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!
What's that saying? One person's trash is another's treasure? Okay I might have made that up, but you get it. And the Pittsburgh Center For Creative Reuse totally gets it too.
CFCR is a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting creativity and encouraging conservation through reuse. If you ask me, I think their mission is dope. I've always hated waste. Especially food! There’s nothing that stresses me out more than having to throw away food that went bad or sitting at a restaurant watching someone throw away most of a perfectly good meal. (Gahhhh leftovers people!) It's no different with stuff. Sure, it feels AWESOME to get rid of clutter but that clutter doesn't have to go in the trash. Enter: the wonderful world of creative reuse.
When you walk through their doors in Point Breeze, you'll find a cozy little shop stuffed with every kind of craft supply you could imagine. We're talking everything from yarn and fabric to old trophies and cassette tapes. And it most definitely doesn't stop there. The room is packed to the brim with treasures and trinkets. So where does it come from? Well, it comes from those junk drawers and storage closets and basements and garages. All of the inventory comes from donations from individuals, families, companies, organizations, etc. I left with a nice little stash of yarn, paper, old photographs, vintage camera film, maps, scrabble tiles, and more... for less than $15.00!
The shop itself shares a building with Construction Junction- another nonprofit that recycles building materials. Fun fact: If you're ever in need of an obscure-colored toilet, this is your spot! The more ya know?
FELLOW BLOGGERS: Pittsburgh Center For Creative Reuse is such a good spot to stock up on photo props! Posting about travel or an upcoming trip? Snag some old maps. Talking about a playlist? How about some old sheet music, vintage records, or old school casette tapes? The possibilities for the creative community are pretty much endless. Work your magic!
Hint: I have a pretty cool idea to make use of all that yarn I bought... Stay tuned!
Whether you're a newbie in town or you've called Pittsburgh home your whole life, there's just something special about The Strip District. It's an up-and-coming neighborhood with historic charm, what isn't to love? I've been to The Strip more times than I can count, but I still find something new to appreciate with each visit. From diner eats and espresso to flowers and fresh produce, here's a few of my favorite stops.
DeLuca's Diner claims to be home to the "best breakfast in town" and I would have to agree! This Strip District staple is certainly nothing fancy, but it has an old-timey feel and the food is delicious. With pancakes, waffles, french toast, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and even a variety of lunch eats, it's true "good mood food." BEFORE YOU GO: You should know that DeLuca's is strictly cash only!
Four words: Chocolate! Covered! Coffee! Beans! You cannot make a stop in Allegheny Coffee without grabbing a handful of choco coffee beans and taking a moment to take in the amazing smells. This local coffee roaster is a Strip District must. Swing by and grab your favorite roast, a micro-brewed draft coffee, or just a quick wiff!
For all of the flower lovers out there, this one's for you! Roxanne's Dried Flowers is a shop filled with gorgeous and totally unique preserved flowers, wreaths, arrangements, and handmade goods. The vibe is natural and organic and the whole place is one giant photo opp. Tip: Check out the garden in the back!
If you're a fan of Italian food, you may have just discovered your new favorite spot. From fresh meat and cheese to every shape of pasta you can imagine, Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. has been helping Pittsburghers carb load for well over 100 years. If you're thinking of chefin' up an Italian meal, swing by to snag some authentic ingredients... and a little culinary inspiration.
If you haven't been able to tell by now, I'm a bit of a caffeine addict. And there's really nothing better than strolling the Strip on a chilly weekend morning sipping a hot latte from La Prima. This small espresso spot tucked away off of Penn Ave. boasts THE BEST espresso in Pittsburgh... in my opinion. Bonus: You might just catch an adorable group of elderly Italian men sipping their coffee and enjoying a game of cards!
I've rambled on about a few of my favorites, but there's sooooo many incredible bakeries, restaurants, storefronts, shops, and specialty stores that have called the Strip District home for decades. From fresh produce and flowers to homemade pierogies and hot pepperoni rolls, you'll need one big ass tote bag and an empty stomach for your stroll down Penn Avenue.
Fun fact about me: I LOVE music- new music, old music, music of all genres. Okay, most genres. That screamo stuff gives me anxiety. No shade, it's just not my cup of tea. Recently, I've been putting a ton of work into Burghologie and also spending lots of time behind the screen at my full-time gig. At this point, I don't think I could function without my Spotify account. Write without music? Nope. Drive around without music? Nah. Workout without music? Hell no.
From new, under-the-radar releases to 2014 Hozier, here's some tunes that I've really been feeling this fall. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, throw in your ear buds, and give it a listen! Be on the lookout for more playlists coming your way later this year.
Apples, and pumpkins, and gourds, oh my! My annual trip to Soergel's might just be my favorite part of the whole fall season. With pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and sunflower fields all in one spot, it's pretty hard to beat. Here's the scoop:
Let's start with the main attraction: The picking! If you ask me, it's smart to hit the apple orchard first. Lugging a pumpkin around may be a great workout, but it's also going to be a huge pain. in. the. ass. Save the sweat for the gym. You can choose to pick a 1/4, 1/2, or full "peck" of apples. (Note: A peck is a weird unit of dry measurement. All you have to worry about is what size bag you want.) Pay for the bag in advance and fill 'er up in the orchard. This may be a time when tall friends come in handy. The best ones always seem to be at the top!
If you really just came for the hard cider (we'll get to that in a minute) and you're not much of a DIYer, head down the hill to take your pick from the bins of pre-picked pumpkins. From teeny tiny to enormous, there's literally a pumpkin for everyone. We're talking thousands. And If you're not feeling a traditional pumpkin, you're in luck. Soergel's is stocked with pretty much every member of the gourd family in every shape, size, and color you can think of. I'm a personal fan of the white pumpkins! They're unique and look awesome with fall flowers.
Aside from just pumpkin patches and apple picking, there's a lot of little bonuses at Soergel's Fall Festival. Check out the hay rides, games, sunflower fields, and food. Lots and lots of food! We're talking fresh apple cider, hot cinnamon rolls, kettle corn, BBQ, baked goods, ice cream, and more. But the best part? Arsenal Cider has a tasting room at Soergels! Pick your pumpkin, chow down on a cinnamon roll, and then sip on a hard cider. Literally, I can't think of a better October Saturday.
Ready for an adventure? Here's the need-to-know. Soergel's Fall Festival runs every Saturday and Sunday from 11am- 5pm from the end of September to the end of October at the Soergel farm in Wexford. Entry is totally free and there's tons of free parking down the road at Orchard Hill Church. The festival is also credit card-friendly, so if you forget to hit the ATM don't stress. You'll still walk away with your perfect pumpkin.
Meet Indian Meadows– a semi-magical, totally-stunning hillside of flowers tucked away in a community park just east of Pittsburgh. I stumbled upon this golden beauty on my way to a family picnic and my eyes completely lit up when it came into view. This small section of Boyce Park is home to thousands of Black Eyed Susans, a common daisy-like flower with a deep yellow color. It’s truly breathtaking– especially if you’re as flower-obsessed as I am. Browse my Instagram for the evidence.
If I haven’t made my point in the first 5 sentences of this post, you really have to get yourself out to Indian Meadows this summer. Boyce Park is a little bit of a haul from the city, but this hidden gem is well worth the 30(ish) minute drive out to Plum Borough. Yep, Plum is indeed a type of fruit and a suburb in Allegheny County. Fun fact: Several of my family members live in the Plum area and I even lived in Plum for a summer in college! (The more ya know)
While it would be extra wanderlust-y to call this a field of wildflowers, that isn’t quite the case. The 6-acre field was intentionally planted by the Allegheny County Parks Foundation for environmental reasons. So while we’ll have to drop “wild” from flowers, everything about this place still feels like you’ve been transported to a rustic countryside. And who ever would have guessed it can be found just outside of Pittsburgh?!
Pack a picnic, grab your camera, hit the road, and head to Indian Meadows for views and a dose of fresh summer air.
Mom moment: While it is super tempting to wade into the posies to get the perfect Instagram shot (as I did), it’s very frowned upon by the parks foundation. I didn’t think of it in the moment, but trails left in the gardens take away from the natural feel and all around can be harmful to the health of the flowers. Not to mention there’s always a major risk of taking home a tick. Confession: One of the foundation’s employees caught me in the flowers during my visit. BUSTED. If you’ve read a lot of my posts, bending the rules seems to be a theme. Oops?
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.