This post was written 5/17/2016 & updated 2/26/2020
This flight was booked with free airline miles obtained via Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!
Recommended card for accruing miles/points: Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited
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Flight 606 runs from PIT to SFO, leaving Pittsburgh at 7:05am and arriving about 5 hours and 40 minutes later at 9:45 am.
Wait. That's not adding up right, is it? Don't forget there is a 3 hour time difference from the east coast to the west coast here in USA. ;-)
TSA at PIT
We arrived about 2 hours early and the TSA line at Pittsburgh International was fabulously efficient and friendly. We had no issues (nor did we expect to) and sailed on through. Great start!
Got to the gate with plenty of time to munch on the snacks we brought from home. You know those tortilla chips were going to go stale in the cupboard, so.... ;-) .... and who would pass on a slice of chocolate rum cake at 6 am?! (I didn't)
Arriving at SFO was great. It was awesome to arrive in the morning and have a full day in California and a non-stop flight was a dream! Our flight was early and we had no trouble navigating the airport. We had already reserved a rental car in advance and guess what?! IT WAS A CONVERTIBLE!!! My next post will be about how we got a cheap convertible in San Francisco, so be sure to stop back for that ;-)
Phipps Conservatory is a great place to visit whether you're visiting Pittsburgh or live in the area. Because they have constantly changing themes, seasonal exhibits, events and activities, you can visit this place many times without feeling bored, in my opinion. Unless you flat out do not like botany.
Here's just a small sample of some of the amazingly gorgeous sites you may see at Phipps!
After staying up most of the night to pack (not so much procrastinating as an over-booked life) we awoke groggy-eyed with just a couple hours of sleep and the bags under our eyes to prove it. With bags under our eyes and arms, we did a final check around the house and peeled out.
Parking Options: Pittsburgh International Airport
There are a variety of options for cheap parking at Pittsburgh International Airport, and some not so cheap. Of course, if you live close enough, you might have a cherished friend or family member who is willing to provide the drop-off/pick-up! Unfortunately, we don't live close enough.
Still, there are options people! And these options apply to pretty much any major airport.
Here are 3 that I have used in varying circumstances:
Shout out to Pittsburgh for continually being recognized as a top city for living in, for food, for visiting, for techies, and even for brunch..?!
Pittsburgh definitely has a lot to offer and a strong support of it's local sports teams - Steelers, Penguins, Pirates. Surely you have heard the term "Steelernation"? You'll find a fan everywhere you go in the US, and then some. I even found the Steelers' Logo painted on the side of a building in Bermuda!
At any rate, today's focus is on the area of Pittsburgh known as the "Strip District". As a tot, I remember always thinking it was a bad area because of the name. I later realized it is one of the most fun places to spend an early day in Pittsburgh!
The Strip District is a 1/2 mile strip of land between the Allegheny River and a big, big hill. Here you'll find some unique stores and restaurants, ethnic markets, and artisans selling their wares all around. People, people, people.. everywhere!! It's also a prime location for various activities in Pittsburgh, parades and so on.
Job Security for Pittsburgh Dentists
Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop is a fascinating place chock full of everything that is sure to rot your teeth in due course if you're not careful... But we're careful, right?! So we can go in ;-)
At Grandpa Joe's (Just dawned on me: Grandpa Joe... as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Grandpa Joe?!!!) you're going to find a mix of classic, current cavity-enablers, as well as olde thyme treats, and international favorites like the Japanese Green Tea Kit-Kats!
And because you're going to need some fizzy, liquified sugar to wash your other treats down with, there is an intriguing cooler of unusual refreshments. Try something new each time!
There is actually a second floor to this place where they sell bigger "bulk size" bags of candy. Oh and if yo are in the market for a rubber chicken, there are several available on the wall to the left. Your search is finally over! Wocka, Wocka! or... Wonka, Wonka... :p
With much self control, I limited myself to this breakfast of champions; maple candy in the shape of a maple leaf and a Cherry Bawls energy drink. I recommend both! I gotta say I love the bawls bottle, great texture and high five to them for keeping the drink clear instead of adding dye #9834 to my drink.
Penn-Mac has got to be one of the most visited stores in the Strip. Specializing in amazing Italian goodies, you will find everything here from dry grains, nuts, spices, fruits, and candies to more flour varieties than you knew existed and a great selection of olive oils including the opportunity to fill your own bottle up at a great rate. Fresh breads and fresh pastas can be purchased here along with domestic and imported meats and cheeses.
Sunseri's Pepperoni Rolls - Second to NONE
A must eat street food are fresh pepperoni rolls from Sunseri's. Someone is notoriously outside shouting at every passerby to grab one up because they are only $5 and can you see the size of them on that tray!?!?!! They are almost always still warm and now they have and Atomic variety with some hot peppers in it. For another buck or two, they are worth it if you like a kick. It's a perfect food to eat as you walk around, share with someone special, and save the rest for the ride home. Man... I could go for one of those right now!
Lotus Asian Market
If you enjoy cooking Asian foods, but live outside of the city, Lotus Food is a great stop to pick up ingredients you can't find locally. Sauces, oils, tapioca pearls, sushi mats, black tree ears, fresh tofu, fresh fish, and rare produce can all be found here. We always stop to stock up and have found that some prices, for instance a can of Lychees, are half the price as our local stores! Score!
Where Should I Park!?
You can park on the street (when you can find a spot), but the last time we did, a girl in a small car decided to park in between two parking spaces and in the process of backing out to leave she hit our car. -_- Right outside of the Rose Building. Needless to say, she didn't stop, leave a note, or anything. We were just far enough down the block to see it happen, but helpless to do anything about it. Everytime we walk past I look around for a moment with this exact face -_- and then continue to skip down the sidewalk.
SO! We don't park on the street anymore. There is a lot by the Heinz History Center that we always park in. I think the rate is usually close to $5 and it's just a few minutes walk from the action. We find it worthwhile to park there instead of driving through hoards of people trying to parallel park and risk that girl denting up our new car. hehe. :p
I recommend parking in that lot. :o)
Just the Tip of the Strip
These few places are just the tip of the Strip District. It is jam-packed with activity no matter how cold it is outside! If you get the chance, check it out. I recommend to go early because a lot of the stores close earlier in the day than you would expect, especially on Sundays.
What's your favorite place in the Strip?!
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Growing up I thought I would never leave my home town, but in my 20's I caught the travel bug and if I'm not traveling you can bet I am dreaming about my next adventure.
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