Pittsburgh: Come Walk with Me

During our six mile walk around Pittsburgh, in addition to enjoying the bridges and rivers, we were impressed with the mix of old and new, the historic and the modern.  We stopped for a light lunch, and of course I had to taste a Pittsburgh pilsner, but otherwise we didn’t shop.  We just looked, and walked, and marveled and exclaimed.  It was a perfect day to explore.

Ruth pointed out that the leaves of the Honey Locust tree, which we saw all along the streets, are the colors of the sports teams of Pittsburgh.


The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail complex, designed in 1883 by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and built between 1884-1888, is a beautiful historic building right in the middle of Pittsburgh’s downtown business district.



The P&LERR (Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad) terminal building, or the Landmarks Building, was constructed in 1900.  This historic landmark, once a busy passenger station and hub of the P&LERR railroad, has been renovated and in now contains shops, restaurants, and is a wedding venue.


The interior was being set up for a wedding but we were allowed to take a quick look.  The low light made for difficult spur of the moment photography, but wow! Isn’t it a beautiful room?


The Union Trust Building was erected in 1915–16 by industrialist Henry Clay Frick. The Flemish-Gothic structure’s original purpose was to serve as a shopping arcade. Known as the Union Arcade, it featured 240 shops and galleries. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


This beautiful movie palace was a major theatre in Pittsburgh, opened originally as the Grand Theatre in 1918.  Renamed Warner Theatre in 1930, it was used as a cinema through the 1980s, deteriorating all the while.  The auditorium was demolished, and a two story shopping center named Warner Center was built on the site. The beautiful doors and a portion of the huge lobby have been retained.


The clubhouse of the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Club of Allegheny is a National Historic Landmark.  Built in 1894, the building originally contained 12 three-room apartments and served as workers’ row housing. Pittsburgh architect and club member Edward B. Lee (Harvard Class of 1899) was commissioned to transform the space into a private club, and after extensive renovation was re-opened in 1930.  The courtyard reminded us of one that might be found in New Orleans, and had a quaint feel in the middle of the big city.


The Buhl Building is a historic commercial building in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Built in 1913, the building is faced with multi-colored terra cotta tiles.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  The yellow honey locust trees look even better against those blue and cream tiles, don’t they?


Isn’t this pedestrian walk way, with water feature and lovely purple lights, wonderful?  We came across this as we were walking near the Rachel Carson bridge (I think), but I was not able to find any information online about it.


One PNC Plaza is a high-rise office building located in the Central Business District.  Constructed in 1972, and 30 stories high, it currently features the world’s largest green wall.


I sure hope you enjoyed this walking tour of downtown Pittsburgh.  The information for this post was taken from Wikipedia and from a variety of Pittsburgh websites.

 Next and final Pittsburgh post:  Inclines and other sites in this fun city.

33 thoughts on “Pittsburgh: Come Walk with Me

    • We really did get lucky in terms of weather. It was clear and bright and just the right amount of coolness in the air. The city has such a great mix of interesing old buidings, mixed right in with the skyscrapers!

  1. LOVED the walking tour! My faves are the red leaves against the stone wall, and the Union Trust building behind the yellow leaves. Are the gold leaves reflecting onto the building? Walking is the best way to discover treasures like that purple walkway, and if you didn’t already know to look, the terra cotta tiles and the green wall. It makes things better sometimes, if you find them by accident.

  2. Great job on Steeltown, LB. Pittsburgh is Philly-like, blue-collar, in-your-face sports teams, and a rich brewery history. This time last year a buddy and I hopped a train to Pittsburgh with out bikes (pedal-type) and pedaled from Pittsburgh to DC on the Greater Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal. We had a great start, arriving in Steeltown after mid-night, assembling the bike trailer and gear and making it nearly out of town before we pitched tent in the darkness and woke the next morning in the middle of a park with joggers and cyclists going by. Keep up the good work, and safe travels.

    • Sounds like a great trip, Jim. I kept seeing the signs for the C&O and wished we’d had time to stop and explore a bit. The last time I was on a portion of it, my son was 2 … he is now 29 🙂

  3. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, so many thanks for the great tour. I had no idea that Pittsburgh had such lovely buildings! I especially love the pedestrian walkway. I think when you retire for your current job, you need to start a tour-guide/photography site. You visit so many fascinating places, and take such gorgeous photos — and you’re such fun! I will be the first person to sign up for one of your “field” trips. 🙂

  4. Great post and beautiful photos Laurie 🙂 Henry Clay Frick was the president of Carnagie Steel (laterUSS) at one point but I think Andrew Carnagie might have got a few black eyes from Frick’s handling of the workers (as per one of the episodes of the series “The Men Who Built America”).

    I wouldn’t have been rude either, as a matter of fact I would have joined you with the “pilsner” 🙂

  5. Pittsburg looks absolutely fun and interesting. Thanks for taking us on tour LB. It’d probably never be on my travel destination list but I really love all the architecture you shared and who know’s, maybe Mr B will have to go for work and I’ll get to see it. The wedding venue looks so magnificent and grande! Your photo’s have put everything in their best light and with style and grace. The Harvard/Princeton coach lantern is really something quite fine. I actually didn’t realize Harvard was in Pittsburg, silly me. I’m always learning something here Laurie! xoK

    • You aren’t silly at all … in fact, it’s the Harvard Yale Princeton Club that is in Pittsburgh, and evidenlty has chapters everywhere. I’d never heard of it! but we sure loved that courtyard.

  6. I love wandering old cities and looking at the architecture. Its a nice blend as well with the beautiful trees. You’re a terrific tour guide, Laurie, along with your other terrific talents.

    That walkway is glorious and spoils it for every other bland walkway out there. Why can’t everything be beautiful? I think it’s worth a try.

    • I’d never seen a walkway like that before and thought it was so pretty. Such a bright and beautiful color. I love that someone was thinking differently.

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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