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3 Big Fun Things to Do in Pittsburgh

Updated on November 28, 2015

Pittsburgh, Someplace Fun

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We are going to visit a very special city.

Yens' might as well know it now - I'M a Pittsburgher!

When my husband, daughters and I come to Pittsburgh, we come to visit family. That alone is a pleasant, loving and sometimes crazy time! But one summer, I think it was 2006, we all decided to do some real rootin' tootin' sightseeing in the Steel City! We thought, why not have an adventure and see what the tourists see and enjoy? On a beautiful balmy summer day, my mom, my two sisters and my niece, along with my own family traveled in and had an extraordinary fun-filled day.

The Just Ducky Tour

What a wonderful adaption of the old amphibian WWII military vehicles! These transportation carriers are all gussied up and ready for taking you out on the town. The tour starts by driving around the city with the tour guide pointing out the architecture and special buildings like the courthouse and U.S. Steel Tower. You then visit the old downtown and hear about the historical theatre district.Once done there, you get to the waters edge and all of a sudden, you're on a boat gliding down one of the three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny or Monongahela). The guide continues talking as you motor past the science museum and view the Pittsburgh skyline including the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning (see pictures below).

Photos of the Duck Tour

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One of the touring 'amphibian' buses in the fleet!Quacking with our complimentary duck calls.While motoring on the river, we went past the borough of Oakland. University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning on the right.One of my daughters was brave enough to take the wheel for awhile. Big smiles everywhere.
One of the touring 'amphibian' buses in the fleet!
One of the touring 'amphibian' buses in the fleet! | Source
Quacking with our complimentary duck calls.
Quacking with our complimentary duck calls. | Source
While motoring on the river, we went past the borough of Oakland. University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning on the right.
While motoring on the river, we went past the borough of Oakland. University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning on the right. | Source
One of my daughters was brave enough to take the wheel for awhile. Big smiles everywhere.
One of my daughters was brave enough to take the wheel for awhile. Big smiles everywhere. | Source

The Duquesne Incline

This incline is one of the few left in the United States that is still running. The Duquesne Incline originally opened in May 1877. It was fully restored in 1964 and has become not only a way for commuters to get up and down the steep hillside, but also a tourist attraction perfect for viewing the Pittsburgh area skyline.The cars themselves are made of wood. They travel up the side of the mountainside slowly but securely. Their look reminds me of an old fashioned roller coaster - without the speed or dips! At the top there is a Museum of Pittsburgh history.

Photos of the Duquesne Incline

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking up the Incline tracks.My daughters and I looking at the view while traveling on the Incline. People still use it for commuting.
Looking up the Incline tracks.
Looking up the Incline tracks. | Source
My daughters and I looking at the view while traveling on the Incline. People still use it for commuting.
My daughters and I looking at the view while traveling on the Incline. People still use it for commuting. | Source

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Or as my family calls it, The Mister Roger Museum.

This museum is inspired by the philosophy of famed teacher and educational TV personality Fred Rogers. The 'learning by play' theme is exemplified in hands-on activities in science and art. The permanent exhibits are built for children to derive concepts and build confidence in their own abilities.Needless to say I grew up with Mister Rogers. His studio was situated right in the city. I even got to shake his hand when they had a studio open house when I was about five. Here is information on touring his actual studio and meeting Mr. McFeely at WQED.

Mister Rogers was a calm presence in my life. As an adult, I can now see how the slower pacing of his shows was beneficial to young minds being inundated with fast-paced, loud and frantic animated shows. In addition, some families have all kinds of drama happening at home. Mister Rogers was a safe place that was consistent, caring and positive. Let's get back to the museum.

For me, it was a nice surprise. I hadn't looked it up online so I thought it would mainly have displays of Mister Rogers artifacts, which would thrill me but I was worried my daughters would get bored. Instead, there was a real kids museum with activities like water play, climbing, building and dress up. In the Garage Exhibit you build things that fly, roll and move. We took miniature parachutes and brought them up to a second floor by a pulley machine. Once you got to the second floor, you could take your parachute and launch it and watch it float to the ground. You can see some of what my girls and their cousin did from the pictures below.

In 2010 the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh was labeled one of the top 10 children's museums in the United States by Parents Magazine. After this trip I appreciated my hometown even more.

Photos of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Climbing the structure inside the walls between floors.Using the built in lever to change the current in the water play area.Boating around!A life size trolley to play in!Finding a big red friend in the neighborhood play area.
Climbing the structure inside the walls between floors.
Climbing the structure inside the walls between floors. | Source
Using the built in lever to change the current in the water play area.
Using the built in lever to change the current in the water play area. | Source
Boating around!
Boating around! | Source
A life size trolley to play in!
A life size trolley to play in! | Source
Finding a big red friend in the neighborhood play area.
Finding a big red friend in the neighborhood play area. | Source

Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers

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Someone Special

Fred Roger's show was beautifully adapted to reach children with total, unconditional love. It inspired their curiosity and made a clear distinction for them between real and make believe. Over the years, he covered many subjects. These books artfully compile his thoughts and musings on various subjects. Mister Rogers was a musician but was also an ordained Presbyterian minister. He felt his calling was his television show.

Some Books You Might Enjoy

  • Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City
  • Pittsburgh: The Story of the City's Public Stairways

The Story of an American City is a great gift for a Pittsburgher or anyone interested in urban history. The reviews are glowing. They explain how this book is something special - just like Pittsburgh itself. It is written in a way that beautifully highlights this often glossed over city.

Pittsburgh's topology is very steep and hilly. The Story of the City's Public Stairways is a fascinating history of how Pittsburghers handled the difficulty of traveling to and from different parts of the city in their unique way.

How can you not love Pittsburgh after seeing all this?

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    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      @ChocolateLily: Thank you for stopping by Chocolatelily!

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      ChocolateLily 3 years ago

      I haven't been to Pittsburgh, but that museum looks like so much fun. I hadn't thought about the pace difference between Mr. Rogers and today's shows, but you are right. It was always one of my favorites growing up too.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      @esmonaco: You're welcome. After searching and finding these photographs, I feel nostalgic now!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan52! Thank you for commenting :)

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I grew up about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh in New Castle, I just loved seeing all the sites of Pittsburgh again Thanks for a wonderful tour :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My husband is from western PA, not far from Pittsburgh. It's a beautiful city. Thanks for sharing your tourist pictures - everyone should do those things!

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: You're quite welcome!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      What an interesting lens. You have painted an entirely different view of Pittsburgh than many might envision otherwise. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kim Milai profile image
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      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      @Merrci: Thank you so much, Merrci!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Looks like so much fun! Great lens with excellent suggestions.