Getting to know Pittsburgh
Known as both the Steel City for its 300 steel-related businesses, and also as the City of Bridges (for having 446 bridges!), Pittsburgh is a historical and evolving city nestled between three rivers in western Pennsylvania. Why visit? Here are a few reasons, to start.
Explore Andy Warhol country
As a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, Warhol (actually born Andrew Warhola) grew up in the city in the mid-twentieth century as the son of a construction worker. The Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh) is the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single artist. The collection includes 900 paintings, not including the thousands of sculptures, works on paper, unique prints and photographs. The collection also features wallpaper and books by Warhol, covering the entire range of his work, including early pieces, commercial illustrations and sketchbooks, 1960s pop paintings of consumer products featuring Campbell’s Soup cans, celebrity art (Marilyn Monroe and Elvis) and more.
Perfect city view from Mt. Washington
A glorious view awaits on the top of Mt. Washington. Visitors typically take the Duquesne or Monongahela Incline, two uphill trolleys, although locals especially recommend Duquesne, which has been carting passengers up Mt. Washington since the 1870s. The Duquesne Incline platform extends just over a cliff, offering views of where the city’s three rivers meet. Visit day and night for equally spectacular skyline views. The incline operates Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Adult fare is $5 round trip and $2.50 for children under 11.
Mt. Washington is also home to one of the most visited neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Running the length of the hill, Grandview Avenue provides vantage points of Pittsburgh’s skyline, and Restaurant Row offers spectacular views coupled with fine dining. On Shiloh Street, you’ll find delicious ice cream, baked goods, adult beverages and more.
Pittsburgh’s Botanical Garden and Glasshouse
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a public garden set in Schenley Park, is a green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. Phipps has been an experience since 1893 when it was founded by steel and real-estate magnate Henry Phipps as a gift to the city of Pittsburgh. Visitors discover seasonal flower shows, formal Roman and English gardens, an award-winning on-site café and some of the greenest buildings in the world.
Flit about the National Aviary
The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Assembled is a diverse collection of 500 feathered friends representing 150 species from around the world, with many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The walk-through experience includes opportunities to hand-feed and meet many species rarely found in zoos.
Bike or bus around the Golden Triangle
The city’s downtown area, called the Golden Triangle, is ideal for bicycling. Rent a bike or go on a guided tour with the Golden Triangle Bike crew, that leads visitors on riverfront trails while highlighting Pittsburgh’s current developments as well as its history, landmarks, public art, bridges and more. For the more ambitious, bicycle the Great Allegheny passage—a 350-mile stretch from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.
Alternatively, explore downtown with complimentary bus service daily between 4 a.m. and 7 p.m. Travel within downtown and the North Shore is also free 24/7 on the "T" Pittsburgh’s light rail system.
Words: Krista Connor
Photos: iStockphoto.com, Visit Pittsburgh and Phibbs Conservatory and Botanical Gardens