Pittsburgh and Countryside
The second-largest city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is a beautiful, green metropolis with four distinct seasons, vibrant culture and ample green spaces and waterways. While the city itself is full of things to see and do, it’s also a great base for exploring the nearby area and its myriad waterways.
There’s no shortage of attractions in Pittsburgh. Shedding its past as a hub of steel production, the city is stingingly green, with four large parks within the city limits, including beautiful Schenley Park. Other major attractions include the sprawling Carnegie Museum of Natural History, known for its stunning dinosaur skeletons, as well as the Andy Warhol Museum, dedicated to the works of the renowned 20th-century pop artist. ToonSeum is one of the few cartoon museums in the U.S., while the 42-story Cathedral of Learning is the largest educational building in this hemisphere.
Three Righteous Rivers
Pittsburgh’s waterways have helped put the city on the map. The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to become the Ohio River, all right in the heart of the city. Plenty of people go boating and kayaking around this confluence, and visitors who want to get great views of the city should look into taking a boat tour. For silly fun, consider a Just Ducky Tour, which features a duck-inspired hybrid land-and-water vehicle. For anglers, there are lots of places to go fishing not far from town. These include the gargantuan Cross Creek Lake, known for its bass fishing, North Park Lake (boat rentals are also available here) and Highland Park Dam, right on the Allegheny.
Hike, Bike and Ride
Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas serve up lots of trails for hikers, bikers, runners and anyone who just wants to get out and spend some time outdoors. The North Shore Riverfront Park & Trail gets lots of foot traffic, and there are a fair few restaurants to stop at for a snack along the way. Running along the banks of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers (which join together at Point State Park to become the Ohio River), Three Rivers Heritage Trail offers 24 miles of pathways in total. There’s also the Rachel Carson Trail, which traverses 35 miles of rugged terrain, while Ohiopyle State Park, south of town, offers all sorts of outdoor recreation opportunities, including the three-mile-long Meadow Run Trail to the towering Cucumber Falls. Take a ride on Pittsburgh’s funicular to see dazzling views.
Life in Town
Pittsburgh has long been associated with the steel industry (which even lent its name to the city’s NFL team, the Steelers). However, the city has shed its industrial past and today is a hub of technology and bioscience, with lots of restaurants, bars and cultural attractions. It also has four distinct seasons (but gets a fair amount of rainfall) and a strong urban identity. While the generational makeup of the city is fairly balanced, there’s certainly a large student population here, with colleges and universities galore, including the centuries-old University of Pittsburgh and the well-regarded Carnegie Mellon University. If you’d like to see architecture defy gravity, head 67 miles southeast of town to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, considered an iconic architectural treasure. For one of the nation’s most enjoyable animal encounters, drop into the Pittsburgh zoo and marvel at the polar bear exhibit.
Celebrating Steel Town
Pittsburgh puts on several big events throughout the year. Gourmand types won’t want to miss Restaurant Week’s Winter Celebration in January, which features superb cuisine and local restaurant specials. A few months later comes the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival in April, three days devoted to the performing arts. Summer festivities include the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival in June and Bloomfield Little Italy Days in August.
Jousting and Jitters
The Renaissance Festival in August focuses on recreating the merriment of times of yore. Along with a smattering of Halloween festivities, October brings with it the Head of the Ohio boat race, one of the largest regattas in the U.S.
Pittsburgh Past Through Present
Pittsburgh gets its name from Fort Pitt, which was established by the British during the French and Indian War in what is now downtown Pittsburgh. The fort had an advantage due to its strategic location at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which forms the Ohio River. The need for weapons during the War of 1812 led the city to become a steel center, and by the early 20th century, Pittsburgh was responsible for producing around half of the steel in the country. Recently, Pittsburgh has reinvented itself in the information age: A tech boom has taken the city by storm, with firms that specialize and artificial intelligence, robotics and biomedicine establishing headquarters in the city. Trendy restaurants have opened their doors to welcome the techies as well as out-of-town visitors.
For More Information
Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development