If you’ve come to town to attend one of the area’s colleges or universities, it’s a good bet that at some stage of your matriculation, the parents will be paying Pittsburgh a visit. So, how exactly do you keep them entertained? Here’s a hint: They aren’t interested in seeing the slums of South Oakland. Take a look at this two-day itinerary instead.
Mom and Dad have to eat, right? Bring ’em straight to DeLuca’s (2015 Penn Ave., 412/566-2195)in the Strip; it’s old-school Pittsburgh at its finest. Afterward, do a bit of light shopping: Take Mom to Hot Haute Hot (2124 Penn Ave., 412/338-2323, http://hothautehot.net ) for unique gifts and home furnishings. Dad may prefer to be left to his own devices, but you should steer him instead toward La Prima Espresso Company (205 21st St., 412/281-1922, www.laprima.com ), one of the most authentic Italian coffee shops in town.
If it’s midday and everyone has worked up an appetite, head to Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor (2801 Penn Ave., 412-434/0451, www.klavonsicecream.com ) for sundaes and milkshakes. If your folks are interested in the arts, they’ll love the Society for Contemporary Craft (2100 Smallman St., 412/261-7003, www.contemporarycraft.org ); don’t miss the gift shop, where jewelry and modern folk art can be found.
For dinner, head to Sushi Kim (1241 Penn Ave., 412/281-9956, www.sushikim.com ), also in the Strip, or wander Downtown for a bite at Six Penn Kitchen (146 6th St., 412/566-7366, www.sixpennkitchen.com ), an upscale bistro specializing in comfort food.
No visit to Pittsburgh is complete without a ride to the top of Mount Washington. If your parents are staying Downtown, it’s a cinch to do the trip on public transport. But first, you have to eat. For a memorable experience, take a train from any Downtown “T” station to Station Square. If it happens to be a Sunday, dig into the legendary all-you-can-eat buffet brunch at the Grand Concourse (100 W. Station Square Dr., 412/261-1717, www.muer.com ) from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
At Station Square, you’ll notice the entrance of the Monongahela Incline (412/442-2000, www.stationsquare.com/info/inclines.cfm , tickets $1.75, $2.25 with a transfer) right across the street. The incline will shuttle you up Mount Washington and onto must-see Grandview Avenue. If you’re up for a stroll, ask the incline booth employees for directions to Grandview Park; it’s roughly a 20-minute walk, and it offers an alternate city skyline view.
A trip down Grandview Avenue to the historic Duquesne Incline (1220 Grandview Ave., 412/381-1665, www.incline.cc ) is also a wonderful idea, if only to explore the patched-together but informative Incline Museum inside. For lunch, hit the Grandview Saloon (1212 Grandview Ave., 412/431-1400, www.grandviewsaloon.com ). Located close to the Duquesne Incline, it offers surprisingly decent pub grub and one of the best outdoor patio views in all of Pittsburgh.
Afterward, head back to Station Square. Share a bit of Pittsburgh history with your family by showing them the retired blast furnace in Bessemer Court—it’s right behind Station Square’s Waltzing Waters fountain, which, amusingly enough, is choreographed to music. Next, hail a cab to the North Side, or if the folks are feeling particularly vigorous, walk across the Smithfield Street Bridge, through Downtown, and then over the 6th Street Bridge, which will deposit you in front of PNC Park. Pass an hour or two at the National Aviary (Allegheny Commons West Park, 412/323-7235, www.aviary.org , $8 adult, $6.50 child, $7 senior), or take in a film at the Carnegie Science Center’s IMAX theater (1 Allegheny Ave., 412/237-3400, www.carnegiesciencecenter.org ). For dinner, head to Tessaro’s (4601 Liberty Ave., 412/682-6809) in Bloomfield; its burgers and chicken are both well known for being among the city’s best.