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We are strong advocates of staying as close to a park as possible. At Kennywood, this means the Courtyard Marriott on the Homestead Waterfront. You're one mile from the Kennywood parking lot. In the evening, you can hear the screams from the Phantom and the clanking of the lift chains from your patio. This is a new facility with all the amenities, including a beautiful pool. This could be an ideal three night, four day mini vacation, because Sandcastle, Kennywood's water park, is just down the driveway. There is a 10 screen movieplex a short walk across the parking lot. You can choose from 13 restaurants. There are also retail stores ranging from Macy's to Dick's Sporting Goods. The entire Waterfront development occupies the space where the Homestead Carnegie Works once led the world producing steel, and hosted everyone from Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt to Nikita Kruschev on guided tours. Remnants of this empire have been left in place. You can photograph and read historical displays about the gantry cranes, ore cars, venting stacks and other landmarks. A civil war once broke out here between strikers and government forces as unions tried to get a foothold in the mills. You're right on the river, so you can sit on your patio and watch tugboats pushing barges up and down, and long freight trains thundering by on both sides of the water.

However, we also highly recommend the Sheraton at Station Square (left) for lodging while visiting Kennywood. It is still close to Kennywood, an easy drive straight out Carson Street which becomes 8th Avenue and turns into the KW parking lot. There are no turnoffs, no traffic backups and several gas stations en route. Between Kennywood and the Sheraton are two dozen good restaurants and around the Sheraton in the plaza called Station Square are another 10. Station Square is right off the Parkway, which we recommend as the best route into town. If you have time, Station Square is right across the bridge from The Golden Triangle (downtown Pittsburgh) and across another bridge from the Pirates and Steelers home stadiums. Station Square is the transportation hub of Pittsburgh. Two inclines (shown left and right at top) climb Mt. Washington behind the hotel. You can ride one up, walk a mile along the top with its scenic overlooks and trendy restaurants, and ride the other one back down. Trolleys head out into the South Hills and the subway takes you across the river into the central city. Paddlewheel riverboats run tours of the three rivers every few hours. Buses stop right in front of Station Square en route to every part of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. So your stay at the Sheraton can be a base for sampling every kind of mass transit Pittsburgh offers. It also offers an indoor pool, exercise facility and its own fine restaurant. If you were planning a Kennywood trip over the Fourth of July, the Sheraton offers the best vantage point for watching the Pittsburgh display, which is launched right across the water.

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