As someone who has lived in Pennsylvania their entire life, I am not very forthcoming with the fact that I’ve only visited Philly four times…ever. The same goes for Pittsburgh, which I’ve only visited once. But who could really blame me as I live closer to Baltimore, Maryland than either of those cities. However, as I’ve gotten older, I have determined that it is my responsibility as a Pennsylvanian to visit these cities.
A few weeks ago, my mother had a business trip for work in Pittsburgh for three days. I decided to tag along last minute for work, as I had never been to the city. I was familiar with Pittsburgh, especially with the people. Growing up, my high school consisted of either Ravens or Steelers fans and my neighbors used to hang “Terrible Towels” from the windows of their house. Many of my classmates would choose the University of Pittsburgh as their post-high school education and I would often see pictures and slowly began to piece together an image of the city.
All I can say is that the image in my head didn’t give it nearly any justice.
When I drove around the bend on the Penn Lincoln Parkway, I was immediately bombarded by the cityscape and was left stunned. Pittsburgh is one hell of a city. Located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which feed into the Ohio River, the city is nestled in a landscape with mountains cascading right into the water. From the ridges of the mountains, you can view Downtown Pittsburgh located on a peninsula facing the southwest. The cityscape is breathtaking, especially as you view it from one of the many, many bridges. Three of which lead to the North Shore, the home of PNC Park and Heinz Field.
There is a lot to do in Pittsburgh. During our three-day trip there, I had a lot of time to explore by myself. Below you’ll find my recap of the top three places I visited while there.
- The Strip
Before I visited Pittsburgh, I conducted an “unofficial” survey of what to see and do in the city. A good deal of the responses indicated that I should visit The Strip District. The Strip is an old neighborhood in North Pittsburgh located along the Allegheny River. In the early 20th century, the area was full of large, wholesale warehouses from the large amount of steel and lumber that was produced in the city. Today, the area consists of shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. If you’re looking for memorabilia of your trip, this is the area in which you’ll find the best stuff.
One morning I decided to walk to The Strip from my hotel. A great idea in theory, except for the fact that it was 95 degrees and the humidity was at 85%. My destination was DeLuca’s, a family restaurant known for their breakfast. When I arrived I do have to say I appreciated the promptness of the hostess. I mean, she might’ve just thought I was dying, as she did bring a glass of water to the table with her as she seated me. Except for my dramatic entrance, I enjoyed the friendly, local attitude of the restaurant. The food was really good and a very generous portion for the price.
It is important to note that they only take cash at the establishment. After breakfast I walked the strip for a bit, weaving in and out of shops. My only concern with the area is that it is small and there is not a lot of room to move around, especially on the sidewalks. As a claustrophobic, this is something I notice.
2. The Point
After I had breakfast, I got an Uber down to Point State Park. The dates I was there just happened to coincide with the Three Rivers Arts Festival. A lot of local artists were there showcasing and selling their work. It was the first arts festival I ever attended and it was definitely worthwhile. There was one artist who caught me looking at a painting of his for a long time, I got to talk with him for about 20 minutes. He told me about his inspiration behind the painting and our conversation ended with me saying I needed to by a copy. He enjoyed our talk so much he gave me 15% off.
The Three Rivers Arts Festival is located at Point State Park. The locals refer to the park as “The Point” which was once home to Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt, both of which played important parts in our nation’s history. If you’re visiting the park, leave out about an hour to walk around. You can walk along the Allegheny River, which gives an unobstructed view of PNC Park and Heinz Field.
3. The Inclines
The Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines are an absolute most see if visiting Pittsburgh. Located across the river from downtown, visitors can view the Pittsburgh skyline from the Upper Station observatory deck. They can then ride on a cable car built over a century ago in 1877. Adults ages 12-64, cost $2.50 at the Lower station, while Children ages 6-11 cost $1.25. Even if you’re afraid of heights, I recommend this activity. I am terrified of heights, but was completely enthralled by the wooden cable car and the view it offered of Pittsburgh as it went down the incline.
As I was only in Pittsburgh for three days, I only got to see a small bit of the city. I plan on going back, as I have a massive list of other neighborhoods, restaurants and activities to see. If you’ve been there and/or know of some great places to check out, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
2015 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 566.2195
1197 West Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219