Niagara Falls – The Two Faces

There are two small towns, both named Niagara Falls, on each side of the border between the United States and Canada, and they are quite different.

The story goes that Napoleon’s brother is to blame for all this honeymoon stuff. He supposedly brought his new bride here to see the wonder of the falls, and it has been a magnet for newlyweds ever since. The waterfalls span the Niagara River between Ontario and upper New York State.

Niagara Falls, Canada.

Niagara Falls Canadian style – the town that is. It is a sort of North American version of Blackpool or Coney Island – lots of hamburger joints and souvenir shops – a place of pink hearts and honeymoon cottages.

There are some Disney-like attractions in the town: Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Tussaud’s Wax Museum, etc. But it doesn’t matter that the town is not a haven of culture. Millions of people come here every year just to see the falls, and the town exists to attend to their needs: restaurants, hotels, shops, etc., are here in abundance. For a more cultural experience, drive fifteen miles down the road to Niagara-on-the-Lake – an architectural jewel considered one of the best-preserved 19th-century towns in North America. However, in Niagara Falls, most eyes are on the falls, not on the town.

And what a sight they are! There are actually two waterfalls, the Canadian, or Horsehoe Falls, being by far the most impressive. They stretch 2500 feet across the Niagara River in a huge thundering curve. In 1859, after watching the French tightrope walker, Blondin, walk from the American to the Canadian side on a three-inch rope, carrying his terrified manager on his shoulders, the future King Edward VII of England exclaimed, “Thank God it’s over!”

A safer way of getting really close to the falls without risking your life is to take a trip on the Maid of the Mist – the boat which carries you right to the foot of the torrent. It looks awfully small and vulnerable against the backdrop of the great gushing wall of water but is perfectly safe. First, you get dressed up in blue plastic rain gear, and then you chug out towards the falls, getting liberally showered with spray en route. The roar of the falls is deafening.

Niagara Falls, USA

Crossing over to the American side or Canadian, depending on where you are, is easy. You just walk or drive over the Rainbow Bridge, but make sure you have your papers/passport with you.

The little town of Niagara Falls on the American side is much less commercial than its Canadian counterpart. It seems an older, more established place, with ordinary neighborhoods and proper shops, plus some very good restaurants. Some of the best shopping in the State is here; over 150 fashion outlet shops with all the big designer names are about 3-4 miles from downtown, and a free shuttle bus will take you there. This is the place to spend, spend, spend!

Honeymooners come here in their droves.. In the film “Niagara,” Marilyn Monroe came here with her movie husband, but she had something other than a honeymoon in mind – she planned to murder him and chuck him into the torrent.

Honeymoon or not, the two sides of Niagara Falls are worth a visit.

Free Summer Activities In Niagara Falls

Visitors to Niagara Falls have many different free activities to choose from during the summer months Niagara Falls. Local events and outdoor activities are perfect during the warm summer weather, and there are many evening activities for those who enjoy the cooler evening temperatures. Niagara Falls has free activities on both sides of the American-Canadian border.

Free Friday Night Fireworks

Friday night fireworks over the Falls are offered on Friday nights at about 9 pm, from May through September. The fantastic fireworks display can be watched at many locations near the Falls for the best views. A picnic blanket or some folding chairs are suggested for an evening by the Falls, watching the fireworks extravaganza.

Illumination at the Falls

Niagara Falls looks very different at night when the Illumination at the Falls lights are on. From May 1 until August 17, between 9 pm and midnight, the Illumination at the Falls experience lights up Niagara Falls with shades of color. From August 18 through September 30, the Illumination at the Falls lights is on from 8:30 pm until midnight. This attraction is perfect for visitors who want to take some spectacular photographs.

Niagara Falls Power Project Visitors Center

The Niagara Falls Power Project is just 5 miles down the Robert Moses Parkway, from downtown Niagara Falls, New York. The Niagara Falls Power Project Visitors Center is open from 9-5 daily, offering visitors free activities and educational information about the Power Project. Special events are planned regularly, and it is easy to reach the Niagara Falls Power Project Visitors Center from Niagara Falls. To visit, take the Robert Moses Parkway towards Lewiston for 4 miles, exiting at the Power Vista exit. Turn left on Route 104 for one mile, and park in the Power Vista parking lot.

Artpark Free Events and Family Fun

Artpark is just outside of Niagara Falls, located in the historic town of Lewiston, New York. During the summer months, the artpark offers a variety of free events and activities for adults and families. Artpark sits on the Niagara River Gorge, providing visitors with great views of the lower Niagara River. Guests can picnic, fish, or take a walk along one of the scenic trails at Artpark.

Tuesday at the Park is a popular free attraction at Artpark during the summer. Free concerts are held at the Artpark Outdoor Amphitheater from June 5 through August 28 Artpark. Concessions are available at different concession stands during free concerts. The concerts are scheduled for the evening.

Artpark began offering an additional free concert program on Wednesday nights recently. Artpark Wednesdays are held from July 11 through August 22. Artpark Wednesdays offer free hands-on art activities for children and National headliners for free concerts.

Family Weekends at Artpark are offered on Saturdays and Sundays in the month of July. Art demonstrations and activities for kids take place during July on the designated Artpark Family Weekends.

Lewiston Jazz Festival

The Lewiston Jazz festival is the perfect free summer event in the Niagara Falls area. Each year the Lewiston Jazz festival is held in the small town of Lewiston, attracting up to 30,000 visitors over the three-day event.

Clifton Hill

On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill is a popular area for people to watch, sightseeing, and taking an evening walk. The bright lights and large selection of shops, attractions, and restaurants make the Clifton Hill area a great place to spend some time.

Natural Wonder

Niagara Falls is a great place to do some free sightseeing during the summer. Spending a day taking photos of the many scenic areas in Niagara Falls is a great free activity for visitors. Drives along the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake can be the perfect way to spend a summer day. Take some time to break away from the traditional tourist activities this summer and try a few of the free activities in the Niagara Falls area.

Five Things To Know When Visiting Niagara Falls Ontario

Traveling to Niagara Falls for the first time can be exciting, but unexpected issues can hinder the experience. These five tips may help.

The excitement of a vacation to Niagara Falls and seeing the falls themselves are often a highlight for many individuals and families planning a trip there for the first time. However, there are several common issues, particularly in the summer months, such as long line ups and parking, that can cause enough frustration to dampen the experience.

Whether on a tighter budget or simply looking for a few simpler ways to get around Niagara Falls this year, these guidelines are designed to help visitors save a few headaches and a few dollars.

Choosing When to Visit the Falls and Where to Park

Niagara Falls is picturesque year-round, and there are still activities and attractions open during the winter, so any time of year is a good time to visit. With kids out of school and warm weather on the rise during May, the summer months see very high volumes of visitors from all over the world, which only means long lines and big crowds. Stay safe and benefit everyone by in-between parking areas of interest.

Those who are only planning to spend a few hours in Niagara Falls can park at the Skylon Tower and take the People Mover (shuttle bus) if necessary. The distance between Journey Behind the Falls and Maid of the Mist is a good ten-minute walk, realistically. Calculate the distance to other attractions based on this and figure out how much time and energy everyone is willing to spend on foot or shuttling between attractions.

An important and often neglected note about the People Mover: Check ahead of time or while on the bus with the attendant what the last runs for the buses are (generally, it’s 7:30 PM or 8 PM in the summer). It is necessary to transfer to a different bus in order to get to attractions like the Butterfly Conservatory – those routes have different closing times. Please make sure of these times to avoid being stuck without shuttle service.

Choosing Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

Hotels notoriously bump up their prices on weekends during the winter months and hike them up even further during the summer when the rates are generally always high no matter what day it is. This is especially true for Niagara Falls.

While has some fantastic online deals, another good tip is to call a hotel or motel of choice directly (not the 1-800 number) and ask to speak to the manager. Tell them the travel date and ask what can be done to negotiate a good deal.

If the hotel has provided a pleasant experience in the past, remind them of this, and if they haven’t, don’t be afraid to speak up. If the manager doesn’t cut a deal, believe that there are plenty of other quality accommodations in Niagara Falls who will.

If driving a hard bargain isn’t a concern, still check out for special package deals, or visit the Niagara Falls Tourism website for a list of accommodations.

Buying Attraction Tickets and Avoiding Long Lineups

Purchase a Niagara Falls Great Gorge Adventure Pass if everyone in the group is interested in a few or all of the attractions included in the pass – it’s well worth the price. The pass also includes two days on the People Mover (be sure to get a sticker from one of the attraction vendors for the People Mover to wear all day as the bus driver doesn’t take the ticket stubs).

Arrive early to purchase tickets and either get in line then or wait until late afternoon (again, check closing times – some attractions take the last ticket a half-hour before close). Crowds and lines are largest in the early afternoon, between 11 AM and 2 or 3 PM.

Additionally, while purchasing tickets, ask about the fast-pass times available for some of the attractions to return to it later on the same day. This way, a spot is guaranteed, and visitors don’t have to wait in the long regular line.

Double Check Attraction Schedules

It can be stressful to show up at an attraction ten minutes after close or when it’s down for maintenance. Generally, all attractions are open and running during the summer (only the Whirlpool Aerocar, White Water Walk, and Maid of the Mist close for the winter – Journey Behind the Falls stays open), but it’s not a bad idea to ask about times and closures no matter the season.

What to Wear in Niagara Falls

This seems like a no-brainer to some, but the fact is many people aren’t sure what to bring to wear or what they can expect from some of the attractions, which involve being downstream from the thundering mist. Canadian weather varies as much as anywhere else – plan seasonally and check Niagara Falls forecasts before leaving home and upon arrival if possible.

Wear comfortable shoes. This is another tidbit to stress as there can be a lot of walking in between attractions, and a few are a reasonable distance away from each other. Taking the People Mover saves time and provides a chance to rest, but good comfortable shoes are important.

There are many spots along the Niagara River to sit in the shade or find air conditioning. Sometimes the lower decks of Journey Behind the Falls can be blustery with mist, and depending on which side of the boat visitors are on when they board Maid of the Mist; there is a chance pant bottoms and shoes will get soaked (ponchos are provided at both attractions).

Five Things On The Pittsburgh Bucket List

Pittsburgh is known for once being the home of the nation’s steelmaking industry. But it’s much more than that and definitely a place worth visiting.

Pittsburgh is only a 5-hour drive from Philadelphia, Detroit, or Washington, D.C., in the heart of Western Pennsylvania. It’s full of history, culture and very cool nightlife. So if you’re planning a trip, here are the five things that need to be on your Pittsburgh bucket list.

The Strip District

One of Pittsburgh’s more than 90 neighborhoods, the Strip District is the place to be on Saturdays and Sundays to find great eats and really cool people.

The main hustle-and-bustle in the Strip District is on Penn Avenue between 24th and 17th streets. Whatever kind of food you want, it’s there. Want pancakes? Go to Pamela’s Diner. Want a true Pittsburgh sandwich with coleslaw and French fries? Go to the legendary Primanti Brothers. Want amazing seafood and to watch a Steelers game? Go to Roland’s Seafood Grill.

But then you have all the vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and foods along the streets. The smell of Strip District is awesome. And if you need any Pittsburgh Steelers or Penguins paraphernalia, you will find it every few feet.

Church Brew Works

This old church on Liberty Avenue in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of the city was converted into a microbrewery in 1996. Church Brew Works is a must-see and a stop for many out-of-towners.

The historic atmosphere of the church has been maintained from the stained glass throughout and some of the original pews that are now used for table seating. Behind glass on the alter sit beer tanks that hold the homemade brews made on-site.

If you are a beer enthusiast, you will find a wide selection of brews ranging from the popular light malt beer Celestial Gold to a German-style beer called the Pious Monk Dunkel. But the beer menu is constantly changing, as Church Brews Works offers different specialty beers every few weeks.

And if you are a foodie, it offers some of the best eats in the city, with an American-style menu offering everything from filet mignon to oven-baked pizza. And don’t forget to try the pierogies – a Pittsburgh specialty.

PNC Park

One of the most scenic baseball stadiums in the country, there is not a bad seat in PNC Park. And because the Pittsburgh Pirates are not much of a baseball team these days, the tickets are cheap, starting as low as $9 for bleacher seats.

But here’s a tip: grab some $8 standing-room-only tickets, head up to the Hall of the Fame and sit on the patio. The view of the city is breathtaking, and you can see the game perfectly. And most importantly, you have food and beverages right at your fingertips.

The other great thing about PNC Park is often times throughout the season, bands play, or there are fireworks after the game. This summer, the Steve Miller Band was one of the musical acts that performed – and yes, it was all included with the purchase of your ticket. So for $8, some lucky fans saw a game then saw a show. That’s a good night out.

Ducky Tour

Every major city has the Ducky Tour – the bus that travels along the city streets then makes its way onto the water. It’s an awesome way to see the beautiful views of Pittsburgh and learn about the history.

You will get a glimpse of Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, the beautiful Downtown, dozens of the more than 400 bridges, the rivers, and the mountains.

It’s only $20 for adults. But be sure to make your reservations in advance. The tours depart multiple times each day from the historic Station Square, which is one of the touristy neighborhoods of Pittsburgh – where visitors also can find the Hard Rock Café, the Melting Pot, and lots of souvenir shops.

The incline

For those not familiar with an incline, also called a funicular, it’s basically a boxcar that rides up and down a mountain along a track. Some Pittsburghers actually use it for daily transportation to get to work, but most often, it’s used by thousands of tourists each week.

You have two choices when it comes to the inclines – the Monongahela Incline or Duquesne Incline. Both are decent and about the same price.

The ride up the mountain is only about 3 to 5 minutes. But once you reach the top, the view of Steel City is amazing.

Five Attractions In Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one of those remarkable cities in the Rust Belt that has managed to pick itself up after the decline of U.S. Steel production and reinvent itself as a cultural center. From the many Nationality Rooms located at the University of Pittsburgh to the various collections housed in the several Carnegie Museums, from the great animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo to the rides at Kennywood, Pittsburgh has an attraction for everyone.

The Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh

Housed in the Gothic style Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, the Nationality Rooms represent some of the many different nationalities that have historically called Pittsburgh home. Funded by representatives from various nationalities, the National Rooms are designed in the style of their home nations and range from the elegant luxury of the Austrian Room to the Byzantine stylings of the Romanian rooms. Most of the rooms can be entered, and plans are currently in the works to add several other nationality rooms as well.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Located across from the University of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History houses a number of collections that are truly spectacular. Of particular interest are the collection of dinosaur skeletons, which is one of the finest in the country, the Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt, and the Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians. As one of the foremost natural history museums in the country, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is definitely worth the visit.

The Carnegie Museum of Art

Located next to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art houses a number of splendid collections, including the Hall of Architecture, which hosts the numerous plaster casts that are one of the Museum’s most interesting collections (these casts, frequently modeled after great works of architecture from the classical period, were very popular during the Victorian era.) The Carnegie Museum of Modern Art also houses pieces from some of the great figures of modern art.

The Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is without a doubt one of the finest and most exciting attractions in Pittsburgh due to its extensive collection of animals from all around the world, including the continents of Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. Animals on display include Amur Tigers, African Elephants (the Zoo has been particularly successful at breeding them,) River Otters, and the recently added Sea Otters and Polar Bears. The Pittsburgh Zoo also houses the PPG Aquarium, which is home to an astounding variety of fish and other aquatic animals.


For those looking for a fun way to spend a warm summer afternoon, the Kennywood amusement park is the perfect place to visit. Kennywood is home to a number of exciting rides and attractions, including the Phantom’s Revenge, the Exterminator, the Thunderbolt, and a number of water rides. They also offer a children’s section and a number of delicious food vendors and options.

Clearly, Pittsburgh has done an excellent job reinventing itself and becoming both a cultural and an entertainment hub. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, Pittsburgh has an attraction that will no doubt be an excellent way to spend an afternoon, a weekend, or an entire week.

Family Vacation To Canada’s Niagara Falls

Simplify your planning with a Niagara Falls and Great Gorge Adventure Pass. This pass gets your family into the best attractions in the area for one great price.

A view of Niagara Falls truly has an instant “WOW” factor. The immensity of the sight and sound of 600,000 gallons of water per second rushing through one spot is an awesome sensory experience. There is much to see and do in the Niagara Falls area. To take advantage of the many sites, consider purchasing a Niagara Falls and Great Gorge Adventure Pass. From mid-April through mid-October, this pass gives visitors access to these four family-friendly attractions:

Niagara’s Fury: The Creation of the Falls™

The newest Falls adventure takes visitors back in time 10,000 years to experience the Creation of the Falls. Following an animated pre-show, visitors witness the formation of the Falls during the Ice Age in a specially designed 360-degree theater.

Maid of the Mist

This 30-minute double-decker boat ride has been taking passengers up close to the falls since 1864. Riders put on provided rain ponchos as they wait in line to board. The boat takes visitors close to the falls to feel the thunder of the crashing water and experience the spray of the mist. The intensity may be too much for young children who may feel more comfortable standing in the center of the boat, away from the side rails.

Journey Behind the Falls

This walking tour takes you below the rim of the gorge and behind the falls. An elevator takes visitors down 150 feet to a short tunnel. From there, access to two outdoor observation decks and two platforms located behind the falls gives a close-up view. Disposable raincoats are provided for those who want to get close.

The White Water Walk

A brief elevator ride takes guests down to the Great Gorge. A 1/4 mile boardwalk has two different observation areas to view the rapidly churning, racing water of the river. A photo gallery shows pictures of daredevils who have tried to ride the rapids over the years. An aerial cable car, the Whirlpool Aero Car, gives a view from above the Niagara Whirlpool, which is formed at the end of the rapids. Purchase of the Niagara Falls and Great Gorge Adventure Pass gives a discount coupon for the 35-person Aero Car.

The Butterfly Conservatory

Upgrade your pass to visit the Butterfly Conservatory. With over 200 butterflies flying freely in this 11,000 square foot tropical paradise, it is hard to know where to look first. The conservatory has the look and feels of a rainforest, and a stroll along the path gives glimpses of butterflies searching for nectar or basking in the sunshine. Don’t miss the emergence window where butterflies come out of their chrysalises and are released into the conservatory. An exhibit hall in the main lobby provides an opportunity to observe caterpillars and to learn more about the life-cycle of the butterfly. There is a cafe available for a meal or snack. Visitors can eat outside in an area that overlooks the beautiful Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens.

The Niagara Falls People Mover is the bus transportation system that makes a 19-mile loop around the area. The Adventure Pass gives unlimited access to the People Mover for two days. Since the White Water Walk and the Butterfly Conservatory are not within walking distance of the falls, plan to use the People Mover to visit these attractions easily.

The Incline Railroad at Niagara Falls

Labeled as the slowest incline railway in the world, this one-minute trip links the Fallsview Tourist area with Table Rock Center. It is a quick, convenient way to get from the hotels, casinos, and restaurants to the heart of the Niagara Falls attraction sites. The Railway is not wheelchair accessible. Those with an Adventure Pass can ride free for two days.

So, pick up a Niagara Falls and Great Gorge Adventure Pass, grab a camera, some good walking shoes, and prepare for an experience of a lifetime.

Family Friendly Museums In Pittsburgh

If you are going on a vacation to Pittsburgh, there are many wonderful things to do. Try some of these family-friendly museums that your children will be sure to enjoy.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is full of fun family adventures and outings. Museums, sporting events, outdoor recreation, and amusement parks are all part of the Pittsburgh experience. This article focuses on local family-friendly museums.

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Founded by the wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie consists of four museums: Natural History, Art, Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum.

The Natural History and Art museums are located within the same complex in the Oakland section of the city between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The price of admission includes both museums. Features include a newly remodeled hall of dinosaurs, a hands-on discovery room, and drop-in art-making activities. Dining options include the museum of art café, vending machines, and a cafeteria. Both museums are open Tuesday through Sunday and on Mondays, July 4 through Labor Day.

The Carnegie Science Center is located in Pittsburgh’s North Side. Admission prices include regular exhibits such as the miniature railroad and village, exploration station, and the soon to open roboworld. The Science Center is open Monday through Sunday, with the exception of home football game Sundays.

The Andy Warhol Museum features art by this Pittsburgh native, as well as special exhibitions. The museum is located in Pittsburgh’s North Side (not in the same complex as the Science Center) and is closed on Mondays.

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Located in the city’s North Side Section, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a great family adventure. Exhibit features include large water play tables, an art studio, a nursery space for infants and toddlers, a garage/workshop, and the toonseum. The museum is open Monday through Sunday (call ahead for specific hours).

The Heinz History Center

This history-oriented museum in Pittsburgh’s Strip District section features many fun activities for children. Family-oriented exhibits include the Discover Place, Kidsburgh, and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Hours are 10-5 daily.

If you are planning a visit to Pittsburgh, try one of these fun family museums. Call ahead or visit the museums’ websites for specific information on holiday closings, free admission for very young children, and special exhibits.

Enjoy A Great Summer Getaway At The Lake Erie Islands

If you are looking for a fun-filled family getaway this summer, consider a trip to the Lake Erie Islands. The Lake Erie Island region offers something for everyone, from fishing, swimming, boating, camping, lighthouses, and shopping, even a little rest and relaxation.

Whatever your niche may be, you’re sure to find it here. The most popular islands are Kelley and South Bass. Here you will enjoy beaches and boating. On the mainland, you will find Sandusky, Ohio, home to Cedar Point, where you will find the world’s largest collection of roller coasters. Cedar Point has 16 thrilling roller coasters in all, not to mention a wide variety of other exciting rides sure to please the inner thrill-seeker in all of us.

There is something for the little ones as well at Cedar Point–Camp Snoopy, which offers a smaller roller coaster, the Woodstock Express, a 38-foot tall roller coaster that the whole family can enjoy.

On a hot day, visit Soak City, just adjacent to Cedar Point, where you can splash away at the large outdoor water park. Soak City offers many large flume slides, a large wave pool, splash zone, and tadpole town for the little ones, just to name a few. You can slip out to the Cedar Point beach right on Lake Erie and enjoy activities such as volleyball, sandcastle building, swimming, and sunbathing.

You can stay at Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers. Directly behind the hotel, you can enjoy the sunny beach or take advantage of two outdoor pools, whirlpool spas, or the heated indoor pool. You can take the ferry from Sandusky to Kelley’s or South Bass Islands in Lake Erie for a great family adventure.

Kelleys island is the perfect quiet family adventure. You can take a quiet stroll on the many nature trails and fish for walleye. There is a tram ride that will take you to Inscription Rock, where you can view the petroglyphs created by the Native Americans of the Erie Tribe over 300 years ago.

You will also be able to visit the Glacial Grooves State Memorial, the world’s largest visible glacier trail. If your in for a wilder time, head to South Bass Island, where you will Put-in-Bay just three miles of the inland. This is the hot spot for the young or the young at heart.

Put-in-Bay is the heart of the “nightlife.” There are many bars and pubs to hop around Put-in-Bay. It’s still a great place to visit with the children during the daytime; I would not recommend taking children there at night, especially during the weekend. This is when the rowdy crowd surfaces! Here you can visit the Butterfly Museum to walk amongst hundreds of beautiful, colorful butterflies.

There are so many things to do at the Lake Erie Islands that I could go on for days about; these are just a few. If you enjoy camping, there are so many camping resorts to choose from; you can find anything from nice quiet wooded campgrounds to campgrounds right on the lake edge.

They have awesome firework displays; you can go sit at the lighthouse and see three different firework displays across the lake at the same time. It is quite a sight to see the night sky illuminated with brilliant colors reflecting off of Lake Erie.

If you ever get the chance to go visit the Lake Erie Islands, you will want to go back year after year.

Destination Guides Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is known as home to sports, theater, and ethnic neighborhoods. A visit to this city is a treat for any visitor because there is always something going on within its perimeters.

The downtown area is known as the “Golden Triangle.” The downtown area offers high-rise buildings, shopping areas, and an opportunity to view various architectural styles in the buildings. It is home to a theater district, which offers top Broadway performances. The name is derived from three rivers joining at the point, known as the downtown area.

The downtown area is a great place to find Pittsburgh’s favorite foods, also. Hot soft pretzels and chestnuts in the Fall make the walk downtown an enjoyable one.

Across the river from downtown is another district. It is home to a sports arena and a large gambling mecca. The inclines are a treat to ride as they make their way up the mountain, known as Mt. Washington. This mode of transportation has been in operation for many years. Commuters make their way on these inclines to work in the morning and return home in the evening if they are residents of the Mount Washington area. Tourists enjoy the scenic trip up and down the mountain. The view from Mount Washington has visitors enthralled, especially in the evening when the city lights shine from the mountain.

On this side of the river is Station Square, which was once the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station. It is now home to restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. 

There are many ethnic neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area. The “Strip District” is home to vendors, selling fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and other fresh items. The district has been in operation for many years, and many residents enjoy the opportunity to purchase fresh items. The merchants are friendly, and the streets are always lined with trucks delivering the goods.

This district becomes alive in the evening when the working people and visitors fill the small restaurants, which serve fresh food. There are many nightclubs, playing jazz, country, or rock music. The back door of these establishments faces the River, so the boats can be seen making their way down the river.

No trip to Pittsburgh is complete without a trip to Polish Hill, an ethnic community. It offers fine food and various architectural designs on the many houses.

The rivers offer a choice to ride a boat to explore their paths. There are cruises, which offer sightseeing, along with dinner and dancing.

Pittsburgh welcomes visitors when they come by plane. The airport has various shops within its confines. You will find bargains and unusual items to purchase before you enter the city proper.

There are many fine hotels in the downtown area. In the outskirts of the city, there are many motels, which are comfortable and range from reasonable to luxury. A check with the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

For a cultural tour of the city, a visitor should visit the Oakland section of the city. There is a museum, library, and other cultural venues located there. 

The city is easy to navigate. There are buses, streetcars, inclines, and a subway system that can take a visit to any part of the city. Contact the Visitors Bureau for information and maps.

For family fun, the city has one of the oldest amusement parks, still in operation. It is Kennywood Park and offers many amusement rides and shows for visitors. It is located off of Interstate 376. It has five roller coasters. The “jackrabbit” is the old wooden kind and has been featured on several television shows and rated as one of the best coasters in the United States.

5 Great House Pets

Sure having a dog is nice, but what about other house pets? Not everyone is a cat person. And even then, some people like neither dog’s cats. Here are my five favorite pet animals. I hope this helps you in choosing a furry (or scaly or feathery) little friend.


Yes, I did just say that dogs aren’t for everyone, but some people downright love them. The great thing about dogs is their variety. There is a dog for everyone. If you have a busy lifestyle and sometimes can’t be at home with your dog a lot, I recommend taking a more inactive dog, such as greyhound or whippet. Poodles are also a great choice here. Dogs such as English cocker spaniels and pugs are a good choice if they get proper training in order to keep them from ruining your relationship with your neighbors. If you have a more active lifestyle, more free time, a dog of the hunting variety will keep you up and about. If you have kids, a labrador retriever is a great choice as they are very compassionate and love to play.


If you dislike dogs, try taking a cat. The great thing about cats is that they are content to sit and laze the whole day. However, a piece of string can keep them entertained for a long while. Cats are nice as they don’t require active maintenance. Leave out food and water, and remember to empty their litter box, and you’re set to go. The only downside to cats is that their demeanors widely range. Some cats love being picked up and petted, while others will scratch your eyes out the moment their feet leave the ground. Kittens, however, tend to like to cuddle and are a great choice for small children.


The ultimate stress-free pet. Course, they may not be amazingly fun to play with, but I still like to have them around. Turtles are more fun to observe and watch. As such, they make great pets for kids, so long as the children know not to put them in their mouths. Give your turtle a block or ball or drop something in their tank and observe as they are fascinated with their newfound plaything.


Birds make great pets. They can be very social and fun. They aren’t “hands-on” animals like dogs or cats but still make great pets. The website Bird Feeder Secrets ranks parakeets, cockatiels, sun conures, parrotlets, and African greys as the top five birds for pets. A word of caution, however, birds can be extremely noisy, but luckily there are quiet breeds for you apartment dwellers.


Hamsters are cuddly little animals which many people view as a “beginner pet.” They are nocturnal, which means they’ll sleep throughout the day and wake up in the evening. Perfect if you aren’t going to be home for the day. Another plus about hamsters is that they are perfectly fine with keeping themselves entertained. Grab them a running wheel (a must) and a couple of toys, and they’ll live on happy and content. That being said, as with any animal, they still like you to interact with them.

Choosing the last spot on this list was hard, and as such, I decided to add a “runner up” list.

Snakes: Once you get over the "my God, it's going to eat me" mindset, snakes can make good pets. They do require some money and knowledge to be effectively cared for, but they do make your life interesting.

Fish: To me, fish are more like artwork. They are low maintenance and all, but watching them get boring after a while. I prefer pets who you can touch and play with, but that's just me.
Lizards/Geckos/Iguanas: Again, these animals are harder to play with and thus more like artwork. But hey, if you're a reptile person who's content with just watching, these guys are great.