Completed / Resolved Seeking Help tell me what pittsburgh is like?

Matt Derrick

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#1
Hey folks, I'm working on finishing up my list that describes most american cities in the USA for my book. I have just a few cities left, and one of them is pittsburgh! so, if you've been there semi-recently, what is pittsburgh like these days? is it friendly to travelers? is there a punk scene? what's the squatting like there? i'm looking for information that is useful to travelers, so try to keep it on topic, but let me know what your opinions of this place are!
 
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FrumpyWatkins

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#2
I spent a few days there in January. It was New Years so it is hard to gauge the friendliness in terms of kick downs since holiday spanging is generally good anywhere you go. I've been there before when it is warmer out and honestly the downtown is kind of beat. That being said I never spent more than a night, before this last visit. Hitch hiking 65 back from or to Conway is super chill, but most of the time there are really cheap buses. I think it is like 3 dollars to go to Conway from downtown, which is like 20 miles roughly.

Pittsburgh is a cold place in the winter so I didn't really encounter anyone but homebums and junkies alleging to have been stuck. I know there is a few cool squats in Pittsburgh but nobody seemed to be around. I didn't mind anyway I got inside the old stock exchange construction site, right downtown. It is being turned into a theater or some other building by Point Park Uni. Super chill, slept in the workers makeshift break room with a recliner chair and space heaters, and a microwave! It was a nice New Years weekend for me since it was around 40 degrees most days. I'm sure the building is nearly finished now but there are a ton of construction sites right downtown easily accessible to at least sleep in and stay dry overnight. Spanging downtown was my M.O. this time, since PPG had the ice rink and the Christmas village set up, so there was a ton of foot traffic. Probably made 300 over the three days, including 30 from the guy who drove me back from Conway, plus a few free meals, steaks etc. Holidays are the best. Other visits myself and others fucked around in what I believe is South Side, where ever all the bars are.

The outer neighbors and across both rivers is where a lot more cool stuff is happening, there is also more booze stores if anyone cares. Downtown has maybe 1 beer store that was never there before on Wood St, and a state liquor store right in the middle. Stay out of the ghettoish areas across the Allegheny, too much heroin and other riff raff. I feel like there was a larger punk scene in past visits but maybe it was just too cold and I was too concerned with getting them coins downtown and didn't care to look. I didn't even see anyone riding fixed and tall bikes, which I saw a lot of times before. I think like other east coast cities, heroin is killing a lot of the people who once were or would normally populate the counter culture/grunge/punk/gutter/traveler scene.

Second best city in Pennsylvania.

EDIT: My only encounter with a police officer was me asking him if they put a "takeout" (PA has weird laws) beer store downtown yet, which he kindly told me they did. However all the large buildings downtown have private security who are pretty chill but will constantly tell you to leave.
 

SlankyLanky

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#3
I think like other east coast cities, heroin is killing a lot of the people who once were or would normally populate the counter culture/grunge/punk/gutter/traveler scene.
this is unfortunetly way to true. brooklyn, philly, richmond, asheville the list goes on down the coast.
 

Tude

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#4
BF lived there several years before moving to NY. Cool place to visit - has a lot to offer. Cool big Farmers type market with established stores and loaded with tons of booths of stuff and foods, etc called "The Strip" down by river was nice - when market ends, there are leftovers left behind. Very pretty area with lovely old historic downtown buildings.

Did not see anyone flying a sign or spanging, busking anywhere.

Traffic and infostructure getting in and out of city between mountains and using tunnels really sucked at high traffic times due to accidents and especially coming in from the west into the city with at least 5 plus feeder lanes going into the tunnel. Suburbs have odd road landings due to the mountains - have 5 roads converge at an intersection at a hilltop with entrances to multiple stores that are stacked on different levels via different driveways were confusing but you get it. I was out actually walking the Monroeville area (a suburb) a lot and was actually out of breath walking up one hill to get out of the valley I was in to get to the top of this 5 road crossway to get to a store.

Nice along the river and good riding bicycle - however riding bicycle and getting through that area if traveling cross country etc - it is mountains.

And as always purchasing beer and liquor is a travel - meaning I'm used to lots of liquor stores here in NY and being able to purchase beer at any corner store. There - certain places sold the liquor and beer. Down further in Williamsport we used to have to buy beer by 6 pack, etc in a bar, not sure if that is like it is now.

Hope this helps :) The Strip though was my favorite.
 

JDP

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#5
I've lived in Pa for a long time but rarely make trips to the burgh (not because it sucks or anything like that) so i don't have a ton of useful info, but when i do go it's for the music. There's a killer crust punk scene in Polish Hill, spilling into southside occasionally and tons of punks living like..8 deep in apartments etc. there that would more than likely house up fellow crusty's depending on individual, circumstance, etc. After a hard night of debauchery or two I've woken up in such an abode. Other than that the only info i have on the city is hit up Spak Bros. (on Penn ave if memory serves) for the best (vegan) cheesesteak you will eat in your fucking LIFE! Good luck Matt.
 

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