Getting around in a big city can be confusing for a lot of students, especially freshmen who are leaving a small town for the first time. Here’s a piece of advice: Keep your student ID (Panther Card) on you at all times — more so than your newly acquired just-for-college credit card, but try not to lose that either.
Your Panther Card is the key to your survival, as well as entertainment around campus and the city of Pittsburgh in general. Unlike those folks in the real world, you, sir or madam, get to ride the public Port Authority buses for free. All you have to do is present your card to pay for your fare.
Although Pitt has its own shuttles that move masses of college kids around campus daily, they won’t take you to the North Side to see some Pirates action or to the Strip District to catch that indie band on a Thursday night. Port Authority, although not always as reliable as the Pitt shuttles, is a “free” luxury paid exclusively through your Panther Card.
Free transportation is not the only perk of a Panther Card. With your ID, take the chance to explore Pittsburgh’s art scene.
Pitt students have free admission to Pittsburgh’s top museums, including the Andy Warhol Museum and Carnegie Museums. The Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History is right in Oakland, with exhibits in just about every subject. The Warhol is on the North Shore (Remember that Port Authority thing?) and draws tourists and Warhol admirers alike from all over the country — and it’s available to Pitt students for free.
Pitt Arts is a program exclusively available to Pitt students who attend cultural events such as concerts and art exhibits. Not all of the Pitt Arts events are free, but ticket prices are often considerably reduced for students.
Students also receive free entry into the immensely popular Phipps Conservatory, also located in Oakland, just a stroll around the block toward Schenley Park. Phipps is home to numerous botanical exhibits with the world’s most vibrant plants on display. If your professors aren’t kind enough to take a class field trip there, you should take advantage of your new privileges as a Pitt student and go yourself.
Your Panther Card brings many affordable (ahem, free) options during weekends or syllabus week, when your workload hasn’t caused you to lose any sleep yet and you’re still wondering what there is to do around the ‘Burgh. If you lose it, you can always pick up a new one at Panther Central. The first two replacements are free, but any after that cost $20 — not a bad price for the finest cultural happenings in the city.