President’s Day Weekend is a great time for juniors to check out a college or two. This weekend I took advantage of the opportunity and made the four-hour drive to look at the University of Pittsburgh.
Right after school on Friday, my mother, father and I went from 60-degree, sunny Bethesda up the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a below-freezing Pittsburgh covered in fog and snow. Spanish teacher and Pittsburgh native Michele Traficante gave me a few great recommendations on how to spend my 36 hours in the ‘Burgh including a trip to the Duquesne Incline and a sandwich at Primanti Brother’s. There are a lot of great things to do in Pittsburgh — here are a few my family experienced.
Friday, 7 p.m.:
Our first meal of many was at a family-run Italian restaurant called La Tavola, a family-friendly gem tucked away on Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington. The calamari and tomato dish that we started off with was a revelation. For my main course I ordered a phenomenal chicken breast with a savory red wine sauce. Portions are large so I recommend you share a few dishes.
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.
The next day we woke up and walked out the hotel door to Heinz Field and PNC Park. With its remarkable view of the city’s famous yellow bridges and skyline, PNC Park is one of the MLB’s nicest parks. PNC Park and Heinz Field, which are located right along the Alleghany River, are unique venues to see successful teams play. After checking out the stadiums it was time to head to Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh is.
Saturday, 9 a.m:
First, we attended an information session followed by a one hour tour of the campus with a “Pitt Pathfinder,” or tour guide. On our tour we saw all of the school’s impressive landmarks and the school’s main attraction: The Cathedral of Learning, a 36-story office building with an incredible view of the city.
Saturday, 11:30 a.m.:
After two and a half hours of touring it was time for lunch at Primanti Brother’s, the Pittsburgh delicacy with five sandwich shop locations across the city. After doing a lot of research before our trip, I made sure to get “The Pitts-burger,” a greasy sandwich stacked with cole slaw, fresh French fries, tomatoes and cheese-covered steak. If you have the guts and the hunger, go for this sandwich.
Saturday, 1 p.m.:
If you’ve ever seen a postcard of Pittsburgh, you’re familiar with the spectacular view from the top of Mt. Washington. At the loading station, we boarded and rode a trolley car dating back to 1877 up an 800-foot incline to the top of Mt. Washington. We were able to see a fantastic view for just $5. There was an observation deck for taking photos of the city and a museum where we could buy souvenirs at the top of the incline.
Saturday, 2 p.m.:
We then traveled back down the mountain and drove to the North Shore area by our hotel to the Andy Warhol Museum. Warhol, a Pittsburgh native, was known for his pop art creations. You can see seven spectacular floors of videos, paintings and photos mostly done by Warhol. Admission to the museum is a little steep, but I would highly recommend it to art-lovers.
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.:
One of the hottest new restaurants in Regent Square, Pittsburgh is called Root 174, which uses interesting flavors to make unique dishes. Some of the entrees include bone marrow, squid ink pasta and vegan meatloaf. There are plenty of basic options too, like a creamy roasted tomato soup and chicken breast with kimchi. Root 174 is very small and is difficult to walk into without a reservation, so make sure you have one in advance.
Sunday, 9 a.m.:
And then it was time to go. Whether you’re interested in Carnegie Mellon and Pitt or if you never see yourself living in Pittsburgh at all, I highly recommend making a quick visit. In just 36 hours I made a lot of great memories and ate some of the best meals I’ve ever had. But use caution when you go to Pittsburgh, because this city will “steel” your heart.