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Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

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Norwich, United...
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Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

My Wife and I are looking for a 'new' USA city to visit possibly in November this year for a week. We have just got back from Vegas and have, over 13 years, travelled around a lot of the USA including spending 8 weeks straight in 2006 as part of a round the world trip. We have therefore seen a lot of the major cities (and quite a bit else) and now we have started trying to look for alternative gems.

Someone I know suggested Pittsburgh, they had visited on business but got to spend a few days in the city and loved it, plus it seems to have been in a number of films in recent years and we have always commented on how nice it looks.

We have been to Philadelphia for a week in March 2010 and loved it. Would we be expecting something similar in Pittsburgh? We love culture & museums, historical places, good food, US sport (the only sport we haven't done is American Football) and most importantly, just going about our business along with the rest of the city. I am particularly keen to hear about Station Square (is this a happening place or just a tourist cash in?) and also the inclines, we would love to get that view you see in so many Pittsburgh photographs.

I know some responses are going to be biased (I am the same with my DE city) but I just want to make sure I am on the right track. Any suggestions for where to stay would be helpful also?

Thanks

Morris County, NJ
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1. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

My wife and I visited Pittsburgh last May for a weekend. I came away wondering why I had not visited the city before. Pittsburgh is a very vibrant, clean city with some of the most beautiful city views of any city in the US.

We stayed at the Omni, which is a very classy hotel that is dedicated to customer service. We visited the top of Mt. Washington, where the views were amazing.

I heavily recommend a trip to Pittsburgh.

Norwich, United...
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2. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Sounds good that bwco, thank you so much for the quick response. To be honest, your experience echoes many of which I have heard about Pittsburgh but coming from the UK and with the cost involved in getting to the USA in the first place, we just want to make double sure.

The Omni looks amazing. It might be out of our price range though!

Central PA
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3. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Pittsburgh is well worth the visit. Keep in mind, November is NFL football and if the Steelers are playing a home game, hotels will be at a premium for that weekend. They don't have the schedule posted as of yet. Hotels start filling up as soon as it is released.

Check hotwire.com for the 4* property prices, we've gotten some good deals in the past. priceline.com as well. Just choose the downtown area.

Norwich, United...
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4. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Thanke Mike0917.

Yes, I expected NFL so I will have to keep an eye on that. We will be coming on Saturday 12th as we both have that following week off work and it is my birthday as well. This might sound a dumb question, but is there any chance of getting tickets for the Steelers? I know some tickets for certain sports/teams in the USA are like gold dust but worth a shot. What's the deal on basketball in Pittsburgh?

Hotwire is currently offering one Downtown property so probably too early. Which other areas in and around Pittsburgh on Hotwire should I be looking at? We don't mind a commute on a bus/train but ideally would like to walk as much as possible.

Sounding like Pittsburgh might be a good choice. Not a particularly long flight from the UK either, well depending on connection. Looks as though I might have some planning to do, I have already sent off for the Visit Pittsburgh guide.....

Thanks again for your help.

Central PA
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5. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Best to buy tickets from a reputable site. Lots of counterfeit tickets around outside the stadium. Check StubHub.com as well as ticketmaster.com If they're aren't in town, just hit one of the bars for the game, it's a great time! We always stay downtown, so not sure what other areas they list.

Edited: 1:29 pm, April 13, 2012
Morris County, NJ
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6. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

The Omni does offer some discounts, so you may want to look around to see what you can get rate wise. We were there last year on the weekend that they had their marathon and most hotels were booked up, yet we still got a good deal. If you do find a good rate at the Omni, join their loyalty club. You got free wifi with it as well as some other perks.

Pittsburgh, PA
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7. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Steeler tickets will be hard to come by--as some others have suggested, looking online on sites such as stubhub.com might be helpful. Pittsburgh doesn't have a professional basketball team. The college teams from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Duquesne University have a great following, but November is probably too early--before the season starts. Usually that is late November to early December.

This is a wonderful city with many interesting things to occupy you. We have a very vibrant arts scene. On any given weekend you will find a number of plays, dance performances, musical performances, etc. If that is an interest of yours you can check out The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust--http://www.trustarts.org/

Let us know what your interests are and I'm sure the locals on this board will be happy to help you.

Norwich, United...
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8. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Thanks again all for your responses.

Our interests are pretty much anything to be honest. We like to catch some American sports if possible so the Steelers would be great but I understand tickets might prove tricky. We like to visit museums, local and state parks, markets (Reading Terminal in Philadelphia for example was great) and anywhere we can get a view of the city. I never tire of taking photographs of the great American city skylines and landscapes. Any chance of getting out on the water is also high up on our lists.

I think Pittsburgh seems to be fitting the bill quite nicely. I have sent off for the Visit Pittsburgh brouchure so no doubt that will be a great read when it turns up. I really need to clue up on the areas of the city, my Lonely Planet USA has quite an extensive Pittsburgh section and focuses on Oakland for accommodation, is this an option over Downtown? It may be that LP try and look more for value then location but any views much appreciated.

Columbia, Maryland
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9. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Pittsburgh is a good choice. Lots to do and see.

A few recommendations that we have done in visits there, some of witch will most certainly be in the Visit Pittsburgh brouchure.

A must do is to take one of the inclines up to Mt. Washington to see a great overview of the city. After dark is really impressive. Since you like to take pictures of cities, this will be an ideal thing for you.

Not sure if the riverboat cruises still run in November, but check out the Gateway Clipper site. They have sightseeing and lunch/dinner cruises.

http://www.gatewayclipper.com/

The National Aviary is well worth seeing.

http://www.aviary.org/vis/main_visit.php

Ft. Pitt Museum has the history of the impotance of controlling the crossroads of the 3 rivers. Being from the UK, you may find the British history of Ft. Pitt of particular interest.

For a unique eating experience, go to a Primanti Brothers restaurant. The sandwiches are served with cole slaw and fries (chips to you) ON the sandwich. It sounds rather odd, but the taste is really good. The cole slaw is vinegar based, so that goes well with the fries and creates a unique and tasty combo.

Another sport available in November is Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey. Not so sure how hard to come by those tickets will be although since it is the beginning of the season, I would think not that hard- definitely easier than Steelers tickets. I will say that if you can get tickets to a steelers game, it will be a unique experience. Pittsburghers are rabid Steelers fans much like fans of top level soccer teams in UK.

Pittsburgh, PA
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10. Re: Does Pittsburgh fit the bill?

Oakland is an option as it is the University center of the city. It is the neighborhood where the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Carnegie Mellon University are located ( also Carlow College, a small catholic college is located in Oakland). It is just a few minutes from downtown by bus or car.

The hotels might be a little less pricey than the downtown hotels, but as another poster suggested, you can often get good deals on priceline or hotwire for downtown hotels (just make sure you check the downtown only box and go for 3.5 stars and above). You can get good deals on the Oakland hotels as well ( just check the box for Oakland/University area).

There are lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance of the Oakland hotels. It is also home to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, and Phipps Conservatory. Many people like to visit the nationality rooms at the Cathedral of Learning on the Pitt campus.