How To Spend Summer Days At 4 Breathtaking Pittsburgh Parks!

The City of Pittsburgh goes by many names. Some call it the Steel City, the City of Three Rivers, or even the City of Champions. All these names have been appropriately given by the people who call Pittsburgh home.

One other name that we think should be added to that list is “Park City.” A lesser-known facet of Pittsburgh is its many historic, forested parks. Once rooted in the steel industry, our city has strived to restore its other roots, its many gorgeous natural estates, and vast woodlands.

Whether you want to enjoy a Friday night at an outdoor concert, meet up with friends for a pick-up frisbee match, or a morning walk with your pup, there’s always a park close by. Mellon Park, Frick Park, Highland Park, and Schenley Park are all wonderful opportunities to be outdoors this summer and they’re all around 10-minutes from Franklin West apartments. Let’s take a sneak peek into Pittsburgh’s best-kept secret.

Mellon Park

When you need a little green and gorgeous gardens, Mellon Park has you covered. This park is rich in history. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy reports the original estate belonged to Richard Beatty Mellon and was once known as the largest house in Pittsburgh with 60-rooms. 

Unfortunately, that home is gone now, but the biggest park attraction, the Walled Garden, is still standing. It’s been the center of countless photo opportunities and a perfect place to watch the stars like Ann Katharine Seamans, who now has a famous memorial at the Walled Garden. 

Read more about Ann’s Memorial and more Mellon Park experience here

Mellon Park has plenty of features like vast fields, playgrounds for the kiddos, a spray park, tennis, and basketball courts as well as a pavilion with several picnic tables perfect for a family outing. It’s also known to hold several events during the summer months like Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch.

Photo credit to Jeremy Marshall from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Mellon Park page

Frick Park

Much like Mellon Park, the Frick Park is an estate that once belonged to wealthy Pittsburgh native, Henry Clay Frick. Stretching from northern parts of Point Breeze all the way down to the Monongahela River, the Frick Park has around 106 acres of land. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy reports the Frick Park opening as a park in 1927 after it required more land. 

The Frick has a wonderful spread of outdoor and indoor activities, truly having something for everyone. If you want to go on a long hike, this park is the perfect getaway with extensive woodland trails. The park also features the famous Blue Slide Playground, red clay tennis courts, baseball fields, and much more. 

We can’t forget to mention the Clayton Mansion and Museum. Take a tour through the very home the Clayton family once lived in and become mesmerized by the architectural and designs from the 20th century. You can also visit the art museum! 

Today, the art museum is hosting a fabulous exhibition called A Sporting Vision. Click here for The Frick’s $5 off A Sporting Vision special offer ticket 

Photo from The Frick Pittsburgh Facebook page

Schenley Park & Plaza

Schenley Park is one of Pittsburgh’s most extensive and beautiful parks. The park’s 456 acres was donated land from Mary Schenley and now contain trails, woods, and many attractions. 

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Eat’n Park Hospitality Group teamed up in 2001 to restore the Schenley Park Cafe and Visitor Center and in 2005 the City of Pittsburgh rehabilitated Phipps Run Stream. If you love a good hike, Phipps Run Stream doesn’t disappoint.

You could spend a few hours every day at Schenley Park experiencing something new. There’s the Bob O’Conner Golf course for any golf enthusiast. The Schenley Oval Sportsplex where you will find ice skating in the winter, summer sports during warm months, and take a dip in the pool when the summer sun gets too hot. 

Plus, Schenley Park hosts big annual events like the famous Vintage Grand Prix and the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure! The amazing Phipps Conservatory is also near Schenley Park, which we don’t believe we have to sell you on. The gorgeous garden at Phipps is one all Pittsburghers know about!

Photo credit to Joe Serkoch from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Schenley Park page

Highland Park

A sanctuary reminiscent of the Victorian era, Highland Park is the quintessential an urban oasis. This reservoir has provided drinking water to Pittsburgh since 1879 according to Pittsburgh Park Conservancy. It’s open space and beauty makes it a popular location for picnics and joggers for the iconic Reservoir Loop or Entry Garden. 

Highland Park features Victorian-style gardens with fountains and benches, a bike track, swimming pool, and sand volleyball courts. If you are looking for a fun-filled Saturday with the kids, consider fishing in Carnegie Lake and exploring The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, one of only six zoo and aquarium combinations in the country as reported by Next Pittsburgh

If you’re up for an awesome Friday night out after a long work week, don’t miss out on the Pittsburgh Zoo’s “Summer Safari” special fundraising party. Learn more about the event here.

Photo credit to Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Highland Park page

Whatever your plans are this summer, be sure to get out to one of these spectacular woodland areas! Go out on an impromptu hike with nature or visit the park’s website if you’re looking to plan out your visit! Summer is almost over, don’t spend it indoors.

3 Ways to Make a Difference on Earth Day 2018

Sunday, April 22 marks the day when people from all over the world focus on moving toward a healthy, sustainable environment. According to Earth Day’s official organization, “Earth Day has reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.”

Like all movements, environmental awareness had to start somewhere.

It was started in the 1970’s by US Senator, Gaylord Nelson. For the US, the Vietnam War was an uproar, young people protested, and air pollution policy didn’t exist as industries spewed smoke and smog.

With that said, the goal became to push environmental protections into a political agenda. Nelson partnered with Pete McCloskey and recruited Denis Hayes to spearhead the mission. Soon their staff grew to 85 members and by April 22nd, 1970, 20 million American citizens demonstrated for environmental action.

All of which led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.  

Learn more about the history of Earth Day here.

Taking Action in the ‘Burgh

Let the Earth Day Festivities begin! Join many from our Pittsburgh community in celebration and learn how you can make an impact toward environmental sustainability on April 20th through April 21st.

Click here for more events happening in Pittsburgh.

The motivation behind Earth Day came from the relentless determination of students who fought for change. Want to put in your two cents into the world? Give back to the earth and future generations with your time. What kind of Earth do you want to have in fifty years? Because the time to do something is now.  

April Showers Sprout Gorgeous Flowers at Phipps Conservatory

Spring began in late March, yet rain showers are on the schedule for April. No need to get too distraught though, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has the remedy. 125 years in the making, Phipps gained its five-star reputation by awing guests with uniquely designed and expertly manicured garden scenes.  

Click here for the information you need to visit Phipps.

Tickets are reasonably priced under twenty dollars for adults. And when you purchase online, tickets are good for one day’s use within thirty days of the date of purchase. Plus, we’ll let you in on some secret perks: If you’re a lucky duck who is currently an undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh, we hear admission to Phipps is free during semesters! Not a Pitt student? No worries! Phipps offers a discount with a valid student ID.

Spending a Day at Phipps

Time to venture out into the wild! Well, sort of. Surround yourself with the exotic and natural beauty of floral and herb gardens. They’ll delight your senses with blissful fragrances and eye-catching colors. Here are the exhibits with open dates during April:

Now, with all this talk about things to do, we have to mention where to eat, too! Located inside the Conservatory, Cafe Phipps becomes an awesome place to relax and dine. Partnered with a vibrant environment, Phipps carries environmental stewardship throughout the establishment. This means, at the cafe specifically, they commit to the cleanest, freshest food available while focusing on organic or local produce. And a quick little tip: Phipps Splash, a fruity and healthy alternative to soda, has raving reviews on Yelp.

Classes for Adults

Phipps actually has classes available for children, educators, and communities, as well. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with adults for now, but definitely, check out the classes page for more information on the other programs.

From floral design to culinary, Phipps offers several certificates so you have the ability to diversify in knowledge. Open to anyone, instructors are highly accomplished in their respected fields while encouraging a relaxing and learning-able environment.

Calling All Volunteers

Remember that “be a better person” resolution you made way back when. Well, Phipps has opportunities fitting any interest, from summer camp volunteers and garden guides to special events and horticulture volunteers.

Concerned about balancing volunteering with work/school priorities? Phipps asks for a minimum of three hours per week and at least two times per month. That’s 80 hours a year, which is on the minimal side while definitely still something to hang your hat on.  

For volunteers, Phipps has the mission, “To empower volunteers to contribute to the mission of Phipps while providing a rewarding and engaging experience in an environment where all contributions are valued and appreciated.”

It’s a fantastic way to meet new people with similar interests and contribute to one of Pittsburgh’s beloved landmarks. See where you fit. Plus, why not make the move toward a better you?

Time to Member Up

This isn’t your average whole store membership. Phipps offers one-of-a-kind experiences, event discounts, and exclusive insights. You’re essentially getting unlimited access! Plus, packages range from a year of free admission for one adult at $65 to a sustaining package with several perks at $500. To get specifics on membership perks, click here.

One of the best times to visit is during the spring. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a serene stroll through an exotic indoor/outdoor garden? We would definitely be there in a heartbeat!