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Here's where students in Southwestern PA spend their time.
From the neon-lit corner of Forbes Ave. and Bouquet St., where the world's top-rated french fries are served in steaming paper bags, to the Cezannes and Monets hanging in the nation's first modern art museum, Oakland is the student hub of Pittsburgh. Undergrads tan on the green around the tallest academic building in North America, peruse the quirky shops on Craig St., and flock to the area's popular clubs and bars when the sun goes down.
Students can explore the state’s biggest cave, ski at the state’s largest mountain resort, battle some of the east’s wildest rapids, or admire two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest masterpieces.
The third largest public park in the Eastern U.S., Schenley Park offers 456 acres of outdoor fun in the center of Oakland. Amid the rolling parkland there's a botanical garden in a Victorian crystal palace, an affordable golf course, a skating rink, 13 tennis courts, ball fields, a swimming pool and even a Frisbee golf course. In the summer, park goers watch free outdoor movies on Flagstaff Hill and cheer on classic hotrods during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
Point State Park
How many cities do you know that have a national park located in the midst of their skyscrapers? The 36-acre park, where George Washington once admired the view, is framed by water--the waters of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers flow into the Ohio River here, on their way to the Gulf of Mexico, and the 150-foot spray of the park's monumental fountain makes it the largest in the country. Whether you want to explore the remains of Pittsburgh's first settlements, watch the pleasure boats cruise by, or just relax in the sun, there's no better way to escape the bustle of the city.
Located along the Monongahela River, this busy bohemian neighborhood is known by some as Pittsburgh's boardwalk. On East Carson St., South Side's main drag, you can find magic shops and pool halls, shops specializing in 70s kitch and punk gear art galleries and comfy coffeehouses, as well as some of the best bars in the city, like Nick's Fat City and hard-to-find Bar 11.
Whether they are looking for the best fried fish sandwiches in the tri-state area, authentic Mexican tamales, or the freshest, most unique groceries in town (like the 1200 pound swordfish sold here in 1995), Pittsburghers love to stop by the Strip District in the morning when the sidewalk venders pack the streets. The area transforms itself at night, as the numerous bars and clubs located in the converted waterfront warehouses and former churches heat up the scene.
The Waterfront can easily keep you happy for an entire day. Visitors start off riding the roller coasters at Kennywood or plunging down the waterslides at Sandcastle waterpark, and then look for deals at the big name retail stores. At night the crowds head to top-notch seafood restaurants like Atlantic Fish Company, the brand new 22-screen multiplex, and Dave & Busters, an arcade geared exclusively to grownups.
Situated between the shore of the Monongahela River and the foot of Mount Washington, Station Square is a shopping arcade with a sense of style: a converted railroad yard that features upscale boutique shops, waterfront bars and dance clubs, fine restaurants and a comedy club. Gateway Clippers, Pittsburgh's popular riverboats, dock nearby and in the summer months bands rock out at the amphitheater next door.
Moraine and McConnell's Mill State Parks
These outdoor wonderlands have it all: McConnell’s Mills has spectacular hiking, whitewater rafting and rock climbing, and Moraine State Park offers great windsurfing, bike trails, and two sandy beaches.
Featuring breathtaking views of downtown and the rivers, the summit of Mount Washington is easily reached via a vintage trip on one of the city's two remaining inclines, angled railroads that climb diagonally up and down the mountain's steep cliffs. Mount Washington is also known for its fashionable restaurants perched on the edge of the rock face--imagine a candlelight dinner 400 feet up the side of a mountain!
One of the most attractive neighborhoods in this city, the upscale residential area is home to dozens of specialty shops and ethnic restaurants. In addition to numerous kosher delis, sushi restaurants and a Middle Eastern bakery, students say that the neighborhood boasts the best ice cream, pizza parlors and movie houses in the region. That adds up to a lot of potential calories--luckily nearby Frick Park has miles of hiking and jogging trails and lots of playing fields.
Yes, Shadyside's tree-lined streets and stately Victorian mansions have led to comparisons between this neighborhood and Georgetown in Washington D.C., but Shadyside is unrivaled when it comes to shopping. Walnut Street offers high-end boutiques sporting the latest fashions from Fendi, Prada and Dolce and Gabbana, not to mention a chic Peruvian restaurant and a gourmet burger restaurant, and nearby Ellsworth Avenue is home to an eclectic mix of art galleries, vintage stores and even a Japanese grocery.