When Dr. John Gabbert Bowman became Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh after World War I, he had a vision of a monument to education. So he built it, creating an astonishingly detailed work of architectural art that was also a fully usable addition to the growing university's classroom space.
The Cathedral of Learning didn't just honor the university?it was a tribute to the city itself. More than two dozen rooms serve as portals into a golden era of the history and heritage of nations ranging from Yugoslavia to Africa's ancient Asante kingdoms. And the collection is still expanding.
The Europe-centric first floor boasts the oldest rooms. Modeled on a Romanian Orthodox monastery, the Romanian Room is equipped with hand-carved chairs and an Orthodox iconostasis, while the stone arches and column bas reliefs of the Irish room symbolize the Gaelic oratories of the 12th century. On the third floor, visitors find the Indian room, boasting dramatic arena seating and a colorful watercolor triptych, and the baroque style of the Ukrainian classroom with vividly carved wood and colorful ceramics traditionally designed to test the willpower of rowdy young students.
The annual Pittsburgh International Auto Show brings brand-new cars and auto enthusiasts together for four days of gazing and gear talk. An expansive layout of sparkling domestic and exotic international rides unfurls within the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where show-goers can snap pictures with the auto industry’s latest crop of carriages. Daily events keep attendants abreast of new, innovative technologies and reveal how automakers fit live horses into today’s car engines. The Pittsburgh International Auto Show also keeps youngsters occupied with kid-focused entertainment like the SimZilla extreme racing simulator and a NASCAR racing simulator Hank the interactive robot. For those who are not-so automotively enthused, there are plenty of other forms of entertainment including a 30 ft. ultimate gaming experience trailer, spa treatments, car raffles, and tons of other giveaways and attractions. Discount parking and free shuttles from Smallman St. in The Strip are also available.
The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
Each year, hundreds of spirit connoisseurs gather around the ample sampling tables of the Pittsburgh Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival. Seasoned tasters and curious beginners alike sip not only whiskies and scotches from the likes of Balvenie, Laphroaig, and Knob Creek, but also sample gin, vodka, tequila, and other spirits crafted by distilleries from throughout the globe. Attendees can make a beeline for their favorite firewater or take an opportunity to try a pour of pricier brands reserved only for movie stars who need it to support their barley-based DNA structure as gourmet appetizers and live music add to the cocktail-party atmosphere. Meanwhile, guests can browse and bid on a silent auction that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s western-Pennsylvania chapter.
Since 1984, Three Rivers Rowing Association has become one of the largest community-based rowing and paddling clubs in the country, converting neophytes into boating lovers and helping experts hone their form. With the use of two boathouses located on the Allegheny River, the club is home to crews from three local colleges and nine high schools and was named the 2002, 2010, and 2013 Club of the Year from USRowing. In addition to winter and summer rowing leagues, the club runs amateur dragon-boating leagues and sponsors the Pittsburgh Paddlefish, a dragon-boating team that competes at the international level.
Colors & Bottles' founder Jessica Burley and her band of talented local artists are dedicated to supporting local emerging talent and businesses through art instruction held at nearby venues. Their resident artists travel to local eateries and art galleries, where they teach students of all skill levels to fashion dimensional masterpieces through step-by-step instruction. They also kindle creativity during private parties held at the location of your choice, asking only that the destination be outfitted with enough tables, chairs, and paint-by-numbers templates of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for all invitees. Colors & Bottles has received a nod for their engagingly creative events on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and within the pages of the Columbus Dispatch.