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4.25.2017

Pittsburgh Date Night: Gateway Clipper Cruise, Grand Concourse Restaurant, & Station Square

Gateway Clipper sightseeing cruises make for a great time, and one of the best ways to take in the Pittsburgh skyline.
Today we go out for a night on the town in Pittsburgh and get a delicious dinner at the Grand Concourse Restaurant, and head out for a sightseeing cruise on the Gateway Clipper. Of the many options of great ways to spend an evening in the city, this is definitely one of our favorites.

We start off at the Grand Concourse Restaurant in the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Station in Station Square. This was the main hub for this old railroad and an absolutely grand building. Developers had the foresight to keep the station, instead of tearing it down like so many of its counterparts. They turned this spectacular building into a fine dining restaurant that has both the charm of a grand old railroad station, and a spectacular view of the Pittsburgh skyline, which is located just across the Mon River.
The main stairway that once carried passengers. The stained glass ceiling is really something else as well. The food of this restaurant is fantastic as well, with seafood being their specialty. 
The area around the station that once served as a bustling rail yard and freight depot during the heyday of industrial western PA has turned into a service industry hub, with lots of shopping, dining, and more, in addition to a large Sheraton hotel, and the docking area for the Gateway Clipper.
The centerpiece of Station Square is Bessemer Square, a place that has some old industrial machinery and a themed and musically choreographed fountain display that is quite a spectacle. The city skyline serves as a spectacular backdrop for the show. 
The Goodyear blimp flying over the city
The old main line still passes by the station, granted with much fewer rails. It is now a CSX rail line.
There is also some recreational boat docking accommodations here.
Here comes one of the Gateway Clipper boats!
Now we wait for our tour to start as we approach sunset.
A large portion of the Station Square complex
The Hard Rock cafe and the Mon Incline, the oldest continuously operating funicular in the world.

The old freight depot is now a shopping mall, creating a nice area to shop.
Now we head over to the Gateway Clipper Station for a ride on the three rivers through the city.
Now boarding! Here is the Fort Pitt Bridge. It crosses the Mon River and is one of the first bridges to have ever been built with computer aided design.
Here comes another boat, and out in the distance you can see the West End Bridge crossing the Ohio River.
The Duchess boat of the Gateway Clipper fleet
The interior of the boat, frequently used for dinner cruises, banquets, and parties. It is complete with a dining area, full bar, and dance floor. 
Another boat arriving to dock. This boat is often used to throw big parties. 
The Station Square area, with the taller building on the left being the old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Station and location of the Grand Concourse Restaurant. 
A closer look at the old station.
Heading underneath the Smithfield Street Bridge, the oldest river crossing in Pittsburgh. This elegant bridge dates back to the 1880s and it is absolutely beautiful.
Another view of the Smithfield Street Bridge, this one with the Pittsburgh skyline in the background.
Station and Incline traversing Mt. Washington in the background

A wider view of the Downtown Pittsburgh skyline.

Every period of the construction of skyscrapers is represented within this photo, with some of the earliest, to some of the latest.
A view from underneath the Fort Pitt Bridge, giving you a lower perspective on the dramatic entrance you get coming out of the portal of the Fort Pitt Tunnel
The fountain at Point State Park, the point of confluence of the city's great rivers.
Note the Goodyear blimp, looking as if it is going to tether to the tower at PPG Place, akin to the action scenes filmed at it during the Inspector Gadget movie.
The Mr Rogers Memorial, with Heinz Field in the background.
This is the first one that shows my favorite skyscraper in the downtown area, the Art Deco styled Gulf Tower, with its brightly colored pinnacle. The colors that illuminate the top of the tower change to reflect the weather forecast and possible weather warnings. If it shows black and gold in the summer time, it means that the Pirates scored or hit a home run. It will also illuminate to different colors for different holidays throughout the year.
Here is a table of what the weather messages on the tower mean:
Floor By Floor Breakdown
44th floor – temperature
43rd floor – temperature
42nd floor – temperature
41st floor – precipitation
40th floor – humidity
39th floor – wind speed
Temperature
  Dark blue <0 °F (−18 °C)
  Med blue 0 to 32 °F (−18 to 0 °C)
  Light blue 33 to 49 °F (1 to 9 °C)
  Amber 50 to 65 °F (10 to 18 °C)
  Orange 66 to 79 °F (19 to 26 °C)
  Red >80 °F (27 °C)
Precipitation
  Red purple >.25 in (0.64 cm)
  Blue purple ≤.25 in (0.64 cm)
Humidity
  Light green <50%
  Dark green ≥50%
Wind Speed
  Magenta >10 mph (16 km/h)
  Pink ≤10 mph (16 km/h)
PNC Park
Gateway Clipper sightseeing cruises make for a great time, and one of the best ways to take in the Pittsburgh skyline. Between the fun on the boat, and all of the dining, nightlife, and the other entertainment options at Station Square, you are certain to have a great time visiting. The Gateway Clipper runs nightly sightseeing cruises, along with periodic party and theme cruises.
For more information on the places we visited, check out their websites:

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