Our Navigate 2019 North America events in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas are just around the corner, and the team is so excited to bring you the best shows yet! Whether you’re a seasoned Navigator or attending your first show, if you’re like many who get an opportunity to travel for work, you might be thinking: "How can I maximize my time in this place," or "Can I make this into a week long vacation?"
That’s why, in this post, we wanted to provide you with some things do to outside of the conference!
Let’s start with Navigate 2019 Pittsburgh, which will be held on October 1-2 at the Omni William Penn Hotel.
What To Do in Pittsburgh
Beer and Bites
Let’s jump into the beers first. I’ve been gone for a couple of years now, so my U.S. colleagues may be able to offer you some additional insights here. I won’t name names but they know who they are.
What I CAN tell you is… make sure your phone is charged up and you have an extra battery pack, because you’re going to be Ubering… a lot. You may want to have some headache medicine ready for the next morning… just in case!
Inner Groove - Verona
Kelly, I want a commission! One of my high school classmates opened a brewery this summer. While I’m still in Australia, and haven’t had a chance to visit them, I’m hearing and reading they are doing good things! Stroll in, and if Kelly is there, tell her Frank Bauer sent you! Congrats to my old high school class mate on this accomplishment!
Voodoo Brewery – Homestead
Voodoo was one of the first standout craft breweries in the western Pennsylvania region. Originally, they started out north of the city, in Meadville, but with their success, have opened other locations. As the conference will be in the city, you’ll want to check out their Homestead location.
- Big Black Voodoo Daddy (Stout)
- Good Vibes (IPA)
- Wynona’s Big Brown Ale (Brown)
Brew Gentleman – Braddock
Who brews beer on campus at a top college in the country? These two. Started back in 2014 by two college friends, Brew Gentleman has been putting out good beer with a cool location since.
- Suggestions – General Braddock’s IPA
Church Brew Works – Lawrenceville
- Suggestions – It’s a church!
Grist House – Millvale
- Suggestions – Gots ta Gose (Gose)
Southern Tier – North Side
- Suggestions – Pumpking (Pumpkin Beer)
While not breweries themselves, these two places get top notch beers from around the country
Caliente Pittsburgh & Drafthouse – Bloomfield
- Suggestions – Won’t know until you get there! Widely regarded by locals to regularly have top notch drafts and bottles.
House of 1000 beers - Warrendale
- Suggestions – um… it’s the house of 1000 beers… Closer to our office than the city
Now, let’s move on to Food.
First thing’s first, if you come to Pittsburgh, you have to try a Pirmanti’s sandwich. You may have seen Pirmanti’s on TV in shows such as Man v Food, Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America, Steve Harvey or mentioned by Jon Stewart, or during sporting events. Why do you want to go? Well, they’re semi-famous, the sandwiches are huge, have French fries on them, and if you ever meet anyone who is from Pittsburgh, or who has traveled here, they will ask if you’ve had one! Wait, go back… did you say fries on the sandwich? Yes, it’s a long story, but basically the blue-collar community on which Pittsburgh was built, didn’t have time for fries on the side, so they just asked for them on the sandwich and Ta Da!! … the Pirmanti’s sandwich was born. When you go, hit the original in the strip district!
Released on July 19th, 2019, Thrillist announced the Triangle Bar as one of America's Best Sandwich shops! The Triangle Bar will give you a feel for traditional blue collar Pittsburgh, while also giving you the opportunity to take on the monster 27" Battleship sandwich! Located just minutes from the Navigate venue, this will be an easy stop to tick off!
Some of you may know what these are, some may not. If you’re don’t, they’re heavenly, little pasta pockets packed with potatoes and cheese! Many folks from Pittsburgh have eastern European heritage. Our forefathers came to Pittsburgh to work in the coal mines or the steel mills, and with them they brought their food heritage. If you’ve never had pierogies before, I strongly encourage you to pick a spot from this list provided by Next Pittsburgh!
This seasonal special at Mad Mex is amazing! It’s a turkey dinner wrapped in a burrito shell, smothered in gravy. Trust me, they’re delicious! Be warned though, they’re huge! I can polish one off in a single sitting, however, I have a full food coma afterwards. With that, it might be best to go family style and split one or two amongst a group of two to four. Mad Mex has locations throughout the region, so working one into your trip should be pretty easy. They also have a rotating craft beer selection too!
Let’s take a moment to talk about Salads in Pittsburgh. Sometime, between 1993, when I left Pittsburgh, and 2005 when I returned, something happened to salads in Pittsburgh restaurants. They started putting French fries on them! While French fries compliment a buffalo chicken salad wonderfully, this addition may not be to your taste, or dietary standards. So be warned and take heed, ask your server or review the menu closely to see if fries come with your salad!
Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh
While delicious, those suggestions are not exactly fine dining. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, you’re in luck. Pittsburgh is the midst of a restaurant renaissance!
Unfortunately, this part of my list would be MASSIVE, so I’m going to leave it to the experts who review restaurants on a regular basis.
Pittsburgh Magazine puts out an annual Best Places to Eat list. These lists are packed with restaurants covering a wide range of fare. Below, I’ve listed the last 3 years of lists for your reference. The more frequently a place shows up, the more of a stalwart top restaurant it’s likely be! The 2019 list was published in May.
- Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2019
- Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2018
- Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2017
Thrillist is an online publication that publishes reviews and such. Comparing the Pittsburgh Magazine list, with this Thrillist list will likely help you narrow down your choices. This list was published in June 2019.
If I had to pick one, I would suggest the La Mont on Mt. Washington. The La Month is a 5-star restaurant, has been around for over 50 years, and provides you a view down on the city and rivers. Make sure you call ahead for reservations. Finding the address on their website is a bit tricky, so to make it easy, they’re located at: 1114 Grandview Ave.
Destinations in Pittsburgh
First, let’s start off with the scenic things around the downtown area… or as the locals will say… dahntahn.
Fort Pitt Tunnel
Why am I listing a tunnel as the first topic in this section? Because when you’re commuting from the airport to the Navigate venue, you’ll likely go through this tunnel. You’ll experience typical suburban traffic, then a rather drab and boring tunnel… Then, oh then! Once you exit that tunnel, the city of Pittsburgh will explode into view ahead, and just towards your right! Once you begin traversing the Fort Pitt bridge, you’ll be able to see Heinz Field, PNC Park and Point State Park to your left. As you’ll be riding in a vehicle of some sort, the moment will be fleeting, so try to take a second to take it in. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
The Duquesne Incline has been around for over 140 years. It was constructed to carry material, then later, passengers up and down the hill, making it easier to commute. The ride, and the lookout are going to provide you amazing views of the city. You can see the red incline car in the picture at the top of the article.
Point State Park
Point State Park is at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, which forms the Ohio River. If you’ve ever seen pictures of Pittsburgh, this is where the fountain is located. Again, in the picture at the top. If the weather is nice, grab an Uber (it’s tricky to get to) and go for a walk! A giant rubber duck once lived here for a few months too. True Story! Point State Park doesn’t have a website, so you’ll just have to Google it or use an Uber
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
From the Tropical Fruit & Spice room to the Orchid room to the butterflies of the Stove Room, this place is awesome! A great counterbalance to the hustle and bustle of Navigate. You can get a sense of the variety at their virtual tour. Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning & the Nationality Rooms
I’m including this because of the architecture. This building is amazing! Finished in 1934, it’s gothic style is sure to take your breath away. In addition to the gothic stylings, there are also it’s 30 Nationality Rooms. Touring both is available, but it’s likely easiest to start with the Nationality rooms. Cathedral of Learning & Nationality rooms
Destinations Outside of the City
That’s a good start for things in the city, now let’s get you out of the city! The conference will be at the very beginning of Autumn, and the leaves should just start to change. While there are nice parks in the city, like Frick and Schenly parks, there are some very cool rural destinations worth sharing
Just 1.5 hours south of the city you’ll find the Ohiopyle waterfall and Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Falling Water and Kentucky knob, all tucked away in beautiful rural southwestern Pennsylvania.
Falling Water was design in the 1930s by architect Frank Lloyd Wright for Pittsburgh retail and business family, the Kauffman’s. Falling Water, arguably, may be one of Wright’s most iconic designs featuring a massive cantilever, a stream and very modern, yet organic design elements for the time it was built. Just this past July, Falling Water was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Falling Water
Your next stop on this trip, should be the falls at Ohiopyle. While you’ll want sunny skies for many of the activities mentioned, coming here the day after some heavy rains will make the falls all the more impressive! Enjoy the falls and surrounding hikes. While you’re down here, also go explore for Cucumber falls! If you kayak or enjoy white water rafting, the Youghiogheny (Yock-eh-gheny) can give you access to class 4 and 5 white water!
- Ohiopyle pictures
- Cucumber Falls
- Mitchell Trail at Ohiopyle (with pics) - updated July 17
Kentuck Knob (Hagan House)
Another Frank Lloyd Wright home is just moments from Ohiopyle. This was one of the last homes Wright designed, and he did so while also designing the Guggenheim and Beth Shalom Synogogue. Today, I think we would call that a “side hustle”, not sure.
If nature is not your thing, perhaps museums are. There are a lot of museums in Pittsburgh covering everything from History to Art.
6 floors of static and varying exhibits, this Smithsonian Affiliate will give you a glimpse at 250 years of Western Pennsylvania history and influence.
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Named for Andrew Carnegie, the Steel magnate and industrialist, this series of museums will cover the Arts, Science and Natural history.
The Mattress Factory – It’s an art museum, seriously!
While you’re at the Matress Factory, drop by Randyland. This isn’t a museum, but a vibrant public art display. I’ll all but guarantee you’ll smile!
Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
If you brought your partner, they may want to do a bit of shopping while you’re locked down at the conference. There’s some pretty good shopping in and around Pittsburgh.
Tiffany, Burberry, Armani, Louis Vitton and L.L. Bean, Ross Park Mall has some of the finer high-end shopping in the Pittsburgh Area. Make sure you attend the Go-to-Market, Sales and Marketing sessions at Navigate if your partner is coming here… you’re going to need a few extra sales!!
This destination pairs perfectly with The Meadows, which is mentioned in the gambling section.
This destination is further north than the Continuum office, but a good destination if you’re a bargain hunting shopper.
If you’re leaning towards Vegas Navigate because of the gambling, don’t! Pittsburgh has two casinos in close proximity to the venue! Sure, you’ll have to pay for your drinks, but the table stakes will be a lot cheaper.
Rivers is just across the river from Navigate, and within a stone’s throw of Heinz field. All the usual accouterments that accompany a casino including 3 bars, 3 restaurants and as many slots and table games as you can imagine.
Personally, I prefer The Meadows. It’s about 30 minutes south of the city. I like it because Rivers gets far more traffic, particularly around sporting events and with the traffic, wear. The Meadows is just a touch nicer and the table stakes aren’t increased as dramatically. Plus, you can also watch horse races!
Initially, I had this as the first section, as I’m a big Pittsburgh sports fan. Ultimately, I decided to move it to the end, because many of you may think of Pittsburgh as a sports town, so I wanted to touch on a few other things first.
The Continuum team picked the absolute PERFECT week for Navigate in Pittsburgh, in relation to sports. There is a rare period where all three of Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are active and Navigate coincides with that. If you’re checking off stadiums around the country, a remote Pittsburgh sports fan, or a sports nut in general, you’ll want to look into some of these activities!
At the time I wrote this post, Josh Bell, our first baseman is having a monster year! If you’re a baseball fan, you likely saw him him in the All-Star game. The team is competitive, but not championship caliber so you should easily be able to grab tickets.
You’ll have to catch a game before the conference, but if you do, make sure you sit behind home or on the 3rd base side. The view of the city from the ball park is arguably one of the best backdrops in MLB! I suggest getting to the game early, when there are less people, and take a moment to absorb the view. Pirates Schedule
Steelers football is king in Pittsburgh, no other sport comes close to (Sorry Pens fans, #facts). The fans are spoiled, admittedly, with the best winning percentage in the modern era (1970+), first to 450 wins in modern era, most playoff appearances in modern era, the first to 4 super bowls, the first to 6 super bowls, only 3 head coaches during that time and a host of other stats! Just don’t ask us about what the team was like before 1969!
As for attending a game, you’re in luck. You’ll be able to choose a Monday Night game before the event, or a Sunday afternoon game following the event. In either case, go 2-3 hours early. For the first hour or two, you can visit some of the bars of the north side, but more importantly walk the parking lots with the tailgaters. Then, I suggest entering the game 1 hour before it starts so that you can visit the Great Hall. While there’s not a website dedicated to it, I’ve shared a google link to some pictures. The Great Hall showcases fun historical memorabilia including our Lombardi Trophies. Steelers Schedule
What do you get when you take a prodigy, a Russian defector and a former all time great player turned owner? The Pittsburgh Penguins! Pittsburgh is extremely lucky to have two very competitive teams in our city, with the Penguins being one of them! These guys are REALLY good and are always in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.
Once again, we’re fortuitous, because you’ll have the choice of 2 games… or both! One on Thursday and one on Saturday, following the conference. Penguins Schedule
If you’ve been counting, that’s at least 6 games you can choose from around the conference, and I didn’t even get into College games!!
While we’re at it, if you’re THAT much of a sports buff, you may want to check out the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, at the Heinze History Center. A lot of famous professional athletes and coaches came from the Western Pennsylvania region. You may be surprised by who you’ll find!
Next up is Navigate 2019 Las Vegas on October 15-16 at the Cosmopolitan.
What To Do in Las Vegas
Navigate 2019 North America is headed back to Las Vegas for the third time! There’s much to do in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas—from seeing some of the world’s most renowned shows, to exploring The Strip or day-tripping to the nearby National Parks—there’s an abundance activity waiting for you before or after your trip.
On The Strip
If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, The Strip is everything you imagine—bright lights, a gambler’s paradise, excitement and bustling with things to do and see!
Attend an Incredible Show
Las Vegas brings some of the most incredible talent in the world to its entertainment venues, and many of them will be performing in October. There is truly something for everyone, whether you see at show at the T-Mobile Arena or any of the hotel & casino’s concert venues. Below are just some of the concert performances you can catch from October 11-18.
- Journey – Ceasar’s Palace
- Aerosmith: Deuces are Wild – Park MGM Las Vegas
- Gwen Stefani – Planet Hollywood
- Jonas Brothers – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
- Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – T-Mobile Arena
- Phil Collins – T-Mobile Arena
It’s not just music, Las Vegas is also home to tons of entertainment acts as well, including:
- Daniel Tosh – The Mirage
- David Copperfield – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
- Blue Man Group – Luxor
- The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil – Mirage Las Vegas
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
You will definitely not go hungry in Las Vegas! If you want to explore outside of the conference venue, here are some of our team’s favorite restaurants & bars:
- Beerhaus – At Beerhaus you can enjoy craft beer, locally sourced beer pairings and bar games at an American style beer house
- Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse – An ultramodern celeb-chef spot serving dishes such as beef Wellington in a boisterous British setting at Paris Las Vegas
- Lago – Small plates & tapas-style restaurant at the Bellagio
- In-n-Out – You can’t find it on the East Coast, but you can find it near the Flamingo Las Vegas & The LINQ Hotel & Experience. Make sure to order your burger ‘animal style’ and include some fries and a shake
Frankly, there are so many options, you don’t even have to leave the Cosmopolitan for incredible eats if you don’t want to. Check out these spots in the hotel:
- Secret Pizza – You won’t find it on the Cosmo’s website, but I assure you it does exist.
- Momofuku – Momofuku is an American Asian restaurant offering award-winning cuisine and a more elegant atmosphere.
- Estiatorio Milos – Mediterranean cuisine, this glass-enclosed space well known for serving the freshest, most pristine seafood.
- Chandelier Bar – An upscale cocktail bar with delicious drinks. Our team had run trying the Verbena cocktail with its lemon verbena and ginger infused margarita garnished with a Sichuan flower. Eat the flower if you dare!
Win Big in the Casinos
From the moment you touchdown at the airport, you’re surrounded by slots, roulette, blackjack and craps tables, and as you know or soon will find out, it seems there is a different casino game in every square inch of The Strip. So, whether you explore them all, or just hang out at the Cosmopolitan, we hope lady luck is on your side!
Some of our team’s favorite casinos include:
- The LINQ Hotel & Experience
- The Cosmopolitan Hotel
- Flamingo Las Vegas
- Ceasars Palace
For the Sports Fan
Watch the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL
Check out the NHL’s most recent addition in the Las Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena! To start the season, they’re facing off against multiple playoff-caliber teams including Calgary (October 12) & Nashville (October 15). If you’re looking to catch a game once Navigate is over, they’re playing Ottawa on October 17 too! You can find the October schedule here, and all games are at 7:00 pm PT.
If catching a game isn’t your thing, but maybe you’re looking to prolong the golf season, head over to Topgolf at MGM Las Vegas to work on your swing, play simulated games and more! One of the most favorite Navigate evening events Continuum hosted was at Topgolf, and while we won’t be back this year, it’s still worth checking out in your free time or once the conference is over. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you want to reserve a bay, find more information here!
Explore the Outdoors
The Southwest United States boasts some of the most beautiful National Parks, and you can easily take a road trip from Las Vegas to some of the most famous. After Navigate 2018, several of us from the Continuum team traveled to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Others from the team went to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, and I highly recommend whether you’re looking for a solo traveling experience, or even an excuse for your next family vacation—traveling to one of these incredible National Parks.
Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim Only), Arizona – 4.5 hours from Las Vegas
The Grand Canyon has multiple areas for hiking and exploring, but unfortunately, only the South Rim of the canyon will be open for visitors after this year’s Navigate conference. If you can make it to the North Rim before your trip to Las Vegas (it closes October 15), I highly recommend it, as it was a great experience, and the canyon was gorgeous. However, have no fear if you can’t make it in time because the South Rim (open year-round) will still exceed expectations with similar breathtaking views!
Antelope Canyon, Arizona – 4.5 Hours from Las Vegas
One of the most famously photographed slot canyons in the world, Antelope Canyon has become an Instagrammer’s paradise. But social media aside, Antelope Canyon is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and well worth the wait to climb down into the lower canyon. While Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular route, I recommend going to Lower Antelope Canyon if you don’t mind slightly smaller walkways and more difficult terrain to dodge some of the tourists. Whichever canyon you choose, you will not regret it!
Zion National Park, Utah – 3 hours from Las Vegas
Zion is a spot that I missed on my last National Park excursion, but from what I hear from co-workers, it’s definitely worth the trip! There are a wide range of hikes for the experienced traveler as well as those for families. A highlight of the park is definitely the canyon itself or the stone arches, and Zion even allows swimming in certain parts of the Virgin River!
It’s not too late to register for this year’s Navigate 2019 North America conference in Pittsburgh or Las Vegas! If you want to join hundreds of other Navigators, make sure you save your spot soon!