Quirky Attraction: The Pittsburgh Inclines

monongahela incline

The Pittsburgh Inclines
: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1197 W. Carson St and 73 W. Carson St)
When to visit: Open 5:30 am to 12:45 am (shorter hours on Sundays)
Cost: $5 round-trip for adults
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
Website: www.stationsquare.com/info/inclines

I love old-fashioned methods of transportation, from the streetcars in New Orleans to the cable cars in San Francisco. Maybe the coolest quaint method of travel is the incline, which rises straight up the side of a hillside. Anytime you see a really cool picture of downtown Pittsburgh, chances are it was taken from Mt. Washington at the top of one of the city’s two inclines.

grandview avenue

Both inclines opened way back in the 1870s as critical means of transportation to take residents up and down the hill quickly. Don’t worry – the old cars and tracks have been restored many times over the years. The inclines now take riders up approximately 400 feet at a speed of 6 miles per hour.

pittsburgh incline

Fewer than 25 people can fit in each car, so it’s an intimate trip, and the inclines are open from before sunrise to well after sunset, so you can come during the day or visit at night, which many people prefer since the city is all lit up after dark.

monongahela incline top

Which incline should you ride? For cool views and photos of the city, the Duquesne Incline is better because it’s a bit further from downtown and provides a better angle of the skyline. The Monongahela Incline is more useful if you don’t have a vehicle, since you can easily walk to it from downtown and/or the South Side.

mt washington view

Give yourself some extra time to spend at the top of the mountain. USA Today once ranked the view from Grandview Avenue at the top of Mt. Washington the second-most beautiful view in America, behind only the rim of the Grand Canyon. There are lookouts here for you to take in the city for miles in each direction and to pose for cute photographs with your significant other.

incline close up

For locals who live on Mt. Washington, the Duquesne and Monongahela inclines are just another form of daily transportation. They ride it like the bus or subway. But for tourists, the incline is the most awesome way to see Pittsburgh – and maybe the most awesome way to see any American city. The incline is an absolute must-do while visiting the Steel City.

Quirky Attraction: Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum

duquesne incline

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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  1. Great blog post! Hope to see more about your Pittsburgh visit. I’m from the ‘Burgh & have ridden the inclines several times. You’re right. The view is the best one east of the Mississippi. Just another quirky thing about the inclines: The locals pronounce the word IN-cline. (In Pittsburgh, they might say “I’m goin’ dahn tahn & rad the IN-cline.”)
    I always look forward to your blog posts.

  2. I love me a good funicular, and this one looks really cute! I agree with you about old-fashioned modes of transport, Scott, they’re somehow more satisfying than modern crap. Lovely!

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