First impressions: Native Cincinnatian rates Pittsburgh experience

As someone who has lived in Cincinnati their entire life, it’s not very often I am able to visit other cities. On March 28, I drove from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh for a college visit with my mom. Sure, I’ve been to Columbus a few times, but this was a completely new experience. For those who have never been to Pittsburgh before, here are my first impressions after only visiting for two days.

The Drive

The drive from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh was about four and a half hours, and we had to pass through Columbus and part of West Virginia before even entering Pennsylvania, which meant lots of cornfields before making it to the city. We also drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and my first reaction was “Wow, this reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which makes sense considering it’s literally the same tunnel from the movie.

Rate: 7/10. The city itself felt very Cincinnati-esque, and the drive was pretty straightforward.

Sheraton Hotel

The Sheraton Hotel in Station Square is located right on the Ohio River. The room itself was on the petit side, but it had a great panoramic view of Pittsburgh, including Heinz Stadium.

Rate: 7/10. The view was pretty, and I saw a train drive by the hotel once. Points were deducted because the TV had Naked and Afraid on what felt like every other channel. I know hotel TVs are notoriously lousy, but why Naked and Afraid of all things?

Buca di Beppo

In Pittsburgh, many restaurants are closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Fortunately for us, there were plenty of options available in Station Square all within walking distance of the Sheraton Hotel. Because we were tired from the drive and wanted to limit our exposure to Covid-19, my mom picked up an order from Buca di Beppo, and we ate in our hotel room while trying to find something to watch other than Naked and Afraid. We thought we would be able to finish an appetizer, salad, and pasta, but we were mistaken. This was partially our own fault, but I had never seen bigger portions of food, especially the salad; as a vegetarian, that should tell you something.

Rate: 8/10. The food was delicious but also expensive. Because there is a Buca di Beppo in Rookwood, a point was deducted for lack of originality as well.

Bruegger’s Bagels

For breakfast the next morning before my college visit, my mom picked up an order from Bruegger’s Bagels just outside Station Square, still within walking distance from the hotel. We ordered three different bagels to share: everything, blueberry, and asiago cheese. While not a significant breakfast, it made it much easier to get ready and pack, and as someone who takes forever to do both, it was very convenient.

Rate: 9/10. You can never go wrong with bagels, and the asiago cheese bagel was especially good. There are also a few locations near Cincinnati, so a point was deducted for lack of originality.  

Chatham University

I applied to Chatham University in the fall of 2020, and this was my first time actually visiting the campus. It is located in the city but also secluded enough to feel like a true college campus; fun fact – I was told Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, often walks his dog on campus because he lives close by. Most of the residence halls, academic buildings, etc. were renovated mansions; one even had a secret passage in the wall – very fancy.

Rate: 10/10. I loved the campus so much that I committed a few days later.  

While very brief, I really enjoyed my Pittsburgh experience, and thank goodness because I’ll be spending the next four years of my life there. If anyone else plans to make the trip east, I would recommend going for more than two days and do something more Pittsburgh-related like going to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History or the Andy Warhol Museum.

Final rating: 9/10.

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