Pittsburgh Visitor’s Guide 2020-2021

Inevitably, our neighborhoods are different places this year.

How does the South Side change without college crowds? What’s Lawrenceville without live music? Is the North Shore the same place without throngs of sports fans? As is the case with nearly every aspect of life in 2020, the hallmarks of the places we live have changed — or are absent.

As Amanda Reed, Kimberly Rooney and I worked on the “Why I Love My Neighborhood” feature, however, I was struck by how little the COVID-19 pandemic factored in. The four locals we spoke with didn’t talk about the broad signifiers of their communities; they talked about affordability, access and convenience. People choose a neighborhood because it will allow them to live the lives they want — and those qualities are, to some extent, the rare traits that are not too different right now.

I’ve made valuable discoveries about my own neighborhood in recent months. In this space a year ago, I praised the South Side for my ability to pass hours in a nearby coffee shop. Until I can do that again, I’m spending that time scaling the many city steps for remarkable views from the South Side Slopes, gradually extending my jogs on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail — sometimes I can keep going until I exit the city limits and pass into Baldwin — and watching for birds and butterflies to alight in my backyard.

Find out the joys, and challenges, of four communities starting on p.12. This year’s City Guide also contains our first Visitor’s Guide, beginning on p.23; it’s an overview of the can’t-miss stops for a newcomer looking to see the city’s essential sights and streets. Make sure you call ahead before you go to confirm operating hours during the pandemic. While it serves as a crash course for beginners, I hope you’ll find that it reminds you of city treasures you may not have visited in some time. There’s no need to wait for out-of-towners to experience these places. Make time to look at the city as if you’re seeing it for the first time.

Even now, there’s plenty to discover.

Sean can be reached at scollier@pittsburghmagazine.com

Categories: Visitor’s Guide Editor