European Adventure

The Drive: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Miles: 134
Something Different: The Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, presenting dozens of films at venues throughout the city, returns for its 22nd year this fall, Oct. 19 through 28.

The turnpike isn’t exactly the yellow-brick road, but there’s something about a journey to Ikea that feels like going off to see the wizard. For the Tin Man, there’s affordable furniture with actual wood at its heart. The Cowardly Lion can find the resources — and courage — to organize his den, and the Scarecrow will discover brainy solutions to his biggest decorating problems. Dorothy can take it all home, along with next year’s catalog. 

Sure, Southern Ohio’s getting its own Ikea soon, but Clevelanders will still be closer to the Pittsburgh location.

The store is 221,000 square feet, so take your time: maps and disposable tape measures are available and highly recommended. There’s an only-at-Ikea mix of euro-strange, cottage cute and calmly neutral pre-set rooms and furniture; the perfect zone for a generation of grown-ups who still like to play video games. Wander at will. Flop onto a banana-fiber basket stool, peer through backless modular bookshelves and narrow your wish list while you restock your stomach. The store’s restaurant offers provisions from a traditional Swedish meatball plate to chicken Marsala, all for under $6, but insiders know the best deal in the house is the 99-cent breakfast. 

Save Primanti Bros., a Pittsburgh staple, for Day Two of your trip. The restaurant’s locations are peppered throughout the city, and the sandwiches (which get the signature Primanti treatment — fries and slaw inside) are a great treat after a long day of hoofing it through a warehouse. (412) 747-0747,
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