Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday #PghSummer

I’ve joined up with some other bloggers to detail a perfect Pittsburgh Saturday. You can start the day off with Alex from and follow through the day, if you’d like! (You really should, we made a lot of awesome plans!) If you’ve been following along, you just left Sue from Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents in the Northside. Welcome!

So it’s 4 p.m. on a beautiful Saturday. It’s a bit too early for dinner and I want to do something fun but relaxing. Which to me means heading over to Oakland for a stroll through Phipps. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Oakland. I moved into my dorm (South Holland Hall, also known as SoHo, but mostly known as Ho-land) at 18 and lived in various Oakland apartments until I was 23. I love Oakland but the massive amounts of college students, the lack of convenient parking, the construction all drive me batty. Oakland is at its best in the summer. Very few college students, plenty of parking, it’s a completely different town. Well, except there is still construction, but that I can handle.

If you have never been to Phipps and even remotely like nature, it is the place to be. It’s not the cheapest site in town (adults are $15 and children $11), but you could easily kill several hours there. It’s completely child friendly, the last time I went, they had a whole little pretend market set up where the kids could play shop. It was adorable.


Phipps is only open until 5p.m. so hopefully all the (adorable!) children have cleared out by 4 and you can take a leisurely walk through. Phipps recommends 90 minutes for a visit, but I have definitely gone through in an hour.

One of the first rooms you come to is the Frank Sarris (holla, Canonsburg!) Orchid Room and it is my absolute favorite room. Who doesn’t love an orchid?!



If I had a billion dollars, I would totally have an orchid room. And a botanist on the payroll since I haven’t seemed to have inherited my mum’s green thumb…

_MG_9587.jpgNo idea what this was but I lovvvvvvvvvvvvved those pale leaves.

Phipps is also a great place to go and take pictures. Lots of other people are doing the same, so nobody looks at you weird. (Like they do at dinner when you pull out your dslr to snap a picture of your grilled cheese.) Ahem.

My other favorite room in Phipps is the butterfly room! It’s not open year round but it is definitely open in summer! I have yet to have a butterfly land on me, but one day…



My other favorite room (what? I love Phipps!) is the cactus room. I don’t think that’s its official name, but whatever, you’ll know it when you see it. I especially love this succulent tree.


Again, a billion dollars? That tree – in my house.


This is the Broderie room and where I am taking wedding photos for someone next year! Can’t wait! I wish my wedding venue was already decked out like this!



I wish you could walk through this room, those little bridges are just calling my name. And I love that giant glass flower.



Oh man, I love Phipps. I always feel so refreshed after I leave. Maybe it’s all the carbon dioxide. (That was a joke, but I just fact-checked myself and did you know plants give off oxygen during the day (because of photosynthesis) and carbon dioxide at night? I guess it is all the extra oxygen!)

So, now it’s 5 p.m. and Phipps has gently shooed me out the door. What else is there to do in Oakland before dinner? Only a visit to my most favorite building in the world.

the cathedral from phipps.

It’s a lovely walk over to the Cathedral of Learning from Phipps or an equally lovely (short) drive.

Remember what I said about a billion dollars? Orchid room, succulent tree, and renaming it The Katrina of Learning. I am not even 100% sure why I love the Cathedral so much but I always have. To this day, I purposely pick classes in the Cathedral over classes elsewhere, even though the Nationality Rooms have the most uncomfortable desks.

almost can't tell you're in oakland.

almost can't tell you're in oakland..

From certain angles, it looks like you are on a real college campus.

my favorite building in the world.

my favorite building in the world.

cathedral walkway

cathedral hydrangeas

stephen foster memorial door

stephen foster memorial door

Around the Cathedral is also another great place to take photos, so many interesting details everywhere. If you’re not the photo type, you can pop in and peak at some Nationality Rooms or just take a seat in Hogwarts the commons and do a little reading. (Or sleeping. Someone was sleeping facedown on their open laptop the last time I was inside. I hope they aren’t a drooler.)

my favorite building in the world.

During the school year, the commons is never super loud, but during the summer it is so quiet you can hear a dSLR shutter click. (Sorry, sleeping lady.)

my favorite building in the world.

my favorite building in the world.

my favorite building in the world.

Remember the billion dollars? Pretty sure I’d model my new bedroom after this room.

It’s also fun to take the elevator up to the 36th floor and check out the view. I didn’t actually go up this last time and apparently have no photos from up there but here is a photo from the 23rd floor where I had my Portuguese class 6 years ago.

Oh, hello world.

Could be a lot worse! The Cathedral elevators actually scare me a bit, they are so old and jerky and I feel like one day they won’t stop and I will go through the floor. That’s why I usually pick classes on the 1st or 2nd floor, so I can just walk up. I was once stuck in a Cathedral elevator…but only for about 3 minutes because I was stuck with two elevator repairmen. Talk about best case scenario!

If it’s still not quite 6 p.m. and I didn’t have to wear a wedding dress next year, I would recommend a trip to Dave and Andy’s. Their birthday cake icecream is amazing. No other ice cream in the world compares. And one of the few perks of being an adult is spoiling your own dinner with icecream.

Thanks for reading! Now head on over to YumYumPgh to see what she’s got in store for 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Leave a comment


  1. Love it! I’ve been meaning to check out the Phipps and the Cathedral of Learning and there is really no time to do it like the summer! Love the photos, too!

    • Thanks! I was a little peeved that Pitt IDs don’t get you in free during the summer, so I had to pay but it was totally worth it. I love it in the winter too with the candlelight!

  2. We love going to Phipps. I also love sitting in the Cathedral – my parents took us to the home Pitt football games when we were kids and every Saturday before the game we’d sit in the Cathedral. I never tire of gazing at the architecture.

    • Oh that sounds like a great memory! I think I only first saw it at 16 or so when I starting going to Oakland for Club Laga. Nothing beats the view!

  3. oh man, i love that someone else adores the cathedral as much as i do! wonderful!

  1. Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday – Summer Edition | Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
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