Urban Hike sends us on a scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill
As a native Pittsburgher and Pitt aluma, I’ve become well acquainted with Squirrel Hill. It’s home to kosher Giant Eagle thumbprint cookies, a sweet movie theater that plays less mainstream movies (the Manor Theatre), and a few of my favorite restaurants, including the recently reopened Bangkok Balcony, Rose Tea Cafe and New Dumpling House.
But on Saturday, I discovered how little I actually knew. My sister, brother-in-law, nephew, boyfriend and I all participated in the Urban Hike scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill. The scavenger hunt sent us running around the neighborhood for about two and a half hours. It got us looking at murals, second-floor businesses, signs and cars.
There were some general challenges, like taking a picture in front of a business with a name that’s not English or finding a rare Raja supporting lawn sign. We also took a picture of a popular in Squirrel Hill because it “fits” anywhere (Answer: a Honda Fit) and a help wanted sign.
We took a neighborhood-specific pictures next to an Elvis mannequin playing the ukelele, the place where a lady of the realm could have her cleaning done (Lord Duncan Cleaners), and an art store on Beacon Street. Here’s a picture in front of the store. The team is wearing balloon hats created at one of the challenges.
The challenges were my favorite. At Allderdice High School, we had to name Allderdice alumni using video clues. In addition to Wiz Khalifa and Myron Cope, we learned that the Jet’s Curtis Martin attended Allderdice. At the JCC challenge site, we played Yiddish charades, and at another challenge, we answered trivia while making balloon hats, as you can see in the photo.
At 2:30, we regrouped in Gullifty’s and had a late lunch while we waited for the scores to be tallied:
We didn’t win – or come close – but we had a lot of fun learning about the neighborhood, which is the point of Urban Hike. It’s a neat Pittsburgh organization that encourages people to go out and explore the various neighborhoods. The organizers said they would host another scavenger hunt in May. Most likely it’ll be in a neighborhood less familiar to me than Squirrel Hill, but I welcome the challenge!