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our online travel companion to Spirit Magazine

The best Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, Art, Cultural Attractions, and just plain Fun Stuff to do and see in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

HOTELS: PITTSBURGH

Stay at the Westin Convention Center, a 616-room hotel with spectacular river views, located within walking distance of the upgraded Point State Park and the Strip District. 
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Book a room within walking distance of the site of Forbes Field at the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Place. 
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Get a room at the Priory Hotel, a former 19th-century monastery with a courtyard garden and authentic period furniture. 
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RESTAURANTS: PITTSBURGH

Swig a draft at the popular college bar Hemingway’s Cafe, where pics of customers line the walls. 
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Fill up at the original Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh’s most famous sandwich shop, located in the heart of the Strip.
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Sip a cup of Joe at the Beehive, a funky South Side coffee shop with local art for sale.
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ART: PITTSBURGH

Visit the Mattress Factory, a popular gallery filled with room-sized contemporary art. 
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Check out the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Shore. In the first-floor gallery, you’ll find several of Warhol’s iconic self-portraits. Take the elevator to the fifth floor to check out his most famous early works; recent exhibits included the signature prints of Marilyn Monroe. Don’t miss “Silver Clouds,” a large room filled with floating silver balloons on the fourth floor. 
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SHOPPING: PITTSBURGH

Browse Caliban Book Shop for your next big read. The store contains more than 25,000 tomes—count ‘em—including first editions and leather-bound classics.

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CULTURAL/HISTORIC: PITTSBURGH

Located in the Oakland neighborhood, the University of Pittsburgh’s 42-story Cathedral of Learning—the tallest educational facility in the Western Hemisphere—houses 27 nationality rooms that draw tourists from the four corners of the globe. Each of the rooms highlights an era in a given country’s history. To get the best look at these multicultural treats, head to the Welsh room. Dedicated in June, the room is the newest of the bunch and resembles a chapel from late 18th-century Wales. Poplar beams support the roof and a glass case holds a chalice, a Bible, and several other authentic artifacts. Bay windows backlight a pulpit that looks out on several rows of pine benches. Go down the hall to the Ukrainian, Japanese, and Early American rooms. Quo Vadis, a student group, offers tours. Afterward, reflect on your travels over an Italian soda in the basement cafe.
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Gawk at 20,000 square feet of exhibits, including Satchel Paige’s baseball glove, at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
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The first phase of a projected $42 million renovation of Point State Park is now complete. Commissioned to coincide with the city’s 250th anniversary celebration, renovation to “the Point” includes improvements to the park’s lawn, a new concert stage, better lighting, repaved pedestrian walkways, and, come 2010, a link to the city’s Monongahela Wharf and Eliza Furnace Trail. For the best view of the park, start at the westernmost end where the signature fountain jets water 150 feet high and marks the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers that form the Ohio. From there, take a short walk to the blockhouse. Built in 1764, the fortification is the oldest structure in Western Pennsylvania.
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FUN STUFF: PITTSBURGH

Hit the Rink at PPG Place near the Point starting on Nov. 21 for outdoor ice skating.
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Cheer on the home team at Sports Rock Cafe, an entertainment complex in the Strip with TV screens in every booth.
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Today you can eyeball the bases in the same ballpark as the great negro league stars at Josh Gibson Field located in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Formerly known as Ammon Field, the historic ballpark once hosted the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Josh Gibson, the team’s biggest star, hit nearly 800 home runs in his career (trumping even Babe Ruth’s 714). Currently undergoing a $300,000 renovation, the field will include new bleachers, scoreboards, and a broadcast booth in time for the 2009 youth baseball season.
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