Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: So Much To Do!by Ann Smith, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 3/12/2009
When a lot of people think of Pittsburgh, they think of a smoggy, smoke-filled steel city. That image is long gone along with the steel mills of the 1980s and has been replaced with a center of cultural and fun things to do in the city.
Pittsburgh is nicknamed "Three Rivers" due to the fact that the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers meet at a very picturesque point. First-time visitors from out of town are in awe of the beautiful skyline that greets them as they drive from the airport and come through the Liberty Tunnels. One of the focal points of this skyline is the Duquesne Incline. The Duquesne Incline is a cable car railway that scales Mount Washington. The Incline was originally built to carry cargo up Mt. Washington, now, it is primarily used as a tourist attraction and one cannot visit Pittsburgh without taking a ride on the Incline.
There are many things to do in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Each part of town has its own unique characteristics. There is the South Side of Pittsburgh. South Side's Carson Street has an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants from the Cuckoo's Nest Magic Shop to Groovy's, where you can find all kinds of retro toys and clothes (I bought an old Osmond brothers lunch box there once), to Mario's pub, home of the yard-long beer glass.
Right across the river from the Incline is the North Shore (north side) of Pittsburgh where our sports stadiums are located - PNC Park where the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball and Heinz Field where the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers play football. To get to the north side from the South Side, you could walk or drive over one of the many bridges. Pittsburgh is second only to Venice in the number of bridges within the city limits – several hundred in fact! Another mode of transportation is to take one of the riverboats that are in operation year-round. During Steeler and Pirate games the riverboats transport fans to and from the games. The riverboats also offer scenic tours and dinner cruises as well as fun, kid-friendly cruises on weekends.
The North Side also is home to the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum (which is housed in a turn-of-the century post office), the National Aviary (home of many endangered and exotic birds), and the Carnegie Science Center with its current exhibit, UPMC SportsWorks. The Science Center combines science and fun while the SportsWorks exhibit is all sports and fun! There is also a unique place called the Mattress Factory in the North Side. You'd think with a name like that, they made mattresses, right? Nope, it is a hands-on art museum!
Another bustling part of the city is Oakland (east end). The main population of Oakland consists of graduate and undergraduate students from the two main universities --Pittsburgh University and Duquesne University. Two main attractions are the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Pittsburgh Penguins also play hockey at the Civic Arena in Oakland.
I bet you're hungry after all this sightseeing! Let's lead over to the Strip district, and grab a bite to eat at Primanti Brothers restaurant, home of the famous Primanti sandwich. A Primanti sandwich is grilled meat (usually beef) on thick sliced Italian bread, topped with a mound of French fries, tomatoes and sweet and sour cole slaw.
I could never talk about Pittsburgh without including my neighborhood. I live in West Mifflin, which is in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. It's home to my second favorite amusement park in the world - Kennywood Park. I could write an entire article on Kennywood itself. Kennywood is one of only two amusement parks listed in the National Register of Historic places. The park boasts several world famous wooden roller coasters, but the main reason I visit Kennywood is for the Potato Patch Fries. They are like no others I have ever tasted.
There are many other interesting things to do in Pittsburgh. I feel I've only touched the surface of what this fine city has to offer. I hope you are ‘inclined' to visit soon!
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