Pittsburgh has so much to offer that it’s really easy to just take all the beauty – like the many natural and man-made wonders that decorate the landscape – for granted. After all, it’s pretty much always been there and will always be there, right? Well, next time you’re looking for something to do, consider visiting one, some, or even all of these marvels in Pittsburgh that must be seen to be believed and appreciated.
1. The Monongahela River
Sure, it looks like just about any other river you've probably seen but the Monongahela River has a special quality that makes it pretty unique. It ranks as one of the United State's longest rivers that flows north. The Monongahela River flows north for about 130 miles before it joins with the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River in Pittsburgh.
2. Laurel Caverns
Drive about 50 miles from Pittsburgh then go deep underground at Laurel Caverns for a spectacular view of one of Pennsylvania's most popular caves. Laurel Caverns offers guided tours for adventurers of all sorts – and both fledgling and experienced climbers can try their hand at spelunking or rappelling this breathtaking natural wonder.
3. The Duquesne Incline
The Duquesne Incline has been transporting Pittsburghers up and down the side of Mount Washington since 1877. The wooden cable cars have survived the transformation of Pittsburgh from a steel town to a tech and medical giant and have become a beloved symbol of the city. Once atop the mountain, visit the Mount Washington observation deck for breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Pittsburgh and beyond.
4. Ohiopyle State Park
A natural playground for outdoor lovers, Ohiopyle State Park promises adventure at every turn: Hiking to stunning waterfalls like Cucumber Falls. Slipping down the Natural Water Slides. Zip lining or white water rafting. The 19,000 acre state park provides a stunning background for both adventure and photographs all year around.
5. Point State Park
Sprawled across 36 acres in downtown Pittsburgh, Point State Park has become something of the center – maybe even the masterpiece – of Pittsburgh. The Point, at the confluence of Allegheny and Monongahela River (which meet to form the Ohio River), promises the perfect setting for an afternoon outdoors with its easy access to water activities on the rivers, a cafe, hiking and biking trails, the Fort Pitt Museum, and even restrooms.
6. Gravity Hill
Okay, so, you have to travel pretty far outside of Pittsburgh – to Bedford County, to be precise – to visit this really wild natural wonder but it's well worth the trip. Gravity Hill in Bedford County defies gravity. That's right. Just watch your car roll uphill – not downhill – when you're on Gravity Hill.
7. The Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning towers over the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh like an artist's masterpiece painted across the sky. Just as beautiful as the cathedral itself is the story behind it. The Cathedral of Learning, which debuted in 1937, was built with the hard-earned pennies, nickels, and dimes of area schoolchildren – 97,000 of them – who donated to make the cathedral become a reality.
No list about marvels in the Pittsburgh area would be complete without Fallingwater, the architectural masterpiece in Mill Run designed for the Kaufmann family by Frank Lloyd Wright. Rightfully known as the house built over a water fall, Fallingwater welcomes visitors to tour its spectacular inside and surrounding grounds. Advanced reservations are recommended.
9. Frick Park
For an equally gorgeous yet closer outdoor adventure than Ohiopyle State Park, journey to the 664 acre Frick Park. Frick Park welcomes visitors of all ages with its many easy and challenging hiking trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, and baseball fields. Frick Park also boasts one unique feature that no other Pennsylvania park can claim: A public lawn bowling green.
10. Canton Avenue
Pittsburgh's got San Francisco beat when it comes to which has the steepest street in the United States. That's right. The steepest street in the country, with a 37 percent grade, has been claimed by Beechview's Canton Avenue, which promises a pretty intense challenge for bikers and walkers.