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Pittsburgh: 5 free things for visitors to do

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • The Duquesne Incline makes it way up the slope of Mount Washington across the Monongahela river from downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    The Duquesne Incline makes it way up the slope of Mount Washington across the Monongahela river from downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • This March 24, 2014 photo shows the Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    This March 24, 2014 photo shows the Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • This March 24, 2014 photo shows Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    This March 24, 2014 photo shows Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • This March 26, 2014 photo shows the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    This March 26, 2014 photo shows the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • This March 25, 2014 photo shows Fort Pitt Blockhouse at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. Originally constructed in 1764 as part of a British fort, it's located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    This March 25, 2014 photo shows Fort Pitt Blockhouse at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. Originally constructed in 1764 as part of a British fort, it's located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, a shopper looks at one of the mom-and-pop shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, a shopper looks at one of the mom-and-pop shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • A towboat and barges make their way up the Allegheny River under three historic bridges named after, from foreground, Robert Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson in downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    A towboat and barges make their way up the Allegheny River under three historic bridges named after, from foreground, Robert Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson in downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  • The Duquesne Incline makes it way up the slope of Mount Washington across the Monongahela river from downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • This March 24, 2014 photo shows the Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  • This March 24, 2014 photo shows Frick Art Museum on the grounds of the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • This March 26, 2014 photo shows the former home of 19th century steel titan Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh. Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick's personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car. The center is also on the edge of a 644 acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • This March 25, 2014 photo shows Fort Pitt Blockhouse at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. Originally constructed in 1764 as part of a British fort, it's located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, a shopper looks at one of the mom-and-pop shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, people walk by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  • A towboat and barges make their way up the Allegheny River under three historic bridges named after, from foreground, Robert Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson in downtown Pittsburgh, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • FILE - In this file photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009, a bicyclist rides by some of the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features a large fresh fish market that also sells sushi and sandwiches, Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek, and Middle Eastern food. There are also specialty coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Pittsburgh may have been built around the steel and coal industries, but the once-sooty city now features a beautiful downtown river walk, multicultural neighborhoods and restaurants, and even free subway rides.

Point State Park

One of the best free things to do begins where Pittsburgh was founded. The Fort Pitt Blockhouse at Point State Park is celebrating its 250th anniversary. Originally constructed in 1764 as part of a British fort, it’s located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. The blockhouse itself is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but the surrounding park is always free and is a great place for picnics and bike rides. The park also connects to a river walk that stretches along both shores of the Allegheny River. It’s easy to walk across to the north side of town on historic steel bridges named after baseball star Roberto Clemente, artist Andy Warhol and environmentalist Rachel Carson.

Historic downtown

Subway and bus rides are free in the so-called downtown Pittsburgh Triangle, and the no-charge zone includes stops at sports stadiums Heinz Field and PNC Park. You can visit the Cultural District, known for galleries and arts events, as well as business landmarks such as Mellon Green and the U.S. Steel Tower.

There’s also significant 19th-century architecture on various downtown streets, since tycoons such as the Carnegies, Mellons and Heinz families spent vast sums promoting the city and its businesses. Free walking tours of the city in 10 languages can be downloaded at the Robert Morris University website.

The Strip District

Long home to Pittsburgh’s fruit, meat and fish wholesalers, the Strip District has kept many of those businesses while adding a variety of specialty food stores, restaurants and shops. A six- or seven-block area along Penn Avenue features Italian bakeries, Vietnamese noodle shops, and stores specializing in Italian, Mexican, Oriental, Polish, Greek and Middle Eastern food, along with a fresh fish market. There are also coffee and tea shops, vegetarian restaurants and neighborhood bars, all fun to browse.

Mount Washington

This neighborhood provides an iconic view of downtown Pittsburgh and its three rivers, as well as restaurants and shops. Mount Washington is on top of a steep hill that rises about 400 feet above the Monongahela River.

It’s easily accessible by car, but many people take the Incline for fun. Picture train tracks going up the side of an almost vertical hill.

Frick Art center

The former home of 19th-century steel titan Henry Clay Frick takes visitors back to America’s Gilded Age, when industrialists amassed vast fortunes and spent lavishly on homes, art and antiques.

Admission is free and there are rotating exhibits of art from Frick’s personal collection as well as a car and carriage museum that features a 1914 Rolls Royce and a 1903 electric car.

The center is also on the edge of a 644-acre public park that features trails, playgrounds and lawn bowling greens.

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