You could probably spend a week in Pittsburgh just going to museums. You can visit the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (do you see a pattern?), the Children’s Museum, the Frick, the Phipps, and a host of other attractions.
How is a seeker of culture supposed to narrow it down? For me, I decided to keep it within walking distance of our hotel. Easy.
This took me to the North Shore area yesterday. This neighborhood is most obviously the home of PNC Park and Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers, respectively.
But my destination was the Andy Warhol Museum. Born in Pittsburgh (a new fact for me), Andy Warhol’s name immediately calls up images of soup cans or other well-known artworks. But the museum did its job just right: I left with a much greater appreciation for the breadth of his work, and a recognition of the huge role that his vision played in culture as I’ve known it for my whole life. And I felt like the exhibits (seven floors of them!) did an fine job of introducing a visitor to the person he was, his enthusiasm for every aspect of his life. I didn’t expect to feel like I had anything in common with him, but I left feeling like I would have liked to have met him. (And did you know he was on the 200th episode of The Love Boat?)
Though I walked through the museum thinking, whoa, I am going to shop the heck out of this gift shop, I ended up just picking up a yearly planner that includes some of his quotes, so I can be enthusiastic all through 2019.
From the Warhol, it’s just a short walk to the National Aviary, where birds literally come flying at your head (though Aviary volunteer Robin explained that it’s not personal, they just don’t have much sense of personal space).
You can see the penguins being fed, and for a $50 fee, you can get in there with volunteer Sarah and feed them yourself. Not for me, thank you.
And you can also be a virtual reality bird.
I was satisfied to just look from afar.
All of this culture made me hungry, so I refueled at Primanti Brothers, a Pittsburgh institution. The restaurant is famous for piling French fries and coleslaw on their sandwiches and believe me, it is even more delicious than you think. (To everyone who recommended this, I heartily thank you.)
After this light repast, I hauled myself to one last museum stop, the Fort Pitt Museum. It is jam-packed with the history of how the point of land that became Pittsburgh was hotly contested between the English, the French, and the Indian people who were there first. From the museum, I strolled around Point State Park, the former site of Fort Duquesne (from the days when the French ran the show in the mid-1750s), but by then it was getting quite windy and have I mentioned it’s chilly here? It was time to call it a day.