Pittsburgh, a city of rivers and bridges.
Travel to Pittsburgh, PA and you'll find a clean, stylish city full of rivers, art, sports, ethnic food, neighborhood bars, beautiful vistas and fun things to do. Most of it is reasonably priced, easily accessed and relatively flat.
That's the good news. The bad news is, or so I'm told, that Pittsburgh is the cloudiest of U.S. cities. Couldn't prove it by me; I came home with a sunburn.
Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers converge to make the Ohio River .
Water views are everywhere and so are bridges because the meeting of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers to form the Ohio River created a city with river fronts of six sides. Walkers and cyclists share the trails that line them and kayakers share the rivers with canoeists, amphibious tour vehicles and paddle wheelers.
Where to Stay
There are many hotels in the downtown area and if traveling green is your goal the Fairmont Pittsburgh should be your destination. Food is locally accessed, solar power is in play and they even make their own soap.
A conference took me to the Sheraton Station Square across the Monongahela River from the triangular city core and anchoring one end the Station Square development. The hotel is showing its age but the staff is friendly and best of all is the free shuttle van that will take you almost anywhere within the downtown areas.
Grand Concourse is an elegant spot for dining.
Where to Eat for Less
I'm sure Pittsburgh has other superb upscale gourmet restaurants, but for memorable meals under $10 head to "the Strip" for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner. This rectangle of deliciousness along Smallman Street, Mulberry Way and Penn Avenue, between 16th and 23rd Streets is filled with a farmers' market, souvenir stands and boutiques, flower shops, purveyors of fine chocolates and coffees and best of all, one ethnic restaurant and grocery store after another.
A Primanti Bros. handful.
Everyone will insist you have a Primanti Bros. sandwich. What was a hard-working man to do when his lunch hour was too short for a real meal? He ate one of these - meat of choice, cheese, coleslaw and french fries piled high inside two slabs of Italian bread. Today, with a bottle of Iron City beer, $9.62. A real two-fisted sandwich.
Tip: The bathrooms here are down 11 steps.
Pamela's P&G Diner is where the Obama family heads for breakfast or lunch. Choices are many but most come for the crepe-style pancakes. The Lyonnaise potatoes and cole slaw are popular too. Most expensive things on the menu are salads at $7.95.
Have a great $6 lunch at S&D Polish Deli
Klavon's, way down on the corner at 28th Street, is the type of ice cream parlor your parents remember and I recall vividly from the late '40s because my father had one. Pressed tin ceiling, bent ice cream chairs and booths, a marble counter with stools and behind it the classic pale green Waring blenders for milk shakes and malteds. The ice cream was so-so (it had ice crystals, a sign of melting and refreezing and a real no-no for connoisseurs of which I was one by the age of 8) but the atmosphere was sublime.
An 11 (!) egg omelet?
Next posts: What to Do, the Cultural District and Pittsburghisms.