Pittsburgh and Countryside
The iconic steel city has forged a new identity for visitors. Once a mighty powerhouse of the steel industry, Pittsburgh has transformed into a collection of dynamic enclaves that brim with innovative restaurants, fashionable bars and world-class cultural institutions. With a prized network of urban trails, Pittsburgh’s rivers, parks and undulating hills can easily be explored by bike or on foot.
Piloting to Pittsburgh
Nestled beneath the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh sits at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. With distinct seasons, temperatures can climb beyond 90 degrees during the summer. Interstate 376 runs east-west through the majority of Allegheny County along and just west of downtown Pittsburgh.
Where Rivers Meet
You don’t have to venture far from the city to experience Pennsylvania’s signature landscapes. The North Shore Riverfront Park & Trail is a popular route for runners and bikers and is dotted with an array of restaurants, cultural spaces and parklands. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a multiuse riverfront trail system that runs for 24 miles across both banks of Pittsburgh’s rivers: the Allegheny and Monongahela, which converge in the heart of town to form the Ohio River. Kayakers and other boating enthusiasts dot the surface of the water where the currents form the city’s distinctive “Y.”
Hitting the Trail
For more adventure, the Rachel Carson Trail leads straight from the North Park trailhead on the banks of the Allegheny River and traverses 35 miles of steep, harsh, untamed wilderness. The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile railway route that crosses viaducts and bridges en route to Cumberland, Maryland. To the south of Pittsburg, Ohiopyle State Park is the gateway to the breathtaking Laurel Mountain and boasts a fine inventory of hiking, intense white water rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, biking and camping. For hikers, the Baughman Trail leads to the Baughman Rock Vista Overlook, famed for its sweeping views of Pennsylvania. The scenic 3-mile Meadow Run Trail leads to the 30-foot Cucumber Falls.
Soup Cans and T-Rex
Pittsburg’s main sights and attractions are concentrated in a relatively small, albeit hilly, area, making it a great city for walking. The four Carnegie Museums form the city’s cultural core. The Museum of Art, founded in 1895, houses a collection of master-class artworks and decorative arts spanning the 17th through 19th centuries. Set inside an old warehouse, the Andy Warhol Museum contains thousands of multimedia works, including the artist’s Brillo Box sculptures and Elvis paintings, as well as audiotape interviews, photographs, books and magazines that celebrate the Pittsburgh native who went on to pioneer pop art. The Museum of Natural History houses one of the finest dinosaur collections on the planet, including the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus rex. The historic, late-Victorian home of Henry Clay Frick features original artifacts and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present. The Science Center introduces visitors to natural wonders and technological breakthroughs.
Party Time in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s lively festival calendar kicks off mid-January with Restaurant Week’s Winter Celebration, featuring events, seasonal menus and celebrations hosted by the city’s top restaurants. In early April, the three-day Pittsburgh Fringe Festival unites comics, actors and writers for one of the nation’s most eclectic visual and performing arts celebrations. In August, Pittsburgh’s annual Renaissance Festival revels in the debauchery of the 16th century, with Renaissance-themed shows, including jousting, carillon music, archery, fire-breathing, vegetable fights and classic Renaissance fare washed down with goblets of wine and jugs of beer. The Head of the Ohio boat race in October is one of the nation’s largest regattas, accompanied by family-friendly outdoor activities and entertainment.
Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob
Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright flock to the stunning Laurel Highlands to behold what is arguably the American architect’s crowning achievement: Fallingwater. Cantilevered over a waterfall, Fallingwater was built in 1936 for a local Pittsburgh department store owner, Edgar J. Kaufman. A jewel of 20th-century art, the home defied conventional architectural styles when it was built and still stands as an engineering marvel. Many Frank Lloyd Write purists state a preference for nearby Kentuck Knob, noted for its more intimate and humble design. Built to be a Usonian (affordable to the masses) home rather than a statement piece, the design emphasizes harmonious living rather than technical innovation. Fashioned from native sandstone and tidewater red cypress, the abode blends with the surroundings while cantilevered overhangs and sheaths of glass evoke Wright’s signature inside-outside aesthetic.
Pittsburgh from Different Angles
Looking for novel ways to see the city? Try the Duquesne Incline, a line of fully restored funiculars that were built originally to haul passengers and freight up the side of Mount Washington. Now they send commuters and tourists at a steep angle up to an observation deck to enjoy the views before heading down Grandview Avenue. Closer to the water, sightseers can take the Just Ducky Tour, in which an amphibious vehicle drives you into the river and up on land, all while your guide asks you to quack during your trip through downtown Pittsburgh. It’s a great way to see the area.
For More Information
Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development