As I get older, I find myself forgetting basic things that we learned in grade school like knowing all 50 states and their capital city. I know 10-year-old Demi would have been able to list all 50 states, identify where it is on the map, and know the capital city for each state, but 24-year-old Demi can’t really say the same.
My Personal Goal of Visiting 50 States
Did you know that the average American has only visited 12 states?
I decided to make a personal goal of visiting all 50 states. What better way for me to learn?
I’m starting from a clean slate so all states I’ve previously visited will not count as I never fully appreciate them. Recently, an opportunity popped up with Allegiant Airl to introduce their new non-credit card rewards program: Allways Rewards. Through this program, I’ve been able to travel to new states and continue working towards this goal.
I’ve never been loyal to one specific airline or cared for their rewards points. I’m more of the “research the cheapest flight and go from there” traveler. Seeing how I’m going to be traveling quite often, I think it’s time for me to figure out either a good credit card company to use for rewards points or stick to one airline.
I love how Allegiant only does non-stop flights, as connecting flights always makes me anxious (can you tell I haven’t traveled often?). Another great thing about Allegiant is that there are no blackout dates, so you can choose to redeem your points wherever and whenever.
We decided to go to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for this opportunity with Allegiant.
First, my parents used to live in Pittsburgh for a while before having me. Second, Pittsburgh is the furthest east that Allegiant flew from Phoenix, Arizona. Lastly, I’ve never been to Pittsburgh or know anything about the city – I didn’t even know the Steelers are from Pittsburgh!
The Steel City, also known as The City of Bridges, was so beautiful and rich in history. It’s so crazy to me how much history there is in one city compared to Arizona. Arizona is so new (became a state in 1912) and Pennsylvania became a state in 1787.
Fun Facts I learned about Pittsburgh
- The city has 446 bridges – the most than any other city in the world, including Venice, Italy.
- Pittsburgh is the only city where all their sports team (Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins) share the same colors: black and gold.
- During the late 1800s, Pittsburgh was spelled without an H due to a national attempt to standardize the spelling of cities ending in -gh – Pittsburg.
What We Did in Pittsburgh
We took a red-eye flight on Thursday night and landed in Pittsburgh right at dawn. We stayed at the Westin Pittsburgh located right in the center of Downtown on Penn Ave. The location was convenient as we were able to walk to all the places we wanted to go.
Our First Day: Three Sister Bridges, PNC Field, Boat Tour
On Friday, we grabbed coffee from Crazy Mocha and then explored the city. We walked along the Three Sister Bridges. The identical bridges were named after the baseball player Roberto Clemente, the artist Andy Warhol, and the environmentalist Rachel Carson.
I’m not super into sports, but it’s so fascinating to me that there is so much history. One of the most fascinating things I learned was the first World Series was between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans (now known as the Boston Red Sox).
We later ended the night with a boat tour. The boat tour was at sunset, and it was so beautiful to see the sunset against the skyline. I will say though, the boat tour wasn’t very serene. Although the tour guide was great, I think we were in the mood for something a little bit dreamier and quieter. Nonetheless, the boat tour was a sight to see!
Our Second Day: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Philips Conservatory, Strip District
The next morning, our adventure continues with a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The exhibits were so huge that I can see myself spending the whole day lost in all the history. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. It is also one of the top natural history museums in the country.
After a few hours at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, we stopped by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. They had their Summer Flower Show: The Hidden Life of Trolls exhibit. It was kind of creepy, but cute at the same time, ha. There was one specific exhibit we were looking for, but it seems that it was already over (hint: check the schedule and dates for when exhibits are available, oops).
We ended the night with a dinner in the Strip District. Everyone we talked to and every blog post we read recommended visiting the Strip District. The neighborhood is known for its variety of international grocery stores, boutique shops, and several of Pittsburgh’s most renowned restaurants.
Our Last Day: Market Square, Point State Park Fountain, Duquesne Incline
On our last day, we decided to take it a bit slower and just absorb the last few hours of this trip.
We walked through Market Square and explored their market. There were a lot of vendors ranging from food to clothes. We also saw several people playing chess – kind of reminds me of Union Square in New York City!
I’m unsure if it’s every weekend or if it was a special occasion, but we walked through Market Square on Saturday and Sunday and it was busy on both days. According to Downtown Pittsburgh’s website, it seems that the Market Square has a Saturday Night Market every Saturday from June to October.
We made our way to Point State Park Fountain right before it started to rain. It rained for probably about 15 minutes and then got incredibly humid afterward. The main attraction of Point State Park was the fountain. It was built in 1974 and can shoot up to 150 feet. The Point State Park Fountain is where the three rivers meet (Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela).
After the Point State Park Fountain, we took a round trip up the Duquesne Incline. The Incline is an iconic landmark and was built in 1877. It was a bit sketchy as it’s so old and creeky, but you get a gorgeous view of the city and rivers.
A one-way trip was $2.50 and a round-trip was $5.00. They only accept cash and they do have an ATM on site. The Duquesne Incline is open 365 days a year from 7 am until 12 am.
We ended the Pittsburgh trip there and made our way back to the airport.
What’s Next on the List?
Next on the list is Chicago, Illinois! I’ve been wanting to visit Chicago for a while since hearing great things about the city. As some of you may know, I miss New York City wholeheartedly but I’m a bit nervous to see how much the city has changed in the past year. Several people I’ve spoken to have told me that Chicago is like a smaller and cleaner version of New York.
After Chicago, we’ll be visiting Nashville for my birthday weekend. A few of my friends who have visited say that they loved the city, so I’m excited to try some of their suggestions!