PITTSBURGH -- Three Rivers Stadium imploded in 19 seconds, just after 8 a.m. Feb. 11, 2001. (You can watch the dust cloud on YouTube.) The site -- sacred to Steelers and Pirates fans -- is now a parking lot for PNC Park and Heinz Field.
Rivers Casino opened in 2009 down the road, near the Carnegie Science Center. And 2013 was the Bucs' first winning season in 21 years.
Pittsburgh's North Side is on the rise. The next time you make the 3 1/2-hour run up Interstate 79, set aside a day to explore this colorful part of the 'Burgh.
Across the Allegheny River from downtown, the North Side was the independent city of Allegheny until 1907. Andrew Carnegie spent his childhood here, a bobbin boy in a cotton mill. The Pittsburgh Pirates started out as the Alleghenys.
Home to the H.J. Heinz factory, among others, 19th-century Allegheny had many residents of German, Swiss, Austrian and Croatian origin. Its eastern section was known as Dutchtown or Deutschtown, with breweries, German singing societies and a Benedictine monastery that is now the Priory Hotel.
For the flavor of the North Side's German past, try the Penn Brewery Restaurant and Max's Allegheny Tavern. (There is also Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh on the South Side of town.) For the history, visit the Senator John Heinz History Center just across the river in the Strip District, a stretch of ethnic markets and eateries.
The Mexican War Streets is a North Side neighborhood where the streets of rowhouses are named after Mexican War battles -- such as Monterey and Palo Alto -- and generals -- such as Sherman (William Tecumseh) and Taylor (Zachary).
Historically intact and well maintained, the neighborhood is a pleasant place to wander. The 45th annual Mexican War Streets House & Garden Tour will take place on a mid-September Sunday.
On West North Street, opposite the Allegheny Commons park, a stone mansion built in 1888 by department store tycoon Russell H. Boggs is now the impeccably restored Inn on the Mexican War Streets. Other lodging choices in the neighborhood are the Parador, a Key West-inspired bed-and-breakfast, and the forthcoming Allegheny Inn.
Places to eat include the Monterey Pub, the Italian restaurant Legends of the North Shore and several restaurants on Western Avenue.
In Allegheny Commons is the National Aviary, where a pair of Andean condors -- Lurch and Precious -- recently arrived from zoos in Texas.