Courtesy of NOVAdventuring

In its latest Weekending feature, the Virginia-based family-focused travel blog NOVAdventuring falls in love with Pittsburgh one breathaking view at a time.

On a mission to let the universe know why everyone should share their contagious passion for Pittsburgh–and why our fair city is a fabulous designation for families–the blog’s adventurous author was inspired to trek here after seeing a tourism commercial on television that features “fantastical images of green spaces, gorgeous buildings, fun activities and beautiful scenery.”

Courtesy of NOVAdventuring

An online resource for families looking for fun activities to do with their kids in Northern Virginia and surrounding areas, NOVAdventuring aims to introduce families to “places that adults and kids will enjoy, might not have thought to visit before or didn’t even know existed.”

On its Facebook page, the travel blog describes the article as “a monster of a post on one of my new favorite places–Pittsburgh,” with the call to action for travel buffs to “Treat your family to a weekend trip. I promise you’ll fall in love with the city known as the Paris of Appalachia.”

The detailed travel itinerary starts with a eureka moment:

Courtesy of NOVAdventuring.

“I didn’t grow up in this part of the country; I had no idea what Pittsburgh was like but in my head, I associated Pittsburgh with giant industrial smoke stacks belching black smoke into the air, rusty railroad trestles, hard looking people worn down by years in the coal mine, millions of Steelers flags everywhere. I imagined a decaying and decrepit Rust Belt city, where it was gritty, ugly, and most likely cold almost all of the time. Never in my life had I ever considered Pittsburgh a ‘must-see’ destination based on this very flawed personal projection I had of the city.”

And now?

“Pittsburgh is, I am here to tell you, absolutely nothing like that. It is the most beautiful city you never knew was beautiful. I fell in love with it. It is now my goal to compel everyone I know to take a trip there and experience Pittsburgh. I am an enthusiastic Pittsburgh fan now. I want you ALL to go to Pittsburgh!”

The extensive feature goes on to profile Pittsburgh’s unique topography, landmark architecture, dramatic views and much more:

“Entering the city of Pittsburgh via car means going through the Fort Pitt tunnel, bored into the mountain beneath Mount Washington. When you exit this tunnel you shoot out onto the top level of the double-decker yellow Fort Pitt Bridge, crossing the Monongehala river. In a simple way, it reminded me of when Dorothy walks out of her tornado-ravaged black-and-white Kansas house into the bright and colorful world of Oz. You’re in a dark tunnel one minute and the next you’re hurtling across the water on a yellow bridge, with other yellow bridges criss-crossing the water all around you. It is the most spectacular entrance into a city I have ever experienced. On a bright sunny day, the beauty of it will take your breath away.”

Courtesy of NOVAdventuring.

What top destinations does NOVAdventuring recommend?

Touting Pittsburgh as being “the perfect family-friendly destination,” the blogs falls in love with The National Aviary (“giving you a close-up view you just can’t get at most zoos”), Phipps Conservatory (“the greatest botanical garden you will ever see in your life) and Schenley Plaza–where the writer and her family devoured a delicious pre-dinner snack consisting of Liege waffles topped with Speculoos cookie butter and sliced bananas from Waffallonia.

Hopping aboard the scenic Duquesne Incline, the author warns: “I’m going to be 100% honest with you and tell you that although the view is absolutely worth the ride, the Duquesne Incline operation is run pretty poorly and it might be a stressful endeavor.” Thankfully, she offers some handy tips for families up for the ride.

Courtesy of NOVAdventuring.

Day two included stops at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Cathedral of Learning and then time for both adults and kids in her clan to explore the colorful outdoor Lozziwurm at Carnegie Museum of Art.

Her only regret? That her family “didn’t get to eat at any ‘real’ Pittsburgh restaurants.”

But it’s clear that this travel writer will be back very soon, and already has plans to visit the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, catch a Pirates game at PNC Park, ride on a Duck Tour, visit the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, and eat a sandwich stuffed with french fries at Primanti Bros.

Courtesy of NOVAdventuring.

For families with the travel bug, NOVAdventuring sums it up best:

“If you’re looking for a fun new weekend trip destination for your family, I can’t suggest Pittsburgh highly enough. With an easy, scenic drive, relatively close location, and a city jam-packed with beautiful sites and fun activities, Pittsburgh is somewhere every family should visit if they have the chance. It feels like a secret place that nobody ever tells you about and exploring it gives you the impression you’re discovering a hidden treasure. The city’s slogan is ‘Mighty. Beautiful.’ It is that, indeed. You simply must go.”

Read the entire article, Weekending: Pittsburgh Edition.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...