Pittsburgh has likely been called underrated countless times, but now, the accolade of “America’s most underrated city” has been bestowed upon us by Harper’s Bazaar.

In her travel feature for the venerable American women’s fashion magazine, The Ultimate Guide to American’s Most Underrated City: Where to eat, stay, shop, and sightsee in Pittsburgh, PA, writer Carrie Goldberg cuts to the chase in her opener:

Getty Images.

“We’ll be the first to admit that Pittsburgh is not a city one associates with luxury or travel bucket lists. While big cities with a small town vibe like Austin, Nashville, Portland, Philadelphia, Savannah and Charleston have earned a spot on our short list for long weekend getaways, word association games with this Pennsylvania city will likely yield not-so-chic results.”

It didn’t take long for Goldberg to fall hard for the “Paris of Appalachia:”

“But upon arrival, I was surprisingly starved for time in the ‘Burgh to hit all of the amazing restaurants, shops, cultural sites and quaint neighborhoods the city has to offer–and am still dreaming about some of the standout meals, cocktails and artwork I enjoyed during my stay.”

Organizing her tour of Pittsburgh into sections such as Where to Stay, What to Eat, Where to Shop and What to Do, Goldberg presents Harper’s “guide to the best of what we think may be America’s most underrated city.”

The magazine’s top choices for travelers to rest those weary heads are downtown’s Hotel Monaco (head to the rooftop Biergarten for a craft beer and a game of life-sized jenga), and the new Ace Hotel in East Liberty (“the hotel retains the campy, dormitory-like vibes of the building’s history with an upscale slant”).

Ah, but what to eat? A lot, says Goldberg:

“When dining out in Pittsburgh, prepare to be overwhelmed with options. This city is full of top-notch restaurants, and the meat and potato-loving crowds are finally warming up to more dynamic, ethnic and innovative food concepts. There are, without a doubt, a handful of restauranteurs that dominate the food scene here, and Justin Severino is at their helm. Cure, his first restaurant in Lawrenceville which many would dub the city’s hipster epicenter (a.k.a. the Williamsburg of the ‘Burgh), is not to be missed.”

Hotel Monaco.

In addition to Cure, Harper’s gives a shout-out to Severino’s latest venture, Morcilla—just recently named Bon Appetit‘s #4 best new restaurant in the country.

Exploring several different city neighborhoods, and spanning a wide variety of cuisines, Harper’s also showcases Umami (“pot stickers here are to die for”), Noodlehead, Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream (try the pistachio rose), Tako (“the customizable guacamole is not to be missed”), Butcher and the Rye (“600+ varietals of whiskey”), Bar Marco, Grapperia, The Livermore, Point Brugge Café, The Vandal, and Tender.

Adds Goldberg: “These must-sees really only scratch the surface of the Pittsburgh food scene that’s as vibrant as an Andy Warhol exhibition (more on that later, he’s a Pittsburgh native).”

When you’re ready to shop til you drop, Harper’s recommends several hotspots in the city and even the ‘burbs, such as Eons Fashion Antique, Hey Betty!, Wexford General Store, Choices, and Barberry Handmade.


“If the thriving food scene came as a shock to your system, Pittsburgh’s shopping scene is sure to surprise. Antiques and vintage shops abound in this city, and its rich history of well-to-do steel and iron industry moguls and NFL Steelers residing in town make for thrift shops packed with well-preserved furs, jewelry and vintage denim.”

Any visit to Pittsburgh would not be complete without time spent in some of our city’s world-class cultural institutions, and Goldberg makes the rounds to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (“one of the most amazing collections of plants, florals and foliage around”), and the one-of-a-kind Andy Warhol Museum.

Another Pittsburgh highlight? “Walking through some of the city’s quaint neighborhoods is also a lovely way to spend an afternoon.”

We could not agree more.

Read the entire article in Harper’s Bazaar.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...