The Drive: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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, www.ikea.com