|Mount Washington is both a sight and a place to see from. It was once called Coal Hill because of the generous coal seams it contained (since mined). It was, and to some extent still is, one of the major residential areas for the people that worked in Pittsburgh's industrial plants and offices. It is situated just south of Pittsburgh's downtown area along the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. |
In this case getting there is half the fun. And there are many ways to do it, almost all of them interesting, the most interesting, of course, would be rock climbing, but don't try that way without a permit.
Less pedestrian, but still out of the ordinary, would be to take one of the two inclines. The Monongahela Inclineis probably the most direct from downtown, but the more tourist oriented Duquesne Incline is the richer experience. The Duquesne Incline takes you up from Station Square in the South Side to Grandview Avenue. This is essentially a tramway, or funicular railway that scales the side of the mount. At the peak of the industrial era, a number of similar inclines transported workers from the top of the mount to the South Side "flats", where they either walked across one of the bridges, or took a streetcar to their work. Today it is electrically powered but when it was originally built by the Duquesne Incline Plane Company, in 1877, it was powered by steam. Its cars are elegantly appointed in cherry wood and leather. The charge is nominal.
For the less adventurous, one may "mount the mount" in an automobile. Take the Liberty bridge from Downtown south, across the Monongahela river; just before you would enter the Liberty tunnel--don't--instead turn right and go up the McArdle roadway. Don't let the driver watch the expanding view as you travel up the face of the mount.
For the timid, just take a taxi, name a restaurant, sit back and close your eyes.
You will first see Mount Washington as a sheer bluff near the southern shore of the rivers. It rises, in some places almost vertically, 500 feet (150 meters) above the river valley. It offers a spectacular view of the rivers and of the downtown area. Atop this this geologic structure, too tough for the rivers to erode, is a large district of residential homes, commercial businesses, multi-storey apartments and a number of popular restaurants that share the beautiful view of the valley and the city.
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Dining & Drink
There are numerous restaurants and bars on Mount Washington, from small neighborhood "shot and a beer" bars to grand cuisine. At least one president and a British prime minister have dined here. Visitors -- especially the well-heeled -- will want to try one of the popular restaurants along the edge of the bluff.
For those on a budget, take the incline up from station square, walk along Grandview Avenue and enjoy the view, then wander farther south, back from the bluff, along almost any street and you will find modest restaurants and bars of all types. The locals are very friendly and will be happy to tell you their favorites.