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Moon Pittsburgh (Moon Handbooks) Paperback – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Moon Handbooks
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; Second Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598807307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598807301
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Eldridge has been writing about travel, entrepreneurship, and American pop culture for nearly two decades. He has co-authored four other guidebooks and founded Young Pioneers, a travel magazine that was nominated for an Independent Press Award by Utne Reader. Dan has worked as a staff editor at Pittsburgh City Paper and as a copy editor at Philadelphia Weekly. His work has also appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, Paste, and Seattle magazine, as well as nearly every major Pittsburgh-based publication.

Dan is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but he has lived in six different states and three different countries, including Turkey, where he taught English and worked as an editor for a backpacker’s magazine in Istanbul. Pittsburgh, however, will always be his home; it was there that Dan graduated from Peters Township High School, studied journalism at the University of Pittsburgh, and launched his writing career with internships at Pitt Magazine and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Dan is currently based in Philadelphia with his fiancée and their four cats. He’s in the process of relaunching Young Pioneers as both a print magazine and a publishing company for the creative entrepreneurial community.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Discovering Pittsburgh with Dan Eldridge


1. What’s the best way to spend 24 hours in Pittsburgh?

Most of Pittsburgh’s bigger hotels are located Downtown, but if I had just 24 hours in the city, I’d stay somewhere in Oakland. That’s Pittsburgh’s university district, and it’s also the perfect base from which to explore the artsy and student-friendly East End. Spend the day people-watching, window shopping and strolling through the streets of Oakland, and then do more of the same in Squirrel Hill, which sits just ten minutes away by bus. If the weather’s nice, check out Oakland’s massive Schenley Park. If it’s cold outside or raining, explore the Nationality Rooms inside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, and then cross the street for a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Art, or the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. After the sun sets, hop in a cab (or a 54-C bus) to South Side’s East Carson Street for dinner--the range of eateries along this strip is impressively wide. On weekend nights, East Carson turns into one long bar-hopping party, so join the fun at a classic dive like Dee’s Café, a frat bar like Jack’s, or even the tiki-themed Lava Lounge.

2. Who makes the best breakfast in Pittsburgh?

Pamela’s is hands-down your best bet, and with five or six locations, you’ll probably be able to find one wherever you’re staying. But if it’s an absolutely genuine Pittsburgh moment you’re looking for, go to DeLuca’s in the Strip District. The experience of dining at DeLuca’s is not unlike being on the stage of a movie set in 1955.

3. What do you consider the greatest dive bar in Pittsburgh?

That’s an incredibly difficult question, but only because Pittsburgh has so many wonderful dive bars. For my money, it’ll always be tough to beat Dee’s Café on the South Side, although Gooski’s in Polish Hill comes mighty close. There’s a great sense of camaraderie there, and local punk and garage-rock bands play live on the weekends. Heck, even David Byrne stopped by Gooski’s when he was in town!

4. What’s the best way to get around town?

Pittsburgh is undoubtedly a car-driving type of place, but unless you’re going way out to the suburbs, it’s a cinch to see the city by bus. For a cheap city tour, hop on a 54-C bus, which will take you through a number of Pittsburgh’s best neighborhoods: Oakland, Bloomfield, the Strip District, the North Side, the South Side, etc. (Ask the driver if he’s South Side or North Side bound.)

5. What do you consider the top shopping destination in Pittsburgh?

My personal favorite is Squirrel Hill, one of the largest Jewish communities in the eastern United States. The neighborhood is essentially a mini-city, complete with everything from cafes and bookshops to kosher grocery stores and bagel bakeries.

6. What do you consider the best place, or places, to stay on a budget?

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh’s only youth hostel closed its doors a few years back, and budget accommodations are hard to come by. However, there’s a very affordable B&B on a residential street in Shadyside called The House of Zen. The proprietor only advertises on Craigslist, and almost no one knows about this place. It’s definitely the best-kept budget secret in the city. There’s even a sunken conversation pit in the living room--it’s used for walking Zen meditation sessions, which usually take place on the weekends.

7. If money is no option, where is the ultimate place to rest your head?

For the conservative crowd, that would be the Omni William Penn Hotel, an elegant luxury hotel that is nearly 100 years old. For something with a bit more flair, try the Renaissance Hotel in the Cultural District. If you’re a baseball fan, ask the Renaissance clerks for a room with a view of PNC Park, where you can literally watch a Pirates game from the comfort of your queen-sized bed. (The city’s best B&B, by the way, is the gay-friendly Inn on the Mexican War Streets, located on the North Side.)

8. When is the best time of the year to visit?

I’d say summer, because Pittsburgh plays host to so many different types of festivals and events during that time of the year. There’s the Three Rivers Regatta (jet-ski racing, water sports), the Three Rivers Arts Festival (craft stalls, free outdoor concerts), and the Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Point State Park, which is something of Pittsburgh tradition. Spring and fall are fine times to visit as well, but winters can often be dangerously cold, so check the forecast beforehand if you’re planning a holiday-season visit.

9. Name a few of the most kid-friendly places in Pittsburgh

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh on the North Side is fantastic, and the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District has quite a few permanent exhibits that kids seem to enjoy. There’s also the hands-on Carnegie Science Center on the North Side, complete with an OMNIMAX theater. But my top pick is the North Side’s National Aviary, well known as the nation’s premiere bird park.

10. What’s your favorite Pittsburgh festival?

I’ve always loved the Three Rivers Arts Festival. It takes place over three consecutive weeks during the summer (usually in June), and because so many different galleries and arts organizations participate, the Downtown area is packed with contemporary art, folk art, and bizarre installations and sculptures for most of the month. There are also free outdoor concerts daily, with A-list bands headlining during the final week. (Patti Smith and Sonic Youth both played recently.)

11. Tell us something you think people would be surprised to know about Pittsburgh?

It was rated “America’s Most Livable City” by Rand McNally’s Places Rated Almanac, twice: once in 1985, and then again in 2007.

More About the Author

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dan Eldrige was raised in a military family and lived in California, Wyoming, Nebraska and Texas before moving to Western Pennsylvania. During his junior year at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied journalism, Dan circumnavigated the world as a student aboard the SS Universe Explorer, a 617-foot-long floating campus that visited ten countries on four continents in 100 days.

Before creating a career in journalism, Dan held dozens of jobs in a handful of fields. He worked as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco, a bookseller in New York City, a barista in Seattle, a taxi driver in Pittsburgh, an English teacher in Istanbul, and a busboy in Dublin. He currently resides in Philadelphia. You can learn more at mediabistro.com/ypmedia and at laborparty.wordpress.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am moving to Pittsburgh in just a few weeks and I wanted to find a very comprehensive guide book to teach me about all the great things the city has to offer. This book is awesome and I have learned so much in such a short time! I feel completely ready to tackle Pittsburgh and thanks the the Moon Handbook it will be a lot of fun!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pittsburgh Visitor on April 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased the Moon Guide to Pittsburgh to prepare for an upcoming trip based on the satisfactory reviews of others. Given that my trip is too soon to have a hard copy of the book sent in time, I elected to purchase the Kindle version for iPad. While the content of the book seems fine, the resolution of the maps is terrible. Some maps, particularly the ones that list useful things like restaurants in different neighborhoods are unreadable. Had I known this, I would have not purchased this item. I later found that this may be true of other Kindle versions of Moon Guides. So consider this before you buy.
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The guide was helpful in the information it offered but very frustrating and time consuming to use because there are no page numbers. Bookmarks were handy but I even gave up on them without page numbers.
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By mdm on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We used this guide to plan a weekend trip to Pittsburgh. I know we saw and did more than many of my friends who visit their college student children in Pittsburgh. I've been able to tell them things about this surprising city that they never knew, despite many trips there! A terrific resource.
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