Instead of going home or going to Florida like I did last year for Spring Break, I decided to apply for my school’s Alternative Spring Break program. I was accepted to go on the trip to Pittsburgh, PA and I was immediately so excited. 15 new faces, 2 chaperones, and 1 new city, what possibly could be better!
School ended on Friday and we left early Sunday morning so I had time to hang out on campus and get few chores done. Our first day was a travel day and then Monday our real work began! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we did service for three different populations of people which was really interesting. We served babies and families, the elderly, and kids all in the three days. My favorite day was definitely the third day! We went to a Boys and Girls Club where we were split into groups. I ended up playing dodgeball with the kids for three hours! Sure, playing dodgeball was fun but I thought it was more fun making connections with the kids and chatting with them on the sidelines. It’s amazing how a little smile or even attention from a “big kid” aka a college kid, can transform a little kid’s day. The immediate impact of having visitors to play and hang out with the kids was awesome to see and I’m glad we could help them, if only it was for a short time.
The last two days we were in Pittsburgh we had a ton of free time and the chance to explore. As a group, we had the chance to go to the Heinz History Museum (yes the ketchup product!!!!), explore the Strip District, and have a Pittsburgh sandwich at the infamous Primanti Bros shop. The Strip District was filled with little shops, all Pittsburgh sports gear, and heavenly smelling coffee shops. I purchased candy at an old-fashioned store and a few postcards to hang up in my room!
On Friday we had the entire day to explore the city in the frigid temperatures. We knew we would be exploring the city in the cold so we decided to run with it and enjoy a new destination to the fullest while we could!
The first experience that we had was the Duquesne Incline. This was an incredibly awesome way to see the entire city of Pittsburgh with a picturesque view as we took a cable car to the top of a mountain! Pittsburgh has amazing bridges that connect the city and they’re all bright yellow so seeing them from above was really unique to that city, so I’m glad we spent time here! After we finished up with this we all dispersed for the day. Pittsburgh has the Andy Warhol Museum, so my friend Chris and I spent time exploring this museum! I’ve always enjoyed going to museums and I loved the interactive exhibits where you could listen to videos, touch 3D created paintings, or play with objects.
From here we took a 20-minute walk through the city to Randyland, a painted house filled with junk turned treasure! This house was incredibly cool and had paintings on every single surface created by the owner, Randy. Definitely stop by this house for cool photo ops and a fun experience, but definitely visit when the weather is nicer so you get the full experience!
Randyland is right around the corner from the Mattress Factory. This museum might be a better fit for an avid art lover because it was extremely contemporary and probably a better fit for someone who understands art a bit better than myself. We stayed only for an hour and quickly were on our way. We took a short Uber ride to the Milkshake Factory which was definitely a touristy spot, but we loved! Given the cold temperatures, we stayed here for quite some time and decided to hang here to warm up. Here we met up with some group members who insisted we see a sunset. At first I was hesitant to go as it was freezing, but then I realized we only had an hour left in the city and sunsets are awesome, so why not go! We found a nice park right on the water in downtown Pittsburgh and hung out for awhile there before we had to meet up to head back to our house.
We had an awesome few days exploring Pittsburgh, but I had an even better time giving back to the Pittsburgh community and building relationships with my fellow Bryant University students.