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July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

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Poconos
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July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

Hi all, and thanks for a wonderfully informative forum. We'll be kicked out of our campground on Lake Erie on July 1 ... :( and so we have to drive home. We thought we'd stop by your city, since we've never been. We are in our 40s, with an 18-month-old boy who loves things with wheels and a 4-year-old girl who loves superheroes. All excellent adventurers. We hear there's some kind of regatta over July 4. Could be fun.

In the interests of avoiding traffic to get to said regatta, would y'all stay downtown? If so, where? If not, where? And how would you handle the traffic thingie?

We seem to be interested in the science museum, the zoo, Point State Park, and maybe a couple of other kid things. I don't think there's one central locale that would enable us to walk to all those things, am I right?

Thanks in advance!

Boston, MA
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1. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

Pittsburgh does a very good job on the fourth of July. Terrific fireworks, a nice crowd. Big, but pleasant. The Pittsburgh Symphony used to perform before the fireworks but I read that they are not going to do that this year. I think that might affect the crowd. If they are being replaced with something very "current" I'd worry about the crowd. Symphony folk are a little less likely to throw cherry bombs. And Point State Park- where the music is- will be packed!

I would definitely stay downtown. The Hilton is closest to Point State Park. The only place you mentioned that you couldn't walk to from the Hilton is the zoo.

Driving into and around Pittsburgh is confusing and annoying so get in, park and drive out on the fifth of July. I have never driven anywhere like Pittsburgh. They REFUSE to allow you to change lanes and the signs for the roads you need are immediately before the exits. I drive in Pittsburgh by getting into whatever lane has the most traffic as it is easier to exit a line than join one. I'm not kidding about refusing to let you in the lane. I learned to drive in NYC. I'm not a shy driver. It's a game of chicken they are prepared to lose!

Once they are out of their cars, the people in Pittsburgh are very nice. I always enjoy visiting. You children might enjoy a ride on the incline, too. There is a nice view from the top of Mount Washington. Have fun!

Pittsburgh, PA
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2. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

The symphony is being replaced by the River City Brass Band, so don't you worry about that attracting a wild crowd. RCBB is a very good, but rather old-fashioned, band with a very entertaining director and they're sure to be playing all the Sousa marches anyone could hope to hear

I agree with the response by Boston732 that you should stay downtown, or at least close enough to walk (which in my opinion broadens the hotel options to include the Sheraton at Station Square and the SpringHill Suites on Federal Street by PNC Park).

Pittsburgh is a hard city to navigate because of the hills, rivers, lack of a grid-based street layout, and poor signage. I disagree with Boston732 as to the cause of the drivers' behavior though--Pittsburgh drivers are really wimpy, and that makes them bad drivers. They're terrified (maybe with reason) that they'll be in the wrong lane and go shooting over some bridge and never get home again--faced with that, would you let you in?

Anyway, come and enjoy yourselves. Welcome to Pittsburgh.

Poconos
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3. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

Hey, thanks a lot for the quick responses! I noticed nobody mentioned the Renaissance as a hotel option; it seems to get a pretty good rating here. Would it be a good option?

(And I lived in Brooklyn for seven years and drove into Manhattan every day for work -- I think I can handle Pittsburgh drivers, even though I'm out of practice!)

Pittsburgh, PA
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4. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

Any of the downtown hotels would be fine, and the Renaissance Hotel is at the right end of town for you. Another activity your kids might like is the Aviary--on the North Side as is the Science Center. From Station Square there are various boat rides which can be fun, including Just Ducky which is one of land/water tours.

Sewickley
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5. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

Krenster, I just did an Expedia search for Pittsburgh Hotel rates for the period of Saturday, June 24 through Wednesday, July 12. (This gives a snapshot of rates covering three consecutive Saturday through Tuesday periods.) The search indicates slightly lower rates for the July 1-4 period.

Considering the above, if you elect to bid for your hotel room on Priceline for 4* or 3* accommodations in either the Downtown or Greentree zones, I think you’ll probably come up with an exceptional bargain.

These are the current Priceline star level hotels: Downtown – ( 4*) Renaissance and Westin (3*) Omni William Penn, Marriott City Center, Hilton Hotel and Tower and Sheraton Station Square; Greentree – (3) Radisson and Holiday Inn.

If you go to www.BiddingForTravel.com any check the winning bid postings on BFT’s Hotels/Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh pages, you will find that:

Bidders for 4* Downtown hotels have been successful generally in the $65 to $70 range;

Bidders for 3* Downtown hotels have been successful generally in the $40 to $5 range; and

Bidders for 3* Greentree hotels have been successful generally in the $35 to $40 range.

If you are comfortable with driving in Pittsburgh, one of the Greentree hotels would give you more flexibility, plus free parking. If you stay Downtown, you’ll probably have to pay about $15 or more daily for parking.

Greentree is about a five-minute drive from Downtown. It’s also convenient if you want to view the city from Mt. Washington or ride the Duquesne Heights Incline. To reach Mt. Washington from the Greentree Radisson or Holiday Inn:

Make a left out of the hotel driveway onto Mansfield Ave. for about 0.7 mile; turn left on Greentree Road for about 2 miles to base of hill; turn right on Woodville Ave for 0.2 mile; turn left onto Minnotte Square, which becomes Shaler Street for about 0.7 to top of hill; turn right on Grandview Ave. for 0.3 mile to Duquesne Heights Incline.

You usually can find free parking within a couple blocks of the Duquesne Heights Incline along Oneida, Cohassett or Meridan streets. Free parking is also available in an area located below and across Carson Street from the base of the Duquesne Heights Incline.

If you want to ride the Monongahela Incline at the other end of Grandview Avenue, there is no free parking nearby; tickets are issued frequently for violators in residential parking only zones. Park either in the metered garage at Virginia Ave./Shiloh St., about two block away from the top of the Monongahela Incline, or in the Station Square complex across Carson Street from the base of the incline.

Boston, MA
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6. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

We've stayed at the Renaissance. It was very nice. Quiet and friendly. The parking lot across the street was extremely convenient and reasonable. (I don't know if the holiday will affect that.)

You can walk across the river to the "north side". (Well, across the bridge, actually : ) I'm not sure about the neighborhood, though. Once you got past the stadium it looked a little deserted. We turned back. Any Pittsburgh folk know if it's okay to walk to the Aviary? It looks like a long walk through a deserted area. The Children's Museum is over there too.

Sounds like a fun trip. Try Boston for the fourth of July, sometime! It's a real experience.

pittsburgh
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7. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

I'm a pittsburgh native (well actually suburb couple minutes outside of pitt.) When looking for something to do with your young ones you should definately go to the carnegie science center, trust me they will love it! I used to go on a school field trip there every year. Also another really fun place for kids is just about right across the street name Sports Works. They have every fun thing you can imagine for kids. You should also check out the strip district on saturday mornings, tons of great food (everything really inexpensive) Pitssburgh is a very cultural city so make sure you can check out all the little specialty stores, you wont be dissapointed.

8. Re: July 4 with kids? Should we even TRY?

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