Nestled at the point where Lakes Monongahela and Allegheny form the Ohio River, Pittsburgh is quite the town in terms of its growth. From being a frontier outpost at one point to succeeding into an industrial giant, the city has seen quite a trajectory. The city has plenty of attractions to keep you busy, but you don’t need to limit yourself to that. You can hitch these top road trips from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wherein not just the destination, but also the journey will be every bit fulfilling. All the cities listed here are at a doable distance from Pittsburgh, so gas up your vehicle and motor on!
1. Nashville, Tennessee
About 900 km (560 mi) from Pittsburgh is Nashville. While non-stop driving will take about 8.5 hours, it may get tiring, so we recommend you take a few short breaks. Once at Nashville, you can go in for a satisfying shopping sesh at the Marathon Village or stroll around the city, admiring the incredible works of street art strewn everywhere. Plus, another one of Nashville’s top tourist sights that you can head to is the Parthenon. Yes, you read that right and no, don’t doubt your knowledge. This one’s a replica of the original Greek temple. You’ll find hordes of camera-toting tourists here.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Drive time between Pittsburgh and Chicago is about 6.5 - 7 hours, which is pretty doable in one go, but there are so many attractive stopovers along the way that you ought to stop at certain spots – the Indiana Dunes State Park is one such place, about an hour’s drive short from Chicago. Once at the destination, there’s really no dearth of things to do and experiences to have in Illinois’s “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), a.k.a. Chicago. Right from the art-filled Millennium Park to the city zoo, stunning views from the towering Willis Tower to a stroll down the bustling Magnificent Mile, there’s tons to do here.
3. New York City, New York
While the big lights of New York City (NYC) are sure to inspire you (thanks for that, Alicia Keys), there’s about a 6 hours worth of non-stop driving from Pittsburgh. Plus, additional traffic time that the route is notorious for. So, travellers usually prefer hitching Megabus rides to rid themselves of the pain of negotiating so much traffic. Once inside, NYC will be the most pleasing mishmash of chaos and wonder, which might even get overwhelming for some. Cruise down the Hudson River for some calm. Else, head up to admire scintillating views from the top of Lady Liberty. You can spend hours (sometimes even days) admiring the collection housed in NYC’s many museums and/or exploring the glam-district, Upper East Side (xoxo, Gossip Girl, anyone?). Other than that, there’s always a casual stroll along Central Park’s shaded walkways that you can take.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston has so much American history to tell that you must really head for a road trip to the city. It is close to 10 hours of drive time from Pittsburgh and there are a ton of places where you can stop for a halt – Duncansville, Poughkeepsie, and Hartford only being a few. Once at Boston, you can go in for one (or many) of the historical walks, such as the Black Heritage Trail, Freedom Trail, Irish Heritage Trail, and Women’s Heritage Trail among others. Else, tour through the campus of the prestigious Harvard University. Boston’s craft beer scene is too good to miss, so head to one of the local breweries, such as Trillium Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewery, and/or Night Shift Brewing among others, and try some fine beers.
5. Manchester, New Hampshire
Some 10 - 11 hours of non-stop driving (which may be a slight stretch), Manchester has a rich cultural scene and a bustling commercial centre, offering tourists an array of things to do. The town’s Currier Museum of Art is its main attraction and features an exquisite collection of artworks by American and French artists, such as Monet, Picasso, Matisse, and others. Else, catching a performance at the historic Palace Theatre may also be worth your while. And, while you are in Manchester, do remember to pick up some of Dancing Lion Chocolate Shop’s chocolates for your journey back – these really are a class apart!
6. Rhode Island
Rhode Island, although tiny, is a beautiful coastal state, offering tons to explore. The travel time between Pittsburgh and Rhode Island is a little more than 5.5 hours by road and there are several great stops you can make along the way. Yale University campus, the Witch Trial Museum in Salem, and Cape Elizabeth in South Portland are a few that you can consider including in your itinerary. Once at Rhode Island, you can head up to the downtown to check out the fantastic Providence WaterFire display (held between May - October) or spend time, admiring the many species of animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo. For those looking to chill at the beach, the Third Beach in Middletown offers the best of quietude and relaxation, while Easton’s beach in Newport is for those looking for some thrill.
7. Portland, Maine
A road journey of about 10 - 11 hours will land you in Portland, bursting with loads of history and plenty to keep you busy. Whether it’s a trip to the Portland Museum of Art, the Victoria Mansion, or incredible views from the Eastern Promenade, Portland will definitely impress (in its own humble way). If not the usual sightseeing, you can also head for one of the Maine Food for Thought Tours that take place in the downtown. These tours are just about the best way to learn Portland’s rich agricultural history and explore its smashing food scene. Also downtown, Old Port’s cobblestone streets are amazing for casual walks, checking out the many galleries, local boutiques, and award-winning restaurants. While here, you can also go in for a sail with Portland Schooner and tour the gorgeous Casco Bay islands.
8. Burlington, Vermont
About 345 km (590 mi) from Pittsburgh, a road trip to Burlington may get a tad tiring, but not if you make a few stops along the way. You can stop at Grove City, Buffalo, and/or Rochester; each of these places have interesting things to do, so you can spend your time easily. As for Burlington itself, the city’s booming culinary scene is a MUST try; do remember to pair your food with a local microbrew – total winner! Else, heading to the Church Street Marketplace for a stroll might also be a good idea. Friendly tip: Head to Lake Champlain Chocolates for a smashing cuppa hot chocolate and truffles – delicate, decadent, and downright ambrosial.
9. St. Louis, Missouri
Lots of interesting places fall along the route from Pittsburgh to St. Louis, which is about 10 hours of non-stop driving. Once at St. Louis, also known as the Gateway City, you just can’t miss checking out the impressive Gateway Arch – every bit a magnificent sight! Another one of the city’s must-have experiences is a cruise trip down the mighty Mississippi River. Narrated tours as well as leisure ones, both are offered, so you can hitch one you prefer. The city is also home to one of Midwest’s most exciting theme parks, Six Flags St. Louis, where you can hitch some of the most thrilling rides – those of you travelling with kids, do remember.
10. Kansas City, Kansas
Travel time from Pittsburgh to Kansas City is a 14-hour drive if done non-stop, which is less often opted for. Since the city is only about 3 - 4 hours ahead of St. Louis, it’s best you head to Kansas City after your sojourn to St. Louis. Kansas City attracts sports enthusiasts, adventure seekers, shopaholics, and nature creatures alike. While catching an auto race at the Kansas Speedway is definitely one of the options, you can also catch one of Kansas City T-Bones’s exciting baseball matches at the CommunityAmerica Ballpark. For those with kids, a trip to Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City or Zip KC Zip Line Park is a must. Another unique experience you can head for is a meal at T-Rex Café, which is decorated in a prehistoric world-themed decor and has interactive, life-sized dinosaurs and other creatures strewn across. Quite the novel offering, this one.
Ditch the usual and go trippin'
Within an easy reach from Pittsburgh lie so many gems that you can explore – there’s no dearth of what you can busy yourself with. All you really need to do is get yourself a vehicle and gas away to glory! They are not all that far off and definitely have a ton that you can explore. Plan yourselves one (or all) of these top road trips from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and make it a getaway to remember!
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