5 Ways to Get Out on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on August 3, 2022.

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Not every city can boast of having two rivers. Even fewer cities can boast of having three. Even fewer still can claim that their downtown rests on the confluence of three rivers, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offers just that.

As such, it should be no surprise that the rivers in Pittsburgh take a prominent stage from skyline views to activities you can experience when in the city.

So in this one, we thought we'd share several of the best ways to get out on the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers in Pittsburgh!

Gateway Clipper Tours

Gateway Clipper and the Duquesne Incline

If any activity is synonymous with getting out on the three rivers in Pittsburgh, it is the Gateway Clipper. This fleet of historic boats has been taking passengers up and down the three rivers since the 1950s and offers numerous tours including basic sightseeing loops, themed dinners, and special events as well.

The Gateway Clipper also offers a shuttle service during games and concerts at PNC Park and Acrisure Stadium, making for a great option for those who do not want to travel into the city when there is traffic, too!

The Gateway Clipper Fleet can be found in Station Square at 350 W Station Square Drive. 

Rivers of Steel Tours

Rivers of Steel Tour

You may know of the Rivers of Steel organization for managing the iconic Carrie Furnace in Rankin, but they recently acquired a research vessel, aptly named the Explorer, that has been repurposed for river cruises as well!

One of the best parts of the Rivers of Steel tours is that they involve a strong educational component and tend to go further down the three rivers than conventional sightseeing tours on the Gateway Clipper (above).  So if you simply want more time on the water or want to learn a deeper history of the city, this tour is for you- although note that their tours are far less frequent than the Clipper as well.

The Rivers of steel: Explorer Riverboat can be found docked on the Ohio River behind the Carnegie Science Center at 1 Allegheny Avenue in the North Side.

Kayak Rentals on the Allegheny River

Kayak Pittsburgh

Want to power your own vessel when out on the rivers? Kayak Pittsburgh has been renting out kayaks to active Pittsburghers for many years, giving an intimate experience out on the rivers.

Historically, Kayak Pittsburgh operated from a rental building underneath the Clemente Bridge; however, in 2022, they relocated upstream to the James Sharp Landing in Sharpsburg. As such, while you may not get a chance to make it to the city (as the dock is about eight miles east), we hear that they may be returning downtown in future seasons here soon!

Other rental companies also exist on the rivers, with 10.7 Marina in Verona offering opportunities to get out and explore Sycamore Island

Kayak Pittsburgh is located at 1301 Main Street in Sharpsburg, PA and 10.7 Marina is located at 314 Arch Street in Verona, PA.

Steel City Jet Ski Rentals

Steel City Jet Ski Rentals

Are kayaks not a big enough adrenaline rush for you? Steel City Jet Ski Rentals offers personal rentals of these high-speed machines!

Much like Kayak Pittsburgh, this one operates out of the docks in Sharpsburg. But unlike a kayak rental, you can be downtown in just about 15 minutes when traveling at 40 mph or more.

Jet ski rentals have more rules you have to keep in mind, including requiring a boating license (temporary ones are available for guests), age limitations (16+), advanced training via a short safety course, and more. But it really is hard to beat zooming around Point State Park on one of these crafts if you have the opportunity!

  • Note: Downtown Pittsburgh has wake restrictions around the Point on weekends (5 mph max), so if you are looking to get a bit of speed this activity is best enjoyed during the week when fewer boats are out on the water. Please be mindful of others when riding jet skis as they can create large wakes that are problematic for nearby crafts like kayaks, pontoons, and small boats. 

Steel City Jet Ski Rentals is located at 151 19th Street in Sharpsburg, PA.

Charter a Boat in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Boat Charters

Finally, we come to simply chartering a boat on the rivers in Pittsburgh! There are actually a number of great options to consider that include renting your own pontoon boat (boating license required) and captained options including the Pittsburgh Pirate Ship, the Cruisin' Tikis, and more!

So if you don't have a friend who owns a boat to get you out on the water, you really have no shortage of options in the Steel City!

What is your favorite way to get out on Pittsburgh's rivers? Comment below to share!

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