Point State Park: The Complete Guide

Three people in kayaks in Pittsburgh's Point State Park

 TripSavvy / Angelina Pilarinos

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Point State Park

Address
601 Commonwealth Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
Phone +1 412-565-2850

Look at Point State Park on a map and you'll see where it gets its name: The park literally points out of downtown Pittsburgh and juts out into the spot where the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers converge. It's the tip of Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle," and the park commemorates and preserves the historic heritage of the area that dates back to the French and Indian War. With its riverfront promenades, beautiful views, and massive 150-foot fountain, Point State Park is the perfect urban escape to add to your Pittsburgh itinerary.

Things to Do

Point State Park is a National Historic Landmark and tells the story of Pittsburgh's pivotal involvement in the French and Indian War back when it was a military fort called Fort Pitt. Twenty-three monuments, plaques, and markers throughout the park commemorate the events, people, and places of historic importance.

The Fort Pitt Blockhouse is the only remaining building of the former Fort Pitt and is open for free tours. Built by British Colonel Henry Bouquet, it's the oldest structure in Western Pennsylvania, dating back to 1764. For even more about local history, the Fort Pitt Museum is a re-creation of the original fort that preserves the frontier history of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania through numerous exhibits and displays.

If you're not into history, Point State Park offers a beautiful place to spend an afternoon with a paved promenade circling the rivers, a huge fountain for cooling off, and beautifully landscaped grounds made for strolling. The massive fountain that shoots water 200 feet into the air is a popular place for sunbathers, families, and kids playing in the water. It operates daily—weather permitting—during the spring, summer, and fall.

Best Hikes & Trails

This state park feels more like a city park and because of its small size, there are no "hiking trails" fully within Point State Park. However, there are plenty of walkways for taking a pleasant stroll and two long-distance hiking trails that pass through the park.

  • Three Rivers Heritage Trail: This 37-mile riverfront trail winds through the Pittsburgh area, following the three rivers for scenic views. It's open year-round for pedestrians, joggers, and bikers.
  • Great Allegheny Passage: Point State Park is the terminus for this 141-mile hiking and biking trail that crosses through Southern Pennsylvania all the way to Cumberland, Maryland.

Where to Stay Nearby

This once industrial city has experienced a sort of renaissance and is now a major destination in Pennsylvania for outdoor recreation, trendy bars and restaurants, and a burgeoning arts scene. To support Pittsburgh's growing tourist demand, you can find a range of places to spend the night from budget inns to boutique hotels. Point State Park is located right in downtown and easily accessible from the rest of the city, so feel free to explore other neighborhoods when looking for lodging.

  • Wyndham Hotel: If you want to spend the night overlooking the park, the Wyndham Hotel is about as close as you can get. Request a room with a riverfront view and you'll likely get views of the park along with it.
  • Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh: This trendy hotel attracts guests who are young or young at heart with its on-site Prohibition-style tavern and reasonable prices. It's located in the East Liberty neighborhood, which is one of the city's hippest areas.
  • Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh: This elegant hotel downtown is just a couple of blocks away from the park and really ups the romance factor with its lush decor. The rooftop bar is also a great place to hang out with views of the river after a day spent exploring the city.

For more local options, check out the best hotels in Pittsburgh.

How to Get There

Point State Park is located right at the tip of downtown Pittsburgh, at the "point" where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River. There's a parking lot along Commonwealth Place where you can park your car for a fee as well as limited meter parking on the nearby streets. However, driving in downtown Pittsburgh is a headache and you're better off using public transportation. The light rail system—known as the "T"—and buses connect downtown to the rest of the city, and using public transit within downtown is free of charge.

Accessibility

This state park is completely accessible including the pathways, water fountains, restrooms, and the two museums within the park. There is a drop-off area at the park entrance where visitors can bring their cars if needed.

Tips for Your Visit

  • The best time to visit the park is generally from May to October when the weather has finally warmed up. Winter in the city can feel brutal, but there's something special about visiting the park when it's covered in snow.
  • Point State Park is free and open to the public, as is the Fort Pitt Blockhouse located within the park. The Fort Pitt Museum does charge admission to enter, however.
  • Point State Park is open daily from sunrise to 11 p.m.
  • One of the biggest annual events in the city is Pittsburgh Pride, which is the biggest LGBTQ+ festival in Pennsylvania. It's held at Point State Park each year in July.
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Point State Park: The Complete Guide