In the words of Tom Petty, “it’s the waiting that’s the hardest part”. It’s the uncertainty. The unnerving and unsettling feeling of wondering when this storm will pass. It’s taking a toll on all of us, and we’re all just trying to do our best to cope. As of late, my husband and I are focusing on the silver linings this time at home has brought us. The current slower pace has brought us more quality time together, time to catch up on house projects and jump-start spring cleaning, fit more exercise into our schedules, try new recipes and eat healthier than ever. When you stop and think about it, there’s still so much to be grateful for even under these unnerving and fearful circumstances that surround us.
Another way I’ve found to stay positive and inspired is to think about everything in our neighborhood and community I can’t wait to enjoy once we get on the other side of this. As you know, I don’t do well with sitting still, and I’m a chronic dreamer with a never-ending bucket list. So during quarantine, I decided to channel some of my planner energy into an epic to-do list once our beautiful Steel City is back up and running:
1. Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding at North Park
Photo Credit: Venture Outdoors
I’ve been told by so many friends that stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is the workout that I’ve been waiting for. Every year it’s been on my list to try, and then plans inevitably get scheduled over top of it. I can’t think of a better place to try it than at one of our favorite parks in the city, North Park.
2. Go to a Movie in the Park
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Call me an old soul, but I’m still a sucker for drive-in movie theaters and movies. Every summer, there are movies in the park that happen all over the city. Summertime can get busy with vacations, family get togethers, and holiday picnics, but next season, we’re making a plan to make it to one of the showings. The movies in Grandview Park I’ve always found the most majestic and memorizing, particularly with the view over the skyline.
3. Kayak the Three Rivers
Photo Credit: Venture Outdoors
My husband and I are both avid fans of kayaking, but to this day, we still have yet to kayak the three rivers under the Pittsburgh famed golden bridges. Although we’re also eager to kayak in North Park, getting to see the city skyline from the water (and while we get a workout to boot) feels like our kind of afternoon date day.
4. Feel like a Kid at Randyland
Photo Credit: Randyland
One of the many things I love about Pittsburgh is the mixing bowl of grit, class, warmth, and quirky. Randyland is a place that is one of those quirky, uniquely its own type of places that Pittsburghers can take pride in. A place that eludes sunshine, positivity, and fun – I can’t think of a better fit for the times we’re in.
5. Go for an Adventure at the Cadence Clubhouse
Photo Credit: Next Pittsburgh
This spot opened up in one of my favorite new establishments, Pro Bike + Run just on the border of North Park. The structure itself is gorgeous and a show-stopped from the road, but that’s just from the outside. Cadence Clubhouseoffers local produce, healthy food, coffee, juice and smoothies, and features a full-service bar. It’s hard to find a place that has more of my favorite things under one roof!
6. Try Gordo’s Tacos
Photo Credit: Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila
I can’t get enough tacos. My husband and I have a standing taco-Monday night every week (Taco Tuesdays are too mainstream, obviously :p), and we even had a taco bar at our wedding. If you can’t tell, we’re taco people. So anytime I hear of a new taco shop in town, it’s moving up high on my list to check out. I caught wind of a new place, Gordo’s Tacos in Mt. Washington and can’t wait to enjoy some tasty tacos and the city skyline views from on top of the mount.
7. Go for Happy Hour at The Standard
Photo Credit: The Standard Market and Pint House
Anytime downtime I saw so many signs and heard so much chatter about The Standard Market and Pint House opening up. We had a happy hour planned right after social distancing started and weren’t able to check this place out before the lock-down. I can’t wait to check out this new kid on the block, and hopefully find one of our new favorite after-work happy hour spots!
8. Experience Banjo Night at the Elks Lodge
Photo Credit: Discover the Burgh
Last summer, we first stopped inside the Elks Lodge for the first time during the Deutschtown Music Festival. Patrons and staff alike recommended coming back outside of the festival for Banjo Night as it’s an experience unlike any other. I can’t wait to go back to experience it in all of its glory and see what all the hype is about.
9. Enjoy Brunch at Square Cafe and the Speckled Egg
Photo Credit: Square Cafe
If there’s one food group I passionately love, it’s breakfast food. After my DC days, my admiration for brunch reached new heights. I’m constantly on the lookout for good breakfast and brunch spots in the Steel City, and again and again Square Cafe comes up on the top of many lists. We admittedly haven’t spent a ton of time in Regent Square, so I’m eager to try Square Cafe and explore all the neighborhood has to offer.
Speaking of dream brunch spots, Speckled Egg is another spot downtown that’s high on my list of breakfast spots to check out!
10. Eat chicken and waffles at The Coop
Photo Credit: The Coop Chicken and Waffles
Outside of brunch and breakfast food, chicken and waffles hold a special place in my heart when it comes to favorite foods. I’ve been hearing a lot about The Coop and can’t wait to test out their take on this favorite dish of mine.
11. Enjoy a Coop de Ville vs. Bird on the Run Chicken Sandwich Taste Test Competition
Photo Credit: Bird on the Run
Even without the waffles, I’m still a big chicken fan. Coop de Ville and Bird on the Runare two places I’ve heard a lot of rave about for their chicken sandwiches. After the lock-down, I plan to try them both and see who has the best chicken sandwich in the Burgh after all.
12. Maintain a sense of gratitude and mindfulness post-pandemic
Photo Credit: From the Road I’m On
After the pandemic is said and done, it’s anyone’s guess what our new normal will look like. All I know is, once we’re all back out in the world, I don’t want to take for granted all the little moments and places I may have before this all started. Get togethers with friends, a shared meal at a new restaurant with a loved one, a happy hour with coworkers; each and every one of these moments are precious. And ones I’ll always take a minute to slow down and appreciate how good we have it, and how delicate a balance we all live in that can turn our worlds upside down overnight.