After a week traveling through cities in the south (Roanoke,VA; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Johnson City, TN) I found myself saying two things. 'Dang Pittsburgh has it right' and 'how does Pittsburgh not have that.' While much of what I blog about are things that are great about Pittsburgh, it can be equally valuable to note what is interesting about other places that Pittsburgh lacks. Here are a few that jumped out at me on this trip.
Outdoor Seating. It seemed like every restaurant or bar I ate at had a great outdoor space. Roof decks, courtyards, street side bars, an alley converted to patio, windows seats opening directly to the sidewalk. It seemed like if you didn't have some sort of outdoor space you were out of the club. Downtown Greenville did an especially excellent job of this with Main St dominated by huge shading trees along side sidewalk bump outs for restaurant patios.
Outdoor Activities/Parks: We have our city parks but unlike us, Southerns use theirs! Concerts, picnics, a charity walk; it seemed like the parks I saw were all buzzing with activity. I know the South has more warmer months than us Yankee Pittsburghers so all the more reason for us to take advantage of them! Then there is the outdoor climbing wall that was on the outside of a parking garage in downtown Asheville. Very Cool. Atlanta's rooftop pool clubs. Jealous.
Right Priced Restaurant (and more Mexican!). It seems like restaurants and bars were packed with young people everywhere I went. And as a result, much of the restaurant and bar scene seemed to catered to a younger demographic rather than the areas older citizens (though they certainly do not exclude them). Restaurant entrees seemed to be under $15 making a night out very reasonable and they still were serving fun, innovative food (and for the most part in a cool/hip setting). While some Pittsburgh establishments are moving in this direction, I'd love for it to be the prevailing element in our local watering holes and restaurants. The other thing I noticed was the abundance of mexican food compared to Pittsburgh's void. Yeah we have tex-mex and high brow (fancy) mexican, but I want just plain jane, authentic mexican food. Its delicious and its cheap, so jump on it Pittsburgh!