Web hopping

It used to be best known as the Steel City, but today Pittsburgh is a popular city that draws visitors to enjoy its scenery, visit its museums and browse through neighborhoods of shops and restaurants.


Some of its attractions are unique, such as the National Aviary, which boasts representatives of more than 200 species of birds, some of them endangered in the wild. Click on “Our Birds” to see what’s there; you can search by name or by geographic region, from North America to Australia. Look under “Our Birds” for feeding times at “Bird Shows,” and then hit “Events” for programs such as December’s penguin and snowy owl show with Santa Claus. The aviary is on the city’s North Side, across the Allegheny River from downtown.



Something else Pittsburgh has that’s difficult to find this side of Switzerland is a public transit ride called an incline. The Allegheny County Port Authority runs one of them, the Monongahela, and the Society for the Preservation of the Duquesne Incline operates the other. They’re both more than a century old, built to carry people up and down the steep slopes on the city’s South Side. Try them for the history and for the view of the city.



From the inclines, you can see Point State Park, the tip of downtown at the point where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers merge to form the Ohio River. It’s the home of the Fort Pitt Museum, commemorating the site’s importance during the French and British struggles to dominate the region.


Besides the view, the South Side offers places to eat and shop. The local Chamber of Commerce has directories of the businesses, with a photo gallery and a map.


There are more places to eat and spend money in The Strip, a former industrial and merchant district on the Allegheny River northeast of downtown. It’s full of shops with art and antiques, ethnic markets, restaurants and bars.


A Pittsburgh trademark restaurant that started in the Strip, and has since expanded elsewhere in the city, is Primanti Brothers, famous for overstuffed sandwiches.



But there’s more to see and do. The official Visit Pittsburgh guide has a multimedia library to show you around, including more than three dozen videos and great skyline still photos. And if you’re taking your iPod, look for “Video Walking tours.”

How else could you fill your time? Click on “See &Do” to browse through festivals, landmarks, performing arts and “Family Fun,” including the children’s Museum and the Gateway Clipper Fleet of sightseeing boats. If you fancy something under glass besides the Aviary’s flocks, try the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, with its Victorian greenhouse of 13 rooms.

The “See &Do” section also has “Pittsburgh &Its Countryside” for the days when you want to get out of the downtown area. Look for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau to explore a region southeast of the city of scenic roads, covered bridges and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house.

Roger Petterson, Associated Press

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