Visiting Pittsburgh - What to See and Do
(Pittsburgh International Airport PIT, USA)
Like the Phoenix rising from a pile of industrial ash, the Rust Belt city of Pittsburgh
has emerged in recent years as one of the trendiest spots in the northeast. The city has cleaned up its rivers, transformed its factories and created a thriving arts community. Pittsburgh is an urban renewal success story and offers tourists a number of appealing attractions.
Three rivers converge at the heart of the city, forming a unique environment rare to big American cities. Around this thread of nature are the impressive Carnegie Museums and a patchwork of neighborhoods from the Theater District to the historic Station Square.
There is a rich diversity of options for dining and drinking in Pittsburgh. Head down to the Strip District for Italian eateries, while authentic German breweries line Deutschtown. The city's ethnic mix is one of its highlights, complemented by a solid menu of outdoor activities from professional NFL football games to kayaking along one of its three rivers.
Ten things you must do in Pittsburgh
- The Golden Triangle is what they call the city's compact walkable downtown core. Named after the three rivers that converge here, the city's skyline is simply beautiful from the Allegheny Riverfront Park, a free public green space that runs along the water. From the Golden Triangle, begin slowly exploring your way deeper into the ethnic neighborhoods of this city on the rise.
- One of the many men who made their fortunes from the industry of Pittsburgh was Andrew Carnegie. In 1895 he endowed the Carnegie Museums to ensure a cultural legacy for the city, and the three venerable institutions remain the cultural gems of Pittsburgh. The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History and the Science Center are each worth devoting a day to exploring properly.
- Point State Park is one of the highlights of the downtown Golden Triangle district. The 36-acre / 15-hectare park is the historic site of Fort Pitt, but in modern times it has been the main venue for outdoor concerts, festivals and other fun events. Even if nothing is happening, the city's iconic 46-meter / 150-foot water fountain is found here, along with some very nice views of the skyline.
- Without question, the best views of Pittsburgh are found atop the Mount Washington Overlook. This towering rock formation dominates the city, but thankfully you don't have to hike to the top. Two 19th-century trams provide a fun and quick way to the lookouts, where panoramic views over the Golden Triangle, Point State Park and the rest of the city spread out below. There are even bars and restaurants on top of the mountain.
- The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is one of the city's top attractions, known in particular for its impressive Children's Zoo. Located on a hilltop in the Shadyside district, the zoo is a great place to spend an afternoon, kids or not. The animal enclosures are as kind as they can be, while the aquarium is one of the best in the region.
- Pittsburgh loves its professional sports, giving visitors three different teams to choose from. Catch an NFL football game with the Steelers at the Heinz Field, a baseball game with the Pirates at the scenic riverside PNC Park, or a hockey match with the Penguins in the Mellon Arena. Tickets are usually available for most games.
- One of the city's trendiest areas is the rejuvenated Strip District. Originally it was a waterfront market, but its historic warehouses have been turned into the city's liveliest place to shop, eat and drink. From ethnic groceries to bakeries, bars and cafés, be sure to visit the Strip early in your stay so that you have time to return a few times.
- Pittsburgh's rich ethnic diversity is on fine display in the Nationality Rooms, a unique museum that recreates the interior living décor of each of the city's immigrant communities within 24 different rooms. This unusual attraction is like peeking into the living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms of 19th-century immigrants, as the rooms have been carefully remodeled to look exactly as they did when the city was first founded.
- A special highlight only found in Pittsburgh is the Andy Warhol Museum. This famous pop artist is a native son of the city, and the museum showcases the fascinating life and work of Warhol. In addition to many original pieces of art, visitors get a rare glimpse into the personal life of the man.
- There is no shortage of options when the sun sets over Pittsburgh. Head to the Strip District for a solid selection of restaurants and bars, or Station Square for some striking skyline views with your cocktail. There is also a thriving theater arts scene in the city, with several local troupes and theaters to choose from, playing all year round.