No Boys Allowed…Girls’ Getaway

Pittsburgh, PA

By Sheree Bykofsky and Jan Dixon

If you’re among the people who wonder why anyone would go to Pittsburgh, you’re in for a humbling surprise! Pittsburgh has twice been named one of America’s most livable cities, and we think Pittsburgh is one of America’s most visitable cities, too. Long gone are the steel factories that gave Pittsburgh a less than stellar image before the 1980s. Pittsburgh has emerged like a phoenix from the flames. Grab your girlfriends and get away for a weekend; you’ll find so many fun things to do, you’ll surely make this the first of many Pittsburgh excursions.

Check into the Omni William Penn Hotel where you have booked the fabulous Girlfriend’s Weekend Package. The Package includes spacious and comfortable double room accommodations, valet parking, Royal High Tea service, a makeover at Saks Fifth Avenue, which is a block from the hotel, a bottle of champagne delivered to your room, a sumptuous Full American room service or Terrace Room breakfast, and a choice of manicure/pedicure, facial or luxurious 45-minute massage. Also included is a $25 Saks Fifth Avenue gift certificate and a 5 p.m. check-out. There’s an enticing jewelry store in the lobby, and the opulence of the hotel will make you feel like Queens for the Weekend. Everywhere are magnificent crystal chandeliers, tapestries and grand architecture.

Situated right in the heart of the downtown and near the famous confluence of three rivers, the hotel is the perfect starting point for exploring this lovely city. If you’re lucky to arrive on a beautiful day or balmy evening, begin your tour with a roundtrip ticket on the funicular called the Duquesne Incline, which will take you from Station Square up to the top of Mount Washington. It’s hard to get more pleasure for a mere $3.50 round trip- or a better view! From this vantage point you can count at least 18 of Allegheny County’s 446 bridges and gaze a long time at the impressive skyline, the many arenas and the distant suburbs on the hill and along the three rivers which meet at Point State Park. In particular, take in the best view of the citiscape’s crown jewel: the giant shimmering glass castle, which is the PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) office building.

Some other Pittsburgh attractions include the Carnegie Museum of Art, which opened in 1895 as the world’s first museum of modern art, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with its changing exhibits of fabulous flora and art, the fascinating Andy Warhol museum, and the ever-pleasing Mattress Factory, which is a consortium of room-sized gallery installations by an eclectic group of talented artists. At the University of Pittsburgh’s gorgeous campus, you can walk right into the Cathedral of Learning which is one of the most unique buildings you’ll ever see. Working classrooms are designed to display and honor the individual cultures and designs of countries around the world.

Make a reservation to have lunch at the Frick Café on the grounds of the Frick Art and Historical Center. The café’s menu changes seasonally and offers a unique and scrumptious selection of fresh foods and desserts. Afterwards tour the Frick’s art or car and carriage museums or stroll through the former home of Henry Clay Frick or on the 5.5 acres surrounding his mansion. And later, opera, ballet, concerts and theatre are all options for a fabulous girls’ night on the town.

Don’t leave Pittsburgh without a trip to the Strip District. Penn Ave is the heart of The Strip, and it is a dangerous place for girls on a diet. A homey open market street, think Little Italy meets Ybor City. DeLuca’s claims to be Home of the Best Breakfast in town, but don’t believe it! It’s the best breakfast in the universe! And even though you’ll feel stuffed after your pancake, waffle, egg and turkey sausage extravaganza breakfast, you’ll still be tempted by all of the treats offered along the Strip. Stroll one block and find an omelet man on the sidewalk in front of Café Richards. Sip hot chocolate at a little tables in front of Mon Amiee Chocolat. Sample sidewalk sweet potato pie and salsa and chips. Millions of people find it’s worth waiting on line for cheese at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company which looks like the Italian Zabar’s of Pittsburgh. Find sturdy boots for $5 and shoes for $15, dried and fresh flowers, pretty sidewalk jewelry, Pittsburgh Steelers mementos, 6 pears for 99 cents, a pineapple for a buck.

Believe it or not, at some point you’ll actually be hungry again! Whenever that is, it will be time to stop for a famous Primanti Brothers sandwich on 18th Street. Get your deli meat, or egg, or even sardines piled on thick slices of bread and topped with cheese, yummy cole slaw, french fries and ripe tomatoes. Mmmmmmm, you’ll start your diet again tomorrow! This is where everyone goes for a midnight snack and after the theater or nightclub because it’s open 24/7.

A more upscale dining experience is available just a short walk from the hotel at the Café Euro. There’s you’ll enjoy a fun-filled Happy Hour, tasty food, good drinks in a pleasant, non-rushed ambiance. Offerings include large portions of crab cakes, many Italian dishes and a respectable selection of salads. The best part is if you drink too much, you can walk back to the hotel.

If you have a car and an extra day, take the 50 minute trip to Grove City. The Prime Outlets of Grove City feature over 140 designer stores. From Liz Claiborne to Nike, Corningware Corelle to Harry and David and Ultra Diamonds, you’ll find great bargains on everything that makes girls happy. After a day of shopping, it’s just another five minutes to Rachel’s Roadhouse Restaurant in Mercer, PA. There you’ll enjoy a wide selection from sandwiches and salads to beef and ribs. Another five minute drive brings you to the quaint town of Volant. This town has an Amish influence and features a mill and a small winery along with an enticing variety of antique and specialty shops.

So call your best friends, re-connect with your high school roommate, leave the men to baby sit and go have some fun in our favorite mid-sized U.S. city. Who knew?

If you go:

Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412 281 7100
www.omniwilliampenn.com

The Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
412 237 8300
www.warhol.org

Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412 622 3131
www.cmoa.org

Duquesne Incline
1220 Grandview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
412 381 1665
www.incline.cc

Station Square
www.stationsquare.com

Mattress Factory
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
412 231 3169
www.mattress.org

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412 622 6914
www.phipps.conservatory.org

Café Euro
600 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412 434 0800
www.cafeeuropittsburgh.com

DeLuca’s
2015 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Primanti Brothers Restaurant and Bar
www.primantibros.com

Prime Outlets of Grove City
Intersection of I-79 and Route 208
Grove City, PA 16127
724 748 3875
www.primeoutlets.com

Rachel’s Roadhouse
1553 Perry Highway
Mercer, PA 16137
724 748 3193
www.springfields.com

Volant, PA

Amish Countryside Shops
www.volantshops.com

Volant Mills Winery
www.volantmillwinery.com

General information
www.visitpittsburgh.com

Photos Courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh

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