We woke up to a beautiful sunny day in Pittsburgh, PA. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this place, but hoped that it was an unexpected gem. Unsure how to best spend our time here and get the most of it, we began by exploring the neighborhoods. I love how the further east we get the less modern homes you find. The homes and buildings had seen generations. They were weathered but full of character. We did find the use of shingles on the sides of structures to be a little curious (which I found is often referred to as “ghetto brick”), but I had just assumed it had something to do with the weather.
After zig-zagging through enough streets we made our way down to The Strip District near the Allegheny River in an Industrial part of town. This area is known for their produce and fish markets, but is also filled with shops and restaurants.
J was such a good sport, and this shop was so colorful and filled with all sorts of candies that are so rare to see these days, but that brought you back to your own childhood, that I couldn’t deny him a treat. Of all the fun stuff available however, we just ended up with a candy necklace. I thought he may have to work at this thing for a bit, but we didn’t make it far down the street before we noticed that he had eaten every last one… kids.
When we decided that we had seen enough, we hoped to hit up some amazing thrift store – hoping one existed in this city (in my experience, eastern thrift shops are filled with far better deals than most that I’ve seen out west so far). So we ventured through the city again. This time however, we found ourselves in less than savory neighborhoods, only to find that what comes up as a thrift store on google was only a beaten up catholic church and another just a cold hallway with a tiny window wherewith you could see a lady in an office. When we asked her about it she said she had no idea and brushed us off… We rushed back to the safety of our car and buckled my sleeping child in out of the cold and decided that we didn’t care enough to continue our search.
With 30 minutes or so to spare before we had to hit the road again, we decided that a good auto tour of the downtown area was a must. I found myself a little disappointed that we hadn’t made more time for this part, and hope to return just so I can venture around on foot next time. The funny part is that our hotel was basically walking distance from here, and we skipped right over it. We were feeling a little out of sorts after our depressing trip through the grittier “real” parts of the city and there was a heavy silence in the car – nothing like stepping off your happy tourist cloud into a dilapidated reality. So even though I found charm and intrigue here, we were definitely ready to hit the road again.