Happy Presidents Day!
Today is one of those amazing American holidays where the whole country takes off work and celebrates a bunch of men we never knew. If you are lucky enough to be off work or school you may be wondering “What should I do today?” You can either act as if it wasn’t a day off and work, work, work or you can spend the day creating new memories in familiar places. Even though I am not one of the fortunate ones who got today day off, I decided to honor our great Presidents with a whole weekend of celebrating. (P.S. I’m still celebrating today by listening to classic 80’s rock non stop. Cue Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen during my workouts >> what could be more American than that?)
This past weekend I left Kent State and drove back home to Pittsburgh. Instead of sitting at home and watching reruns of New Girl (<< my absolute favorite comedy TV show), I decided I wanted to go out and spend some time exploring my home town of Pittsburgh. My mom, brother and I were able to spend the entire weekend touring museums, eating at local favorites and shopping without dropping (a lot of money). Most people (especially those of us who have to brave the cold winter season) assume that staying at home is a significantly cheaper (and warmer) alternative to going out. I’m here to tell you it’s not. I want to share my 5 tips for spending an inexpensive day in the city, and what I did this weekend. So bundle up and wear lots of layers because it’s time to spend some time outside your heated home.
5 Ways To Spend An Inexpensive Weekend In The City
Find a Unique, Fair Priced Breakfast Spot
The Square Cafe is my favorite place to eat breakfast downtown (clink the link to see a full post on why I am obsessed with this place). If you are ever in the area I HIGHLY recommend stopping and grabbing a bite to eat. My mom bought a Square Cafe gift card off of Groupon earlier that week (always check Groupon/Living Social for killer deals before going out to eat) and we we able to save over $20 on our bill. We each ordered a hugee breakfast and paid the same price we probably would have paid if we made a quick run to Starbucks (other reasons I try and avoid this big chain found here) before going to the museum.
Hit Up Your City’s Museums
I had expected the museum to cost a fortune. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that tickets were cheap. Tickets were only $6 if you bought them between certain hours of the day. Many museums, including the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC, are completely free, so make sure to call your local museum and see what the prices are (many offer student or military discounts!!)
I love looking at art. I am currently taking a class called Art as a World Phenomenon and love it!! My brother, on the other hand, was not as thrilled about this trip. He’s not the biggest fan of art to say the least. However, once at the museum, he was captivated by many of the exhibits (my mom and I actually lost him for about an hour). Most art museums aren’t what you would expect. Many exhibits are interactive, captivate your attention, and leave you with questions like “Was that even considered art?” My suggestion when touring a museum for the first time is to do your research before hand and ask the curators lots of questions! Sometimes art doesn’t make any sense at first glance. However, if you take the time to understand the intention of the artist, you can form a whole new opinion about the piece. This a perfect activity for date night. It may take a bit of strong-arming in order to get a guy to go, but I can almost guarantee it will exceed all expectations.
Having Fun/ Good Life, Symptoms by Bruce Nauman-1985
Check Out The Cultural District
In Pittsburgh we have The Strip District. This is my favorite place to go when I’m in the city. For those of you who have never heard of The Strip District, it is a street full of Italian, Polish, Irish, German, etc vendors selling everything from cheese to jeweler to Terrible Towls. It is a perfect representation Pittsburgh in the early 1900s, full of different cultures and ethnicity, that ultimately shaped the city into what it is today.
Coffee from Around the World in Allegheny Coffee and Tea Exchange
First stop is La Prima Expresso. This a locally owned coffee shop run by an Italian family. If you go to The Strip District early enough on Saturday mornings you will find that the place is pact with old Italian speaking men. It’s like you are walking into a coffee shop in Italy (literally everyone is speaking Italian>>its my favorite time to go!) I always get a mocha doppio, which is just a fancy way of getting a double mocha late (but of course I get mine with almond milk). I’m sure it’s filled with very sugary, imported Italian syrup, but it’s so good that I can never pass it up. It puts Starbucks to shame. The rest of the time in The Strip Distrcit I am buying hand made tortillas, freshly butchered meat, and some Steeler’s gear.
My Mocha Doppio
Grab Lunch At A Favorite Local Spot
It’s always fun to eat at those places your city is famous for. In Pittsburgh, that place is Primanti’s Brothers. Our trip into the city would not be complete without a quick stop here for lunch. Conveniently, the original Primanti’s is located in The Strip District.
(Original Primanti Bros)
End The Weekend With A Nature Walk
There is a trail near my house that circles a lake. Even in the heart of winter the scenery is beautiful. My friend from home and I decided to brave the cold, biting air and walk our dogs. She has two and I have two, so we had our hands full (but I still managed to get a few good pics in). The trail was half mud, half frozen ground. In the summer the trail is full of dog walkers, but since the weather was so cold, we had the trail to ourselves. We were able to let our (misbehaving) dogs off their leashes without fear that they would bother another runner. We were able to catch up on each others lives while getting in exercise, all the while, avoiding spending a single dime on coffee or dinner. It was the perfect ending to a very long weekend.
(My dog Maddox at the lake^^)
Keep Spending to a Minimum
The most expensive part of that weekend was eating out. If you are wanting to spend even less, simply bring your own snacks. My sister and I are notorious for bring our own healthy food along with us ‘in case of an emergency’. I always keep a mini bottle of Cholula (I have a slight obsession with hot sauce), a couple ounces of apple cider vinegar (to add a shot to my water before a meal), and a gluten-free granola bar (obviously mine and my sisters fav is Perfect Bar).
Don’t be afraid to make a few touristy stops (>> I bet you haven’t done a real tourist version of your city in a while). Start doing research on local areas to get ideas of inexpensive ways to have fun on the weekends. Whether its staying inside and touring museums or, if you have the luxury of year-long sunny weather, investing in some paddle boards and hitting the beach. Spending time off the couch not only increases your metabolism, but helps get you closer to the ones you love. What are your guy’s favorite inexpensive weekend activities?
//The Lokahi Sisters//