Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and we are so thankful that we're spending it in Pittsburgh, with its many fun family activities to enjoy. Before indulging in your holiday feast, take the family on a Turkey Trot! There are many options, including the 25th Annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot that takes place Thanksgiving morning at PNC Park. On Saturday, Nov. 28, make sure you bring the whole family downtown to experience a Pittsburgh tradition for over 30 years - the WPXI Holiday Parade. Appearing will be local heroes Jerome Bettis, Chris Jamison, Daya, Harlem Globetrotters and Meghan Klingenberg, as well as all of your favorite balloons and Santa!
We realize how lucky we are to live in such a fantastic city, and we want to share the 10 things that make us thankful about Pittsburgh!
- Food glorious food. Yep, Pittsburgh's food scene is no longer on the back burner and is blazing hot these days. Take Gaucho Parilla Argentina in the Strip (named by Yelp as the 7th best place to eat in the country). Or take Smoke BBQ Taqueria in Lawrenceville. Or take Legume in Oakland. Seriously, take me! Thank you, great chefs of Pittsburgh!
- Hollywood East. How cool is it that Pittsburgh is a film town and you can watch big-time Hollywood movies like The Dark Knight Rises and say, "Hey! That was filmed in my neighborhood." This year, it was a Pittsburgh movie lovers' bonanza with the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal's South Paw (my old neighbor had a speaking role as the accountant… I'm all: WE KNOW THE GUY WHO'S TELLING JAKE GYLLENHAAL THAT THE BOXER IS OUT OF MONEY!) And then there was the fantabulous Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. In between laughing and crying, we're all: THAT'S POINT BREEZE! BUT WHERE IS THAT? Next up is the controversial Concussion, starring Will Smith as the Pittsburgh-based forensic pathologist who first discovered CTE, a football-related brain trauma. Yes, Pittsburgh on the Silver Screen never looked so good. Thank you Pittsburgh Film Office, for another great year of Pittsburgh-made films!
- OMG the Pirates! The third winning season IN A ROW! Not since I was in high school watching the likes of Willie Stargel, Mannie Sanguillen and Dave Parker have I enjoyed baseball this much. I couldn't get enough of it this year. HEY, YOU WANNA GO TO TONIGHT'S GAME? was a question my Sports Boy husband wasn't used to hearing. This year, I knew the names of all the starters and most of the bench. Thank you, Pirates, for another awesome season of amazing baseball! (Oh, and for Francisco Cervelli, too.)
- Pittsburgh Left. OH, WHAT'S THAT DOING HERE, you ask? Well, this little Pittsburgh idiosyncrasy is a congestion reliever. Stuck behind someone at a light who's making a left-hand turn? No worries. If the driver is from Pittsburgh, chances are he'll pull out fast and first, thus clearing the way for drivers behind him. Thank you, Pittsburgh Left!
- Free rides. I don't know how many times I've used the T to take me from my office near Gateway Center to the North Shore. And back. Or, when it's freezing cold, to meet my husband at the Second Avenue Parking Garage. Or, if my feet are aching or if maybe it's raining, I'll hop on a bus that'll take me six long blocks closer to the convention center. FOR FREE! Oh, and the classical music in the T stations? Super classy! Thank you, Port Authority of Allegheny County, for the music and all the good public transit, and thank you Alco Parking and Stadium Authority for sponsoring the free T zone!
- Furrie Parade. Oh, yes Anthrocon. While I've been furrrtunate enough to be inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for their fursuit group photo and gathering of the largest Fursuit Parade, this year - as a way of giving back to all of the Pittsburghers, who treat them so well - the organizers opted to take the parade outside of the convention center. And boy did they give back. Though small in "footprint", this Fursuit Parade was the cat's meow. I mean more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Um, something like that. Everyone attending love, love, loved the parade! The good news? Anthrocon plans to do it again in 2016. Thanks, Anthrocon!
- Protected Bike Lanes. I know I appreciate them as a motorist. And, hopefully someday soon I'll be able to appreciate them as a cyclist, too. So thanks, Bike Pittsburgh and Mayor Bill Peduto, for the 5+ miles of protected bike lanes in the 'Burgh!
- Bridges, all 446 of 'em. When people ask me what I love most about Pittsburgh, I tell them: The bridges. The big daddies, like the Liberty Bridge and Fort Pitt Bridge, do their honking automobile-hauling duty, while the lovely three "Sister Bridges" are a sight to behold and fun to walk across. These particular bridges are made even more special by all being painted Pittsburgh yellow – er, Aztec Gold. The lovely Smithfield Street Bridge, which I can see from my office, deserves a special shout out for being simply beautiful. Thank you, architects, who designed our awesome bridges, the engineers and workers who built them, and PennDOT and the Public Works Department of both the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County for maintaining them!
- Three seasons. Yes, Pittsburgh is at its beauteous best come Spring, Summer, and Fall. Enough said. So thank you, thank you, thank you to Spring, Summer, and Fall in Pittsburgh!
- Pittsburghers. That's right, Pittsburghers. Pittsburghers are the nicest bunch of people that I think you'll find anywhere. People go out of their way to help. They will. They'll smile at you as you pass by on the street. When driving, they'll toot their horns to let someone in. Or out. Or sometimes both. Lost? LET ME TAKE YOU THERE, they'll say. So, thank you Pittsburghers; the world is a better place because of you. It really is.