Being the broke college student that I am, I could not afford to go on a tropical vacation for my spring break this year. That, along with my lack of desire to go home, left me no other choice but to stay at my apartment for the week. Luckily, my boyfriend, Nik, decided to stay with me and we put together a To-Do List of activities to make the best of our time off. So, if you ever find yourself bored and strapped for cash in Pittsburgh, feel free to use my experiences as a guide for your own adventures. All these options are either free or really cheap and you can access all of them with some walking and/or the fantastic Pittsburgh bus system.
1. Eat at the Melting Pot. I had been hearing all my friends rave about this fondue restaurant for a while so I figured I had to check it out. Turns out, it actually lives up to all the hype and is absolutely amazing. Some of the items on the menu can be pretty pricey but if you are cool with just getting the fondue, the cheese and chocolate ones are each only $8 per person. The Melting Pot is located in Station Square which is also the home of lots of other great restaurants if you are not that into cheese.
2. See Project X. I had been dying to see this movie since I first saw a preview for it and it did not disappoint. Project X was insanely good; emphasis oninsane, and the makers pretty much perfected the art of the montage. I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a funny, mindless flick. We saw it at South Side Works Cinema where they have that awesome $5 movie deal on Monday nights. But, if you cannot make it on Mondays, the matinee shows before 6 o’clock are still only $6.50.
3. Go rock climbing. If you are looking for a new physical activity to try, check out the rock wall in Trees Hall. It was challenging and terrifying at first, but I got the hang of it after a bit. It is only $5 to rent all the equipment you need and that price also includes a climbing lesson for first-timers!
4. Shop in the Strip District. For those of you who have never heard of the Strip District, the best way I can describe it is like a flea market but with actual stores instead of vendors at tables. These thrifty stores sell handmade clothing, authentic ethnic foods, and lots of other unique goods, clothes, and products. There is even a store just dedicated to all kinds of spices. The food there is delicious; Nik is still raving about the amazing tacos he had. Don’t panic about price because most of the products there are inexpensive like the cool scarf I bought for $5!
5. Go to a Penguins game. I told Nik I would take him to a Penguins game as part of his Christmas present, and we finally got around to going over break. I was a little nervous that I would not enjoy it since I am not really into sports. However, the crowd was so excited and loud that I couldn’t help myself and quickly got into the spirit with them! The best part is that Consol Energy Center, where the Penguins play, offers Student Rush tickets for every regular season home game. This means that if you show them your student ID, you can get a ticket for only $25. Our seats were really good too. These student tickets go on sale an hour before the games start. However, you may want to get there early since all other colleges and high schools in Pittsburgh are eligible for this discount as well, and I have heard the line can get pretty long.
6. Grab a book at the Carnegie Library. Originally, I just needed to go to the library to check out a book for one of my classes. What I discovered was just how much more this library has to offer us. Conveniently located across Schenley Plaza from the Hillman Library, Pitt students can get a library card for free. My favorite thing about the Carnegie Library is that they have a huge collection of DVDs including feature films and television series that I had wanted to see for a while. Looking for a fun night in? Rent a movie here for free and have yourself a fun, cheap movie night!
7. Visit the Andy Warhol Museum. Although this was on our list, Nik and I never actually made it to the museum since we needed some time to just relax and get some school work done after all our adventures. Keep in mind though that like all other museums in Pittsburgh, Pitt students get into the Andy Warhol museum for free. This includes The Mattress Factory, a modern art museum, located not too far from the Andy Warhol Museum. I have been to the Mattress Factory previously and they have some really interesting exhibits that are definitely worth seeing.
I had an amazing time doing all these things over spring break and I do not regret my decision to stay in Pittsburgh one bit. Having so much stuff to do made my time off seem so much longer and gave me the break I desperately needed from schoolwork. So, if you are looking for something to do on a random weekend, over summer, or even next spring break, hanging out around Pittsburgh is a great option.