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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA: The Rebirth

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Pittsburgh was the birthplace of industry in the early 1800’s. Iron foundries were built to process local coal and ore. It became the largest producer of steel in the world, and was a city of smokestacks and grime until the 1960’s. The furnaces and mills are now quiet. The factories have been demolished or remodeled. And the river banks boast attractive green spaces amid the modern high-rises.

It was a place where big money was made. The cultural legacy of Andrew Carnegie and the Mellon bankers and Frick coal merchants, as well as the Heinz family, lives on. There are many impressive Art Galleries in the area, including one dedicated to Andy Warhol (the city’s most famous artist) and a new Moonshot Museum that focuses on space exploration. The diverse cuisine is a reflection of the influence of immigrants who came to this city to work.

Cycle

A great way to get to know the city is by riding a bicycle along the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP Trail that runs alongside the riverbanks. You will pass amazing murals, through parks and over bridges. You can even cycle the 335 miles all the way to Washington DC if you are feeling energetic. Relax with a beer at Sly Fox Brewery if you don’t feel like cycling.

Tasting Tour

Near downtown, along the banks of Lake Allegheny are the Warehouses of Strip District. These warehouses have been renovated to house many ethnic food shops and cafes. You can taste the local specialties by taking a ‘Burgh Bits and Bites Tour. There’s an Italian meat shop, but you can also find Middle Eastern Hummus and Pita bread. Also, there are Greek specialities and Empanadas from Reyna’s Latin American grocery.

Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is one of America’s most renowned institutions. It was the first institution to begin collecting “Old Masters of Tomorrow” in America. The large halls have high ceilings which make them ideal for showing what used to be called Modern Art. Surrealists, impressionists and cubists can rub shoulders with American landscape artist.

Andy Warhol was born here. The museum is the world’s largest dedicated to one artist and spans seven floors in a Victorian warehouse. It has an archive collection of Warhol belongings, as well as pop art and portraiture.

The Mattress Factory elevates alternative art forms with its installations, videos and performance art. It is known for challenging the boundaries of artist and viewer. In 2022, “Shrine”, a celebration Black motherhood, will be on display. It was created in collaboration with Sibyls Shrine in Pittsburgh and Doreen Chan, an international artist.

Football

In Pittsburgh, NFL football is a religion. The Steelers achieved four Super Bowl titles in six years in the 1970s. Fans from all over America flock to the Acrisure Stadium on match days. They often arrive at the beginning of the weekend to begin the celebrations. Even though they lost to the New England Patriots, the stadium is alive with energy.

Clemente Museum

The museum is located in Lawrenceville’s Engine House 25. It houses the largest collection of Clemente memorabilia. He was originally from Puerto Rico and joined The Pirates in 1954. Over the years, he rose to be one of the most important baseball players of all time. Surprisingly Duane Rieder, the founder and curator of The Pirates, makes wine in the basement from grapes grown by premium producers in California, Chile, South Africa. It is very good indeed.

Moonshot Museum

Education and technology have replaced the blast furnaces, rolling mills and rolling presses of Pittsburgh. The brand new Moonshot Museum is located inside the headquarters of space robotics company Astrobotic Technology Inc. There is a glass wall that allows you to see real lunar landers or rovers being constructed and ready to fly to the Moon. These interactive exhibits focus on the future of human space exploration.

Frank Lloyd Wright

One hour drive southeast from Pittsburgh will take you to the Laurel Highlands, where two famous houses were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater was built into a cliff full of waterfalls in the 1930s. The original artwork and fittings of this building, which was built in the late 1930s, put the architect on the map. Its various levels, which cantilevered over the water, still amazes even today.

One of his last houses, which he built before his death, is located just twenty minutes away. It’s a house that he also designed, and it’s situated on Kentuck Knob’s wooded hillside. You might find yourself tempted to whitewater raft. Ohiopyle is a small village near the river and can be used as a base to rent a boat or go on hiking or biking.

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