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Pittsburgh Trip Report

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Pittsburgh Trip Report

My husband and I returned from a rainy weekend in Pittsburh. We stayed at the Westin after winning a $72 bid on priceline to see the Phillies v. Pirates. The location is pretty good- you can get to the stadium in a 15- 20 minute walk and Station Square is about a half hour. It's a safe area and is very quiet.

I highly recommend parking in the public lots - it is only $5 per night on weekends and $10 on weekdays- a bargain v. the $26 parking at the hotel. There is a lot at 9th and Penn Ave and one very close on Smithfield St. The hotel was very nice, however, we found it to be very noisy on the weekend. The walls were like paper. We could hear people/water running in the next room and people walking down the hallway all night and morning. We stayed from Friday to Monday and found it was quieter on Sunday night (or we just got used to it). The heavenly bed and shower were great. The hotel also has printed directions to get just about anywhere if you are driving which was very helpful.

We arrived late on Friday night due to the rain and were up early Saturday morning for a trip to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. When we first booked the trip, we didn't realize that they were both closed on Mondays- I would recommend trying to do on the way in or out since it does take up to 2 hours to get there. The Fallingwater site says to take the Tpke but someone at the hotel told me to take 51 South to 119 South to 40 East - left on Ohiopyle Chalk Hill Road. If you take the route down 51- go to Kentuck Knob first- I liked seeing it in that order. We didn't go at the time of our reservations- which seemed to be fine- unless a time was booked up. Definitely make reservations online for both prior to going. The wait for Fallingwater is otherwise much longer. If you are late- they will fit you in later in the day. Kentuck Knob was worth a visit - the grounds were nice and guides were great. Fallingwater was amazing. It's about a 20 minute ride between each. We spent about an hour and a half at Kentuck Knob and about 2 hours at Fallingwater (we had to wait 25 mins for a tour). The cafe at Fallingwater was pricey but pretty good. After we left Fallingwater, we decided to make a few stops in Ohiopyle State Park (in between the two houses). If you have time- rafting, biking and hiking would be nice there. We stopped at Cucumber Falls just for a photo which was nothing great, a brief stop by Ohiopyle Falls and went over by the natural waterslide. We didn't bring our bathing suits- but it looked like fun- especially for kids on a hot day.

Weather was good up until this point but was not looking good for Sunday. Since the main reason we came to Pittsburgh was to see a game, we decided to go on Saturday night in case it was rained out. The stadium is only about a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel. Taxis are always available outside the hotel. The game had AMAZING fireworks at the end- it was sponsored by a fireworks company - and I thought it was one of the best displays I've ever seen. The fireworks are set them off in between songs of a local band that played. I'm from NYC and I thought it beat Macy's 4th of July. We didn't realize that these games get sold out for fireworks and had problems trying to even get scalped tickets. We really had to search it out. We lucked out that our seats were by 3rd base which was great for the fireworks. My husband had Primanti's but found the meat very dry (had a better sandwich at Primanti's in Oakland the next day). I had the Potato Patch Fries- a huge basket of fries that were delicious.

Sunday morning we headed over to Station Square to do the Just Ducky tours. It took about a half hour from the Westin to walk there again and the only tickets left were on the back of the boat which was open to rain. It started pouring as we waited so we decided not to go. There were no taxis at Station Square- apparently you have to call one from there- so we had a long walk back. We decided to go over to the University of Pittsburgh- Cathedral of Learning. It was less than a 10 minute drive from downtown. We stopped first at Primantis in Oakland for a sandwich- I wasn't that impressed- but had to try it. To go to the Nationality Rooms- you get an audio tape to walk around the rooms- that are decorated by the countries. The audio tape was a bit much and we just walked around the rooms after awhile. We spent about an hour there- it was unique. Last tour is at 2:30. There is no observation deck at the top- but you can take the elevator to the 36th floor and look out the window. We wanted to go to Phipps Conservatory- but the rain delay was over and we headed back to PNC Park for the game. There was a rain delay later in the game and we gave up at that point so my husband was glad we got in a good game the night before. After a nap, we decided to head out to dinner. We wanted to go to Church Brew- it's only a five minute drive- but was in the middle of nowhere. It looked like a great place but it was a few minutes after 9 p.m. and they weren't serving food. Many places were already closed. Make sure you eat early! We headed over to the South Side and were able to get some apps at Piper's Pub which had a great beer selection and decent apps.

Monday we went for a tour of the PNC Park. It was about an hour and a half. There's a lot of metered parking there during the day if driving. The tour was great- you went into the dugout and even were able to touch the field. They showed some short movies. You can also tour Heinz Field but we didn't have time. We walked to where the three rivers meet. There's a fountain there but not much else. It seemed like there is construction there. Then, we went back to Station Square for the Ducky tour and got the last covered seats. It's probably a good idea to make a reservation- especially if the weather isn't good. The tour is cute- I would recommend it. It's an hour long. It started pouring (you stay dry if you have an inside seat) so we stayed in Station Square until the rain let up. Then we headed up the incline from Station Square to Mt. Washington. We decided to walk down and take the other Duquesne Incline back. It was a bit of a walk and I would recommend doing it in reverse b/c the way we went was all uphill. The inclines run every 5-10 minutes. The Duquesne one had more charm to it- looked old fashioned. The only problem was that it left you far from Station Square and while there was a sidewalk- you were close to the highway. It's not a bad idea to drive down there and leave your car in the lot. We called for a taxi to take us back downtown to our car- it was only $5.

When I had posted previously, people said you really needed a car. If you are flying in and don't mind walking- i think you are ok. Taxis seemed to be available in front of the hotels and I saw buses that went to Oakland as well. You do need a car to get to Fallingwater & Kentuck Knob.

I enjoyed Pittsburgh much more than I thought I would. We didn't get to Phipps or Heinz History Center but the rain held us back a bit. We ended up eating a lot of junk food on the trip. I had a number of restaurants that I wanted to try but found we were too tired, not in the area, or too late. I would definitely recommend Pittsburgh for a long weekend.

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1. Re: Pittsburgh Trip Report

Glad you liked your stay! I really hope you'll visit again and get to do all the things you missed. Carnegie Science Center, Kennywood Park, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium - all are very much worth the time to see.

2. Re: Pittsburgh Trip Report

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