Venture out, experience the city past South Craig Street

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Many students have passed through the gates of Carnegie Mellon without ever managing to adequately step off campus and explore the exciting world around them. If you are an incoming first-year, you will quickly become familiar with Craig Street, though hopefully your exploration of Pittsburgh will lead you past that boundary.

I remember walking the streets of Downtown with some friends last year when one of them had an outburst about how Pittsburgh was such a boring place. After talking to my friend, it became clear that she had left campus very little and had no idea what this city has to offer.

Forbes named Pittsburgh the most livable city in the U.S. in 2010 for a reason.

With its plethora of arts, music, sports, food, and culture, Pittsburgh offers the same caliber of experience as many cities quadruple its size. Its many entertainment options are also coupled with some of the lowest living costs in the nation — meaning you can enjoy the best in urban life for less.

Crazed about arts and music? Venture to the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory, or the Andy Warhol Museum; attend a music festival or a concert by your favorite artist (OneRepublic was just here this month); and see a show at the Benedum Center.

Love sports? The Steel City is the perfect place for you. The Steelers have more Super Bowl wins than any other NFL team, and the Pirates and Penguins give away teams a fight for their money. Pirates tickets are inexpensive and promise a great evening out with friends.

Hungry? Pittsburgh has many famous restaurants waiting for you to try. It is obligatory that you make a visit to Pittsburgh’s famous Primanti Brothers, as well as Pamela’s, and be sure to grab some homemade ice cream afterward at Dave and Andy’s. Some of my other favorites include

Spice Island Tea House, Sushi Fuku, Everyday Noodles, and the Union Grill. Almost all of these restaurants require venturing past South Craig Street.

If you are looking for thrills, visit Kennywood or Sandcastle Waterpark or, better yet, spend a day in the Laurel Highlands. For a hot day, Ohiopyle State Park offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, and more. During
the merciless Pennsylvania winter, Seven Springs Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. While you are in the area, be sure to stop by Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater, a marvel of architecture that was literally built on top of a waterfall.

There is no excuse for not exploring when public transportation and visits to the Carnegie Museums, Carnegie Science Center, Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and National Aviary are free for all Carnegie Mellon students. Learn about the city and use your free bus pass to explore Downtown, Station Square, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, East Liberty, the South Side, the Waterfront, and the numerous other neighborhoods that make up this great place besides the oft-visited Oakland.

As a returning student, I am not going to lie and tell you that you will have all the time in the world to have these experiences. There are many weeks you will find little time to spare for yourself.

However, you must make time to see the world around you as a Carnegie Mellon student. Experience Pittsburgh. Venture past Craig Street. Only then can you challenge me with claims that Pittsburgh is boring.