Around Pittsburgh, there are four major city parks:
- Schenley Park in the heart of Oakland by the campuses of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon
- North Park in the North hills of the city
- South Park in the South hills of the city
- and Frick Park to the East of downtown
While all of them are great parks (I've spent a fair amount of time in each of them), Frick Park is definitely the most distinct of the four. While the other three have a multitude of facilities (courts and fields for sports, numerous playgrounds, golf courses, dog parks and many other “built” features), the vast majority of Frick Park is simply woods with trails. All times of the year, it's a great place to be in the city, but still be able to “get away”.
Frick Park is named for Henry Clay Frick, a man who made his fortune by starting a company to sell coke (produced from coal) for steel manufacturing. He was also friends with banker Andrew Mellon and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, both of whom have also left indelible marks on the city of Pittsburgh. Upon his death in 1919, he donated 150 acres to be used for a city park, and it has now grown to over 600 acres over the years since then thanks to the fund he left behind to maintain the park.
The park is truly one of the overlooked treasures of the city. It doesn't get all the recognition and events that Schenley Park does, but I find it an absolute joy to explore. My favorite thing to do in Frick Park is to take our dog Jake for a long walk, wearing him out and letting him enjoy new smells and meeting new dogs. Even on a beautiful Saturday morning, the park may be “busy” but is never crowded.
So if you're looking for a new place to explore the outdoors without having to leave the city, Frick Park is the place for you. You won't regret making the trip, wherever you're coming from.