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Pittsburgh More Than a City
by A. Robert Scott

Pittsburgh is more than a city: it’s a city and area that encompasses Western Pennsylvania.

I grew up in New Kensington, about 18 miles from Pittsburgh, up the Allegheny River, but I’m from Pittsburgh. And that’s true whether you’re from Monroeville, Butler, Greensburg, or Robinson Township.

Pittsburgh is truly someplace special. But don’t take my word for it. Others are saying it and the secret is getting out. Once known as the ”Smoky City,” due to heavy industry, and much maligned for it, this is not your grandma’s Pittsburgh anymore.

There is much to see (a view around every corner) and do and enjoy.

Where to Stay For visitors and out-of-towners looking for somewhere to stay, the following recommendations for lodging may be helpful.

Downtown, north, east, south, or west, we’ve got it covered.

Downtown, right at The Point, is the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown. This 712-room hotel, reflagged several years ago from Hilton, puts guests in the heart of everything.

For the uninitiated, The Point is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form a third river. At the confluence, the third river formed is the Ohio River. There is a fourth, underground river, but that’s for another story.

Also on the edge of downtown and the Strip District is Hampton Inn & Suites. This is a great choice for visitors and puts them within walking distance of many fine restaurants. Only two blocks from the convention center, this property is located directly across the street from the Heinz History Center.

Uptown and near CONSOL Energy Center is Cambria Suites - Pittsburgh @ CONSOL Energy Center. Upscale and contemporary, this all-suite hotel is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center.

East of downtown is the Oakland section of the city, the educational, medical, and university section of the city. Ideally situated on Forbes Avenue is the 202-room Hillton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place, a full-service property.

Would the South Side suit you better? No problem. SpringHill Suites on Water Street is strategically located adjacent the SouthSide Works, East Carson Street, and near the training facilities of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers football.

Now cross town and to the North Shore and the Allegheny River you’ll find another of the newer properties that has opened.

The Hyatt Place Pittsburgh - North Shore, opened In December 2010. With 178-rooms, its guests find themselves just steps away from PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers and football collegiate Pitt Panthers.

The hotel’s choice location is near other North Shore attractions such as Carnegie Science Center, the National Aviary, The Andy Warhol Museum, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, many restaurants that have sprung up as well as a casino.

Something close to the city but suburban suit you better? Through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel in nearby Green Tree, five minutes from downtown, is DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh - Green Tree. Formally the Radisson Green Tree, this 465-room property expects to complete a $17 million renovation early this year.

Further out the airport corridor and nearer Pittsburgh International Airport is a Holiday Inn Express & Suites. Loaded with amenities, this hotel is ideal for business travelers and families and will make you feel warm and fuzzy.

One more specific property worthy of mention is Cambria Suites Washington, sister property to the in-town property.

This hotel is Located south on I-79 at the Allegheny and Washington County borders.

Besides outstanding lodging you’ll find a race track and casino and the Tanger Outlets shopping complex.

History and Accolades

Five years ago, in 2008, Pittsburgh celebrated its 250th Anniversary.

The city was named Pittsburgh in 1758 by General John Forbes. Leading a British and Colonial army, Forbes took over the ruins left at Ft. Duquesne by the French at The Point.

He renamed the settlement Ft. Pitt for his superior, British Secretary of State William Pitt.

From this small settlement at the confluence of three rivers came America’s Most Livable City.

Today, Pittsburgh is a perfect blend of the old architecture with a modern contemporary skyline that reaches for sapphire blue skies.

With rivers and valleys, and mountains and bridges, it really is someplace special. And the people that call it home make it more so.

For a city once known as “Hell with the lid off,” Pittsburgh has come a long way.

Recent recognition includes being named one of the 40 prettiest cities in the world, by Huffington Post. The city’s skyline is one of the world’s prettiest according to ForbesTraveler.com. Pittsburgh has twice been named “America’s Most Liveable City” by Places Rated Almanac.

Just last year National Geographic Traveler named Pittsburgh among the “best places in the world” to experience.

The magazine wrote, “On all counts, the Steel City’s transformation over the past long concluded, this Western Pennsylvania city changed jobs and reclaims major assets: a natural setting that rivals Lisbon and San Francisco, a wealth of fine art and architecture, and a quirky sense of humor.”

This is indeed a city to see and enjoy.

The Arts, Architecture, and More Attractions

Pittsburgh enjoys a cultural phenomenon as artists, architects, and performers of world renown have flourished here and in the local area.

The Cultural District is unique in Pittsburgh. There aren’t many cities that can match this 14-block area that consists of live theater, art, and restaurants. It’s here that the world-famous Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as performers such as Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis make guest appearances. Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Dance Council, and the PNC Broadway Series all perform at the beautiful Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. O’Reilly Theater is home to Pittsburgh Public Theater with classic and contemporary plays.

August Wilson Center for African American Culture, is a newer addition to the downtown art scene.

For art lovers, Pittsburgh is sure both surprise and please,

The life and art of Andy Warhol is celebrated at the highly acclaimed museum that is his namesake on the North Shore.

The Mattress Factory, also on the North Shore, is highly regarded as one of the world’s best facilities for installation art.

In the Oakland education and medical center east of downtown is where the Carnegie Museums of Art And Natural History are located.

Another attraction in the east is Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, built more than 100-years ago by Henry Phipps. The Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the greenest buildings in the world, is the latest addition.

This article by no means is all encompassing when it comes to articulating all there is to see and do and enjoy in Pittsburgh. For more help and information, please refer to other sections in the magazine such as attractions, sports, dining, etc.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ll agree that Pittsburgh is a great destination and place to visit.

—A. Robert Scott is the publisher/owner of Pittsburgh Point magazine.

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