Journalism student Anastasia Bates is spending her second year of study in Clarion, Pennsylvania. When she’s not studying, she’s travelling the States. The first port of call was nearby Pittsburgh; here’s her review…
People often talk about hidden treasures in this world, whether that is a whole city, or simply a historic monument. But how would a hidden treasure be defined? Is it something that looks pretty, is it something of cultural or historical value or is it a moment that leaves you just thinking “wow”?
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would be a wow moment and one of these hidden treasures. To local Pennsylvanians, they would probably praise the city and say there’s nothing hidden about its beauty. Local towns and villages across Western Pennsylvania would probably recommend Pittsburgh (and not just for its sporting triumphs – triumphs being a sketchy word if you are even vaguely aware of the season the Steelers are having).
Pittsburgh, to a small-town foreigner would definitely take your breath away. When typical places to visit or landmarks of the United States are mentioned in conversation in Britain, the classics of New York, San Francisco and maybe Washington DC are mentioned. Not to belittle these places at all, but Pittsburgh is a remarkable city and should definitely be included on the list.
The first thing you would expect to see if travelling by car would be the UPMC tower across a very full industrial skyline. The tower would mark the entrance to the city by road, and stands head and shoulders above equally impressive buildings.
To fully appreciate the skyline, there is the Duquesne Incline – a small train on a steep track which overlooks the skyline (particularly recommended at sunset). Whether the stations at either the top or bottom are packed with Pirates fans, or simply everyday folk taking a ride to work, the beauty of the horizon cannot go unnoticed.
Slightly in front of the skyscrapers is the Allegheny River which again plays a perfect part in a snapshot of the city. At the top of the hill where this small train stops, is a viewing deck which is made even more beautiful by the unexpectedness of it. The underrated aspects of this city lend themselves to become noticed but as is with most things, pictures do not do it justice.
Aside from admiring the cityscape view, Pittsburgh offers much more to make it an ideal city break for a weekend away. Museums range from the Carnegie museum of natural history, to the Andy Warhol museum, to even the Children’s museum of Pittsburgh. Attractions lie woven within the city for every interest and every personality with history and heritage working alongside the modern era in equal balance.
The same applies within restaurants as well. The infamous Hard Rock café sits well within Station Square along the Allegheny River. Just outside, the door is a rainbow fountain display against a backdrop of the skyline from sea level. Each small detail is what makes Pittsburgh so surprising as even the simple things is done with style and flair, making you never want to leave.
However, if local tradition is more your thing over corporate giants, then Primanti Brothers would be the place to go. With the city known for its history on steel, the signature sandwiches (consisting of fries, meat and salad between two slices of bread) were designed to be a quick meal to be eaten with one hand and so sides were put onto the sandwich. The old-time restaurant offers a piece of history specifically linked to Pittsburgh as well as offering a good service with hearty food.
The whole city oozes culture, arts and talent and every street seems to offer something new. From musical concerts (which I happened to have seen Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds put on a spectacular performance in Allegheny Square) to some renowned shopping destinations the city literally, adheres to all types.
And so although Pittsburgh may not be able to overthrow the popularity and dreams of New York City and the Empire State, it sure can stand as a worthy contender in being one of the most beautiful modern cities in the United States.
Coming soon… Anastasia reviews Niagara Falls