Why I Love Pittsburgh in Five Pictures or Less

I left DC in November to move to Pittsburgh, which is not the ideal time to explore a new city in the Western Pennsylvania, but yesterday, March 18 was perfect. It was 65 and sunny! It was so warm it felt like a light weather massage all day. The sun gave me some more freckles and my hair started to redden around my helmet.  I rode my sometimes trusty, very tiny, yet extremely heavy bicycle all around Pittsburgh’s North Side, my super glamorous side of town.

One reason why I love Pittsburgh: I pay $250 a month in rent and I live a five minute bike ride to the Andy Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, the Children’s Museum, the Mattress Factory (a museum of contemporary art that presents art you can get into — room-sized environments, created by in-residence artists!), a baseball field, if I’m feeling summery. I’m also just a short ride across a bridge to the Strip District, the market district packed with yummy foods from all over the world.

I rode my bike this afternoon to visit a tasty vegetarian coffee shop called Hoi Polloi. I ordered a yummy chai that came out all scaldy, the way I like it, cooking my insides for a minute and sending flavor everywhere. The grilled cheese sandwich was less than $4. It even came with tomato! I asked if I could add anything else and was suddenly moved to add a slice of mango, something I’d never tried before. It was … quite good. the mango was a bit slippery, but it was an interesting compliment to the sweet tomato. And for less than less than $4, impressive.

They have a neat bike rack outside the coffee shop. It looks clever, but is practically useless against theft.

We used it anyway:

Cute, but structurally unsound

(PS: Pittsburgh Councilmembers, vote for bike parking next week, and businesses, add more reliable racks! If someone stole my bike from this rickety rack, I’d be without my main mode of transportation.)

I was planning to ride to the Andy Warhol Museum to write in the museum cafe after lunch. The Museum is close to my house and the cafe has cheap tasty coffee with unlimited refills. So you can work there surrounded by art for $2 plus tip while only 40 feet away from a real film photo booth! But I forgot the power cord to my computer which only has three minutes of battery life…  so I decided to ride my bike around the neighborhood, to get a look around on the way back to my house.

I slowly pedaled my clunky steel bicycle, while the wind blew on my arms and in my hair. I could feel my legs getting stronger again after a winter stuck inside, and I was appreciating the sound of a variety of birds, and the occasional flowers starting to bloom.

Spring is wonderful, but it’s much easier to appreciate every little warm lively detail after a long, cold, hard, dreary, dark, wet, endless winter.

Soon I was in this neighborhood:

Mexican War Streets Neighborhood

Enjoy this Imported Historical Blip about the Mexican War Streets: In 1848 General William Robinson, Jr. (later Mayor of Allegheny) plotted out the Mexican War Streets immediately following his return from the Mexican-American War, which annexed Texas and California. With patriotic fervor, he named the streets after the war’s battles (Buena Vista. Monterey. Resaca, Palo Alto) and military leaders (Taylor, Sherman, Jackson).

Further:
Nearly all the architectural types popular in the Victorian era are represented in the Mexican War Streets: Italianate, Gothic Revival, Richardson Romanesque, Empire and Queen Anne. Wow.

I rode by this mysterious house:

I could study the details of this house for a week.

This magical place is called “Randyland” and there are more pictures of it here on my shiny new flickr account.

But I thought I should keep exploring.

More pictures to come soon-ish. I am working on a new flickr account, but my computer is really old so it takes about a day to upload a couple of pictures.

I’m off for the tomorrow to spend the weekend celebrating wacky, functional, handmade, tall bicycles in Chicago.

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6 Comments

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  1. As a recent transplant to the city myself, I love these kinds of of personal “maps” of different bits of the city. There’s so much to see and it’s nice to get a flavor of the areas I’m unfamiliar with. Your blog in general has kept me abreast of things I would have otherwise missed. Totally glad that a friend turned me onto it. Cheers from the East End!

    • Wow, thanks!

      The North Side is fantastic and beautiful and so cheap. Although it could use some more tasty restaurants. You can see the skyline of downtown from anywhere and are surrounded by hills. You can ride / walk over any of the bridges to the Strip / downtown and stop for a scenic overlook at any point!

      I love riding across a bridge, across the Allegheny River, to go food shopping in the Strip District, and I get all of my food from about seven different markets, all within a few feet of each other. (Yum, Chicago Mix at Pittsburgh Popcorn!)

      Want to plan a ride with me? I want to have one for new people to explore a bunch of different areas and free things. Maybe with several people contributing their favorite part of the city to explore.

      • I lived in a tiny apartment on Beech Ave. (one of the prettiest historic streets in the city) for 2 years and it was nothing short of magical. Rent – about 200 bucks a month! The bike ride from nside, on that nearly deserted road (River Ave.?) along the Allegheny trail that spits you out onto the 31st bridge was so perfect, if you haven’t discovered that yet – get on it! You’re right though, the lack of food in the Northside was the worst. After 9:00 PM the lack of options was shockingly bad, and before 9, well it was still pretty bad. Anyway – I like your site, keep up the good work!

  2. PNC Park on the Allegheny!

  3. Wow! I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. I am a female cyclist and am planning to come to Pittsburgh for business in late June. I enjoy the path less traveled, I will look for places like the ones you have photographed. I will also begin to document my love affair with my bicycle and will send to you when it is done. Have a great day.

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