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Explore Top Pittsburgh Spots on Your Convention Breaks
Pittsburgh is a hotspot for convention activity throughout the year. Whether you’re in town for AISTech, Anthrocon, the 2023 Senior Games, meetings or other cons, your itinerary is already full. If you have some free time during your trip, however, follow along with the itinerary below.
We’ll help you maximize your downtime and see some iconic Pittsburgh neighborhoods, expand your horizons in art and writing, eat at top spots and enjoy Pittsburgh nightlife. For more ideas and inspiration, explore our sections on arts and culture, tours and sightseeing, outdoor adventure and free things to do in the city.
Before your convention begins, enjoy a morning walk into the Strip District neighborhood and enjoy a breakfast at P & G Pamela's Diner. This Only in Pittsburgh staple is so good, former President Obama invited the owner to the White House to make her signature crepes especially for him.
While you’ve been enjoying your hotcakes, the Strip District has come to life! Enjoy a leisurely walk down Penn Ave and pick up Made in Pittsburgh souvenirs or snag a Terrible Towel to wave and cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers. As you stroll, pop into universal markets and sample authentic flavors including Stamoolis (Greek), Reyna Foods (Mexican), Pennsylvania Macaroni Company (Italian) and more to walk and snack with.
The Convention Center food is great, but we also recommend trying a few meals within walking distance to taste why Pittsburgh is a top food city in the U.S. Start at Bill’s Bar and Burger for the a 22 oz. Monster Shake topped with delectable confections paired with one of Bill’s ground fresh daily burgers like the Keto My Heart or The Gobbler.
Looking for that iconic Pittsburgh photo to make the rest of the office jealous? Take the T light rail system to Station Square and ride the Monongahela Incline to the top of Mt. Washington to bask in the beauty of the city from spectacular lookout platforms.
While you’re up there, bring your appetite from a full day of convention activities to Bigham Tavern on Mount Washington. Consistently voted the best Best Wing Night in the Burgh from 2013-present, Bigham Tavern has 30+ flavors from their cult classic dry rub Coyote to the exotic Thai spicy peanut butter and General Tso’s flavors.
When you’re full, come back down the Incline and board the Gateway Clipper riverboat for a scenic sightseeing cruise on all three rivers. Evening cruises leave at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday all summer long and now feature Happy Hour Cocktails to sip and enjoy as you pass under bridges and see the best of the city on deck.
Infuse your breakfast routine with Korean-inspired flavors at Bae Bae’s Cafe. Their signature scallion pancakes are available in five different styles including Vietnamese lemongrass chicken and Chinese crispy tofu, and everything goes great with locally-roasted La Prima Coffee.
Did you know that the pop art style so common today was created right here in Pittsburgh? Visit The Warhol Museum and take inspiration from this gigantic seven-floor museum featuring Warhol’s artworks, films and Time Capsules.
Refuel at Primanti Bros. in Market Square. This Only in Pittsburgh staple is known for its “almost-famous” sandwich, piled high with French fries and coleslaw.
You've never seen anything like this! Bicycle Heaven is the world’s largest bicycle museum with thousands of bikes arranged in an eclectic display of history, pop culture and Americana. Plus, the museum is free (donations are accepted) and open seven days a week.
Venture into some of the trendier parts of Pittsburgh for your evening, starting with dinner at The Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville. This turn of the century cathedral church was reimagined into an award-winning brewery and restaurant known for its eclectic menu including everything from buffalo chicken pierogis to Bavarian cauliflower, seven onion soup and Jubilee Hilltop ranch meatloaf.
Ready for a nightcap? Continue exploring the historic Lawrenceville neighborhood for some of the hipper spots in the city, including:
Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive – drinks and themed dance nights
Over Eden – rooftop bar at Tryp by Wyndham
Thunderbird Café - two-level bar and music venue
The Goldmark – high energy dance floor
Cattivo – long-running, gay-friendly hangout
Become part of the art at the immersive, hands-on Mattress Factory. This contemporary art museum exhibits room-sized installation art pieces tackling subject matter from the Black experience to communism, light and power structures.
Looking for a place that will satisfy any appetite? Try Federal Galley nearby for lunch which features four separate restaurant concepts all under one roof, plus plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar for craft beer and cocktails.
Conventions are a great place to discover new ideas and develop new strategies. For even more inspiration, explore Pittsburgh’s newest permanent cultural exhibit, August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape, within walking distance at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. This immersive exhibition, dedicated to the life and works of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, just opened in April 2022. (masks, proof of vaccination and timed tickets required)
Sienna Mercato is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy convention. With a casual, first floor meatball restaurant, second floor fine dining and top floor rooftop bar, there’s a menu and experience for everyone.
We’re not ready for you to leave, either! Before you go, see why Pittsburgh is consistently named a top city for craft beer enthusiasts and hit some top stops nearby like Penn Brewery, Cinderlands and more.