PLAYING HOOKY: USE YOUR LAST VACATION DAY ON THE ULTIMATE DAY OUT IN PITTSBURGH
If you’re smart, you may have saved up a vacation day or two to use for some “me time” around the holidays. If you’re not able to pack a bag for a short trip (or even a staycation), a day of playing hooky in your own city can still feel just as rejuvenating. Whether you take some time to explore a new-to-you corner of the city or finally make it out to that must-see attraction that you’ve somehow missed, here are a few great ideas for the ultimate day off in Pittsburgh — flying solo or with a friend.
- x Linger over breakfast. You know how some spots are too casual for your weekend brunch, but you’re still dying to try their morning offerings? Well, today’s the day. Start your day of playing hooky with a decidedly anti-brunch meal (otherwise known as breakfast) at the brand new Bitter Ends Luncheonette, pick up fresh coffee and fresh flowers at 4121 Main, or grab a matcha latte and house-made quiche at Adda Coffee & Tea House.
- x A matinee at the Manor Theatre. If you’re tired of hearing, “You still haven’t seen Lady Bird?!”, then this one’s for you. Head over to Squirrel Hill for a $6 matinee at one of the city’s oldest and most charming theaters, where you can imbibe in a fancy cocktail and a snack that’s a bit more satisfying than the usual candy and popcorn.
- x Explore the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning. If you didn’t go to school at Pitt, then you likely haven’t spent much time in the Cathedral of Learning — and even if you have, you might not have explored the often locked Nationality Rooms. These incredible classrooms were each constructed by one of Pittsburgh’s ethnic communities back in 1926, and they offer a unique look into the unique styles of learning around the world. Take a tour to learn about both Pittsburgh’s history and world history all in one outing. Bonus, they are decorated for the holidays currently.
- x Check out an under-the-radar eatery. Have you heard about Pittsburgh’s best sushi spot? It may be one you’ve never heard of – according to some, Mount Everest Sushi, tucked away in a nondescript building on Oakland Ave, home of the sushi donut. What about seriously crave-worthy Chinese? Chengdu Gourmet is a go-to staple for in-the-know foodies, but it flies a bit more under the radar with it’s beyond spicy, authentic schezwan menu. Today’s the perfect day to discover a new favorite semi-secret restaurant. Or maybe its time you braved the line at the totally not under the radar but still amazing Gaucho.
- x Take a booze-fueled tour of one of Pittsburgh’s breweries, wineries or distilleries. In the past few years, purveyors of fine libations have been popping up all over the city. Your day off is a perfect time to pop in and see how the sausage — or, rather, the sauce (pun totally intended) — gets made at places like Maggie’s Farm Rum, Grist House or the brand new outpost from Wigle, Threadbare Cider.
- x End the night right. You might have to go back to work tomorrow, but that shouldn’t stop you from ending the night on a high note. Hit up Lawrenceville’s resident bowling destination for cheap beers, retro lanes and as much fried food as you can stomach at Arsenal Lanes. If you come in on Wednesday or Thursday, you’ll even get to take advantage of $8 all-you-can-bowl specials, live music and DJs spinning only the best of the 80s and 90s. If the holiday spirit is more your thing, head out to Bob’s Garage for all the Christmas decor you can handle with a side of karaoke.