Driving through Western Pennsylvania, one may grow increasingly skeptical of the travel guides that tout the state’s bustling cities. Not that this is a problem. Rising as tall as skyscrapers, the Appalachian Mountains lay claim to their own kind of beauty—a beauty that spreads out across the region’s sprawling valleys and rushing rivers. Hidden in this vast wilderness is America’s only all-water cavern and wildlife park, Penn’s Cave. And beyond it are the Keystone State’s oft-touted cities, which present no shortage of things to do and historic sites to visit.
Though renowned for its place as a cornerstone in American history, Philadelphia is also gaining esteem as an epicenter for the arts. Old City, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, has seen an infusion of new art galleries in recent years. On the first Friday of every month, crowds pack into the neighborhood for free viewings, performances, and wine during the aptly named First Friday event. While some flock to the Northern Liberties neighborhood to view work by new and local artists, others discover their inner fighter as they scale the “Rocky Steps” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If they wisely choose to enter the museum after their triumphal ascent, they will find world-class paintings by Matisse and Picasso.
Way out west, Pittsburgh holds its own in the art world with the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The Steel City boasts other eye-pleasing sights as well, such as the more than 600 birds that flap their colorful wings inside the National Aviary. One sight that won’t be easy to stomach for visiting players is the waving of Terrible Towels inside the Steelers’ home of Heinz Field.