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 ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Nothing beats listening to Mike Lange describe a Penguins' goal.
Break It Down: Byham Theater

Break It Down: Byham Theater

When you walk into the Sixth Street entryway of the Byham Theater, Downtown, you will see patches of green and black tile on the walls: These are originals from the early 20th century, says John Mumper, facilities manager at the Byham. The grand theater has plenty of history to go with its 100-plus years; let’s break it down.
 Wiz Khalifa to Headline Thrival 2017

Wiz Khalifa to Headline Thrival 2017

It’s the first time a Pittsburgh artist is headlining the annual innovation and music festival.
“What Did We Miss?” Designing a Voice for Grief

“What Did We Miss?” Designing a Voice for Grief

The Center of Life in Hazelwood partners with Carnegie Mellon University for a very powerful exhibit.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Remembering Henry Hillman

Remembering Henry Hillman

Reflecting on the impact of the businessman, civic visionary and philanthropist.
How David Freese is Helping to Keep Pirates' on Course

How David Freese is Helping to Keep Pirates' on Course

The Pirates’ infielder emerges as a team leader — and an offensive powerhouse.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Nothing beats listening to Mike Lange describe a Penguins' goal.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station, the excellent Bloomfield eatery, now offers lunch service. The Big Y Group opens a French bistro in the space previously occupied by Sonoma Grille.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Time Running Out for Penguins to Respond to Senators

Time Running Out for Penguins to Respond to Senators

The Penguins suddenly have a lot to sort out as they attempt to respond to another disappointing playoff loss.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

Reviews of "Alien: Covenant" and "Everything, Everything," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Disney Touches: Two Couples Take on the Fairy Tale Wedding

Disney Touches: Two Couples Take on the Fairy Tale Wedding

See how these couples brought a little Disney magic into their wedding festivities

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments