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By: Sydney Carver | Guest Contributor, summerwindblog.com
At Citizens Bank we love to celebrate our local communities and cities. As a bank, we’re also interested in helping you get out in your city, on your budget. With our Live Local series, we’ve partnered with local influencers to create guides to some of our favorite cities, and help you uncover the best food, entertainment, and hidden gems in your backyard or on your travels.
As you go through this guide, you can refer to this key:
$ - Budget
$$ - Moderate
$$$ - Splurge
Pittsburgh is nicknamed the Steel City, which isn’t the most romantic name, but you’d be surprised because there is so much to do with your significant other! Whether you are looking for an incredible meal, some culture, live music, and so much more, there is something for every couple!
Each date is categorized into three different categories based on price. One $ indicates more affordable; $$ and $$$ indicate pricier dates. I’ve given several date ideas in each monetary category, so there is a date idea that is sure to fit every budget!
The Three Rivers Arts Festival will be June 7-16, 2019. This year is the 60th anniversary! It is located in downtown Pittsburgh near The Point, Gateway Center, and the Cultural District. If you haven’t been, this is a must!
You could spend all day walking hand-in-hand, weaving throughout all of the local art booths… there is some real talent in Pittsburgh and most everything is available for sale!
It’s also a great time to enjoy the beautiful weather at Point State Park, which is situated where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio river. This is where you can catch a free concert. There are many concerts to choose from, such as Grammy-winning artist India.Arie!
While catching the concert, grab dinner from one of the many incredible food vendors that come to The Point from all over Pittsburgh. Sample everything from lobster rolls to pierogies!
Head to the historical Omni-William Penn Hotel to take in the romance of the architecture and beautiful interiors. Monday through Friday from 5-7 pm, you can get $2 oysters and $5 glasses of bubbly!
From there, take a 5-minute walk over to Condado, which specializes in create-your-own tacos. It has a funky dive-bar atmosphere that’s fun and casual. The tacos are inexpensive and absolutely delicious. I also recommend the chips and queso as well as their amazing margaritas!
Head to Oakland to see the interior of the Cathedral of Learning ... you'll feel like you’ve stepped right into Hogwarts. Besides looking like a Harry Potter set, explore each floor of the tower as it is home to many Nationality Rooms — 30, to be exact! Each room represents a different Nationality and they are truly spectacular. All of this is free!
Afterward, walk over to Phipps Botanical Garden. Phipps is especially my favorite during the winter months when you need a bit of a respite! There are lots of exhibits and events happening year-round, so be sure to check their calendar to see what is going on!
I’m sure you are hungry after all of that Oakland exploring! Head over to Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop. Pittsburghers refer to it as “the O.” It has delicious hot dogs with all of the toppings you can imagine. Be sure to get a small fry, too, which could easily feed 4-6 people! It’s a Pittsburgh institution and should not be missed!
If it is upscale hot dogs you prefer, there is always Franktuary, which offers some fun and funky hot dog toppings!
Head to the Strip District on a weekend morning with a shopping list in hand. Grab a cup of coffee from La Prima espresso, which will make you feel as though you’ve been transported right to Italy.
Visit Pennsylvania Macaroni Company to snag some delicious cheeses or supplies for a homemade pizza, or head to Wholey’s for all of the fixings for a lobster dinner! Be sure to grab a beautiful floral bouquet at one of the vendors along the street on Penn Avenue.
Pop by 20th and Penn to see the Fur Kid Rescue dogs that all need good homes — they are so cute and will warm your heart!
After you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Smallman Galley, a chef incubator which highlights four Pittsburgh chefs! My two favorites are Home for their fried chicken and Iron Born for the incredible cast iron pizza!
Have dinner at Noodlehead in the Shadyside neighborhood. It is cash only and does not take reservations, so be prepared to wait a bit for your table. I promise the Thai food will be worth the wait! The pork belly steamed buns are one of the best things in all of Pittsburgh! Noodlehead is BYOB, so make sure you grab a favorite bottle before you leave the house!
Grab a scoop right next door at Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. The waffle cones are so fresh and the ice cream flavors change from time to time. They have everything from the classics like chocolate to the more unique like vanilla almond with spicy honey!
Then, head over to Arsenal Bowling to bowl the night away! You can reserve a lane for all-you-can-bowl from 9 pm-12 am. You can have up to 6 people per lane, so this makes for a great group date! Arsenal has a full bar so you can enjoy cocktails, wine, beer, etc. as well as a food menu in case you work up an appetite! Each night at Arsenal is themed, so some nights they have a DJ, some nights a live band, and even a '90s night!
This date night will have you spending some time in Lawrenceville! Start out at Grapperia, an Italian bar with lots of amazing cocktails, some light bites, and the coziest vibes! Sit at the bar so you’re able to see the impressive collection of grappa!
You’ll travel from Italy to France in just a few blocks! Have dinner at Poulet Bleu, a French restaurant that is not only delicious, but interior design buffs will appreciate all of the attention to detail. It feels as though you were transported right into a Nancy Meyers movie! Poulet Bleu is pretty small and gets crowded on the weekends, so I suggest making a reservation at least a few weeks in advance! My favorite thing? The chocolate soufflé — done perfectly and accompanied by several sauces, it is absolutely delightful and a great way to cap off the night.
Have cocktails at the Fairmont’s Fl. 2, which looks like it is from a scene in Mad Men. Their cocktails are delicious, as is their cheese board. Stop downstairs at Fairmont’s lobby Bar, Andy’s, for a second cocktail where you can enjoy live jazz. Afterward, take the incline up to Mt. Washington. The incline will give you the most beautiful views of the city’s skyline. You can walk along Grandview Avenue taking in the sweeping city views. It is so romantic — it is where I got engaged!
After a long walk, you’ll end up at Altius, arguably one of Pittsburgh’s best high-end restaurants. Altius’s décor is pretty minimal and modern, and that’s because it’s the view that you’re here for! One of the most beautiful views in the entire city and a very romantic setting. Fun fact: a scene from Concussion was filmed at Altius.
Sydney Carver graduated from James Madison University in 2012 with a degree in Public Relations and Writing. During her freshman year of college, she created Summer Wind right from her dorm room! Carver believes in the power of optimism and strives to create content that brings joy.
Carver loves a strong cup of coffee, a glass of bubbly, her pup Henry, spending time with friends and family, tennis and skiing, playing the violin, and traveling.
With the exception of direct quotes, any advice and opinions are of the guest writer.
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