While I would never encourage any of you, our dear readers, to consume marijuana in public because it is capital-I illegal, I can recommend taking advantage of the heightened capacity for enjoyment and observation cannabis provides. In fact, I’d argue that Pittsburgh — being the altogether unlikely and unusual place that it is — is a city best experienced off your rocker. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my favorite destinations in the city where your visit will only benefit from being on drugs — categorized, of course, by the kind of experience we think each location can provide.
The Buhl Planetarium at Carnegie Science Center
Nothing says “being high off your ass” like laying back in a cold, dark room and being blown away by projections on the ceiling. Fortunately, the good people at the Carnegie Science Center seem to know this! While they offer all kinds of programs there with evident educational purposes like explorations of the solar system and the universe, they also have laser shows. Currently, they’re programming a Laser Symphony of the Stars which promises “brilliant laser animation [...] set to some of the most memorable music of all time.” But in the past, they’ve regularly done Pink Floyd laser shows — and come on, there’s no way you put on a Pink Floyd laser show without knowing that your audience is out-of-their mind stoned.
If you’re looking for a cannabis-fueled experience that will have you thinking you’ve time traveled back to the Summer of Love … well, I won’t say that’s what this is, but it’s probably the closest you’ll get. There is something incredibly easy and pleasant about hanging out high as a kite on the gently sloping Schenley Park hill. In warm weather, Pitt and CMU students chill on the hill blasting music and laying on the grass — most likely under the influence too. We recommend bringing snacks, blankets, and making a day of it. Oh, and don’t forget your hacky sack!
I can hear what you’re thinking. The Waterfront? You seriously want me to go to the Waterfront while high on drugs? Are you nuts? The answer to all those questions is yes, but let me explain myself first. Sober, going to the Waterfront is a downright unpleasant experience. I have felt my soul seep away in that Target parking lot. But stoned? It becomes Sim City: a strange place filled with bizarre characters simply waiting to be observed by someone under the influence. (I once saw a teen couple spinning each other around and making out in the parking lot like they were in The Notebook — in front of one of their mothers, sitting in the car watching with dead eyes.) My recommendation: Catch a very stupid movie at the AMC, and then make your way to T.J. Maxx and spend too much money on crap you don’t need.
If you’re someone who likes to walk around and have a little flaneur/flaneuse moment while stoned, Murray Avenue (not Forbes!) is, in my opinion, the best destination. This is because Murray truly runs the gamut. As you ascend up the street from Forward, you pass a variety of inexplicably in-business stores with plenty of window shopping possibilities: the carpet place you never see anyone in, the international snack vending machine store Vendor Bender. (My favorite is the Global Market, where I always find myself looking in awe at the colorful glass lanterns dangling from the ceiling.) And if you find yourself getting the munchies, there are plenty of snacking opportunities: Sumi’s Cakery for a sweet treat, Kung Fu Tea for boba, Mineo’s for a slice. Any of these work as a reward to yourself, when you finally make it to the top of the hill and feel an absolute sense of accomplishment.
I’m High on Marijuana and Touching The Face of God
Hall of Minerals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History
The dinosaurs normally steal the show at the Museum of Natural History, but the Hall of Minerals is my favorite. Completely sober, it’s educational. But stoned? You develop crow brain; everything that shines becomes completely irresistible. You find yourself attached to all rocks — rocks that glow, rocks that glitter, rocks that give off a low-level of radiation. Before you know it, the mirrored hall of what is essentially “cool rocks” goes from being simply pretty to a seemingly endless reminder of the invisible and ever present forces that produce such singular specimens — albeit at the rate of a handful every million years or so.
If looking at some stones stoned means contemplating your mortality in the context of geologic time, we hope that looking at some greenery on green can be a relative salve. While Phipps is beautiful in all states of mind, visiting the conservatory while on a mildly psychoactive substance alleviates the darkness of a Pittsburgh winter like nothing else. It reminds you — in spite of the endless gray skies that make a relocation to Ron DeSantis’s Florida seem enticing — that the return of life is inevitable if you just hold on.