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Winter's here whether we like it or not, so we might as well make the best of it! Even though summer is definitely the best time to visit Pittsburgh (the sun, the festivals, the baseball games...), winter can be enjoyed if you work at it a little bit. These are some of my favorite things to do in Pittsburgh in the wintertime.
Pretend It's Summer at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
If you can't wrap your mind around this winter thing at all, then skip it for an afternoon and head over to Phipps. The Tropical Forest will warm you up in no time. There are ongoing special exhibits as well; the annual orchid show is a personal favorite. And at Christmastime, the light displays are enchanting, especially in the evening while sipping a cup of hot chocolate spiked with Bailey’s.
Find it: Phipps Conservatory, 1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Eat All the Things at Smallman Galley
Smallman Galley is an incubator for new restaurants. Every year, four up and coming chefs get the chance to test out their restaurant concept here. This winter, they're featuring Detroit-style pizza, Vietnamese food with a modern twist, classic Latin American cuisine, and hearty new American food. The bar always has plenty of local beers on tap, and the coffee bar is run by local favorite Commonplace Coffee.
Find it: Smallman Galley, 54 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Get Cozy at Dobra Tea
Sit on pillows in one of the little nooks and take your time over the tea menu: it's literally a book. Order a personal sized pot of tea once you've finished exploring the menu. I love the Lu Mu Don, a green tea sewn into a pod so you can watch it unfurl as it steeps in a glass pot. Choose a few pastries to go with your tea, too. It’s the perfect recipe for a long afternoon to chat with a friend.
Find it: Dobra Tea, 1937 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Pet Cats at Colony Cafe
What could possibly cheer a person up more than coffee, wine, and cats? (Do not say dogs and herbal tea. Please.) That trifecta of joy is exactly what you'll get at Colony Cafe in the Strip District. For a small fee, you get an hour in the Cat Loft to pet and play with the cats, all of which are adoptable! So if you fall in love, you can apply to bring one or two of the cuties home with you. Reservations are highly recommended!
Find it: Colony Cafe, 1125 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Get Your Sip On at Arsenal Cider House
Arsenal's Lawrenceville Tap House will make you feel warmer and happier as soon as you step inside. The exposed brick is bright and the wooden tables are inviting. The bartenders are happy to help you taste and choose your favorite cider. Their menu changes regularly but there are always multiple apple cider options plus fruit wines and sometimes mead. Drink in the tap room or bring home a growler, you can't go wrong.
Find it: Arsenal Cider House, 300 39th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Go Coffee Crazy at Zeke's
Start with a cup of coffee to enjoy in their cafe. Maybe bring a book or friends and a board game. If you’re hungry, try the soup of the day. Then, buy a few bags of coffee to take home so you can embrace the beautiful concept of hygge—a special coziness. Be mindful when brewing, use your favorite mug, light some candles, and curl up under a blanket for maximum hygge.
Find it: Zeke's Coffee, 6015 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206