Exploring Pittsburgh, by Foot, Bike and T
To the east is The Strip, a neighborhood known for its markets and restaurants that reflect the ethnic diversity of the area. The restaurant fare includes Indian, Japanese and Vietnamese (Frugal Diner offers specific recommendations in mPress).
To the west of the convention center is the Cultural District, with a concentration of theaters, art galleries and music halls.
Debbie Smucker, the director of sales and marketing at the convention center, said, “Just walking around the city is really interesting; there are a lot of great things to see by just looking up.”
To explore the scenic Allegheny River take the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which passes right in front of the convention center on the riverbank. The trail continues along both sides of the river but extends farther on the northern bank and becomes North Shore Trail, while the southern bank trail ends at 21st Avenue. Conveniently, the trail also passes in front of the Renaissance Hotel, making it a perfect route to walk to the center.
During the summer months Golden Triangle Bike Rental and Kayak Pittsburgh offer rentals on the north shore of the Allegheny. This is just a quick walk over the 6th Street Bridge (they are located under the bridge on the north shore). They offer tandem and solo flat-water kayaks and a wide selection of bikes, including children’s bikes and child trailers. (Kayaks $15-20 per hour; bikes $5-8 per hour.)
“Kayak Pittsburgh is a great way to explore the city in a different way,” said Cara Rufenacht of Venture Outdoors. “It offers kayakers a chance to see wildlife, paddle under the unique bridges of Pittsburgh and enjoy natural outdoor amenities that the city has to offer.”
The Art in Public Places tour highlights the outdoor art in the Cultural District. The free tour booklet, can be found online at www.pittsburghartscouncil.org/public-art/walking-tours, and includes many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, pointing out the art on a map with descriptions of each piece along the way. This tour would be the perfect opportunity to venture around the neighborhood and stumble across places you would never have otherwise found.
Seven walking minutes to the east of the convention center, along Mulberry Way, is the Heinz Historical Center, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian and is the largest museum in Pennsylvania. According to its website, the museum shows “American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection.” (Adults, $9; children and students, $5.)
If you’re looking for a free art gallery, the Society for Contemporary Arts and Craft is located 20 walking minutes away, along Smallman Street. According to the society’s website, the gallery features “cutting edge exhibitions focused on multicultural diversity and non-mainstream art.”
If you don’t feel like walking, you can use Pittsburgh’s subway system, called the T. There is no charge to ride within the immediate downtown. Anyone can hop on for free between Wood Street and First. The closest stop is about a seven-minute walk from the convention center at Liberty Avenue and Wood Street (two blocks south on 10th Avenue and three blocks east on Liberty Avenue.) The subway runs in the center of the Cultural District, west of the convention center, and continues south out of the city.
The Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines give views of the cityscape from the top of the hills in the city. The closest incline to the convention center is the Monongahela, which is located at the Station Square to the left of Smithfield bridge on Carson Street ($2.25 for adults; $1.10 for children 6-11). The price of the inclines is the same, but the views differ.
According to Karen Howard, a Pittsburgh resident, “It just depends on which side you want to see.”
Abe Stucky, a Goshen College sophomore who grew up in Pittsburgh, said, “The bridges in the Pittsburgh make it really nice to get to other parts of the city and see other cool sites.”