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  • Overview

    The city of Pittsburgh was built on the legacy of tough and hardworking immigrants, drawn to the jobs offered by its steel mills. It sits back on its laurels and offers a more leisurely and aesthetically pleasing lifestyle to locals and foreigners alike.

    Once dubbed the 'Smoky City', Pittsburgh's mills have closed down and the emphasis now is on making the most of the city's natural beauty. Students have replaced factory workers, the smoking chimneys now supplanted by lively restaurants, bars, and museums.

    The city lies between the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers, against the backdrop of the Allegheny Mountains. Consequently, it boasts the largest concentration of pleasure boats in the United States.

    There is a clean, friendly metropolitan centre filled with trees, shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and theatres. Attractions abound in this scenic city, from one of the world's fastest continuous track rollercoasters to the Andy Warhol Museum.

    For fresh air, there are free summer concerts in a beautiful park. Pittsburgh has retained its gritty industrial charm but has supplemented this industrious heritage with boundless recreational opportunities and unexpected scenic nooks.

    Carnegie Museums

    In 1895, Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie established an institute which he intended to improve and educate local people. Today, his ideal is realised in the form of a collection of four museums funded by the Carnegie Institute: a Museum of Art, Natural History, a Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum.

    The Carnegie Museum of Art on Forbes Avenue has a notable collection of contemporary art that includes film and video works. The adjacent Natural History Museum takes visitors on a trip through time detailing the wonders of planet earth.

    The Carnegie Science Centre at Allegheny Avenue offers planetarium and laser shows and a variety of hands-on activities and exhibits for old and young. The final museum in the Carnegie bouquet is the Andy Warhol in Sandusky Street, featuring extensive permanent collections of art and archives relating to one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century.

    Carnegie Music Hall Carnegie Music Hall HoboJones
    National Aviary

    Situated in historic West Park on Pittsburgh's North Side, the National Aviary is a few minutes from downtown. It's the only independent indoor non-profit bird zoo in the USA and home to more than 600 birds of more than 200 species, many of which are threatened and endangered.

    There are birds from just about every corner of the world, from hummingbirds to Andean condors. The zoo places emphasis on rainforest and wetland habitats with most birds kept in natural planted exhibits, allowing for close up views. The National Aviary is a great family attraction in Pittsburgh.

    Website: www.aviary.org
    Golden Conures Golden Conures Benny Mazur
    Point State Park

    Formerly a slum, Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh is now a recreational delight. Declared a National Historic Landmark, it played a key strategic role during the French and Indian War in the middle of the 1700s.

    Paved promenades feature along the Ohio riverfront, providing dramatic views of the city with its busy waterways, scenic hillsides, and bridges. The park is naturally landscaped and enhanced by a 150 foot (46m) fountain. There's also a biking trail, outdoor amphitheatre, and an inline skating route.

    The Fort Pitt Museum is housed in one of the five original bastions of the ruined fort, devoted to displaying local history. The Fort Pitt Blockhouse are the oldest authentic building in Western Pennsylvania and also open to the public.

    Point State Park Point State Park John Marino
    PNC Park

    Since its opening in 2001, PNC Park has awed all those who've entered it. Consistently voted in the top three of all baseball stadia in America, PNC Park is a breath-taking example of how sports stadium architecture can be both artful and spectator-friendly.

    With a capacity of just under 40,000, it is a relatively small stadium. But even the cheap seats command perfect views of the playing diamond. Beyond the bleachers, views of the river, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh's skyline, and towering Mount Washington catch the eye.

    While daytime tours of the stadium are thoroughly rewarding, visitors to Pittsburgh should do their best to attend a Pirates game. A magical atmosphere bubbles inside PNC Park as evening descends, the city lights starting to sparkle in the distance.

    PNC Park PNC Park alpineinc
    Fallingwater

    Just 60 miles (about 95km) southeast of Pittsburgh on Interstate 76, Fallingwater is a must-see attraction for visitors to the area. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 for retail giant Edgar J. Kaufman, the house sits among the waterfalls and woods of the beautiful Bear Run Nature Reserve.

    It remains arguably the world's best example of organic architecture. A wondrous achievement, Wright managed to design a fully-functioning personal residence that blends fluidly and harmoniously with its natural setting.

    The sound of rushing water is a constant, a whispering presence within the house. A boulder juts out into the living room and doubles as a hearth, while the windows open outward from the corners of the walls and leave no panes to obstruct the natural view.

    This triumphant feat of individualistic artistic expression so inspired Ayn Rand that she largely based her novel The Fountainhead on the ingenuous creation. Fallingwater is included in the Smithsonian magazine's list of '28 places to see before you die' and visitors to Pennsylvania shouldn't pass up the opportunity. Make sure to booki well in advance.

    Fallingwater, Pittsburgh Fallingwater, Pittsburgh Carol M. Highsmith

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Pittsburgh's climate fluctuates between humid continental and humid subtropical, with four distinct seasons. Pittsburgh winters, between December and February, are cold, with average temperatures between 21°F (-6°C) and 39°F (4°C), although the temperature can drop significantly lower.

    In spring, things warm up quickly and summers, between June and August, are hot and sunny, with a range in humidity, and temperatures averaging between 58°F (14°C) and 82°F (28°C). Pittsburgh receives heavy rainfall, which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but late spring and summer tend to be the wettest. Some snow does fall in winter.

    Pittsburgh International Airport
    Location: The airport is located about 14 miles (22km) west of central Pittsburgh.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals: The Landside and Airside terminals are linked by a moving walkway.
    Getting to the city: Several taxi, shuttle bus and limousine companies service the airport, providing transport to the city and nearby centres. Uber and other similar mobile app based taxi services are also available. Public transportation is limited to the Port Authority Transit 28X Airport Flyer, which departs roughly every 30 minutes, connecting to downtown Pittsburgh.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies represented at the airport include Alamo, Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Dollar, National and Payless.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are readily available at the airport.
    Fascilities: There are a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars in the two terminals. ATMs, currency exchange services, a business lounge and an information desk are also available. Disabled facilities are good.
    Parking Short-term parking is available just outside the terminal. It costs $1 for the first hour, and $4 per hour thereafter, up to $24 per day. Long-term parking at Pittsburgh International Airport costs $14 per day, and the extended-stay lots are just $8 per day.

    Useful Contacts:

    Three Rivers Regatta

    Each year, Pittsburgh celebrates summer with America's largest inland regatta: the Three Rivers Regatta. Covering more than just an aquatic challenge, the Pittsburgh Regatta is a full on festival of fun, covering three or four days.

    Entertainment occurs on land, water, and in the air. Included in the programme of more than 20 daily events is powerboat racing, firework displays, water ski shows, extreme sports, and a fun 'anything that floats' race. For more details on the festivities and regatta, check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: North Shore
    Three Rivers Regatta Three Rivers Regatta Mark Goebel
    Three Rivers Arts Festival

    The Three Rivers Arts Festival is a nearly 50-year-old tradition in downtown Pittsburgh, bringing art to the people with a mix of live music, theatre, dance, visual arts, and fine food. A programme of free concerts draws the crowds to Point State Park.

    All galleries in the downtown area exhibit their finest. However, most popular is the vibrant artist market where contributors from all over the country sell their wares in more than 15 different mediums.

    The beauty of the market is that it changes six times during the festival, featuring the work of 150 artists at a time. One visit is not enough to seek out that special treasure. For more information check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: Point State Park and various locations throughout downtown Pittsburgh
    Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival MissMessie
    US Open Championship Golf

    The United States Open Championship is one of the biggest major championships in men's golf. The major dates back to 1895, with the first tee off taking place on a nine-hole course in Newport, Rhode Island.

    Throughout the years, the prestigious Oakmont Country Club enjoys the privilege of hosting the competition a record nine times. Regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the country and recently voted the fourth best course by Golf Digest. For more information on this prestigious and popular event check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont
    Website: www.usopen.com
    US Open US Open Jim Epler
    Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day is one of America's most famous and extraordinary events, popularised by the Bill Murray film in the early nineties. Punxsutawney Phil, as the groundhog is known, has supernatural powers if you believe the myth.

    Phil is asked on 2 February each year what the following six weeks of weather will entail for those in the area. If the Phil sees his shadow, there will be another six weeks of winter in store. If not, then summer is on its way.

    Tens of thousands visit the town of Punxsutawney each year in honour of this odd event. There is plenty of music and entertainment, followed by a fireworks show in the evening. For more information, check out the website below.

    Venue: Punxsutawney, north east of Pittsburgh
    Groundhog Day Groundhog Day Aaron Silvers

    Downtown Pittsburgh is compact and designed to benefit pedestrians, with parks and plazas spaced out between the office towers and shopping streets. If visitors need to travel further, they descend to the subway known locally as the 'T'. It's a small, clean, and reliable light rail system.

    The city has an extensive bus network with multiple routes connecting downtown to the attractions on the north side, as well as Oakland and surrounding neighbourhoods. The Central Business District is a Free Fare Zone and buses are free from 4am to 7pm daily, while the 'T' is free 24 hours a day.

    Pittsburgh's taxi cabs usually need to be called by telephone or hired at a taxi rank, rather than hailed on the street. Cars rental companies offer services in the city. Uber, Lyft, and other similar ride-hailing apps and taxi services are also available.

    Set between rivers and sprawling across seven hills, a holiday in Pittsburgh offers a plethora of leisure options in a city built on the hard work and struggle of immigrant labour. It has neighbourhoods rich in culture, as well as important traditional treasures.

    Pittsburgh is filled with things to do and see, from an 18th-century French fortress to the National Aviary. Strolling along the many picturesque footpaths is a pleasant way to while away the hours, boasting more bridges than any other city in the USA.

    Culture enthusiasts particularly vacations in Pittsburgh, sporting world class museums, theatres, and the famed Carnegie Library. The Burgh also appeals to anyone interested in industrial history and architecture.

    The best seasons to travel to Pittsburgh are spring and autumn when the weather is pleasantly mild. These seasons occur during the months of April, May, September and October.. Summers tend to endure uncomfortable heat waves, while winters are bitterly cold.

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