If you missed my Instagram Stories this weekend, you’d know that my college friends came to visit me this weekend in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I kind of felt like the Bachelorette doing a hometown date. I’m the only one in my group of friends from Pennsylvania and for four years, I’ve told them about how much I loved the city and all the things I loved to do and all the places I love to eat. After graduation and before we all branch out towards the rest of our lives, I thought what better way to celebrate graduation and hang out with each other than to show them around my city.
My friends came from Virginia, where all but one of them are from. None of them had ever been to Pittsburgh so I knew the weekend had to start out strong. We started out the weekend on Friday night. I thought the perfect way for them to see the city was from the top. We rode the Duquesne Incline up to the Mount Washington overlook, where the view of Downtown and The Point is unobstructed and beautiful. None of my friends had ever heard of an incline, much less ridden one. If you don’t know, it’s a little trolly-like car on a track that runs up and down the side of Mount Washington. It’s less than a five-minute ride to the top. The ride is a little shaky but thrilling as you climb higher and higher and see the city slowly come into view. When I saw their faces at the top, I knew the weekend was going to be amazing.
That night, we went to eat at one of my favorite restaurants. The first time I went there was with my mom and I all but fell in love with the place. Ever since then, I’ve given rave reviews and knew I had to have my friends eat at The Yard. It has gourmet grilled cheeses that honestly may be the most delicious sandwiches you’ll ever have. Personally, my favorite is the Lafferty, Daniel with a side of their macaroni and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I think I might have to go there for dinner tonight.
The next morning, we set out early in an attempt to see as much of Pittsburgh as possible. We started with breakfast at our hotel, the Hyatt House in Shadyside before beginning our tour of Pittsburgh. We started out at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History, which are in the same building and one ticket buys you access to both museums. One of my friends wanted to start with the dinosaurs and on her insistence, we headed right there. We made our way through natural history, going from dinosaurs to prehistoric animals to animals of North America and Africa to ancient civilizations like Egypt.
We then moved to the art museum. Starting in modern and ending up in the classics, we walked through, taking pictures in front of the art, admiring the beauty, and laughing at the captions that we came up with.
My favorite exhibits are always the modern art. I love the abstractness and sometimes walk through the galleries and imagine them hanging in my future house. A girl can dream, I guess.
After the museum, we just down the street to the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus. It’s a historic Late Gothic Revival building that kind of looks like Hogwards inside. I had talked up the Nationality Rooms so much to my friends that it was one of the things they insisted we had to do. The Nationality Rooms are classrooms decorated in the style of classrooms of different countries. They represent the ethnicities of immigrants that have settled and have impacted Pittsburgh. Each one is absolutely gorgeous and it’s kind of amazing that there are classes held in these rooms. And, fun fact, this is the building I took my first writing class in.
Then, we went to the 36th of the 42 floors in the Cathedral. The elevator ride was a little shaky and our ears popped on the way up, but the view from the top was so stunning. You can see all of Oakland and hills and hills out to the horizon.
For lunch, we ate at a Pittsburgh classic: The Dirty O. Of course, I didn’t call it that when they asked where we should go to eat; I didn’t want to scare them too much. I just called it The Original. Their hot dogs are near world famous and a number of fries they give you can fill you up alone. We ate a late lunch before headed down to the Strip for Pittsburgh souvenirs and to Lawrenceville to my favorite boutique. Then we headed back to our hotel before dinner.
I had to take them to another of my favorite restaurants (honestly, I have a lot of them). We went to Burgatory, a place with “helluva burgers and heavenly shakes”. While we waited for our table, we hung out by the river on the North Shore. I had told them about Burgatory’s spiked milkshakes and that’s why we had to go. Their hard shakes are just as good as their classic ones. I got the Choco’s Taco, which was absolutely delicious and I don’t regrat trying something new.
The sun was just starting to set over the river, which gave everything this gorgeous glow. We laughed, talked, and took tons of pictures. From the bench we were sitting at, we could see The Point and Mount Washington and all the boats floating down the river.
That night we went to Hidden Harbor, a tiki bar with whimsical drinks (ours came on fire!) The next morning we went to my favorite brunch place (too many good restaurants to call just one my favorite). Another Pittsburgh classic, Pamela’s Dinner serves crepe-styled pancakes—amoung other delicious breakfast foods—that are a favorite of locals, visitors, and even former President, Barack Obama (seriously, look it up!). My friends thought it was just as good as he does.
The weekend was short but so much fun. These girls have me missing college but thankful that I have made some of my best friends and so many great memories. After four years in Virginia, I’m so glad I got to share my hometown with them. Love these girls more than a blog post could ever explain.
• Photos by Anna Hornberger •