The Café at the History Center. Photo courtesy of Heinz History Center.

6. The Café at the History Center

Such a cool setting for lunch! Dining at the Café at the History Center means sitting at tables surrounded by relics of Pittsburgh’s past. There’s the old red and yellow streetcar, the 7,000-pound Rodman cannon replica and the 1936 Ford Deluxe Sedan with a stainless-steel body.

While grownups can sip and savor Starbucks coffee, spirited kids can skedaddle up the circular staircase to a second-floor play area. They’ll return to the main floor via the Liberty Tubes corkscrew slide.

The Café shop resembles a 19th-century red-brick storefront. Common Plea caters ready-to-eat offerings like a Turkey & Provolone Wrap, a PB&J Bento Box and a Chicken Salad Sandwich. Or put together your own lunch from a selection of fresh fruit, yogurt, string cheese and trail mix. There’s homemade soup and macaroni and cheese, too, that can be warmed in a microwave.

The Café at the History Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Box Spring Cafe at the Mattress Factory. Photo by Sally Quinn.

7. Boxspring Café

What more whimsical name could the creatives at the Mattress Factory come up with? The Boxspring Café label brings an immediate smile. Glance overhead at Ryder Henry’s fanciful spaceship sculptures for another dose of good humor.

The current menu is limited to locally sourced croissants and bagels from Spirit. Roasted coffee and teas come from Pittsburgh-based De Fer. The list of delicious, hot beverages includes a foam-topped Dirty Chai, Café au lait, milky Cortado and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.

Plan a visit with friends on Wednesday nights, which are scheduled for the museum’s late-night/date night with BYOB in the café.

Boxspring Café is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Warhol Café. Photo by Sally Quinn.

8. The Warhol Café

With four floors of exhibits, plus artmaking in the basement Factory studio, visitors to the Andy Warhol Museum can easily fill an entire day. A stop at The Warhol Café is a fine pause for nourishment between activities.

The coffee bar offers great brews and fresh pastries like ginger pear scones and blueberry muffins. Expect packaged grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, plus trendy drinks like Sanpellegrino Limonata, KÖE kombucha and a selection of Naked juices.

There’s lots of space to spread out in the lobby’s industrial setting housing metal chairs and concrete. You can’t miss William John Kennedy’s striking “Homage to Warhol’s Marilyn” (1964). And it’s the perfect time for a photo on Andy’s red couch.

Gather with the gang for the museum’s weekly Good Fridays series, when admission is half-price from 5 to 10 p.m. That’s when the Warhol Café turns into your favorite bar with a selection of libations.

The Warhol Café is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, with extended hours on Friday when the museum is open late.

Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn is a Pittsburgh-based editor and writer who writes about food, entertainment, kid stuff, pop culture, cocktails!