If you’re looking for the best things to see and do at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, you’re in the right place!
The park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which merge to form the Ohio River.
The park commemorates the strategic and historic heritage of the Forks of the Ohio during America’s early colonial period.
The 36 acre park opened in 1974, upon the completion of its iconic fountain.
What follows is a list of some of the best things to see and do at Point State Park, sometimes referred to as “downtown Pittsburgh’s front lawn!”
1. The Fort Pitt Museum
There’s no better place to learn about the pivotal role “the Point” played during the French & Indian War than the Fort Pitt Museum at Point State Park.
The museum is operated by the Heinz History Center and is housed in a recreated bastion of Fort Pitt, the original having been built in 1758 by the British.
The primary focus of the Fort Pitt Museum is explaining the role that the fort played during the French and Indian War.
The museum also features information on Fort Pitt’s role during the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the founding of Pittsburgh.
The Fort Pitt Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed major holidays) and you can find out more about it at the museum’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
2. The Fort Pitt Block House
The Fort Pitt Block House was constructed in 1764 as part of the supplemental defenses of Fort Pitt.
That makes the block house the oldest authenticated structure west of the Allegheny Mountains.
After the British abandoned Fort Pitt in 1772, the Block House was used as a trading post for a number of years, and then as a private residence.
In 1894, philanthropist Mary Schenley presented the deed to the Block House to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who own and operate it to this day.
3. The Fountain
Like the Space Needle in Seattle or the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, the Point Fountain has become a symbol for the city of Pittsburgh.
The water in the fountain comes not from the visible Three Rivers but from a subterranean river 54 feet below the surface called the Wisconsin Glacial Flow.
LED lighting illuminates the fountain at night.
The fountain also serves as the northwestern terminus for the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail.
4. The Great Lawn
The Great Lawn, as the name implies, is a large, grassy open space at the heart of Point State Park.
A concrete tracery marking the original outline of Fort Duquesne, built by the French in 1754 and subsequently destroyed by the French in 1758, so that it would not fall into British hands.
Today a medallion in the center of the Great Lawn commemorates Fort Duquesne’s brief existence.
5. City Views
Even if the historical significance of “the Point” doesn’t excite you, the exceptional views in all directions make a visit to Point State Park worthwhile.
Looking across the Allegheny River towards the North Shore, Acrisure Stadium (formerly Heinz Field) is the home of the Pitt Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
To the southwest, the Duquesne Incline is plainly visible.
A walk around the perimeter of Point State Park will leave little doubt as to why Pittsburgh is nicknamed the “City of Bridges”.
You can even stand beneath one of the city’s famous bridges for a interesting view of the stadiums on the North Shore.
The Portal Bridge and reflecting pool on the eastern side of the park is another photogenic spot to check out.
Directions to Point State Park
The closest parking area to Point State Park is located at 601 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (indicated by blue star on map below) and it costs $10 for all-day parking.
Or if you’re staying on the North Shore (as I often do when visiting Pittsburgh), you can simply walk across the Fort Duquesne Pedestrian Walkway alongside the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
But no matter how you get there, Point State Park offers magnificent views steeped in centuries of American history, and is well worth visiting when passing through Pittsburgh.
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