Travel to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania – Episode 621

categories: USA Travel

Travel to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania - What to do, see and eat (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania as the Amateur Traveler talks to Tom Shaner about his hometown.

Tom says, “There’s an immeasurable amount of things to do here, in the city, outdoor activities, culture, history. There’s been an arts renaissance here since the collapse of the steel industry back in the 70s and 80s. This area was somewhat downtrodden for quite some time. We’ve had a renaissance not only as far as new buildings, but it’s become a technology center. It’s become a healthcare center. It’s a college and university town. There’s a lot going on here.”

Tom starts us downtown in the area where Pittsburgh started by the site of old Fort Pitt at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, where the Ohio River is formed. There are more places to stay and more things happening at night in the area than just a few years ago. There is a lot that happens at Market Square year-round.

Just north of downtown, you will find both Heinz Field and PNC Park where the Steelers and Pirates play. You will also find museums nearby including a children’s museum and a museum dedicated to home town boy Andy Warhol. There is also a museum dedicated to early photography as well as the National Aviary. There is also a colorful place called Randyland and an art exhibition center in an old mattress factory.

Tom tells of a number of places to eat with Pittsburgh color including a meat and potatoes place named “meat and potatoes”. Hang out in a local restaurant or bar and you will hear about the Steelers and you may hear Pittsburghese.

We learn about some great spots for views of the city like Mount Washington and West End Overlook. You can also tour an old steel mill.

Then we get out of town to see Indian mounds, amusement parks, old forts, the original U.S. oil well, beaches and what may be the oldest archaeological site in the Americas.

You may think you know Pittsburgh but the city has changed, is still changing and is only getting more interesting.

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Show Notes

Travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Episode 259
Kiskiminetas River
Downtown Pittsburgh
Market Square
Fort Pitt
Meat and Potatoes Restaurant
Original Oyster House
Wingharts Burger & Whiskey Bar
Heinz Field
PNC Park
Pittsburgh Dad – YouTube
The Andy Warhol Museum
Max’s Allegheny Tavern
Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History
Mattress Factory (art museum)
Pittsburgh bids farewell to iconic Yia Yia
Bicycle Heaven
Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff
National Aviary
Mt. Washington
West End Overlook
Strip District, Pittsburgh
DeLuca’s Diner
Carrie Furnace
Pennsylvania Festival Schedule
Three Rivers Arts Festival
Kennywood Amusement Park
Idlewild and SoakZone
Fort Ligonier
Linn Run State Park
Ohiopyle State Park
Laurel Caverns Park
Presque Isle State Park
Pennsylvania oil rush
Oil Creek State Park
Drake Well
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Meadowcroft Rockshelter
Moundsville, West Virginia
Canton Avenue
Andrew Carnegie


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

7 Responses to “Travel to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania – Episode 621”

Robert Shields



Just listened to your episode on Pittsburgh. As it is my hometown, I was skeptical of what might be included or missed. I am happy to report it was a fantastic starting point for someone to visit our great town. I thought Tom did a great job of highlighting many of our treasures. One thing that I think should be mentioned is that Pittsburgh is the terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Trails. These are rails to trails that you can take from/to Pittsburgh from Washington, DC by bicycle (or foot). It is a fantastic way to see our country and some of the trail is serviced by Amtrak if you want to break it up a bit. Thanks again for the episode and for all your great podcasts!





Oh interesting, I did not know about the Canal Trails but that makes sense given Pittsburgh’s history.

Joanna Jones


Great podcast! But as a Western PA (Franklin) native I was bummed you left out another great Oil Country museum, totally unique in the entire United States. Franklin is the county seat of Venango County, and home to the DeBence Antique Music World museum. It’s three floors of rare and unique mechanical musical objects — lots and lots of band organs (the thing inside a carousel), giant music boxes,e tc.. If you were going from Pittsburgh to Erie, you’d be right there in this great little Victorian town. Here’s a link:



Bob emailed me:

Hello Chris, I’ve been listening a long time and think it’s about 7 years now. I enjoyed the recent podcast about Western PA, and having recently visited the area in/around Pittsburgh myself wanted to add something that I believe is relevant. Pennsylvania and Western PA in particular are well known for the historic covered bridges that abound. We used the Washington PA area as our home base on our recent trip, it’s about 30 miles or so southwest of the Pittsburgh area. The number of covered bridges very nearby the Washington area is incredible and there were 4 different driving routes that can easily be followed that will take a visitor from one covered bridge to the next in succession. We covered just one of those routes one afternoon for just under 2 hours, seeing 4 different historic covered bridges. For most of your listeners who are not from the Northeast seeing these bridges is probabaly a new experience as it was for us.




I think that a couple of big omissions were:

1. The University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. It’s a 42-story late-gothic cathedral from the 1930s that is the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere. The interior resembles Hogwarts and there are 30 Nationality Rooms dedicated to different cultures from all over the globe.

2. Primanti Bros. sandwiches. These are the iconic Pittsburgh sandwiches that include French fries and cole slaw. This is to Pittsburgh what the cheesesteak is to Philadelphia.

I enjoyed Tom’s remarks on parks and nature areas, a few that I wasn’t aware of.

Tom Shaner


Kyle, It’s funny that you mentioned My omission of Primanti Brothers. About a half hour after finishing recording the podcast, I realized that I hadn’t mentioned Primanti’s and told my family that I thought I’d be banished from Western PA for my omission! Lol. I had a number of items in my notes that I ommitted, but ran out of time! You caught my two most glaring ones.

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