There are many, many things that I love about office holiday parties, but my hands-down favorite part about this year's was this - location, location, location.
This year's company holiday party was held at the Clemente Museum located on Penn Avenue in the trendy Strip District. Housed in an old firehouse, the museum brims with an abundance of character and memorabilia. As a die-hard baseball fan, I was drooling from the second I walked in to the expansive first level. The dark, industrial floors are off-set by brightly colored walls and decorative candle-holders... sound strange? It works!
Upon our arrival were were immediately prompted to head down to the basement to check out the wine cellar. Wine cellar? Really? This place really is too good to be true! Entering the cellar you instantly get the sense that you've be transported to the basement of an old Italian winery. Between the candle light, and the hundreds of bottles of wine featuring any athlete you could imagine, I was absolutely in awe. To top it off, they held a tasting, and I was able to sample some of the best that the museum had to offer.
So very, very cool.
The third level featured additional Clemente memorabilia, including one of his Silver Bat awards surrounded by baseballs autographed by famous museum-goers, and a roped-off display featuring his Golden Glove.
Clemente, Clemente, Clemente
Don't have a vast appreciation for Pittsburgh sports, or the legacy of Roberto Clemente? First of all, shame on you! But you're in luck, the museum boasts a wide variety of collectables, so you are bound to find something that strikes your fancy.
Look what I found! Naturally.
To put it simply, I am in love with this Place! In true girl fashion, I spent the entire party mentally planning how I would do my wedding. I'd walk in there. Dance floor here. Whole nine yards.
Check it out!
While I loved living in Cincinnati, I haven't had a "wow I really miss it" moment since I moved away. Yes, I miss my friends and coworkers, but I never fell head-over-heels in love with the city itself. Maybe because I didn't stick it out long enough, but only time will tell.
I did, however, feel a pang of longing for my old neighborhood, Hyde Park, as I strolled along Walnut Street in Shadyside. It was like I had been transported back to my old stomping grounds - I loved every minute of it, and knowing that something like this was, again, in my backyard.
Walnut Street, located amidst the much sought-after neighborhood known as Shadyside, is considered to be the focal point of the district. A mere minutes outside of downtown Pittsburgh, Shadyside could not feel more removed from the hustle and the bustle of the city; instead offering quaint, tree-lined streets, and houses with amazing architecture and some serious pricetags.
This gorgeous home can be yours for only $1.4 mil!
Need anything? Anything at all? Walnut is the place to go.
Reflecting its upper-middle class surroundings, the retail is mainly higher-end, but geared for the young, active professional. Apple, Banana Republic, J. Crew (women's only), Coach, and United Colors of Benetton all call Walnut home, as does TrueRunner - the newest member of the Dick's Sporting Goods family.
Hungry? While the retail might leave your wallet gasping for air (and a few more dollars), the dining accomodates all appetites and budget levels. No matter your mood, the volume of restaurants, pubs, markets, cafes and bakeries are sure to please. See my Eats and Treats page for my review of Steel Cactus - my first dining adventure on Walnut!
And don't let your budget thwart your plans of making a night of it - when the lights go down, the YPs of The Pitts flock to hotspots such as Mario's, where the music is good and the drinks are cheap.
One word of warning - if you need a cab, call at least 30 minutes ahead of time, as they are few and far between come the wee hours of the morning!
I. Love. Baseball. More than shopping, if you read my last Places and Spaces post. If I had to choose, I would absolutely hang up the purse, kick back, and watch a game. Thus, it's no surprise that I have ventured to PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, more than a few times since I moved in. Even better? It's within walking distance to my abode, and is absolutely accessible for anyone heading to the North Side for a game.
As an avid Red Sox Fan and lover of Fenway Park, I'm often rather judgemental when it comes to my visits to other ballparks, but you can't help but fall in love with PNC Park, even before you walk through the gates. While it's not Wrigleyville, the North Side boasts a large selection of eateries and bars that are packed to the brim on gameday with fans decked in black and yellow. On nights drawing particularly large crowds like I experienced Saturday night, be prepared to wait upwards of an hour to get a table at the likes of Mullen's Bar and Grill or RiverTowne (don't worry, just head to the bar).
After filing in with the thousands of other fans, prepare yourself for one of the more beautiful parks I have come across in my 24 years. PNC is the epitome of the phrase "there isn't a bad seat in the house", as most fans are treated to a view of the river and downtown Pittsburgh just over the outfield wall. Showing up just after the first pitch on Saturday, we were "stuck with" seats in Outfield Box 135, and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves practically on the outfield turf, and eye-level with the outfielders (Braun and Tabata for the evening.. not bad).
$19?! No problem!
My favorite part about PNC Park (aside from the view) is the fan base. To me, I imagine that a game at PNC now is how a game at Fenway would have felt pre-2004 - stands full of hope, and fans cheering like hell for their team, praying that THIS is finally the year. And, I'll admit, I found myself cheering right along with them.
Now to cover the rest of the bases (no pun intended) - the food is typical ballpark food, with a few twists. Try out the famous Permanti Bros for something a little different than the traditional ballpark frank. The drinks are reasonable, especially if you decide to partake in the Pittsburgh speciality, IC Light. The seats are overwhelmingly reasonably - though not for long if the team keeps on this path - and you can find yourself out of the nosebleeds for just around $20 per seat (click here for more ticket info). And, finally, the fireworks. Well, they're the best I've seen at a professional sporting event, courtesy of Zambelli Fireworks. I highly recommend going out on a Fireworks night! PNC also hosts a wide variety of concerts, with the likes of Styx and LifeHouse as part of their 2012 lineup.
Fireworks against the Pittsburgh Skyline (oooh ahhhh)
Now go, shoo, take yourself out to a ballgame!
I cannot tell a lie - I am a shopper, but there is something all-together unappealing about wandering around inside a mall on a beautiful day. That's why I have quickly developed an affinity for shopping at SouthSide Works, situated on East 27th & Carson.
After venturing over with a few friends during my first official weekend as a Pittsburgher back in April, I have since been back to satisfy a variety of shopping and dining needs at this one-stop-fits-all outdoor shopping complex.
First and foremost, there is the shopping. While the area is surrounded by high-end lofts and apartments, The Works boasts a selection of stores that will fit any budget. From Forever 21, to H&M, to Urban Outfitters, and BCBG, there isn't a personal style, nor a budget level that can't strike gold here. SouthSide Works also has a personal favorite, and credit-card magnet - Sur La Table. Call me crazy, but I could spend well over an hour browsing through cookware and placesettings.. and I don't even cook very often!
Upscale lofts above American Eagle
The riverfront property also makes a great, scenic home for several restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory, McCormick & Schmicks, BD's Mongolian Grill, and several smaller stop-in places for the on-the-go shopper. Looking for great cuisine and a cheap margarita? I'm right there with you! Check out the local Emilianos located on Carson Street just outside of The Works.
A few pointers:
1. Parking can be tricky if you're in search of a street spot, so I recommend cutting your losses and settling for a spot in one of several garages located on the property.
2. Check out $6 Bargain Mondays at the SouthSide Works Cinema, but get there early as shows sell out quickly.
3. New to, or visiting the area? Hop on a Double Decker Tour that departs conveniently from the center of The Works.
Highly recommend for a nice day when you've got some time to kill, and a little extra crash!