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Top Ten Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh

Visitors arriving from the Pittsburgh International Airport approach the city through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and are delivered into a downtown glistening with skyscrapers. Banked on all sides by water and lush green hills, Pittsburgh was described by one New York Times writer as "the only city in America with an entrance."

Point State Park stands at the confluence of three mighty rivers-the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio-marking one corner of the compact, arrowhead-shaped downtown known as the Golden Triangle.

Visitors find themselves within easy walking distance of five major hotels, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, more than a dozen historical and cultural attractions, architectural landmarks, professional sports, great shopping and food to delight every taste.

Pittsburgh's beauty goes beyond mere scenery. The culture deftly mixes new and old; the choices and pace of urban life with the comfort and tree-lined quiet from an earlier time. We invite you to feel the warm embrace of the people and the landscape of Pittsburgh, the perfect tonic for stressful times.

10. A Quality of Life

Pittsburgh, the only city rated among the top five "Most Liveable" in three editions of the "Places Rated Almanac," is safe, clean, affordable and fun - qualities that both visitors and residents appreciate.

International visitors find Pittsburgh a refreshingly authentic experience of an American city, free of pretense and filled with everything from the world-class Pittsburgh Opera and eye-popping Andy Warhol Museum to the small delights of a cozy neighborhood dress shop or a downtown lunch counter.

As Travel & Leisure wrote: "It's a city where most people go home to their parents for Sunday dinner, a community with strong neighborhoods and a lot more beauty than people imagine."

9. Rich Traditions

Pittsburgh welcomed generation after generation of immigrants and today enjoys the benefit of countless ethnic influences, east and west, in everything from music to traditional dance and memorable dining. Ask Tom Pastorious, owner of Pittsburgh's favorite German beer house, the Penn Brewery, and a Gold Medal Winner at the Great American Beer Festival. The Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh showcase the culture of 23 ethnic communities - from Africa to the Ukraine - which have preserved the best of architecture and art in working classrooms open for public tours. Or simply walk any one of the city's 88 neighborhoods and sample Italian, Greek, Polish, Indian, Irish or other culture.

8. Fresh Ideas

At a time when most people thought of Pittsburgh only in the somber tones and rancid colors of the industrial age, Andrew Carnegie was quietly building an institution dedicated to the discovery of contemporary art and artists. Carnegie staged his first regular exhibition at The Carnegie Museum of Art in 1896. Contemporary art has been on display and part of the attraction of Pittsburgh ever since. Today more than 300 works ranging from early pieces like Winslow Homer's The Wreck and James A. McNeil Whistler's Arrangement in Black are on display.

Close by, The Mattress Factory offers visitors the experience of seeing the world's first and only internationally-recognized museum of contemporary art located in a neighborhood.

7. Old Money

At the turn of the century, Pittsburgh contained more wealth than any American city except New York, thanks to industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. Their stories and the kingdoms they built from coal, iron, glass and steel are captured in the city's neighborhoods, architecture and culture. Carnegie, for instance, amassed one of the world's great dinosaur fossil collections including a towering T-Rex on display at The Carnegie's Museum of Natural History.

A very different relic awaits you on the grounds of the Frick Art & Historical Center where Frick's chateau-like estate, Clayton, has been painstakingly restored. Architectural Digest called Clayton "a triumph of restoration." The Frick Art & Historical Center, offers a free art museum, carriage museum, playhouse, greenhouse, cafe and lush strolling grounds.

6. Victorian Treasure

Pittsburgh virtually blushes with Victorian charm beginning with the dreamlike glass botanical garden house, Phipps Conservatory. Take a ride back in time on one of the two operating inclines or funiculars, the Monongahela Incline (1869), and the Duquesne Incline (1877) operating along the same Mt. Washington hillside. And don't miss Lost Kennywood, a six-acre, $7 million dollar addition to the National Historic Landmark Kennywood Park where the atmosphere and rides from turn of the century amusement parks continue to entertain.

5. River City

Pittsburgh, once the crossroads of river traffic moving east and west, today offers all of the sites, sounds and good taste of a river city. A frequent stop on the riverboatin' line of The Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Pittsburgh also offers daily excursion service aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet. On shore visitors can stroll one of the 70 shops at Station Square where turn-of-the-century railroad buildings form a collection of retail shops, restaurants, and night clubs. The centerpiece is the former passenger waiting room, now the glorious Grand Concourse Restaurant. Or take a walk along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and visit The Carnegie Science Center, a $40 million "amusement park for the mind" on the shores of the Allegheny River.

4. A Night on the Town

By day Pittsburgh follows the rush of the business crowds, but by night the beeper gives way to be-bop and the appointment loses out to the aria as visitors and residents enjoy world-class culture, live music, dancing and a well-earned night of entertainment and fun.

Pittsburgh's wealth of music, dance, theater and nightclubs includes everything from the delicate strings of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to the pulse of industrial dancing at Metropol/Rosebud; from the expressive movements of the Pittsburgh Dance Council to the classical lines of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.

The Pittsburgh Opera, presents grand opera sung in original languages with English translations projected above the stage. For less-filling musical fare try the Civic Light Opera. Regional (Pittsburgh Public Theater, O'Reilly Theatre) and local theater aficionados (City Theater) enjoy award-winning productions in intimate settings.

3. Spectacular Events

The joke around town is that it doesn't take much for Pittsburgh to throw a parade or light the sky with fireworks. A new year of celebration begins every December 31 before the stroke of midnight with the annual First Night celebration: a community-oriented, non-alcoholic New Year's Eve festival of arts, culture and entertainment.

Spring ushers in the nation's third largest St. Patrick's Day Parade, while all the ethnic communities join hands for the annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival held each Memorial Day weekend.

Fans of vintage sport cars race to Schenley Park every July to watch the Pittsburgh International Grand Prix. Now in its second decade, the Pittsburgh International Grand Prix is 100% volunteer managed and operated with proceeds from the race benefiting the Allegheny Valley School and Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

Each November the holiday skies brighten for a seven-week program of music, dance, food, shopping discounts and family entertainment known as Sparkle Season. Free carriage rides, parades, outdoor concerts, holiday displays, street theater and the twinkle of department store windows delight people of all ages.

2. History

Few cities in the world recite American history as well as Pittsburgh. Starting with the battle between the French and British, the birth of a nation, the pioneer's push west and the first sparks of the industrial revolution, Pittsburgh captures America's push toward progress. That story is shared by thousands of visitors at The Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

Visitors can learn about early land settlement at the Bushy Run Battlefield; explore the night skies at the Allegheny Observatory, one of the foremost observatories in the world; or brush up on their environmental history at the Rachel Carson Homestead.

1. Family Values

Whether they realize it or not, young people form a bond with Pittsburgh early in life thanks to two of the city's icons, Heinz ketchup and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Parents can earn the grudging respect of teens by taking a walk on the wild side at The Andy Warhol Museum to see the artist's famous Heinz Ketchup boxes. The younger crowd enjoys visiting Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe at Idlewild Park. A few of Pittsburgh's other favorite family things include: The Pittsburgh Zoo, The Pittsburgh Children's Museum, The National Aviary in Pittsburgh, and Kennywood Park.


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