Sometimes, the “hokey, touristy” thing to do is popular because it is a great experience, and blowing it off means that you’ll miss something that you would very much enjoy.
That is the case with taking a Pittsburgh river cruise, especially if you go around sunset.
As I already knew from an earlier walk around downtown Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania, it is easy to navigate the city both on foot and with public transportation. To get to the Gateway Clipper Fleet landing on the Monongahela River, take the T light rail to Station Square.
The Three Rivers Sightseeing Cruise (US$22 for adults) is only an hour, and packs a lot of information and views into that 60 minutes.
Note – the Three Rivers cruise is available April – December.
It’s offered daily June through October, but only on weekends in spring and winter.
You’ll see downtown Pittsburgh from “both sides” – the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers – plus “the tip” looking back past Point State Park from the Ohio River section (see photo at top.)
One of my favorite parts of our short journey was seeing all of the people enjoying various water sports, with interesting architecture from many eras as their backdrop.
After walking back and forth over some of Pittsburgh’s many bridges, it was fun to glide underneath them, too, waving at the pedestrians above.
The cruise guide narration coming through speakers inside and out is frequent, but not annoying.
Of course, I loved all the historical tidbits, like the importance of this row of 1800s buildings below – the Firstside Historic District – to the city’s commercial waterfront heritage, contrasted with the modern glass turrets of PPG Place soaring behind them….
The hour was over before we knew it, so we splurged on an elegant dinner at the nearby Grand Concourse restaurant, then took a quick Lyft ride over to the Duquesne Incline to go up and see this nighttime view….
I probably wouldn’t go for a dinner cruise in most destinations – they’re not exactly known for their fabulous food – but any time you can grab a short waterborne experience in a city, you should do so.
Which city has a sightseeing cruise that you love? Let us know in the comments.
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