Weeklong Downtown events to shine light on Pittsburgh's revitalization

Ever wonder what it's like to stand on the rooftop of Pittsburgh's tallest building or to sample the residential life in Downtown? Some people will have the chance to do one or the other or maybe even both, along with other activities, this week.

Coinciding with its 20th anniversary, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is planning an array of events -- from walking tours to salsa dancing in Market Square -- to highlight Downtown's remarkable revitalization.

There will be "Christmas in July," complete with a visit by Santa, at the PDP's weekly farmers market Thursday in Market Square; food-and-drink tasting Tuesday at seven Downtown restaurants; and a picnic Friday in Upper Mellon Green next to the BNY Mellon Building. Tickets must be purchased for the food-and-drink tasting and the picnic, but many of the other events will be free.

It's the first time the partnership has offered "Celebrate Downtown," as it is calling the eight days of activities through July 21. Leigh White, PDP spokeswoman, said the organization was looking for a way to commemorate its 20th anniversary but in a manner that put the focus on Downtown and the changes that have occurred over much of the past decade.

It also ties in with the PDP's goal of trying to attract more people into the Golden Triangle to work, live and shop.

"The heart of our mission is to improve the vitality of Downtown, for a moment or for a lifetime," Ms. White said. "To be able to have eight days of vibrant, fun, active programming. We know that's the type of thing people want in a neighborhood."

"All Access Downtown," planned for Saturday, likely will attract much interest.

That day, the PDP will offer rooftop tours of the 64-story U.S. Steel Tower, the city's tallest building, and tours of three of Downtown's residential properties -- Piatt Place (the former Lazarus store), River Vue (the former State Office Building) and the Pennsylvanian.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation also will be providing all five of its Downtown walking tours that day. A tour of Downtown public art will be available, and many Golden Triangle churches and Cultural District venues will be open to check out.

Tickets or reservations are required for some of the tours. They can be obtained on the PDP's website at www.DowntownPittsburgh.com/CelebrateDowntown. Two of the three U.S. Steel rooftop tours already are sold out, but Ms. White said more might be added.

Other highlights of the week include:

* Downtown Dine Around: Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, diners will be able to sample food and drinks at four of seven restaurants -- Sonoma, Ten Penny, Seviche, Perle, Grit and Grace, Nine on Nine, and Sienna Mercato -- that have participated in the PDP's Paris to Pittsburgh facade grant program. Tickets are $60 each and can be purchased on the PDP website.

* Project Pop Up: Picnic: From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, visitors will be able to picnic on Upper Mellon Green at Ross and Sixth avenues, with Hundred Wood, a new restaurant opening on the Point Park University campus, offering three different pre-ordered lunches. The PDP will provide picnic blankets. Tickets are $12 each and can be obtained on the PDP website.

* Open Streets Pittsburgh: From 8 a.m. until noon Sunday, Sixth and Market streets from the Roberto Clemente Bridge to Market Square will be closed to vehicles for walking, dancing, skating, playing and socializing. Yoga, Zumba, dance classes and a climbing wall will be available along the half-mile stretch. The PDP, Bike Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are sponsoring the event.

A full listing of all events scheduled for the week is available on the partnership website.

Jeremy Waldrup, PDP CEO and president, said the activities will "shine a spotlight on the programming, architecture, organizations and businesses that make Downtown Pittsburgh the neighborhood that everyone is talking about."

"Downtown has grown into a world-class neighborhood with thoughtful leadership and investment from the public, private and philanthropic communities. We look forward to the opportunity to highlight the great work of many of the organizations that have worked hard to make Downtown a thriving place to live, work and play," he said.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

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