What you'll do
The City Books Experience is a 90-min (about 5000 steps, if you're counting) walking introduction to the legacy of Arts & Letters in Pittsburgh and the North Side in particular. The route focuses on the birthplaces and early lives of Mary Cassatt, Robinson Jeffers, Stephen Foster, Andrew Carnegie, Willa Cather, Andy Warhol, Martha Graham, Gertrude Stein, and Mary Roberts Rinehart. Upon returning to the bookstore, guests enjoy a white-glove exploration of the antique books in our inventory. They handle manuscripts and learn book-collecting jargon as well as the important features booksellers consider when pricing antique, collectible, and used texts. Several of the texts date to the mid-18C. Hand-marbleized, pre-French Revolution endpapers (1781)? Yes, indeed. Greek seminary textbooks with Latin footnotes and schoolboy marginalia (1765)? You bet. I will provide light snacks and beverages--and will try to accommodate food allergies (I suffer from some myself). If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or some other special occasion, please let me know. I would be delighted to work with you on any details you might want to incorporate. We even had a marriage proposal once!
My name is Arlan. A Pittsburgh native, I received my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and have completed research at the University College of Wales and at the University of Padua. In 2015, after teaching literature and creative writing for 17 years, I purchased City Books, Pittsburgh’s acclaimed bookstore established in 1987. In the years since I took over, I have restructured the business model, established an online/social media presence, and re-established the store as one of the premier literary destinations in Pittsburgh. We have been recognized by Mental Floss as one of the Best Bookstores in Every State (PA) and were featured on Forbes.com for our event/vendor relationship with the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. If you or someone you know has an interest in books, you will love this intimate, interesting tour.
Snack & tea/coffee/water Happy to take requests and accommodate special dietary needs.
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Where you'll be
We are a small, friendly shop with an emphasis on both old-world charm & modern customer service located in the heart of the Old Allegheny Historic District. We are conveniently located within walking distance of Pittsburgh’s premier destinations, including The Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, National Aviary, Carnegie Science Center, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Stage AE, PNC Park, Heinz Field, and Casino.
Keep these in mind
Any experience can be cancelled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase.
Always communicate through Airbnb. To protect your payment, never transfer money or communicate outside of the Airbnb website or app.
Up to 4 guests ages 13 and up can attend.
Wear comfortable shoes & appropriate outerwear for the weather. Pittsburgh skies can be unpredictable and we will take the walking tour in all but the most extreme conditions. Length of tour varies.
Arts & Literature in Old Allegheny