At one point in time Pittsburgh was home to nearly twenty active funiculars, or inclines as they are called here, which were used to transport people and cargo up and down the many different hills located around the city.
Sadly, most of the Pittsburgh incline funiculars have closed over time, the city is now home to only two: the Monongahela Incline, located at Station Square, and the Duquesne Incline, located a mile down Carson Street.
Although we thoroughly enjoy riding both of these funiculars, for those who are interested in enjoying the best view the city has to offer, taking a ride on the Duquesne Incline is a must do experience.
A Long History and Beautiful Views at the Duquesne Incline
As one of only two remaining inclines in the city of Pittsburgh, the Duquesne Incline is near and dear to everyone's hearts (much like its sister, the Monongahela Incline, located further down Grandview near Station Square).
Opened in 1877, the Duquesne Incline has had a long history that included being used as cargo transport, used as worker transport before roads were built, and surviving a brief closure in the 1960s that resulted in the community raising funds to ensure the historic funicular would be operated for many years to come.
Today the Duquesne Incline is primarily used for tourism as its location is quite a bit removed from the main downtown traffic path that its sister incline, located approximately one mile to the east, is used for.
The highlight of the visit to this incline is enjoying the gorgeous view of the city which includes downtown's skyline, the three rivers (the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny), as well the city's famous stadiums.
A visit to the incline for first-timers (especially those who are visiting Pittsburgh) is best done by parking at the incline's paid lot at the base of Mount Washington to allow the city's view to open up for you as you ride up.
The top station features many historical records from the incline's history, significant details about how the incline operates, as well as a gorgeous observation deck connected to the station.
For those who love the incline and are interested in checking out how the technology works in even greater detail than what is available in the public areas, the Duquesne Incline offers a self-guided walking tour of the machinery room for 50 cents.
A visit down into this section will likely only take you a few minutes, and other than seeing the large cables and reading a few detailed descriptions of how the machinery works (several of which are available in the lobby), it may not be of interest to most- especially because a few of the largest gears are visible from the public spaces to begin with.
Head to the Point of View Statue for the Best View
If there is one thing about the Duquesne Incline and the viewpoint on Mount Washington I find most interesting, it would be that there is an even better vantage point located just a few minutes away from the station's platform- and very few people seem to know about it.
When you exit the station, turn right, and head up a small hill roughly 300 feet. You'll come to a statue of George Washington and Seneca leader Guyasuta during one of their meetings which occurred in the region (although was not likely at this gorgeous spot).
Not only is this statue and published history interesting and worth reading about on the placards at the site, the view of the city is even better than at the incline itself thanks to the lack of fencing and other obstructions that are present on the official viewing platform.
What Else to See on Mount Washington
Unfortunately, the Duquesne Incline is somewhat isolated on Mount Washington, and unless you are dining at one of the upscale restaurants nearby you will be expecting a bit of a walk to enjoy the other nearby attractions.
Two of the most popular things to do while at the top of the incline include a hike around the side of Mount Washington in the hiking trail that begins at the Point of View statue, as well as walking to the Monongahela Incline (located one mile east- or left as you exit the Duquesne incline station) for more views of Pittsburgh's skyline and checking out a few boutique shops and budget restaurants nearby.
As both of these require a walk in excess of one mile each way, it may be a better activity for those who park their cars at the top of Mount Washington during a visit rather than those who pay to park at the bottom.
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No matter what activities you choose to enjoy during your trip up the Duquesne Incline, one thing is certain- you will thoroughly enjoy what is the best viewpoint in all of Pittsburgh!
The Duquesne Incline is located on Mount Washington, has public parking at 1197 West Carson Street in the South Side, and is open seven days a week. Exact fare is required.
Looking for more things to do in the neighborhood? Check out our Mount Washington neighborhood guide for all of the best things to see, eat, and do!