Pittsburgh's Market Square#12 in Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh
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- 3.5Food Scene
Market Square is an open public space surrounded by restaurants and shops, located at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Market Street. The area has long been a meeting spot for Pittsburgh residents and it's where the city's first courthouse and first jail were built. Nowadays, the pedestrian-only square is the grounds for many community-building events and festivals.
Some of Market Square's typical summer events include farmers markets, fashion truck pop-ups, outdoor yoga classes, outdoor dance classes and KidsPlay – an active, educational program series for children hosted in the square twice a week. Residents and visitors appreciate that there is always something happening in the square, and they say it's one of the few places in the city conducive to outdoor strolling, shopping and people-watching.
If you're visiting Pittsburgh between mid-November and Christmas, plan to explore the Peoples Gas Holiday Christmas Market. Inspired by the German tradition, this holiday pop-up event features live music performances, a house where you can take photos with Santa and many wooden stalls selling unique gifts and winter snacks. If you're looking for more winter activity, you can also head about a block south to skate at the ice rink at PPG Place.
Because of its position in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Market Square has also been the backdrop for many larger events, from Steelers rallies to political demonstrations. To see what events are happening in Market Square during your visit, check out the online schedule.
You'll also find a variety of restaurants around the square. Visitors can enjoy upscale Italian at Sienna on the Square, Creole cuisine at NOLA on the Square and oysters and other seafood from The Original Oyster House – the oldest bar and restaurant in the city. However, some travelers say the square is smaller than they expected and more compact than central squares you might encounter in other cities.
There are limited on street parking options near Market Square, but there are plenty of garages in the area. The square is also easy to reach via public transportation: It's a short walk from the Wood Street, Gateway and Steel Plaza metro stations and many buses stop nearby as well. It's free to stroll around the area, and many public events held in the square are free to enjoy, too. You'll find people in the area throughout the day and into the night, but hours of operation vary by individual shop or restaurant.
More Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh
#1 Duquesne Incline
The Duquesne Incline is one of two uphill trolleys — and it has been carting visitors up Mount Washington since the 1870s. After falling on hard times, the Duquesne Incline was lovingly restored in 1963. But why should you visit the trolley in this area instead of the Monongahela one?
This one transports you to an ideal vantage point in Mount Washington, directly above where Pittsburgh's three rivers collide. There's a large viewing platform that extends just over the cliff and on a clear day, the view from the top makes for some excellent photographs. However, some recent visitors say you should wait and hop on the incline at night since it's less crowded and you can see the illuminated city below. Once you get to the top, aside from admiring the view, you can take some time to check out the small museum with some fun facts on Pittsburgh's history and photographs, or grab a souvenir from the gift shop. There are a few restaurants near the upper station as well, though travelers say they're pretty pricey and you're better off heading back downtown to grab a bite to eat.
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