn't recommend it otherwise we had a very very late meal there the night we arrived which I found overpriced and forgettable.

            In the strip we had a great breakfast at the counter at Deluca's, perfectly done eggs, crispy (just shy of burnt) hashbrowns and kielbasa and raisin bread toast. Bread slices in Pittsburgh are huge, like texas toast!

            Kaya in the strip was great for dinner, we loved everything we had but the rib starter (big enough for an entree), seared scallops and the jerk chicken with manchego cheese grits were stand outs. Service was friendly, drinks were good and they use lots of local produce and meats - I would definitely recommend at least one meal here.

            Primantis in the strip looked like a lot of fun but we had our Primantis sandwich at the ballpark. This is a sandwich worth trying at least once but I would recommend sharing one. The ballpark is great and worth going to if you get the chance - lots of food options.

            Steel City Diner on Penn by the Westin - we had an enormous but really tasty breakfast here. Great red skinned hashbrowns! I wouldn't travel for this diner, but if you are in the area it was tasty and extremly reasonable. Entertaining people watching as well.

            We took a cab to E. Carson Street one evening and also took a cab to Duquesne Incline. Buses look like a great way to travel here - definitely look up the routes beforehand - there are no posted route maps by stops.

            E Carson Street has over 20 blocks of bars, pubs and night spots. We chose Pipers Pub which I'd recommend for the amazing selection of scotches and the Blackthorn Dry Cider. Friendly bartender and clients and without any frat vibe. We had no problem getting a cab back to our hotel from this area. This was a more vibrant night life area than the strip district.

            The Original Oyster House in Market Square is worth going to for the fish sandwich. They have a monster fish sandwich on the menu - we got the regular and it was very big and very tasty. The onion rings were also quite good here.

            I found the Duquesne incline a bit terrifying and would recommend the Monaghella incline instead. Station Square is at its base - the Grand Concourse restaurant was beautiful but we did not eat there - I'd recommend at least a drink at the bar to see the interior and then stroll across the nearest bridge back downtown.

            We did not have a problem getting around on foot and people really were super friendly. Just one note, people who are not used to urban areas might feel a bit less comfortable in some parts - to get from the convention center are to the strip district you walk under an overpass and freight lines and throughsome warehouse/parking lot areas until you get to the main area, we are from NY and were not fazed by this.

            Enjoy your trip it is a great city to visit!