Visiting the City of Bridges

Pittsburgh is more than just the birthplace of famous explorer Nellie Bly or where marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson graduated from college. It’s also the setting of the film Flashdance.

And, of course, it is a city rich with history, art, culture, and the best pierogies in Pennsylvania.

The 2016 AWP conference location, the Omni William Penn Hotel, is right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh. You can visit Pittsburgh-based Primanti Bros for their “almost famous” sandwiches and fries, stop by Prantl’s Bakery for their one-of-a-kind burnt almond torte, or wander into the cultural district and visit the Harris Theater for an independent movie. There is food and entertainment within walking distance of the hotel, and you can explore it all in the midst of towering historic buildings that Batman himself scaled in the final Dark Knight Rises.

Downtown Pittsburgh is enough to keep you busy, but I recommend branching out and exploring the various neighborhoods that (in my opinion) are at the heart of Pittsburgh’s charm. Take for example the Strip District that is only a short bus ride from downtown. It’s one of Pittsburgh’s most visited neighborhoods for shopping and food, and it is home to the Pittsburgh Public Market, which features handicraft and local products. Within walking distance from the Strip District is Lawrenceville—a cute neighborhood that has revived itself over the past decade. Stop by Wildcard for local and hip gifts, Kickstarter funded Row House Cinema, and Espresso a Mano for one of the best espresso shots in town.

As for the pierogies, they’re pretty much a Pittsburgh staple. I recommend trying Church Brew Works for house-brewed beers and pierogies inside the country’s only brewpub located inside a historic church. If that is too much of a trek, you can also try to track down the Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck downtown.

Honestly, there are endless neighborhoods to explore: South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, and that’s only to name a few. Each time you step into a neighborhood, you get a glimpse of a different side (and taste) of Pittsburgh. It’s a testament to how the city has adjusted and grown over time, with people in the neighborhood taking initiative to rebuild, reinvent, and reimagine their communities from the inside out. Pittsburgh is more than just a place with great food and good people—it is a site of activism, advocacy, and innovation, with so many organizations that are working towards social justice and gender equity. I can’t think of a better place to reflect on the future of feminism than a city that embodies the same flexibility, growth, and hopefulness of our movement. The pierogies, of course, are just a bonus.