Strip District#2 in Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh
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- 5.0Food Scene
What was once a primarily industrial neighborhood is now packed with restaurants, international markets, museums and shops. The Strip District, which runs alongside the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, measures only half a square mile, but it has plenty of attractions and eateries to fill up your day (and your stomach).
Chow down on one of Pittsburgh's staple French fry-topped sandwiches at Primanti Brothers, wait in line for a tasty breakfast at Deluca's Diner or savor the famous pancakes from Pamela's P&G Diner. You won't find many national chain restaurants in this area, and visitors say the independently run and family-owned establishments give the neighborhood its authentic Pittsburgh charm.
If you're on the hunt for new ingredients, don't miss the chance to explore markets such as Pennsylvania Macaroni Company for Italian imports, WFH Oriental Food Market for Asian treats and Reyna Foods for Mexican groceries and freshly made burritos, tamales and empanadas. Travelers appreciate the unique ingredients available here that aren't sold in standard grocery stores.
The Strip District's wide array of cultural influences stems from its history as an immigrant neighborhood. Immigrants flocked to the area in the 19th-century because the neighborhood's ideal position along the river meant there were many job opportunities at iron mills, steel factories and glass factories. Visitors who want to learn about the area's unique history can visit the district's Heinz History Center, a Smithsonian-affiliated institution which details more than two centuries of Pittsburgh history. The Strip District is also home to theaters and art galleries, such as Contemporary Craft, which features contemporary art with a focus on cultural diversity.
When you're in the mood for some shopping, check out Roxanne's Dried Flowers for pottery, soaps, plants, aromatherapy candles and floral arrangements. Design lovers can browse eclectic home furniture at Hot Haute Hot, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans can buy the iconic "Terrible Towel" at popular sports store Yinzers in the Burgh. When walking around the Strip District, it'll be impossible to forget you're in Steelers territory, visitors say.
Typically, the Strip District is most crowded in the morning and afternoon when people are out and about for breakfast and lunch. Previous visitors warn it may take a while to find the great spots through all the hustle and bustle, but it's worth it. Or, consider making the trip on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Many advise parking a few blocks away from the busy main streets then wandering around. There is street parking around the neighborhood and many parking garages in the lower and mid-Strip (for a fee). The Strip District stretches from 11th Street to 33rd Street, and the shopping area is three blocks wide with most eateries, shops and attractions on Liberty Avenue, Penn Avenue and Smallman Street. To learn more about the Strip District neighborhood, visit the Pittsburgh tourism website.
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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