GETTING THERE: Pittsburgh is about 270 miles from the Beltway via Route 70 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (use Exit 57, Pittsburgh, and follow Route 376 west to downtown). Cars are essential for clubbing, since Pittsburgh cabs are scarce and parking's cheap.

ROCKING THERE: Find comprehensive listings on the Pittsburgh City Paper Web site at www.pghcitypaper.com or contact clubs directly.

31st Street Pub is at 3101 Penn Ave. (412-391-8334, www.31stpub.com/newstuff/home.html). Like the sign says: "Cutting Edge Rock 'n' Roll." Cover charges vary. All shows are 21 and over; Monday through Wednesday shows begin at 9 p.m. and close at midnight. The Smiling Moose (1306 E. Carson St., 412-431-4668) offers live music most Wednesdays and Saturdays; no cover. Mr. Small's (400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale, 412- 821-4447, www.mrsmalls.com) is a huge former church that can accommodate as many as 650 all-age fans for local and national rock, punk, metal and reggae bands; ticket prices vary. If you want to duck out for a drink between sets, they'll direct you to local pubs and let you back in -- usually. (The owners also operate Mr. Small's Skatepark two blocks away on the Allegheny riverbank.) Club Cafe (56-58 S. 12th St., 412-431-4950, www.clubcafelive.com) is a cool little nightclub for the well-over-21 crowd. Open 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Cover charges vary with acts; advance tickets available through TicketMaster (412-323-1919). Casual menu until 11 p.m. and cocktail specials.

EATING THERE: Zenith Antiques and Tea Room (86 S. 26th St., 412-481-4833) is not your standard cafe, with vegetarian specials. Lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tom's Diner (1715 E. Carson St., 412-488-0900) is open for 24 hours for meals like the Hardy Man's Special ($5.95), with beer-absorbing properties. Other restaurants, from Philly cheese steaks to sushi, abound on the South Side; walk to find serendipity.

STAYING THERE: The newly opened Holiday Inn Express/South Side (20 S. 10th St., 412-488-1130, www.hiexpress.com/pittsburghpa) lacks soul but offers a perch convenient to clubs; room rates from $129 double with breakfast. Ten blocks and a century away is the Morning Glory Inn (2119 Sarah St., 412-431-1707, www.gloryinn.com), a Victorian B&B. Rooms with private baths start at $150; summer weekend availability is limited.

INFO: Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, 877-568-3744, www.visitpittsburgh.com.