Via Festival + 7 More Amazing Reasons Pittsburgh is a 2016 ‘It’ City

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It’s virtually inevitable. As the likes of New York and LA continue to price out creative types, the artists, musicians, tech innovators are simply setting up shop elsewhere. Pittsburgh is one of those places, and its all the buzz right now.

Of course, nothing says “hot destination” quite like the opening of an Ace Hotel – and the City of Bridges got just that late in 2015. And with a fall season that will focus attention on the city like never before, here are eight great reasons why Pittsburgh should be on your travel and cultural radar / agenda.

 

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Ace Hotel Pittsburgh
VIA FESTIVAL, which is taking place at various locations around the city from October 6-9, brings together tech, the visual arts and music in an genuinely singular way. NYC post-punk legends ESG, as well as hip-hop pioneer Rakim, Empress Of, Junglepussy, Juliana Huxtable and at least a dozen other will bring the sounds. But there will also be incisively topical panels on technology, politics and culture, as well as the exceedingly ambitious Weird Reality Virtual Salon. The Ace Hotel is a Via partner, and is offering free tickets with room bookings (use code VIAVIP).

 

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UBER AND FACEBOOK have set up major offices in Pittsburgh, and it’s become a hotbed of innovation – high-profile startup incubators/accelerators include Thrill Mill, Beauty Shoppe, AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear. Fittingly, President Obama will visit the city for the White House Frontiers Conference on October 13.
The local VOODOO BREWERY is considered one of the best in the world.
ZAGAT voted Pittsburgh (not New York, not Chicago) America’s #1 Food City. Eater‘s current hot list includes the Peruvian restaurant Streets on Carson, the vegan Apteka, and the Levantine B52. The Ace Hotel’s restaurant Whitfield is also not to be missed, for its New American eats and buzzy scene.

 

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Dinner at Whitfield
THE MUSIC SCENE. Rapper Mac Miller’s debut album went to #1 in 2011, and he’s been a force ever since, even running his own label REMember. And electro popper Daya had a Top 20 US hit with “Hide Away.” Her debut album, Sit Still, Look Pretty, will be released in October. Up and comers of note are Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Meeting of Important People and Brooke Annibale.
Pittsburgh has seen an INDIE FASHION/STREETWEAR boom, with local labels like Daily Bread and 412 having become favorites of punks, skaters and hip-hoppers, and Knotzland purveying hip, “artisan” bowties.

 

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It’s a PLACE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS. Unlike New York, Pittsburgh actively cultivates and nurtures its burgeoning art talent. To wit, non-profit Radiant Hall provides top notch studio space (and runs the Studio Dinner Series), while BOOM! Concepts is a thriving creative workspace/community center.
With so many HISTORIC/INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS, the city has taken to innovative architectural re-purposing. The Ace Hotel is actually housed in a century-old former YMCA, and The Mattress Factory contemporary art museum is, in fact, in a former mattress factory.

 

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The Mattress Factory