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Pittsburgh's Top Attractions - From University Towers to Contemporary Art, and an Antique Cable Car

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Pittsburgh has so many galleries and museums, it can be hard to keep count. You could spend days touring the exhibits in the various Carnegie Museums, and while away another afternoon learning about the work of Andy Warhol. And if you want a change from art, you can tour the University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms, or ride a wooden cable car up Mt. Washington for a panoramic view.

Downtown's historical remains

 

Much of Downtown Pittsburgh is now filled with soaring skyscrapers. But if you look between the gleaming new towers, you'll find plentiful reminders of a bygone age. Many older buildings still line central Fourth Avenue. Some were built in the early 1900s, when this was the city's financial center. Nearby, the stone-clad Allegheny County Courthouse was built in 1888. Its most striking feature is the "Bridge of Sighs." Designed to mimic its Venice namesake, it was once used to take criminals from the court, and directly to jail in neighboring City Hall.

 

Oakland's universities and museums

 

East of Downtown, leafy Oakland is home to 2 universities, and many of the city's best museums. The soaring centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh is the Cathedral of Learning. Opened in 1937, this 535-foot tower is the tallest university building in the Western Hemisphere, and the second highest Gothic-style building anywhere in the world. The lower floors are home to 29 Nationality Rooms, each celebrating a different culture that played a key role in Pittsburgh's development. At the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, visitors of all ages can learn about nature in the Museum of Natural History.

 

 

Allegheny and North Shore

 

You'll find another cluster of museums across the Allegheny River from Downtown Pittsburgh. Stretching out along the riverbank, North Shore is home to the Carnegie Science Center. East of this is PNC Park - Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball stadium. And east again is the Andy Warhol Museum, which explains the life and work of the Pittsburgh-born artist. Adjacent Allegheny offers yet more reasons to stop by. This neighborhood is where you'll find the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, as well as the National Aviary and the Mattress Factory - a popular contemporary art space.

 

  • Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; Tel: +1 412 237 3400; Website: Carnegie Science Center
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  • Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; Tel: + 1 412 237 8300; Website: Andy Warhol Museum

 

Mt. Washington's views

 

Looking out over Downtown from across the Monongahela River is Mt. Washington. This lively district has some of the city's most popular restaurants, and simply getting there is half the fun. You can ride up the steep riverside escarpment in one of 2 "Inclines"; cable car railways built in the 1870s that still use their original wooden carriages. At the top you'll get to enjoy a 180-degree panoramic vista of the rivers and Downtown skyline.

 

  • Duquesne Incline, 1197 West Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219; Tel: +1 412 381 1665; Website: Duquesne Incline

 

Point State Park

 

Filling the western tip of Pittsburgh’s triangular Downtown, Point State Park sits at the confluence of the city's great rivers. This former industrial zone turned green in the 1970s. You can come here to walk, relax, fish, or even go boating on the water. You'll also find 2 sites of historical interest. At Fort Pitt Museum you can learn about the British military outpost that led to the founding of the city. Close by, Fort Pitt Blockhouse is the last remaining piece of the original structure. Built in 1764, it's the oldest building in Western Pennsylvania.

 

  • Fort Pitt Museum, Point State Park, 601 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222; Tel: +1 412 281 9284; Website: Fort Pitt Museum
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  • Fort Pitt Blockhouse, Point State Park, 601 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222; Tel: +1 412 471 1764; Website: Fort Pitt Blockhouse