Located in the western part of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh PA is a bustling metropolis of over 335,000 people. Nicknamed the Steel City because of its traditional base as the center of America's steel industry, today's Pittsburgh is much more than heavy industry. Pittsburgh is home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, whose robotics lab is the largest and most advanced outside of Japan. The city is set at the confluence of the Ohio, the Allegheny, and the Monongahela Rivers. This strategic location was a popular stronghold, first for the French, who called the settlement Fort Duquesne, and later for the British, who called it Fort Pitt.
As America grew, Pittsburgh's nearby coal deposits and its many rivers made it an excellent trading center. As with other midwestern cities, such as Cleveland and Detroit, industrialists funded large cultural institutions in the 1900s that survive to this day. Andrew Carnegie and his family and the Heinz family have been particularly generous to the city, founding its symphony (which performs in Heinz Hall) and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Other famous Pittsburghers include actor Jimmy Stewart, writers August Wilson and Rachel Carson, artists Andy Warhol and Mary Cassatt, and singers Christine Aquilera, Perry Como, and Barry Manilow.
One of the most popular attractions in Pittsburgh PA, the Duquesne Incline is scaled by two unique cable-driven funiculars, which have been climbing Mount Washington, across from downtown, since 1877. Originally, the cars carried coal up the steep slope. Today they provide riders with spectacular views of the city. Once atop the mount, the free observation deck allows visitors to enjoy the view at their leisure. The Mount Washington area is home to a variety of restaurants and nightspots, all boasting that spectacular view of the city.
At the very tip of the triangle that is downtown Pittsburgh lies a delightful green space with a terrific view, known as The Point. Here, visitors and residents alike can sit and watch the ore boats slowly make their way down the river or ponder the steep cliffs of Mt. Washington across the river.
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh PA
The Carnegie Museums are operated by the Carnegie Institute, a part of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. They include the Andy Warhol Museum, opened in 1994 and the world's largest museum devoted to the work of one artist. The permanent collection here houses over 4000 Warhol works - paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and installations. The Carnegie Museum of Art, another of the Carnegie Museums, contains an important collection of early 20th century art, a passion of Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History displays dinosaurs and gems, mummies and Indian artifacts, and everything in between. The museum complex is also home to the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Located just outside of Pittsburgh, Kennywood is just one of two amusement parks on the National Historic Register. Opened in 1898 as a working class picnic destination, Kennywood is best known today for its nostalgic atmosphere and classic wooden roller coasters. The 140-acre park boasts six coasts, three of them wooden, as well as a kiddieland, a classic Merry-Go-Round, and a lagoon with leisurely boat rides and other water features. Kennywood is also known for its popular Fright Nights, during the month of October when the entire park turns into a giant haunted house.
Falling Water, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a unique house commissioned in 1935 by Pittsburgh department store mogul, Edgar Kauffman. Located about 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh PA, the arts and crafts style home is built directly over a waterfall and incorporates materials indigenous to the site, such as flat river rock, into the architecture of the house. It is considered by many to be Wright's finest work. Visitors can take a 45-minute guided tour of the house all week between April and November and on weekend between December and March.