There's really something special about Christmas in the Burgh. From community events to holly jolly dive bars, here's what's on my agenda this season!
1. Taste of lawrenceville: Miracle on 41st street
What could be better than food, brews, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus? Miracle on 41st Street is going down in Lawrenceville on December 2nd and it's the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.
2. joy of cookies tour
I am allllllll about shopping local. This year I've decided that every gift I purchase will be from a Pittsburgh-based shop. And The Joy of Cookies Tour is the perfect opportunity to cross everyone off my list! I have a entire blog post about this event on the way. Stay tuned!
3. nationality rooms
I might be slightly bias because I'm a proud Pitt grad, but the Cathedral of Learning Nationality Rooms are an absolute must-see during the holidays. The decorations are gorgeous!
4. butterwood bake consortium
Cake cake cake! *Insert Rihanna chorus* The Butterwood Bake Consortium is a dessert cafe that sells cake and pie by the slice... and rumor has it sipping chocolate! AKA the most chocolatey hot chocolate of all time. Enough said.
Because it's important.
6. The Hip hop nutcracker at benedum center
Fun fact: Growing up I LOVED dancing. I took classes at my hometown studio, was in Show Choir for 6 years, and choreographed several performances for my high school dance team. I have such an appreciation for art of dance, so I was stoked to see The Hip Hop Nutcracker was coming to Pittsburgh. Tickets are purchased!
7. bob's garage
Bob's Garage is a TOTAL dive bar, but it's a dive bar that's decked out in Christmas decorations. Sign this little elf up! Cheers!
What else should I add to my list this year? Drop me a comment below!
Every summer, Heinz hosts and sponsors the most Pittsburgh of all Pittsburgh festivals. Held on the Roberto Clemente Bridge by PNC Park, Picklesburgh is a three day celebration of all things pickled! It sounds odd, but this much-anticipated event draws thousands of people to enjoy food, pickles, live music, pickles, views… and more pickles. From pickle-themed cocktails to pickle flavored cupcakes (not my thing, but hey to each their own!), Picklesburgh is an event you’ve gotta check off your summer bucket list. And the best part? It’s totally free to check out! If you’re not exactly a fan of pickles, it’s still a worthwhile experience. Plus, a lot of the vendors usually have something on the menu that’s pickle-free.
The fest kicks off on Friday afternoon and wraps up on Sunday evening, so whether you’re just stopping by for lunch or making an evening of it there’s plenty of time to get your pickle fix. Major festival bonus points: There’s a beer tent and lots of vendors pouring up specialty cocktails. Saturday night plans = Done. And any good event wouldn’t be complete without a photo opp so make sure you snap a pic in front of the giant floating pickle balloon above the bridge. #Yinzer
My Picklesburgh food faves: I’m a huge fan of fried pickles anytime, anywhere and BRGR’s fried pickles with fresh ranch is TO DIE FOR. You also have to give the homemade dill pickle pierogies from Gosia’s a shot. They’re delicious! Scope out the Picklesburgh website before you head out to see what food vendors are in the lineup. I’m a total nerd, but I like to see my options ahead of time so I don’t jump on the first thing I see.
Heads up! The festival is isolated to the bridge so it can get pretty crowded. If you’re not one for crowds, scope it out during the day rather than at night. I also don’t recommend going to this event “hangry” because there’s usually a bit of wait in the food lines. When it comes to parking, your best bet is a garage on the edge of downtown or over the bridge in North Shore.
Handmade crafts, vintage finds, live music, artist demonstrations, antique cars… all on an adorable little farm. Does it get any cuter?
Festival in the Woods at Whispering Pines Farm in Cabot, PA is held twice a year on the third weekend of June and September. **Pause** I know this isn’t exactly local, but it’s well worth the 45ish minute drive and that dose of fresh country air. The Burgh is great, but we could all use an occasional escape from the city right? If you ask me, a good cruise on some country back roads is good for the soul.
When you find yourself at the entrance of the fest you’ll be greeted with live tunes from local performers and bands, hundreds of craft booths, a picturesque little pond, and some country farm vibes. When it comes to the goods, there’s a little something for every taste. You’ll come across everything from vintage and repurposed to industrial and botanical. A personal favorite was Garden Caravan, a 1976 Airsteam trailer packed with vintage finds, succulents, trinkets, and jewelry. AKA alllll the Instagram opps.
And you can’t forget the eats! Inside the festival, you’ll find several food stands and lots of homemade goodies packaged up for sale. I snagged a batch of THE BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Your sweet tooth will definitely thank you for making the trip out to this homemade heaven.
If I have you convinced, there are a few things you should know before you make the journey out to Whispering Pines. Make sure you roll up with some cash. There’s a five dollar cover to get into the festival and it’s likely that some vendors don’t accept credit/debit cards. It would really be devastating to pass up that one-of-a-kind find. You won’t find this stuff on Amazon! More need-to-knows: There’s tons of parking. However, I wouldn’t recommend bringing your freshly waxed wheels. The available parking space is in a field. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride and there’s a good chance your car will take home some souvenirs: mud and weeds.
On top of hosting Festival in the Woods, Whispering Pines Farm is also a landing spot for glampers! The farm’s glamping tent looks like a boho babe’s dream come true. I haven’t had the chance to check it off my Pittsburgh bucket list yet, but stay tuned! Pro Tip: Follow Whispering Pines on Facebook and Instagram. They do a lot of cool giveaways and post a lot of info about the festival.
Even if you’re not born and raised in Pittsburgh, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of “The Point”. Home to festivals, events, bikers, runners, picnickers, curious tourists, and photographers, Point State Park is a public park in downtown Pittsburgh that’s just as symbolic to The Burgh as our beloved black and gold.
The Point is the physical point where the three rivers surrounding Pittsburgh meet and merge. If you’re a geography buff, The Point is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge and form the Ohio River. That’s the boring stuff. The less boring facts are that The Point is home to a beautiful fountain, tons of green space, cool outdoor architecture, and some pretty epic views of Downtown and North Shore.
So how do you make the most of this local gem? Find yourself a sunny day, text some friends, pack a bag, and just take it all in. Here’s what I recommend throwing in your bag: A blanket, a book, your favorite snacks, water, a bluetooth speaker, a frisbee, your camera (where my Instagrammers at?!), and some sunglasses. And…. I mean…. if you happen to sneak some wine or brews in there, I approve. (Be careful though because the city does not.)
On nice days, it’s likely that the fountain area by the river will be a bit crowded. Just make your way back to the grass and there’s sure to be plenty of space to spread out. TECHNICALLY, you’re not allowed in the fountain either. But hey, if you want to dip your toes in the water I won’t tell. As you can tell, I’m all for bending the rules from time to time.
While summer is my favorite time of the year, my fave time to visit this PGH staple is in the spring when the cherry blossoms start to bloom. As a millennial girl, I’m just obligated to appreciate this natural pink wonder. And it’s much-appreciated after the misery of our grey, lifeless winters. You’ll soon learn that I am not a fan of the cold weather, but Pittsburgh is pretty dope the rest of the year so I persevere.
Pro Tip: If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, there’s lots of free parking in North Shore on weeknights and Sundays. Put it in park and head to the pedestrian walkway alongside the Fort Duquesne Bridge to make your way over to the park.