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Pittsburgh

A city of contrast and texture

Pittsburgh

San Francisco

Jul 22, 2013

The windows of the Greyhound bus destined for Pittsburgh gradually shifted from darkness to the first beginnings of a sunrise.

We’d been on buses, and waiting in depots, for what like a lot longer than the 12-or-so hours it had been in reality.

Suddenly I saw a green blur outside the bus window to my right, the sun had well and truly risen now.

We soon passed over a bridge in to the Pittsburgh CBD.

Despite the lack of proper sleep, the new morning and the beautiful city, filled me with energy and excitement for the potential of a new day.

Brimming with excitement (and also very eager to be off a bus), it seemed to take forever to reach the depot.

But finally it did, and we exhaustedly clambered off the bus.

Tired as we were, we still had to reach our hotel.

We got ourselves oriented, and headed through the early morning city.

Pittsburgh was a beautiful, quiet city. Along with Denver, it had a quietness to it that reminds me a little of Perth.

Early morning now, there were a few pedestrians and commuters about, going about their day and heading to work.

After about 15 minutes of walking we reached the south end of the CBD, and headed through Armstrong tunnel.

We came to a bridge suspended over the Monongahela River, that would connect us to the south side of Pittsburgh, where our hotel was.

Our hotel was not far after the bridge. Gratefully, we arrived.

Holiday Inn

20 S 10th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
7 Aug
Check in
9 Aug
Check out

Of course, this was around 8 in the morning, and as exhausted as we were, we could not check in until that afternoon.

Yawning, we relieved ourselves of the burden of our luggage with the hotel reception, and set off to kick around Pittsburgh until check-in opened later that afternoon.

Figuring out where to go next

We decided to head off and explore a bit further to the south (the direction in which Richard is helpfully pointing at, above).

We continued down 10th street, and then crossed on to E Carson St.

The south side of Pittsburgh strongly reminded me of Brunswick Street and Smith Street in Fitzroy, Victoria.

It had a similar vibe, with renewed life from a mix of traditional and modern tenenants, occupying and sharing the inherited space.

We found a nearby diner for what was one of the best breakfasts we randomly stumbled across.

O’Leary’s Restaurant

1412 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$$
Price
American
Diner

It was a charming diner, filled with locals having friendly chats with the staff, who seemed to know everyone in the establishment (us aside!).

After a hearty breakfast, we headed to a nearby Starbucks to grab a coffee, for the much needed caffeine kick.

We sat at the Starbucks for a little while, recharging.

After which, we explored a couple of vintage and boutique stores. One of the shops container a Super Soaker XP90, which I remember my sister and I had received for Christmas in Australia one year growing up.

Eventually we wandered back towards our hotel, and decided to continue over the bridge and in to the city to continue exploring.

We got our bearings, and headed up a series of escalators to get to a train station platform.

A short train ride later, we emerged in the midst of Pittsburgh CBD.

We wandered through the city and arrived at the Point State Park.

We headed under the bridge, towards a fountain in the center of the park.

After taking in the park for a little while, we decided to whittle away the early afternoon at Fort Pitt Museum.

Fort Pitt Museum

601 Commonwealth Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
$
Price
American
Museum

The museum was surprisingly large, with plenty of historic artwork and recreated scenes. Our tourguide was very knowledgeable and walked us through the various display, giving us a rich account of the history of Pittsburgh and Fort Pitt.


It was now early afternoon, so we decided to head back towards our hotel and check in.

One train ride, and a walk through the south end of the city later, we arrived.

That evening, after we’d packed and had a quick rest in our rooms, we headed out in search of dinner.

We couldn’t all decide what to get for dinner as a group. So in the end, Irwin, Butcher, and I opted for a Middle Eastern place on E Carlson st.

Kassab’s Restaurant

1207 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$
Price
Middle Eastern
Restaurant

The food here was delicious; the lamb gyro was incredibly full of flavour.

After a very filling meal, we met up with the others at a nearby bar.

Jack’s Bar

1117 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$
Price
Dive
Bar

We particularly enjoyed the Blue Moon and Summer Shandy beers.

Many drinks later, we returned back to the hotel for bed.


The next morning, I awoke quite early, and headed for the breakfast buffet.

It was starting to get a little late in the morning now, and the others were still resting. Approaching 11am and feeling a bit bored of waiting, I decided to head out by myself and explore E Carlson street again.

Serious Fitzroy vibes

I continued down E Carson street, noticing a shop I thought the rest of the crew would like to check out; a game exchange shop.

By now, the rest of the group were up, so I headed back to the hotel to meet up with them.

We headed back down E Carson street, and headed in to The Exchange.

The Exchange

1709 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$
Price
Second hand
Game store

Inside was a wide variety of second hand music, media, videogames, and more miscellaneous paraphenalia.

We spent a long time searching up and down the various ailses.

We spoke to one of the people behind the register. She was surprised to see people from overseas traveling through Pittsburgh—it kind of was a self-deprecating tone that felt familiar as native Perth folks.

After a good look around, it was time to get some lunch.

Fat Head’s Saloon

1805 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$$
Price
Beer and Burger
Brewpub

We ended up at Fatheads, which paired craft beers with some very excellent burgers.

After lunch, we headed to a nearby barber shop, where Irwin had decided to get a haircut.

South Side Barber Shop

1509 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
$$
Price
Barber
Place

Irwin left the barber shop looking a fair bit more like the photo of Abe Lincoln on the US Five Dollar bill.

We headed to a nearby Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Drive Thru ATMs. God bless America

Later that afternoon, we headed out to explore the city at night.

We explored the nearby Duquesne University.

We headed off from the university, and continued to explore the city.

Soon, the sun started to set.

We reached one of the bridges out of the city center, and took some photos night arrived around us.

We continued back through the city, lights twinkling.

We headed through the darkened city streets towards Point State Park.

A little while later, we started our trek back to the hotel.

We grabbed some M&M ice cream cookie sandwiches for a late night dessert, after a long night out.


The next morning, we checked out of our hotel, and lugged our luggage back through the city center towards the Greyhound station.

Soon enough, we boarded our Greyhound bus bound for Washington.

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