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|THINGS TO DO IN PITTSBURGH|
Those of us who live in Pittsburgh can't wait to welcome those of you who don't back to your hometown. If you haven't been here for a while, you'll find things have changed--for the better, we think! We suggest you get online and plan how you'd like to spend your free time before you arrive. There are lots of good overall websites you can Google. One we like is http://pittsburgh.about.com. Another is www.visitpittsburgh.com. One you arrive, your hotels will be able to help you with directions. If you don't have a GPS, you might want to rent a car with one or plot out your routes on MapQuest before arriving.
If you'll be staying in Mt. Lebanon (or even if you're not), you might want to check out the municipal website, www.mtlebanon.org, in advance to get an overview of what's going on in town. You'll find a map of the town there along with a listing of all the shops, restaurants, etc.; and, if you wish, you can read Mt. Lebanon Magazine online in flipbook format to get an idea of what's happening throughout town. On Washington Road you'll find Il Pizzaiolo (with an outdoor dinging area in the back), Bistro 19 (great Sunday brunch; make reservations), Little Tokyo, Kous Kous and Aladdin's, all within two blocks. Other good restaurants are Iovino's and Bado's (good breakfast) on Beverly Road. The Galleria shopping mall at the corner of Washington and Connor Roads offers several restaurants Bravo, Houlihan's, BRGR and Mitchell's Fish Market as well as great shopping. If you don't do the tour, you may want to take a drive past the high school, don't be fooled by the Cochran Road building that was rehabbed but hot changed ..you must drive behind the building where the "new" school lives then see the park and recreation center off Cedar Boulevard and drive through some of Mt. Lebanon's distinctive neighborhoods. You'll be happy to see the pride people still take in the historically significant architecture of their homes--nearly every house has an addition out the back!
Wherever you're staying, you'll want to spend some time exploring Pittsburgh. There is so much to see and do!
Try to get an up-close look at our new baseball stadium, PNC Park. Tours of Heinz Field may not be available during September, but you'll be able to see its golden seats as you drive over the bridge and take in Pittsburgh's spectacular skyline. Also on the North Shore near the stadiums are the new Rivers Casino, www.theriverscasino.com, the Carnegie Science Center, www.carnegiesciencecenter.org, the world renowned Andy Warhol Museum, www.warhol.org, and The Mattress Factory Museum, www.mattress.org, and cutting edge museum that features installation art. And there's a new statue along the revitalized waterfront of your kids' favorite friend, the late great Pittsburgher Mister Rogers. The National Aviary, www.aviary.org, is a cool place to see if you're into birds. If you're up for a local brew, Pennsylvania Brewing, www.pennbrew.com, is a fun, historic site for a beer and a sandwich.
STRIP DISTRICT www.neighborsinthestrip.com/nits/nits.html
If you're staying downtown, you'll be able to walk to the Strip District which is filled with action on Saturday mornings. Have breakfast at DeLuca's, and then enjoy the ethnic food stores, Firehouse Farmer's Market, street vendors and colorful people. A visit to the Strip will show you that Pittsburgh is a much more diverse and lively place than you may remember. Also in the Strip on Smallman Street is the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, www.heinzhistorycenter.org, a great museum that did not exist when we were kids. Housed in the museum is the Westen Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
SOUTH SIDE www.southsidepgh.com
Carson Street on Pittsburgh's South Side is what Shadyside used to be: a long thoroughfare lined with cool watering holes, funky boutiques, casual-to-upscale restaurants and antique stores. Home to lots of Pitt and Duquesne students who live alongside longtime residents (not always peacefully), it's an area in transition that can provide an entire afternoon's entertainment. Also on the South Side are the shops and restaurants at Station Square, www.stationsquare.com, including the Grand Concourse--a gorgeous restoration of the old train station. You can sit in the River Room and look out at the Mon or grab a casual bite in the Gandy Dancer Saloon. Station Square is also where you can take a Ducky Tour (if they're in season) and board a ship from the Gateway Clipper fleet, www.gatewayclipper.com, for a tour of the Three Rivers.
You will probably want to stop on Mt. Washington to take in the great view and ride the Duquesne Incline, http://incline.pghfree.net. (It's better than the Monongahela Incline and has a nice observation platform next door.) There are also restaurants along Grandview Avenue that allow you to take in the view. Coal Hill, open for lunch, offers outdoor seating.
If you haven't been here for a while, you'll enjoy seeing how both Pitt and Carnegie Mellon Universities have expanded and changed--Pitt Stadium is gone! One special Pittsburgh tour is of the Nationality Classrooms at Pitt, www.pitt.edu/~natrooms, considered among the top 10 things to see while here. You could spend a whole day at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History or the Carnegie Museum of Art, www.carnegiemuseums.org. There is a fun outdoor parklet next to the Carnegie Library where you can sit and watch the kids on the carousel while you enjoy lunch purchased from one of the outdoor vendors. Beautiful Phipps Conservatory is right around the corner, and a few minutes away is the Frick Art and Historical Center in Point Breeze, a great small museum founded by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry. Right around the corner from the museum is Helen Clay Frick's restored Victorian house. You can take a tour of it and have lunch at the Frick Café, which is a great favorite of the in-town crowd; www.frickart.org/index.php. Many of you will remember Walnut Street in Shadyside as a quaint assortment of unique shops and eateries. It is not that any longer--upscale chains have pretty much taken over there, but there are some nice cafes, and it is still fun to browse.
Not much to do downtown, but it's worth a drive through to see that Liberty Avenue, once a sleazy collection of places you probably wouldn't want to go, is now the cultural district. Kaufmann's, Horne's, Gimbel's and all the other places you probably once shopped or dined are gone, but the area is pretty vital--new buildings and loft-type apartments, etc. At the edge of downtown is the new convention center and the ConsolEnergyCenter, which is replacing what you will remember calling the Civic Arena.
Enjoy any or all of these areas if you are in town long enough, but be ready to party come Saturday night. Looking forward to seeing you and reminiscing!!