AMERICAN DUCHESS CRUISE: PITTSBURGH (POST CRUISE) #3

Before we cross the river to take in a ballgame at PNC Park, here are some scenes of downtown Pittsburgh:

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Although we are not Pittsburgh Pirates fans (or St. Louis Cardinals fans, for that matter), we do like the game of baseball and visiting ballparks in other cities.  The Pirates were playing the Cardinals while we were in town, and we thought it would be a perfect way to kill three birds with one stone:  Take in a ballgame, do some photography of the Pittsburgh skyline, and enjoy the sunset.

Professional baseball games have gotten expensive to attend, especially if you have dinner at the ballpark.  We aren’t cheap, but we are frugal when we feel it’s appropriate.  All we wanted to do was get into the ballpark, so good seats weren’t our priority.  Besides, the best seats to enjoy the skyline are in the outfield, in the nosebleed section.  Checking out PNC Park’s orientation, we opted for seats high up in left field for the ideal view of the city.

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To save even more money, we purchased our tickets online at StubHub rather than at the ticket window.  Even with the service charge, we saved a tidy sum of cash.

Rather than eat at the ballpark, we checked out Trip Advisor and found a casual Greek restaurant just across bridge.  The food at Salonika Bar and Grill was good, reasonably priced, and far less expensive than ballpark food.  A gyro sandwich only set us back $7.75 each.  An “artisanal” pretzel at the ballpark is $6.50!  Want a liter of water?  That will cost you $7.25!  Sheesh, we brought our own water in for free.

Before the game started, we enjoyed strolling the concourse and checking out the stadium.  It was a great way to take in the city views!  After the first pitch was tossed, we watched the game—and the sunset—unfold.  What a beautiful evening and a great way to enjoy the city!

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Good night, Pittsburgh, and so long!

Next up:  A short getaway to Chattanooga.

AMERICAN DUCHESS CRUISE: PITTSBURGH (POST CRUISE) #2

If you visit Pittsburgh, I think the best way to see the city is to put on your walking shoes and hit the pavement.  It is a great walking city!  One of the enjoyable walks we did was between the Duquesne Incline and the Monongahela Incline.  The view of the Pittsburgh skyline, rivers, and bridges was spectacular!

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The Duquesne Incline, located across the river from downtown, has a wonderful story to it with a happy ending.  After years of financial loss, the incline was closed in 1962.  Local civil engineer, David Miller, and his wife, Ruth, formed a neighborhood organization to save the incline by raising money through the sale of souvenir tickets, bake sales, and card parties.  Within six months, the community had made minor repairs themselves and raised $15,000.  The incline reopened and is now one of Pittsburgh’s most popular visitor attractions.

After we rode the Dusquesne Incline up to the top of Mount Washington, we walked through an attractive residential area to get to the Monongahela Incline, so we could ride it back down to the city.  Along the hilly walk, there were viewing platforms to take in the breathtaking views.  Riding up the Dusquesne Incline and down the Monongahela was the ideal way to get the most out of the excursion across the river.  It was a short walk from the bottom of the incline to the Smithfield Bridge for a walk over the Monongahela River to the heart of downtown.

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Pointe State Park wasn’t far from the bridge, so we continued our walk to the park where could see across to Mount Washington and the inclines we had just enjoyed.

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Located at the tip of the downtown area where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, there is a lot to see without taking a forward step.  Slowly spin yourself clockwise 360 degrees, and you will see Mount Washington, the three rivers, Three Rivers Stadium (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates’s home), several yellow-painted bridges, and the downtown skyscrapers.  When you come to a stop, feel the spray of the huge fountain.  On a hot day, it feels so refreshing!  It was the perfect place to stop, cool off, and watch the boats pass by.

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There are 30 bridges and river crossings on the three rivers within the city of Pittsburgh!

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The riverside walking trail will lead you all the way to the Strip District at the edge of dowtown; however, we opted to head up to Penn Avenue and stroll through the Cultural District, instead.

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We were impressed with how nice and pedestrian-friendly the downtown area was along Penn Avenue.  It was an enjoyable walk!

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Laura, this is for you!

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The Strip District features the John Heinz Regional History Center and Pennsylvania Railroad Fruit Auction Building as well as shopping and dining.  Although there are some tacky and touristy stores and street vendors selling Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins sports team stuff; there are also some very cool ethnic food stores.  Even if you have no need for groceries, they are well worth a walk through!  Besides, the Italian groceries smell incredible!

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The Pennsylvania Macaroni Company was our favorite, and we couldn’t resist picking these up for lunch:

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Established in 1902 by three Sicilian brothers, the business started as a pasta manufacturing operation and eventually branched out to include over 5,000 Italian specialty foods and cheeses.  The third generation of the family is now running the business, and the place is a gold mine!

Another fun place to poke around is Wholey’s Market, established by Robert Wholey in 1912. The market features seafood and poultry, and there is a cute train that runs along a track high up above the seafood display cases.

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In my final Pittsburgh post, we’ll cross the river to PNC Park.  Take me out to the ballgame!