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Sports, Rivers and Bridges Bring Downtown Pittsburgh to Life


By Marci DeWolf

Bridges are a great city's great connectors, and Pittsburgh is experiencing a River Renaissance, affirming an identity drawn from its famous bridges and rivers. These iconic structures connect the land mass to the downtown and riverfront.

The city's three Sister Bridges are a strategic way of connecting people. They strengthen existing neighborhoods and create new ones. More than 41,000 people live within a 15-minute walk of the riverfront's Allegheny Landing and Riverfront Park -- ideal locations for biking and walking.

Suspended over the Allegheny River, the Sister Bridges, the world's only identical trio of bridges, are named after famous natives: Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol and Rachel Carson. The rivers they span are the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio.

In Pittsburgh, the rivers and the bridges that connect them bring people together to make great achievements because the rivers belong to everyone. The magic happens when concerts, community events and outdoor activities attract families and visitors alike to these river rooms.

At night the bridges come to life, lighting up with 601,440 colored LED lights strung along the arches, enhancing the connection to the cultural district and Pop District on the north shore. A $150,000 public investment kicked off the rebirth, transforming decaying and abandoned spaces along the riverfront into 15 miles and 1,055 acres of nationally recognized parks, trails and green spaces.


There is plenty to do on the city's waterways, too. Riverboats, kayaking, pontoons and guided tours are all available. Bob Rush takes the wheel daytimes and for evening cruises for his Rush Hour Boat Charter. He also offers "sailgating" during riverfront concerts.

Pittsburgh has a thriving arts and culture destination centered in the 14-block Cultural District downtown that beckons visitors with rich offerings. The district is home to nine theatres that showcase the city's world-renowned symphony orchestra, opera, dance and plays that enliven the cultural scene.

The Grammy award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony performs in the elegant Heinz Hall, while the Ballet Theatre, Opera, Dance Council and PNC Broadway series take the stage at the beautifully restored Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. The highly acclaimed Andy Warhol Museum is a seven-story edifice that showcases the life and work of the Pittsburgh native, one of Pop Art's founding fathers. This is the most comprehensive single-artist museum in North America.

The Heinz History Center is a treasure-trove of fascinating exhibits, including the biggest collection of authentic items from the "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" television series, such as the original television set from the l950s.


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