ADVERTORIAL • December 2019
Traditionally known for its steel, Pittsburgh has been reforged of late, emerging as a bright artistic hub on America’s east coast. A skyrocketing culture scene, a glut of world class museums and a resurgent restaurant industry now make this one of the country’s most popular city-break destinations. US-based travel writer, Jonathan Thompson picks the top five cultural hotspots in Steel City
How could we not begin with Pittsburgh’s most famous son? The Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist and a fascinating and fitting tribute to one of the most creative forces of the 20th century. It’s joined by a number of other heavyweight art museums and galleries here in the city of bridges, including the Carnegie Museum of Art – the first on US soil to focus entirely on contemporary art – and the funky Mattress Factory, a converted warehouse crammed with engaging installation art.
You don’t have to love baseball in order to appreciate PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and frequently voted one of the most beautiful ballparks in America. If you’re a first-time visitor to the city, this is a great place to simply grab a seat (and maybe a chilli dog), and soak in the most spectacular of Pittsburgh panoramas, with sweeping views of the Allegheny River and the gleaming skyscrapers and spires of downtown beyond it.
When it comes to hot new eateries, there’s an embarrassment of riches in Pittsburgh – which was recently crowned the Best Food City in the US by Zagat. Young entrepreneurial chefs are actively welcomed here, such as Kevin Sousa of Superior Motors, whose delicate, eclectic dishes have garnered high praise from the likes of The New York Times and Time magazine. At the heart of this renaissance you’ll find the Smallman Gallery – a sleek food hall serving as a ‘restaurant incubator’ for ambitious up-and-coming chefs – and the hip Strip District, crammed with cafes, quirky restaurants and gourmet food shops. To get an overall flavour of the dining scene here, try the award-winning Burgh Bits and Bites, which takes in all the current hotspots in one two-hour tour.
Hailed as the “Best All-Time Work of American Architecture” by the American Institute of Architects, the extraordinary Fallingwater was also recently elevated to UNESCO status. This incredibly inventive house, built atop a waterfall in 1935, is considered by many to be Frank Lloyd Wright’s true architectural masterpiece, and is well worth a visit. Now open to the public, it’s situated in pretty rural Pennsylvania, just over an hour’s drive south of downtown Pittsburgh, and makes an excellent excursion from the city.
Not satisfied with incredible food and contemporary art scenes, Pittsburgh is also a major melting pot for the performing arts, boasting a colossal collection of world class venues. Within its sprawling 14-block Cultural District you’ll find the ornate Heinz Hall (home to the Grammy-award winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra) as well as the renowned Benedum Centre for the Performing Arts, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Pittsburgh Public Theater and the Pittsburgh Opera. Enough to keep even the hungriest of culture vultures sated for days on end.
British Airways was the first airline to connect London and Pittsburgh, with a four-per-week direct service from Heathrow. To book your trip, click here