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good hotel near the zoo

Cincinnati, Ohio
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good hotel near the zoo

My husband and I will be visiting with our young daughter in the middle of august. We would like to stay somewhere near the zoo. Is this a good area for families? Is it safe? Also, are there any good restaurants near by?

Pittsburgh, PA
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1. Re: good hotel near the zoo

I can't think of any hotel within walking distance of the zoo, so if you are going to have to drive I recommend the Holiday Inn in Oakland:

ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/sl/1/en/hotel/pitsp…

It gets good reviews here on TA; has a pool, is in a nice university neighborhood with lots of good restaurants within walking distance, you're close to Carnegie Museum and Phipps Conservatory and lots of other things you all might like to do.

Morgantown, West...
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2. Re: good hotel near the zoo

I see where you are from Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a wonderful zoo, which is a little better than Pittsburgh's zoo. Pittsburgh's zoo is similar to the Cincinnati zoo, and we enjoy it very much. And since you haven't been there before, I know you will really enjoy it.

We don't live in Pittsburgh (or Pennsylvania), but we travel to Pittsburgh often. The area around the zoo is NOT a bad part of town. But, there are not a lot of restaurants or hotels in that area. It is more residential.

Downtown Hotels are expensive, and there really isn't that much to do downtown. I would suggest looking at the Greentree area, as there are several affordable hotels there with pools and restaurants nearby (including Vincent's Pizza Pub, my favorite place in the 'Burgh). If you stay in Greentree, then every time you go through the city, you will go through the tunnels. That's really a unique way to enter a city.

The previous poster mentioned the Oakland area. That area does have the Carnegie Science Museum and the University of Pittsburgh, but I don't really like that area. It seems very rundown, and there is a lot of crime in the area. It is the hospital district, and there are a few food choices, but it is difficult to get in and out of the area onto the parkway. And if you don't take the parkway, the other option from Oakland to the Zoo would take you through the Hill District... a VERY bad part of town.

Pittsburgh is great, and I hope you enjoy your visit. There is a lot for kids to do in the area, and for the most part it is a very safe city to bring your kids to. If you are interested in doing more than just going to the zoo, then search this website for things like:

- The inclines

- Kennywood

- Sandcastle

- Science Museum

- Heinz Hall

- Idlewild

- Station Square

- Phipps Conservatory

Good luck, and enjoy your visit.

Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: good hotel near the zoo

WVParkfan, hope you don't mind if I clarify something from your post. :-) Oakland is home to the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (under one roof). The North Side (across the river from downtown) is the location of Carnegie Science Center.

Kids love the dinosaur display at the Natural History museum, and the Carnegie Science Center is great for kids and the young at heart - lots to do and explore there.

Adjacent to the museums in Oakland, on Craig Street, are interesting shops and cafes. Just around the corner, on the University of Pittsburgh campus, you can tour the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning. These are functioning classrooms designed to represent various cultures... Chinese, African, Hebrew, Italian, the priceless Syrian-Lebanon Room, and many more. These are unique and definitely worth visiting. Check the Nationality Rooms website at http://www.pitt.edu/~natrooms/ for more info.

Enjoy your trip shaneandmimi! Pittsburgh is a beautiful city with much to do and see.

Pittsburgh, PA
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4. Re: good hotel near the zoo

Shane and Mimi: I'll let you sort out people's preferences as to neighborhoods, etc. But I certainly would not suggest Oakland if I thought it was dangerous. Since you're traveling with a young child I'm sure you wouldn't be at the bars late at night, no matter what your habits under other circumstances.

Anyway: One reason I suggested staying in Oakland is that it is very easy to drive to the zoo from Oakland. Just head away from town on Fifth Avenue, which turns into Washington Boulevard (after you cross Penn Avenue), which curves left at a T intersection (following the Blue Belt signs) and then you very soon turn left following signs for the zoo parking lot. Just type "Pittsburgh Zoo" into Google Maps and you'll see it.

Ask for directions from the hotel; Fifth Avenue is one way heading into town for a portion of Oakland, so you'd have to loop around to get onto Fifth Avenue at an intersection where you can head away from town. These are just residential streets though, so the driving is easy, no highways to contend with.

Pittsburgh, Pa.
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5. Re: good hotel near the zoo

Another suggestion - and apologies if I'm just adding to your confusion at this point. You could stay in Shadyside, which has a courtyard by Marriott and Shadyside Inn and Suites. You would just have to drive a couple miles down Negley Ave. to get to the zoo, and you'd have easy access to Oakland. You can walk from the Shadyside Inn to a nice business district. You might also want to pop over to the North Side for a visit to the Aviary and Children's Museum. Good luck and welcome!

Pittsburgh, PA
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6. Re: good hotel near the zoo

I'm going to second Shadyside. The Inn on Negly is really nice, but a bit expensive (it's in a better part of Shadyside). The Courtyard that the previous poster suggested is definitely a great location to the Zoo (only about 5 minutes away), and probably safe enough, but it's not in an area that you'd want to walk around.

The other place I'd suggest if you don't mind a slightly longer drive (about 20 minutes from the zoo)is the Waterfront Courtyard, in Homestead. It's in a really nice shopping area with numerous family-friendly restaurants and a great movie theater.

Good luck; hope this helps!

Pittsburgh, PA
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7. Re: good hotel near the zoo

Reading the various suggestions on this and other TA posts makes me realize how important it is to be specific about the information which is requested and given. One person's great eating and shopping area (the Waterfront) is another person's idea of all that is wrong with America.

I don't mean to suggest that one person is right and the other wrong, just that, like "family values," the same words can mean very different things to different people. So I will try to be more careful in how I describe things because we're trying to provide useful information to each other.

Vacaville...
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8. Re: good hotel near the zoo

Oakland is full of one way streets...I'm just sayin

Morgantown, West...
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9. Re: good hotel near the zoo

MapAndCompass,

You are correct, and I made a typo. The Carnegie Science Museum is on the North Shore, next to Heinz Field. It is a magnificent science museum! The Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art are both located in Oakland, and are spectacular. The Museum of Natural History is advertising a new dinosaur display this summer called, “Dinosaurs in Their Time,” which is on our agenda for a trip to the 'Burgh in July.

As for staying in Oakland, to each their own. As a non-resident who has booked many hotels in Allegheny County, I was giving advice to another non-resident. I personally would not be in Oakland with my family after dark. However, since I never have been in Oakland after dark, I guess I can't really speak from experience.

For the Original Poster, I would consider the Oakland area in Pittsburgh to be similar to the Clifton Heights area in Cincinnati. It is an older section of town that has seen deterioration and crime, but is being revitalized. Clifton Heights is next door to the University of Cincinnati, the University hospitals, and near the Cinci Zoo. Oakland houses the University of Pittsburgh, the University hospitals, and the Carnegie Museums. Neither is the "bad" part of town.

The "bad' part of town in Cincinnati is “Over the Rhine” which is a mile away from Clifton Heights. In Pittsburgh, you want to avoid the “Hill District” which is between Oakland and downtown.

So, as I said in my original post (and really the point of all of this): Pittsburgh is GREAT and full of activities for a visiting family. We’re there at least once a month, and even though we only live about 90 miles from the city, we stay in hotels for at least 1/2 of our visits every year, and Pittsburgh has many different types of lodging.

Unfortunately, there really aren’t hotel options around the zoo, but several of us have given advice on where to stay. So, you have plenty of options. If you choose to stay in Oakland, I hope you have a wonderful stay, and make sure you take time for the Carnegie Museums and Schenley Park.

10. Re: good hotel near the zoo

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