Attraction of the Week: Pittsburgh’s Point State Park
Point State Park is located at the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle.” This nickname was given to the downtown region as it marks the joining point of the Allegheny and Monongahela River to the Ohio River. From afar, you can see the triangle-like shape of the park with the fountain as the tip. West End Overlook and the Duquesne Incline are 2 of the top sights in the city to take in the pretty skyline with Point State Park as the centerpiece. Today, the park is considered a National Landmark due to its’ historic significance. The park is also popular with sightseers, fitness buffs, and event goers.
Due to the beautiful scenery, ongoing events, and close proximity to city attractions, it is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. Many of the city’s biggest events including the annual Fourth of July festival, the Three Rivers Arts festival, and the Pittsburgh Marathon take place at the iconic park.
History of Point State Point
Asides from offering scenic views and convenient access to the city’s best urban bike path, this park holds a bit of historical significance. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as part of the Renaissance District. The Pittsburgh Renaissance urban renewal project of the 50’s cleared a former run down industrial area for the 36 acre park which stands today.
Point State Park was a key site during the French and Indian war of the 18th century. The Fort Pitt museum is located inside the park. At this museum, you can learn more about Western PA’s role in the French and Indian War and also more about the general history of the city of Pittsburgh. Also found on-site within the park are three granite traceries which mark Fort Duquesne (1754) and Fort Pitt (1759).
Most notably, the park is home to an iconic 150 foot fountain. This park centerpiece is where you will find most tourists taking pictures and enjoying the summer weather.
Walking paths – A few short walking paths will take you on a journey amongst over 50,000 native plants. During the fall months, the trees come alive with dazzling golden hues.
The Great Lawn is a big grassy area where many events take place. In the summer, you are sure to see tourists and locals picnicking, sunbathing, playing sports, and walking dogs (must be leashed). The views are fabulous, no matter which direction you look. From this park, you will enjoy great views of many iconic bridges including Fort Pitt, Heinz Stadium, and the Pittsburgh skyline.
Fort Pitt Blockhouse – This is the only remaining part of Fort Pitt left in Pittsburgh. Also, it is the oldest structure (est. 1764) in western Pennsylvania. Admission is free and open to visitors year-round.
Historical monuments – Throughout the park, you will find 23 plaques and monuments, as well as 3 recreated bastions.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
If you feel like getting in a great workout, you are in a great place. A ~2 mile portion of the beautiful 30+ mile long Three Rivers Heritage Trail begins at the park. This ride is very scenic, mostly flat, and features great views of the iconic yellow Warhol and Clemente bridges, as well as the stadiums and other city sights. From Point State, you can travel down to the Strip District, another touristy area of the city known for its’ iconic restaurants, coffeehouses, and historical significance.
Autumn leaf peeping
The fall is the best time explore Point State Park. The temps will be much cooler, the crowds will be virtually non existent, and the golden hues of the season will surround you in every direction. Here you will enjoy some of the best leaf peeping in the region. The skyline, fountain, bridges, and surrounding hills look all the more enchanting with a backdrop of dazzling autumn hues.
Point State Park is located at: 601 Commonwealth Place. Metered parking is available, although limited especially on busy event weekends. The best time to visit is Sunday morning as parking meters are free and crowds are typically at their lowest levels.
While there are no restaurants within immediate proximity, you can walk just a short distance to access some of the downtown establishments. A few nearby options:
Primanti Bros – Sports pub known for their iconic sandwiches topped with meats, cheeses, veggies, fries, and coleslaw.
Christo’s Mediterranean – Charming long-running local Greek joint. Authentic ambiance, beautiful decor, nice staff.
Nicholas Coffee and Tea – One of the few local coffeehouses in close proximity. Family-owned since 1919.
Rock N’ Joe – Coffee is not as good as Nicholas, although they do offer a spacious loft with a fireplace. Decent bagels, coffee unfortunately only served in paper cups.
Pizzaiolo Primo – Regional Italian chain serving wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta. Nice ambiance.