Welcome to Pittsburgh! What do you want to do first? Not sure yet? Well what about plans for tomorrow? …Well you still have time to decide… Where are you staying? You haven't booked a hotel yet?!?!
Affordability and accessibility. Two qualities Pittsburgh-native Dr. Rahmon Hart, Sr., looks for in destinations when planning a trip. And, in his opinion, two reasons why Pittsburgh makes the ideal location for business events and meetings.
Dr. Hart, the Director of Community Relations at Rivers Casino and the 72nd Second District Marshal for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, has actively advocated for his brothers to bring their regional meeting to Pittsburgh for several years. He believes the city’s compact, walkable Downtown and rich cultural history would appeal to meeting attendees. And, with so many affordable, unique activities at their fingertips – like the National Aviary, a Pittsburgh “best-kept secret” – attendees could enjoy their time in the city with their families, too.
A big believer in walking – “I don’t want to waste a lot of time driving,” he says – Dr. Hart not only provides insight for first-time visitors, but also shares why one of Pittsburgh’s biggest strengths are Pittsburghers themselves. Read on to learn more about why Dr. Hart champions Pittsburgh each and every day.
1. For those who want to learn more about Pittsburgh’s rich history but have never visited the city, what are some “must sees” they should include in their itineraries?
Pittsburgh has a rich cultural history and is the birthplace of so many trailblazers and pioneers. A “must see” when you come to Pittsburgh is the August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC). Located in the heart of Downtown, it honors the legacy of world-renowned playwright and Pittsburgh-native August Wilson. The August Wilson Center is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts programs that feature music, art exhibits, dance, theater, film, etc. There is always something exciting happening at the August Wilson Center, and they have a wonderful staff!
2. What do you think is a strength of the Pittsburgh community?
Pittsburgh’s strengths are its people and the many great organizations within the city. An example is how the City of Pittsburgh responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We came together as a community across various platforms and made sure that our most vulnerable populations had their basic needs met. The citizens of Pittsburgh not only donated money at record levels, but they also rolled up their sleeves and volunteered their time to help those in need. I am extremely proud of our city and the many unsung heroes who make this a special place.
3. When you are traveling, what do you look for in other destinations?
I look for destinations that I can enjoy without having to rent a car and waste a lot of time driving. My preference is to be in a downtown setting so that I can walk during my stay. I enjoy exploring different restaurants and doing some light shopping. The best locations also have a nightlife that is safe and conveniently located around my hotel.
4. Why should businesses and groups consider Pittsburgh for their next meeting or event?
I think that Pittsburgh is a great destination because it is affordable and conveniently located. Given the economic challenges, I think it is important that groups choose destinations that provide various travel options and are easily accessible by airplanes, cars, busses or trains.
What’s also nice about Pittsburgh is that conference participants can easily bring their entire family to the city and keep everyone entertained without breaking their budget.
5. Why is Pittsburgh a great fit for a future Omega Psi Phi meeting?
The City of Pittsburgh is a great place for a conference. I have advocated to bring our regional conference to Pittsburgh because many of the city’s great offerings are at your fingertips when you are Downtown. Conference participants don’t have to rent a vehicle if they want to enjoy the city. Our public transportation system makes it easy to get around and enjoy Pittsburgh’s many attractions. In particular, participants can enjoy our light rail system’s free fare zone, which allows riders quick access to the North Shore from Downtown at no cost. Once they’re in the neighborhood, they can go to Rivers Casino, the National Aviary, the Carnegie Science Center or walk the riverfront trails.
6. Where do you enjoy visiting in Pittsburgh for a moment of clarity and peace?
For clarity and peace, I recommend visiting the National Aviary, one of Pittsburgh’s best-kept secrets. It is an indoor zoo for people who have an appreciation of nature and birds. It is very relaxing to walk through the newly renovated facility and to see all the exotic birds. When I was in high school, I visited the Aviary before every football game to prepare myself mentally for competition. As a corporate executive, I find that it still has the same calming effect on me. I am a HUGE fan of the National Aviary.
Dr. Rahmon Hart, Sr., is the Director of Community Relations at Rivers Casino, where he is responsible for developing and cultivating relationships with community leaders, local business owners, corporate executives and government officials, as well as implementing and overseeing diversity and community engagement initiatives. A Pittsburgh (Manchester) native, Dr. Hart graduated from Perry Traditional Academy before attending Slippery Rock University on a football scholarship, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Master of Arts in College Administration. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Duquesne University. Dr. Hart previously served three consecutive terms as Basileus/President of the Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is married to his college sweetheart, Nneka, and they have four children: Brooke, Rahmon, Jr., Nia and Charles.