Frugal Foodie Mama: Planning a Couple's Getaway to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Friday, November 13, 2020

Planning a Couple's Getaway to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Finally ready to plan an adults-only weekend escape? Be sure to check out my tips and recommendations for planning the perfect, socially distanced couple's getaway to rediscover Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

This post was created in partnership with Visit Pittsburgh. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

I get it- you all might be a tad apprehensive about traveling at all during the time of Covid. For months now, I have been living a cooped-up existence with my daughter in our home. 

We have avoided large family gatherings and have kept a tight circle of close family and a few friends since this pandemic started. We have been opting to do small day trips here and there instead of a weeklong vacation like we would normally do. 

But let's face it, you all- I think we all need a little adults-only time away from the kiddos for a few days after months and months of seeing their precious little faces day in and day out. Am I right? ;) 

You may be wondering if right now is really the right time to start planning a couple's road trip. And I totally understand your hesitation. But with the right planning and a little bit of research on your part, you can plan a fun, safe, and socially distanced getaway with your significant other.

Recently, my boyfriend and I took a little road trip to the city he considers home- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Businesses and local attractions in the Steel City have been going above and beyond to make certain that visitors to their city can still enjoy their time there while also ensuring their health and safety.

While the city of Pittsburgh has many socially distanced and safe options to add to a weekend itinerary, I will be sharing the attractions and spots that we visited during our two-day visit to the city. Each of these places practiced the suggested Covid guidelines and made sure that each visitor/patron had a socially distanced, yet relaxing experience.

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto

If you are looking for a totally splurge-worthy dinner for two with one of the best views of Pittsburgh from above, then be sure to book a dinner reservation at the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mount Washington during your visit to the city. Having fresh seafood flown in daily, Monterey Bay is best known for their seafood dishes

And also for their panoramic views of the city.

Monterey Bay also offers an extensive wine selection and a handcrafted cocktail list. I was fortunate to get to sip on one of their seasonal cocktails before our dinner- the Donut Worry, Be Happy. 

It was a blend of Maggie’s Farm Spiced Rum, Maggie’s Farm Falernum, & Trax Farms Apple Cider with a cinnamon sugar caramel rim and garnished with a miniature apple cider donut.

Not sure what to order? You cannot go wrong by starting out with their Wagyu Beef Sashimi and a bowl of their She-Crab Bisque. And for the main selection? Give their Signature Crab Cakes a go- they are known for them and for good reason too. ;)

What makes them Covid-safe?

  • Tables are all spaced out at least 8 feet apart.
  • Masks are required to be worn by employees and patrons alike (except when seated).
  • Touchless payment is available.
  • You can access their menus via a QR code from your phone, or they will provide you with disposable paper menus.
  • The restaurant is professionally disinfected and protected regularly.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Pittsburgh is home to many unique museums, but the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a definite must-do- especially if you happen to be a dinosaur or an art lover. Be sure to set aside at least 2-3 hours to explore this museum. 

If you want to visit most of the exhibits, you could end up spending most of the day here! But it would be a day well spent.

We spent most of our visit to the museum exploring the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems and the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit. What can I say- I like all things sparkly and my boyfriend is just a boy at heart- still fascinated with dinosaurs. 

Almost 75% of the 230 objects on display in the museum's core dinosaur exhibit are actual fossils, not reproductions!

Carnegie Museum of Art

Located just upstairs from the main floor of the Natural History Museum, you will find most of the exhibits for the Carnegie Museum of Art. You will also find a totally Instagram-worthy, colorful wall along the side of those stairs. ;) (I removed my mask momentarily for this photo as my boyfriend and I were the only ones on the staircase at that time.) 

This contemporary art museum contains over 30,000 pieces in their multiple exhibits! We only had time to take a quick tour of the artworks on display, but we are planning to return in the near future to spend more time in the Museum of Art. 

What makes both of these museums Covid-safe?

  • All patrons and staff members are required to masks upon entry.
  • All tickets must be purchased in advanced via timed ticketing. This ensures that there are a safe number of people in the building at any one time.
  • There are helpful signs throughout the museum to direct the flow of traffic and to help patrons maintain safe social distancing.
  • They have taken extensive measures to improve their HVAC system and to increase the amount of outdoor air flowing into the indoor spaces.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a magical place to visit when in Pittsburgh no matter which time of the year that you go. We just so happened to be there during their annual Fall Flower Show that featured an amazing array of colorful mums

The Fall Flower Show is officially over now, but you can purchase timed tickets now in advance for their festive Winter Flower Show which opens on November 2oth. 

I visited the Winter Flow Show 3 years ago with my family, and it was absolutely breathtaking. The perfect thing to do to get you and your significant other in the holiday spirit quick!

Located in Schenley Park, Phipps is situated on 15 acres that includes their historic 14-room glasshouse and 23 unique gardens (please note that a handful of the exhibits and gardens were closed due to Covid at the time that we visited). 

What makes them Covid-safe?

  • All tickets must be purchased in advanced via timed ticketing. This ensures that there are a safe number of people in the building at any one time.
  • Masks are required for all guests ages 2 & up. They do have guidelines for what qualifies as a mask, so please read those first before visiting.
  • The conservatory has created a one-way flow experience for patrons. Just follow the signs and arrows to maintain safe social distancing while enjoying the botanical displays.
  • Touchless hand sanitizing stations are provided throughout the exhibits.

One of my favorite things about the conservatory is the glass artwork created by Dave Chihuly that you will find throughout many of the exhibits and gardens.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Pittsburgh serves as the birthplace of the famed pop artist, Andy Warhol, so it is only fitting that his largest collection of works should be found there as well. 

The Andy Warhol Museum contains the largest known collection of Warhol's artworks and archival materials on its 7 themed floors of galleries and exhibition spaces. From his signature Campbell's Soup cans to his more risque artistic ventures, plan to spend at least a few hours in this truly unique Pittsburgh museum.

What makes them Covid-safe?

  • All tickets must be purchased in advanced via timed ticketing. This ensures that there are a safe number of people in the building at any one time.
  • Masks are required for all guests ages 3 & up.
  • Foot traffic patterns are clearly marked on each floor to allow for safe social distancing while enjoying the exhibits.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are provided throughout the exhibits.

Fairmont Pittsburgh

Located in the heart of  downtown, booking a room at the Fairmont Pittsburgh is perfect lodging choice for couples looking to get away and escape for a few days. But this Four Diamond hotel is more than just location, location, location (although being walking distance from Market Square and some of the more popular restaurants in the area certainly doesn't hurt ;) ). 

Their spacious one bedroom suites feature a separate bedroom and living area, two full bathrooms (no fighting for the bathroom with your significant other- bonus points!), and amazing views of the city.

See what I mean when I say amazing views of the city? This was the nighttime view of Market Square and the PPG Place building from the living room area of our suite. 

What makes them Covid-safe?

  • All guests and employees of the hotel are digitally checked for temperature every time that they arrive at the entrance of the hotel.
  • Masks are required to be worn at all times by staff. Guests of the hotel are required to wear masks in all public spaces.
  • Housecleaning services are only provided after the third night of your stay to reduce contact with guest rooms. 
  • After an occupied room has been checked out of, it sits unused for a period of 48 hours before being cleaned and disinfected for the next guest.

A few tips in general to consider when traveling during Covid:

  • Always traveled prepared! Bring extra masks and your own hand sanitizer when you travel.
  • Call ahead, call ahead, call ahead. I can't stress this enough. Many attractions utilize timed ticketing which will require you to purchase tickets in advance. Always call ahead before heading out to a restaurant and make sure that the hours they have listed on Google or their website are accurate. Also check to see whether or not they accept reservations. Restaurants are no longer allowed to seat to their normal capacity, so that means they will have limited dining space available.
  • If an establishment doesn't seem to be adhering to the required Covid guidelines, trust your gut. You are in the right to walk out the door and protect your health. Don't worry about offending anyone. (Fortunately, we didn't experience this even once during our stay in the Steel City.)
  • Follow the signs and arrows in the museums and the attractions that you visit. They are there to keep you, the other patrons, and the employees safe and healthy. 

Ready to plan your socially distanced couple's getaway to Pittsburgh? Be sure to check out the Visit Pittsburgh site for every resource you will need to Rediscover Pittsburgh with your significant other. 

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