5 places to go while staying safe during the pandemic

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

Flowers are blooming, the sun is staying out till after seven, and the weather is warming up—spring is finally here. Along with spring, on April 4, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf raised some of the restrictions in place due to the pandemic—more places are opening up, and capacity percentages are rising. 

While it might seem tempting to indulge in an indoor treat such as a movie at the movie theatre or eating inside a crowded restaurant, coronavirus hasn’t just gone away, and new cases are on the rise in Allegheny County and the state. An easy way to keep yourself and those around you safe is by skipping that indoor virus spreader and going on an escapade to one of Pittsburgh’s many outdoor sights instead. 

The Color Park – Not too far from campus on the South Side is an abundance of brightly graffitied concrete barriers that line the river. The park is actually a part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, so visiting this stop is like a two-for-one deal. This spot is perfect for photos or just hanging out on a beautiful spring day. There are benches along the path for resting, and it provides walkers with an amazing view of the river and city. 

Cherry Blossom Trees – This isn’t an exact location but rather a fun little search. Prior to coming to college in Pittsburgh, I had no idea cherry blossom trees bloomed in Pittsburgh in the spring. It turns out that these pink delights pop up on the North Shore by the Andy Warhol Bridge. They also appear in some other spots around the city, so grab a friend and head out on a socially distanced scavenger hunt. 

Mister Rogers Statue – Located on the North Shore, right near Heinz Stadium and Stage AE, a huge statue of Mister Rogers overlooks the three rivers with music and Mister Rogers’ voice playing through the archway. While this is a commonly known spot, I’d suggest going to the statue at night rather than during the day. It may sound weird, but it is the perfect spot to have an existential crisis under the stars and city lights as Mister Rogers comforts you with his soothing words. 

Randyland – Looking for something weird and unusual? Randyland is the place to go for a variety of interesting art and sculptures, all in the backyard of owner and artist Randy Gilson. Gilson has decorated the outside of his house and yard all with colorful materials he found in the garbage. This landmark is about a half an hour walk from campus over to the North Side, but the route passes right through Allegheny Commons Park so both art and nature can be explored in one trip. Plus, there’s a small stand in the park called Gus and Yiayia’s that serves shaved ice and other treats for your walk. 

Firstside Park – Right up Boulevard of the Allies is a little park in the middle of downtown. Yes, it’s true. Besides Point State Park, there is another patch of green in the concrete jungle. What’s special about Firstside Park is that there are these almost creepy statues of storybook characters throughout swirling paths of grass and trees. It isn’t far from campus at around a five-minute walk, but it’s just far enough to take some time away from everyone and just relax under the trees and cityscapes.

While these aren’t all the sights to see while walking through Pittsburgh, it’s a good start at some popular stops. Plus, look for little hidden gems of the city along the way to make the adventure more personal. By taking a walk instead of packing into a building, it’s a reminder that the pandemic isn’t over just because people are over it. Now get outside, save some lives and soak in that sweet vitamin D.