Best of the 'Burgh 2011: Sports and Recreation

From the best zumba studio to the best indoor pool, our editors pick the best in Pittsburgh sports and recreation.


 

Best place to 1-2-cha-cha-cha

Latin Rhythmz
If you haven’t heard of Zumba, you must be living under a rock—one thick enough to block out the Latin music. Latin Rhythmz is the region’s only studio exclusively devoted to this spicy fitness craze. Fans swear by Zumba’s potent combo of easy-but-toning choreography, nonstop cardio and addictive grooves—including one Latin Rhythmz class member who recently lost 138 pounds. Come for the workout, but stay for the dance party (or is it the other way around?). —Celanie Polanick

  5500 Steubenville Pike, Robinson Township; 412/498-5406, latinrhythmz.net

Best local wildlife-preservation effort

The Pennsylvania Bluebird Society
This eclectic group of nature lovers is dedicated to the preservation and propagation of the Eastern bluebird in Pennsylvania—especially protecting this delightful little azure-and-pink symbol of happiness from the hostile invasive species that steal its nests (and sometimes peck the birds to death). The society is headquartered in Mechanicsburg, but president Harry Schmeider lives in Butler, Pa. Schmeider, county coordinators or one of numerous volunteers will happily give advice on putting up a bluebird house, which looks like a tiny outhouse placed on a 4-foot pole, in your backyard so you can help the birds spread their natural, blue-egged spring optimism far and wide. —C.P.

PO Box 756, Mechanicsburg; thebsp.org


 

Most relaxing way to feed a village

Spiritworks Yoga Studio
There are a great number of places to get your yoga on, but only one will let you send the good vibes you get from your downward-facing-dog pose halfway around the world. Spiritworks Yoga is a nonprofit that’s operated by Patricia D. Brown and Maureen McMahon. All proceeds from the volunteer-run studio are sent to Arlene Brown, Patricia’s mother who lives in Rwanda. Arlene’s Hope Made Real organization is the main source of support for 50 Rwandan children, and it helps 300 more obtain an education. Why not meditate on the thought of those kids eating and learning on your dime? —Sean Collier

  103 Yost Blvd., Forest Hills; 412/475-9642, spiritworks.org
 

Best spooky bike trail

Ghost Town Trail
Rural Pennsylvania is full of old towns, abandoned buildings and creepy ruins. For ambitious cyclists and runners, the 36-mile Ghost Town Trail is like riding through a dozen spooky campfire stories at once. During the warmer months, the trail is a gravel path with scenic woods and countryside all around, showcasing the rich wilderness of Indiana County and Cambria counties. But on a misty autumn morning, the trail may chill your bones as it cuts through forgotten work camps and past old mines and railroads. Delve into the history of this eerie region with a copy of the Ghost Town Trail Guidebook. Seeing the old black-and-white photographs of deceased miners will get you in the “spirit” of it. —Robert Isenberg

Ebensburg, Indiana and Cambria counties; indianacountyparks.org
 

Most dignified indoor pool

Carnegie Library of Homestead
When Andrew Carnegie built his public library in Homestead, he spared no expense. Set on a grassy hill, the building is a veritable castle that contains a track, a basketball court and a voluminous music hall. But one of the library’s most beautiful features is a subterranean pool, whose decorated walls and marble pillars are modeled on Roman baths. What’s remarkable is that this pool, built more than a century ago, still hosts swim programs and aqua-based fitness classes. —R.I.

  510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall; 412/462-3444, homesteadlibrary.org


 

Best hike location that looks like it’s out of a movie

Breakneck Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
The waterfall is stunning to behold, but find it at your own risk: No ravine is more aptly named than Breakneck Falls, the deadly jewel in the center of McConnells Mill State Park. The park’s 2,546 acres are all lovely, dark and deep, but adventurers will delight in Breakneck’s treacherous cliffs, angular boulders and freshwater pools littered with dead tree trunks. Descending the roots and rocks is dangerous, but if you can swallow your fear of heights and take it slow, the sight at the bottom will leave you breathless: Breakneck Falls pours crystal-clear water over a cavernous mouth, and on a clear day, sunlight trickles through the evergreens like threads of gold—as mythic as a landscape of Middle Earth. It has to be seen. —R.I.

  2697 McConnells Mill Road, Portersville, Lawrence County; 724/368-8091, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/mcconnellsmill.aspx


More of Best of the 'Burgh:


Pool photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Homestead; Bird photo courtesy of The Pennsylvania Bluebird Society.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space form more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

Directed and starring Denzel Washington, the first big screen treatment of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.
2016 Athena Award Winners Announced

2016 Athena Award Winners Announced

Named for the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom, the ATHENA Awards are unique among regional honors for professional women because of the focus on developing the next generation of leaders through mentorship.
Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

The golf icon from Latrobe, Pa. died Sunday of complications from heart problems.
9 Things to Know About The North Park Water Tower

9 Things to Know About The North Park Water Tower

Thanks to Rick Sebak, we have some rare pictures of the view from the top.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space form more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

The Strip District eatery overcomes tumult and once again is one of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants.
Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

The things that are best about us? They’re not things. They’re ways.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

Directed and starring Denzel Washington, the first big screen treatment of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dinette's Sonja Finn to Helm New Restaurant at Carnegie Museums in Oakland

Dinette's Sonja Finn to Helm New Restaurant at Carnegie Museums in Oakland

Finn and chef de cuisine Becca Hegarty to bring salads, sandwiches, house-baked bread, wine and more to the refurbished Café Carnegie.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Drinks With Some Spirits at Harmony Inn

Drinks With Some Spirits at Harmony Inn

The historic (and purportedly haunted) Harmony Inn is a fine stop for drinks and food.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens Look Back and Ahead to Cap ‘Summer of Stan’

Pens Look Back and Ahead to Cap ‘Summer of Stan’

The puck drops for the opening of training camp on Friday, and once that happens the Penguins must transition from “champions” into “defending champions.”

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Work It

Work It

A new handbag from Sandra Cadavid’s is perfect for work — or play.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

Reviews of the "Magnificent Seven" remake and "Storks," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

This Pittsburgh couple wanted their guests to be just as content as they were at their wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
This Weekend: Annual Wilkinsburg House & Garden Tour

This Weekend: Annual Wilkinsburg House & Garden Tour

Also: If you’re looking to redo a room to invite relaxation, PPG Paints promises a wide variety of soothing colors for 2017.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Duquesne University Inaugurates New President with Deep Pittsburgh Roots

Duquesne University Inaugurates New President with Deep Pittsburgh Roots

Ken Gormley began his new tenure by delivering good news to University employees.

Comments