We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Which Pittsburgh hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
T
Level Contributor
113 posts
Save Topic
Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Hi guys,

Me and my gf (mid 20s, from Toronto) are set on visiting Pittsburgh from Dec 7-11 for 3 nights and 4 days. Shopping is obviously a big reason why we're here, but I want to maximize the time and do more than just the ordinary. So I am looking for advice/suggestions on what to do and I also have a few questions to ask.

My first question:

1. How is the Dec 7-11 time period for shopping? Is it good or bad that it's 2 weeks after Black Friday? Am I better off coming a month later, say after Christmas/New Year? I want good deals but I want to avoid the Black Friday crowd at all costs.

2. What's the best area to stay in? Any specific hotel recommendations? Cheap is good.

3. We LOVE American food. We LOVE inexpensive food with HUGE portions. We love that American TV show DDD - Diners, Dives, Drive-Ins. I want to gain 10 lbs on this trip! Where should we go specifically for that?

For Shopping:

We plan to visit Grove City Premium Outlets, Millcreek Mall maybe? (at Erie, on the way on I-90), Tanger Outlet for Saks (suggested by TA), Ross Park for the higher brands (suggested by TA). Should we check out anywhere else? We want good deals on good brands.

Other possible interests:

1. STEELERS vs CHARGERS NFL GAME

I've never been to a live NFL game..is it worth $100/ticket? How good will this matchup be? What's the best place to buy tickets (online before hand, or buy it there from scalpers???) No disrespect...but the BILLS vs RAMS game is only $38/ticket. And I know the Buffalo Bills are crap, but if I'm going just for the experience, should I even consider the Bills game?

2. Carnegie Museum of Natural History

We like museums. Is this the best museum Pittsburgh has to offer? A must see?

3. The Nationality Rooms

Definitely sounds interesting!

4. Andy Warhol Museum

May or may not visit.

Did I miss any Pittsburgh "gems"? Is there anything I should know of??? Thanks!!!

Edited: 2:48 am, November 19, 2012
T
Level Contributor
113 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Another important question I forgot to ask..... how is the driving in pitts? How is it compared to Buffalo, NYC, or even Newark? I list those places because I was in NYC in July...

Pittsburgh...
Destination Expert
for Pittsburgh
Level Contributor
1,836 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Your time frame is fine for shopping. Places will be busy but not like Black Friday crowded. But if you are planning on Ross Park Mall, I wouldn't bother with Millcreek Mall.

Best place to stay for cheap - you might be able to find a great rate on Priceline or Hotwire for downtown. If not, try the Greentree area which is right outside the city.

Pittsburgh is a wonderful mix of many nationalities and in this area, 'American' food can be Polish, Lebanese, Thai, Greek, etc. For Triple D specific places, check this link...

…wordpress.com/2009/…

Pittsburgh is a mish-mash of neighborhoods so driving can be difficult, with the same street having a different name depending on what section you're driving on at the time. Downtown is a maze of 1 way streets and narrow alleys. If you stay downtown, you can use public transportation to get anywhere you might want to go from the North Shore to the South Side and all points in between.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,743 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

The Greentree area has several motels that are on the less expensive side. It is just west of Pittsburgh through the tunnels off I376. THe Best Western Parkway Center Inn is nice. THere is a Hampton Inn, QUality Suites, Clarion Hotel, and Double Tree a lttle bit further west. Avoid the Days Inn. We found this location convenient to going in to Pittsburgh. Driving is not that bad in Pittsburgh. COming in through the tunnels in the AM or heading out in the PM there is traffic, but IMO not that bad. Just be aware of being in the correct lane going through the tunels and on the bridge.

Vist the National Aviary.

http://www.aviary.org/

Have a meal at a Primanti Brothers. Fries and cole slaw ON the sandwiches. Sounds wierd but it is a good tasting combo.

http://primantibros.com/home.html

Take a ride up one of the inclines to Mt. Washington after dark and view the lights of the city from up there.

http://web.presby.edu/~jtbell/transit/Pittsburgh/Inclines/

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
322 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

1. I think that you will be in the 'sweet spot' between BF and the last minute shoppers. Yes, the malls will be more crowded than they would be in September, but it won't be bad for the Christmas Season. If you want to avoid crowds, the best strategy is to go during the Steelers games.

2. For a hotel, I always like to suggest that you try to stay near the city center. It will be more expensive than the Greentree area or out the the 'burbs, but to be able to walk to Point State Park along the rivers with all the Christmas lights would be really romantic and it's a central location with some distinction instead of a place on the side of a highway where you will have to drive everywhere.

3. Although you love cheap food, Pittsburgh is really becoming known for distinctive fine dining. If you are able, check out Meat and Potatoes, Seviche, Salt of the Earth, Toast Wine Bar or Mallorca. Mallorca has the huge portions you want and will be a great dining experience. For cheap eats that I would recommend to a DDD fan is of course the Dor-Stop for breakfast. Las Palmas is a sidewalk taco stand in front of a Mexican grocery store where you can get the best tacos in town for $2 each.

Shopping: The outlets are terrible- I have not bought anything from the outlets that I have ever been happy with. Ross Park and the Shadyside shopping district are my favorite places to shop.

Stuff to do: I am not that into sports, so I wouldn't spend $100 on a ticket (which will be a bad ticket) to see the game live. If you want to really avoid the crowds, this will be the best time to go shopping. If I were choosing between the game or the Andy Warhol Museum, Andy would win without a doubt. On Friday nights, they have a live entertainment, drinks and cool art. Unbeatable and hip.

The Carnegie Museums are GREAT and going to the Cathedral of Learning for the Nationality Rooms will be a fun free detour.

Other ideas:

- Go shopping in the Strip district early Saturday Morning. Great dives (Toms, Pamelas) to eat, cheap Steelers gear and distinctive goods. I suggest getting a Commonwealth Press T-shirt with a uniquely Pittsburgh saying.

- Salsa Night is on the weekend you will be here! I think it's like a $10 dance lesson followed by an dance party. Very fun!

- Go to the southside bars on Saturday night. Fat Heads will leave you full for a night out on the town.

- Ride the incline up to the top of Mt. Washington (Station Square is touristy and commercial, but can be fun)

- 80's bowling night at Arsenal Lanes for some hipster action

- Go to Phipps Conservatory

- Do a bridge tour or tour a local mansion

- Have a beer in a church or in another local brewery. Church Brew Works is a church that is converted to a brewery. East End Brewing is a great hangout for cyclists.

Oh, and YES you will NEED a GPS. Pittsburgh is a combination of mountains, rivers, bridges and one-way streets all built on a Triangular land mass. Traffic isn't necessarily bad, but the way that the city was built make navigation VERY difficult.

T
Level Contributor
113 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

thanks guys

Pittsburgh, PA
Destination Expert
for Pittsburgh
Level Contributor
1,095 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Some other good cheap eats:

Caffe Davio (diner on E. Carson Street, serves breakfast all day. Excellent food)

Smoke BBQ Taqueria (8th Ave in Homestead, near the Waterfront shopping area) They make everything (except the corn scoops for the queso, I think) themselves, and it is delicious.

Franktuary (fancy hotdogs in a church basement,Oliver Street, downtown Pittsburgh) I recommend the locavore dog with pierogies--should be a Pittsburgh classic if enough people knew about it.

Edited: 12:04 pm, November 20, 2012
Pittsburgh...
1 post
2 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

You want the real Primanti Bros store down the strip district area for their signature sandwich.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
36 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

hi...hope you find some great deals in Pittsburgh..i have to say one of my favorite times of year for deals is right after Xmas, especially at TJ Maxx stores..we have about 8-9 in the greater Pittsburgh area and I hit them all as this chain caters to the different demo graph contingent on the community they are in....they are clearing out their winter merchandise for spring and I have gotten AMAZING deals at these venues on designer brands..if you dont wait til after xmas, I would suggest definitely the Off Saks Fifth Avenue at Tanger Outlets in Washington, PA..I have gotten beautiful clothes at slashed prices there..these clothes are straight from the Saks stores throughout the country..they use these stores to get rid of the merchandise that cant be sold at the regular Saks..the rest of the Tanger outlets are ok but you really have to look to find bargains....Grove City I wouldnt put at the top of my list, nor Milcreek...Ross Park Mall is good for designer, but you wont find bargains unless it is some sort of Xmas sale that you come across..its like a mag mile (chi-town) but inside a mall

The Cathedral of Learning Nationality rooms is beautiful at Xmas..hit the Original Hot Dog Shoppe or Primanti's rite next door for "diner" like food..also can hit the Carnegie Museum in that neighborhood too for a world-class art collection...other than that no museums I would recommend...

Also, if time, Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural wonder "Falling Water" is about an hour away...a must see if you are in the area..check out the reviews..people come from all over the world to see it!

Professional sports? not a big fan - but "live" is a lot of fun..maybe do as you suggested and go to the cheaper venue first before you invest in Stillers...not sure you would be that impressed for the money..plus those uniforms! ugh!

driving is not east coast here..much less aggressive drivers who drive at a much slower pace and slooooowwww driving in passing lanes ..should not be a problem coming from Toronto..Pittsburgh is the gateway to the midwest...much different mentality than major metropolitan areas

T
Level Contributor
113 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Is it worth the 45 min drive to Tanger Outlets just for Off Saks Fifth Avenue? I was hoping to do all the shopping on Friday (Grove City Premium outlets, Ross Park, Target, Walmart, Marshalls, Best Buy, etc.).

Right now I'm having a tough time finding accomodations. I need some recommendations. Priceline isn't working. I tried 3* for $70 in Pittsburgh, Downtown...no good

Pittsburgh...
Destination Expert
for Pittsburgh
Level Contributor
1,836 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Coming on Dec 7-11. Recommendations on what to do?

Try looking in the Greentree, Coraopolis/Robinson, or even Cranberry areas.

Edited: 7:04 am, November 26, 2012