Around Town

Welcome to Pittsburgh – The Steel City!


Getting around

The streets in Pittsburgh can be very confusing, even if you have GPS, so pay attention while driving through 5-way intersections and across multiple bridges. Venue information and driving directions can be found on the venue page. Click on the addresses for Google Maps.

You can also reserve a ride via the Lyft or Uber. Taxis are also available, but only if you call.

Public Transit

There are buses a-plenty in Pittsburgh, but they can be a bit irregular at times, so be sure to give yourself extra time. The Port Authority has schedules and routes, but we recommend using Google Maps for trip planning. Local buses cost $2.50. You can ask for an additional $1 transfer pass when paying which is valid for 3 hours.

Airport Transportation

The 28X bus leaves the airport on the hour and half hour and takes about an hour to downtown, Oakland, and CMU. The last bus leaves at midnight. It costs $3.75 and the bus driver will not give change. You can pay another dollar for a transfer if needed.

For the Friday night main and late night dances at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, the 28X buss will take you straight there. You’ll get off at Forbes Ave at Bigelow Blvd in Oakland (the corner across from the very tall Cathedral of Learning) and walk one block north. The bus will take about an hour. Feel free to ask the bus driver to let you know when to get off, or follow these Google Map instructions.

If you are coming straight to the Saturday workshops, CMU is the last stop for the 28X. Cross Forbes Ave, and enter the University Center to the left of the giant pole (you’ll see). Or follow these Google Map instructions.

To return to the airport, buses leave CMU, at the same stop where it drops you off across the street from the giant pole, at 25 and 55 of the hour, starting at 4:25am. Again, busses can be unreliable, so we strongly advise taking at least one bus earlier than what you think you need.

For those with more dough, here’s information on Pittsburgh’s Super Shuttle ($36 + $9 additional passengers) and taxis (around $50-60).


More dancing

If you want to come to our great city early or leave late, there are a couple of other nights where you can dance to your heart’s content. Make sure you check with your host about your travel itinerary before showing up on their doorstep, especially if you’re coming before Friday or leaving after Sunday.

Thursday Night

Tartan Swing (formerly Chicken Swing) at CMU
(Blues lesson and dance, the Thursday before Steel City Blues)
Lesson from 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Open Dancing: 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday Night

Hot Metal Blues at Peter’s Pub in Oakland (the dance is all ages)
Lesson: 8pm – 9pm
Open Dancing: 9pm – midnight
Cost: Free


When you’re not dancing

For some ideas of things to do when you’re not dancing, check out:

Pittsburgh Tourism

The “official” site for planning your visit.
Note the section on free (or close to free) things to do!

Cool PGH

Another good resource for finding things to do in Pittsburgh.

Cathedral of Learning

Not only is it the tallest exclusively-educational building in the Western hemisphere (and the fourth tallest in the world), it was at the top of a recent Buzzfeed list of college campuses that make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts and is home to the Nationality Rooms. It is worth a visit, and there are tours if you’d like to learn more.

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Though Pittsburgh is a small city, its four Carnegie museums – the Museums of Art, Natural History, the Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum – are truly world-class. The Museums of Art and Natural History are practically next-door to our workshop venue, while the Andy Warhol (With funky prints!) and the Science Center (With SCIENCE! And model trains!) are on the North Side, which is about a 10-minute drive away. Don’t miss your chance to tour a real WWII-era submarine that’s docked in the river by the Science Center, or see skeletons of Diplodicus carnegii, named after Andrew Carnegie, in the Natural History Museum.

Phipps Conservatory

For those of you who haven’t played Clue in a while, a conservatory is “a room with a glass roof and walls and used as a greenhouse.” Phipps is a beautiful and extensive indoor botanical garden where you can see the world’s finest flora, all in one place. It’s also just a short walk away from our workshop venue.

The National Aviary

Yep, it’s “National” and it’s not in DC! Come to the nation’s premier zoo for birds, where you can seemingly stand in a tropical paradise as birds fly all around you, and make friends with everyone from canaries to condors. While we encourage a visit, Steel City is not responsible if you get pooped on.


Grub!

There is lots of excellent grub in Pittsburgh. If you’re in the mood for something in particular, you can find it here. And don’t forget to try Primanti’s, a Pittsburgh icon with huge sandwiches!

While a Google/Yelp search will turn up plenty of great dining options, we have also prepared a couple of guides for two of the more popular dining hubs near CMU.

Murray Avenue Dining

In Squirrel Hill (a 5-minute drive from CMU)

Craig Street Dining

In Oakland (a 7-minute walk from CMU)


Adult beverage establishments

Check out the URBANIST guide for fancy cocktails, great pubs, and craft beer.

Buying alcohol in Pennsylvania can be quite the adventure due to our strict liquor laws. Wine and hard liquor has to be bought at a state owned Fine Wine & Good Spirits shop which are often closed on Sundays. Six-packs of beer can be bought at a pizza shop or bottle store.

Here are some Wine & Spirits shops close to the venues (although no alcohol is allowed at CMU):

South Oakland (10-minute drive from CMU)
217 Atwood Street, Pittsburgh, PA
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 9pm

Squirrel Hill (5-minute drive from CMU, near late nights)
1824 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 9pm


Funky Shops

We were going to post our favorite funky shops and hidden gems here, but the URBANIST guide already has already found all the spots and has a much nicer website. Check out the guide for vintage shops and neighborhood guides.
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