(Pictured above: the awesome view from Point State Park!)
So you are coming to Connection 2017 in Pittsburgh. Great! Downtown Pittsburgh is known for many things: champion sports teams, fantastic restaurants, biking accessibility, potholes, and Yinzers. (Don’t know what a Yinzer is? Check out my Insider’s Guide to Connection 2017 post!)
In addition to all of the wonder things mentioned above, Downtown Pittsburgh also offers many free opportunities for its growing number of residents and tourists to appreciate and experience!
- Point State Park
One of the most beautiful things about the city of bridges are the views, especially of the rivers. A great place to view the rivers is from Point State Park. Since 1974, Pittsburghers have been visiting Point State Park to see the actual point where the majestic Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers combine to make the Ohio River. Point State Park also commemorates the historical heritage of the area during the French and Indian War. The original fort is displayed in the form of a concrete zig zagging outline in the grass.
I enjoy walking to Point State Park with my family and sitting near the beautiful fountain while people watching and enjoying the refreshing green space. The fountain is actually visible from many angles of the city. In fact, as you travel to downtown, you too will likely be able to view Point State Park and the fountain as you enter the Golden Triangle, or downtown, from one of the many bridges.
- Three Rivers Heritage Trail
The Three RIvers Heritage Trail is a 37 mile long trail connecting The Great Allegheny Passage, the developing Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, and the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Greenway. Downtown Pittsburgh is the connectivity hub of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Cyclists, runners, and those out for a casual walk along the river all find unique, beautiful views of the city from this vantage point.
I suggest entering the trail from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center 10th Street water feature that goes under the building and leads to the Riverfront Plaza. From here, you can turn right and walk to the Strip District, or turn left and walk to Point State Park.
- Downtown Art Walking Tour
Pittsburgh boasts some incredible architecture and cultural objects. The Greater Pittsburgh Art Council and the City of Pittsburgh Department Planning combined forces and created the Office of Public Art. This office created the Art in Public Places Walking Tour to display Pittsburgh’s art in five separate guided walking tours.
I suggest taking the first tour: Cultural District. Contemporary art is integrated into public spaces including my personal favorite, the “eyeball park”. Officially known as the Agnes R. Katz Plaza, you can sit in one of the eyeball shaped benches and view the great heated fountain that flows year round in the heart of the Cultural District.
- Market Square
A common downtown meeting place is Market Square. Located at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Market Street, this historic area not only provides public benches to sit and people watch, but also a great variety of restaurants from fast and casual to fine dining. Market Square is the home of many Pittsburgh events including a weekly Farmer’s Market in the summer, holiday hot spot in the winter, and a common landing point for parades year round.
What I like most about the Square is the combination of historical and modern culture. For example, Pittsburgh’s oldest bar and restaurant, the Oyster House, has called Market Square home since 1871. Conversely, the interactive PPG fountain has been a family favorite since only 2003.
- Bobby Mo’s Walking Tour
Robert Morris University, affectionately called “Bobby Mo” by locals, has a Walking Tour of Pittsburgh. This one-hour talking tour (available in .mp3 format here) goes beyond just the architecture and dives into the history of the city. The 15 stop walking tour starts at Sixth Avenue and Grant Street, circles around the city, through Market Square onto Penn Avenue, and then back to William Penn Place and Sixth Avenue.
I love that RMU offers this tour in 11 languages – it is truly designed for international tourists.
I hope you are able to take advantage of some of these free offerings in the City of Bridges during your stay.
About Connection 2017
Commonly referred to as the UN-conference, Connection is more than an event – it’s an experience. It’s an opportunity to explore new insights, the latest advances, and genius developments, all mixed with a sprinkle of grounded wisdom. More than that, it’s an opportunity to reflect in ways we often don’t have time for.
Connection brings together inspiring speakers, influential leaders, innovative practitioners, and a passionate national audience for this immersive experience. This year’s event is being held on September 20th-21st in a city known for innovation: Pittsburgh, PA.