Whoever did not go on top of Mount Washington may never understand the Pittsburgh has the best urban view in the world. I never thought Pittsburgh was so beautiful until I saw it from the observation point on Mt. Washington. What a view? Three rivers meet creating an amazing triangle of land, and that is where the downtown is! The amazing mixture of rivers, the tall skyscrapers and an astounding number of bridges gives an unbelievable view.
You can watch the video below or read on:
The Three Rivers:
On the right side of the downtown is the Monongahela river, which means "falling banks" in Native American language. To the left is the Allegheny river which runs 325 miles long, before ending at the tip of the golden triangle. The confluence of these two rivers mark the beginning of the Ohio river.
|Above: The night view of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington is voted the second beautiful view in the U.S|
The rivers cut a beautiful triangle area between them, where the downtown Pittsburgh has been vibrantly growing since American Independence. It was once a quiet Indian nation, where the native Americans enjoyed a peaceful life. With the arrival of the Europeans, the golden triangle has switched hands between the natives, the French and the British. At the tip of the golden triangle, you can see the symbolic remnants of both the French and the British forts: Fort Duquesne, Stockade Fort and Fort Pitt. This area is called the "Point" by the locals.
Skyline Of Pittsburgh:
There are approximately 30 skyscrapers in the downtown and a few more are under construction. The tallest skyscraper in the downtown is the UPMC building (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). It is more accurately known as the "U.S Steel Tower" and is the 35th largest building in the U.S. Another prominent skyscraper is the "PPG place" which is made of clear, reflective mirror-like glass. PPG stands for Pittsburgh Glass Company, but the building is now owned by Highwoods properties.
|Above: Pittsburgh skyline from the observation deck of Mt. Washington|
To the left of the Ohio river, you can other popular attractions. PNC Park , a baseball park is one of the top 10 attractions in Pittsburgh. It is surfaced with natural grass and can accommodate over 38,000 people. It is the fifth home of the Pirates, Pittsburgh's MLB franchise. You can also see the Heinz field and David L. Lawrence Center next to it. Other buildings you can see are the Carnegie Science Center and Rivers Casino.
This is a 136 year old cable car that goes up and down Mt. Washington. Created even before the invention of Edison's incandescent electric bulb, it is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh. Please click here to learn more about the Duquesne Incline. Also, do visit the Duquesne Incline Museum that is the actual machine room with working parts!
|Above: Pittsburgh has the most number of bridges in the world (446)|
Pittsburgh has a world record for having 446 bridges, and hence called the "City of Bridges". Venice in Italy comes second with only 409 bridges, so Pittsburgh will hold on to the record for a long time. During the daylight, we can see at least 18 bridges from Mount Washington. To the right of the golden triangle is the Fort Pitt bridge, which was the first bowstring arch bridge designed by a computer. To the left of the triangle is the Fort Duquesne bridge, also called "The Bridge To Nowhere". The 6th street bridge, the 7th street bridge and the 9th street bridge run parallel to the Fort Duquesne bridge.
In the rivers:
The Gateway Clipper is the most popular cruise in Pittsburgh. It lasts for about 3 hours, taking you up and down on these 3 rivers. Equipped with plenty of dining tables, a bar and a dance hall, it is definitely fun to ride this! Don't worry about getting seasick, it moves too slow to feel anything. They have a lot of different packages, but it roughly costs $20 to get on this cruise.
|Above: Gateway Clipper cruise boat as seen from atop Mount Washington|
Above: Pittsburgh hosted Pyrofest, the largest fireworks festival in the U.S
Other fun facts:
1. Night time view of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington has been voted as the 2nd best view in the U.S by the USA weekend magazine.
2. Pittsburgh held the largest fireworks show in the world called the Pyrofest in 2013. Pyrotecnico, one of the largest fireworks company is also located in the Pittsburgh area.
3. The very first movie theater in the U.S was opened in Pittsburgh. The movie theater was called Nickelodeon, and had its grand opening in 1905.
4. Pittsburgh also had a record of having the most number of inclines in any city (16), but most of them were closed due to lack of patrons. Only the Monongahela and the Duquesne Incline remain in operation.
5. There are a total of 20 cities in the U.S with the name Pittsburgh, in many different states.
6. Pittsburgh lost its 'h' in 1890, and was renamed as 'Pittsburg'. After a decade long protest, the name was restored back to Pittsburgh in 1911.
7. Smiley emoticon was invented in Pittsburgh by Scott Fahlman :-)
8. The first polio vaccine was invented by Jonas Salk in 1952 at the University of Pittsburgh.
9. The first Big Mac was invented in Pittsburgh in 1967. The birthplace is now called the "Big Mac Museum Restaurant", located on route 30.
10. The first commercial radio station in the world was started in Pittsburgh, from a small shack on top of Westinghouse building. The KDKA, also known as the "Voice of Pittsburgh" is still in operation.
Whether you are a local or a visitor, don't forget to go on top of Mt. Washington to catch this amazing view. Also, don't take the Duquesne Incline before reading this!