Pittsburgh's compact and walkable downtown is called the Golden Triangle, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge into the Ohio. Here you'll find 36-acre Point State Park (tel. 412/471-0235), the historic site of Fort Pitt, now home to Pittsburgh's landmark 150-foot fountain and outdoor gathering and concert spaces. Until 2010, portions of Point State Park will be cordoned off as the city renovates lighting, benches, stage areas, and park infrastructure. Entrance is free to the park and the adjoining Allegheny Riverfront Park.
Your best perspective of Point State Park is from the Mount Washington Overlook (Grandview Ave.). The city's bridges, rivers, and Golden Triangle create a lovely panorama enjoyed from one of Mount Washington's observation decks, restaurants, or bars. Ascend the cliff face via either the 19th-century Duquesne Incline, 1220 Grandview Ave. (tel. 412/381-1665; http://incline.pghfree.net), where the fares are $4 for adults and $2 for children; or the Monongahela Incline, 8 Grandview Ave. (tel. 412/442-2000; www.portauthority.org), with fares of $2 for adults, $1 for children.
Many of Pittsburgh's cultural institutions bear the names of American industrial barons who amassed their fortunes here and said thanks with hefty endowments. In 1895, Andrew Carnegie endowed the Carnegie Museums (www.carnegiemuseums.org), among the city's finest: the Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland (tel. 412/622-3131; www.cmoa.org), with contemporary exhibitions and Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces; the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland (tel. 412/622-3131; www.carnegiemnh.org), renowned for its Dinosaur Hall; the Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave. (tel. 412/237-3400; www.carnegiesciencecenter.org), where kids experience hands-on science and SportsWorks next door; and the Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St. (tel. 412/237-8300; www.warhol.org), devoted to the life and work of Pittsburgh's most colorful native artist.
The Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way (tel. 412/231-3169; www.mattress.org), is a museum of site-specific, room-size artworks by artists-in-residence. Clayton, the former home of Henry Clay Frick, shares a 6-acre site with the Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St. (tel. 412/371-0600; www.frickart.org). Museums in the latter include artistic masterpieces and classic cars, as well as a floral conservatory. Many guests round out an afternoon of free chamber music with high tea on the grounds. Among the city's most unusual sights are the Nationality Rooms in the 42-story Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh's campus, Fifth Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard (tel. 412/624-6000; www.pitt.edu/~natrooms). Twenty-four classrooms meticulously re-create the interior design styles of Pittsburgh's diverse immigrant settlers.
Pittsburghers love their sports teams, especially the Steelers. Join them at a football game in Heinz Field, North Shore Drive at Allegheny Avenue (tel. 412/323-1200; www.steelers.com). PNC Park, 115 Federal St. (tel. 800/BUY-BUCS [289-2827]; www.pirateball.com), on the shore of the Allegheny River, hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates. Views of Pittsburgh's skyline form a beautiful backdrop to the outfield. The Pittsburgh Penguins play at Mellon Arena, 66 Mario Lemieux Place (tel. 800/642-1842; www.pittsburghpenguins.com), right off I-579.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, 7340 Butler St. (tel. 800/474-4966; www.pittsburghzoo.com), set atop a hill in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, is known for its large children's zoo. Other highlights include a walk-through bat flyaway, a rare Komodo dragon, and a well-stocked African savanna. Another family favorite is Kennywood, 4800 Kennywood Blvd. (tel. 412/461-0500; www.kennywood.com), a traditional amusement park 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in West Mifflin. The park features steel and wooden roller coasters, water rides, and dozens of spinning, twirling attractions for all ages.
The Strip District (tel. 412/201-4774; www.neighborsinthestrip.com), a warehouse district bounded roughly by 16th and 31st streets, between Smallman Street and Liberty Avenue, was once Pittsburgh's waterfront market. Today the Strip draws locals and visitors to its ethnic grocery stores; fresh produce, meat, fish markets and bakeries; and specialty foods stores. Here you'll find the Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St. (tel. 412/454-6000; www.pghhistory.org), housed in a massive renovated 1898 icehouse. A highlight is the Heinz 57 exhibit, featuring the pickled relishes, ketchup, and mustards made famous by the Pittsburgh-born Heinz family.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.