10 things to do this Labor Day holiday weekend

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It’s almost Labor Day weekend and the official end of summer and Pittsburgh is brimming over with fun things to do. Instead of doing the same-old, same old. Here is a fun list of activities that you have heard about, wanted to try but just never got to. So c’mon, watcha waiting for?

10. Take a hike

We have an amazing and beautiful park system in the city. Frick, Highland, Riverview and Schenley Parks all have a developed trail system with easily walkable trails (and bike trails) covered with lush canopies of trees. Grab a friend, your friend’s dog or your mom and take a stroll. When you are done, you can walk to have a bite near any one of the many eateries within walking distance. Your tax dollars at work for good! www.pittsburghparks.org

9. Ride a bike

For those less inclined to hike, you can ride — even if your bike is out of commission. Head down to Golden Triangle Bike rental and grab some wheels. Hit the Three Rivers Heritage trails along the Allegheny and the Mon rivers. Complete info at www.bikepittsburgh.com (and you can reserve a bike in advance.)

8. Slip into a kayak

“Yep, we got dem kayaks n’at dahn on the river.” And they are very cool— in more ways than one. With temperatures rising you can head to the North Shore under the Clemente Bridge to rent your gear and paddle along for a tour of the city you will never forget. Reasonable rates and instruction included. www.kayakpittsburgh.com.

7. Visit the county parks before Labor Day

Allegheny County’s free Summer Concert Season ends this weekend. Head to South Park to see the River City Brass Band on Friday night, set up your chair early and then drive to the other side of the park to see the bison at the game reserve. Totally Cool. Over at Hartwood Acres, the Allegheny County Music Festival will feature Rusted Rood, Derek Woods Band and so much more. Hartwood has a $20 per car donation to benefit children and youth served by the Department of Human Services. Food trucks (yum) at both. http://​www.alleghenycounty.us/

6. Get wet, kinda.

Well, we do that a lot around here, but here is a new twist. Park the car before dusk and take a walking tour of all of the neat fountains in the Golden Triangle. We all know about the grand dame, the Point State Park fountain, But you should also visit the water feature at PPG Place, fountains at Gateway Center, large water walls at Point Park University and Heinz Hall, or the large water structure at Katz Plaza. The latest romantic spot is Mellon Square, where a three-year, multi-million-dollar restoration reminds you why the American Planning Association listed it as one of the 10 great public spaces in America. There are more, just walk around.

5. Let’s go to the Fair!

Lot of county fairs this weekend in the outskirts and they are a blast. Take in 4H competitions, food, music and more. On deck are the Indiana County Fair, The Great Stoneboro Fair, The Cambria County Fair and the Big Knob Grange Fair. A complete list can be found at www.pafairs.org.

4. It’s Sunday, go to church

We are not proselytizing here, but even if you don’t keep the faith, the houses that do are a wonder to behold. Many were built by immigrants who brought their faith and their talents from a distant land looking for freedom and a better life. The fact that they survived the journey itself was enough reason to give thanks.

In Downtown, there’s Smithfield United (Smithfield Street) and First Presbyterian and Trinity Cathedral next to each other on Sixth Avenue, where you can see a baker’s dozen of real Tiffany windows and the graves of some of history’s most prominent figures. Over on Grant Street, First English Evangelical Lutheran sits across from the U.S. Steel Tower. Head to Shadyside where you can take in Sacred Heart Catholic and Calvary Episcopal on opposite corners, Shadyside Presbyterian Church on one of the city’s prettiest streets or farther east where East Liberty Presbyterian and Eastminster Presbyterian are a few short blocks from each other.

If you want to head to Oakland, St. Paul Cathedral takes your breath away at the corner of Craig Street and Fifth Avenue, while Heinz Cathedral is just a short walk down the street. Over on the North Side, you can tour Calvary United Methodist with more amazing Tiffany glass.

3. Kennywood’s open!

Yes, it’s an inside joke, just google the phrase—but seriously folks, have you ridden a roller coaster yet this year? Better still did you know that our gem of a park is lauded as one of the top coaster parks in world? Wooden coaster enthusiasts flock to the place to ride the landmark Thunderbolt, Racer and Jack Rabbit (cue scream here). www.kennywood.com

2. Eat.

You knew we had to include that. But where to begin? Breakfast at JoJo’s or Pamelas? Lunch at the Farmer’s Market? Dinner at Nicky’s Thai Garden? Maybe street food in the Strip? There are lots of places to choose from and all of them are just dandy. If all else fails, you can head to the Rib Fest at Heinz Field and partake in your carnivore ways. More food info at www.post-gazette.com/​life.food.

1. Start your day by going to the Labor Day Parade.

That is what it is all about, anyway, isn’t it? The parade will go down Grant Street and then turn right on the Boulevard of the Allies. Starts at 10 a.m. and will go for three hours and Pittsburgh parking chairs are permitted.

It’s the second largest parade in the U.S. next to New York City. More than 85,000 marchers will be grouped into 191 units. Cheer on local marching bands, dancers, flag bearers and more. Union trades will have be represented and really, where better to find a contractor to work on your old Pittsburgh house?

Rosa Colucci can be reached at 412-263-1634 or rcolucci@post-gazette.com, twitter, PGRosa_Colucci.

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