GETTING THERE: Pittsburgh is about 260 miles from the Beltway via I-70 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76). The Slopes are on the south side of the Monongahela River above Carson Street between 12th and 21st streets, and are connected to downtown by the Smithfield, 10th Street, Birmingham and Hot Metal bridges.

TOURING THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Organization's StepTrek, a self-guided tour of the area with entertainment and historic photo displays, is Oct. 17. Admission and maps: $10. Details: 412-488-0486, www.steptrek.org. The book "The Steps of Pittsburgh: Portrait of a City," by Bob Regan, includes six walking tours with maps; it's $21.95 from 866-362-0789, www.localhistorycompany.org.

While the Slopes neighborhood no longer has its own incline, you can still experience this quintessential Pittsburgh cable car ride between Carson Street and Mount Washington, the glitzy end of the hillside. From the Station Square entertainment and dining complex, take the Monongahela Incline. A half-mile west, take the Duquesne Incline. Rides take four minutes; pedestrian overlooks flank the upper stations. Round-trip ticket is $3.50. Buy tickets on site at the stations. Info: 412-442-2000.

* WHERE TO STAY: Within walking distance of the Steps is the Holiday Inn Express/South Side (20 S. 10th St., 800-377-8660, www.hiexpress.com/pittsburghpa). Rooms start at $129 double with breakfast. The Morning Glory Inn (2119 Sarah St., 412- 431-1707, www.gloryinn.com) is a B&B that offers rooms with private baths starting at $150; weekday availability only through October. The Sheraton Station Square (300 W. Station Square Dr., 888-625-5144, www.starwood.com) is adjacent to a complex of 30 shops and restaurants, and there's a subway link to downtown. Doubles from $185.

WHERE TO EAT: Carson Street hosts some of the city's hippest restaurants. Locals like Dish Osteria and Bar (128 S. 17th St.), with small appetizers such as mixed marinated olives, great pasta and fresh fish. Dinner for two runs about $80. No credits cards accepted. Other excellent spots that are a bit more formal and expensive are Cafe Allegro (51 S. 12th St.) and Le Pommier (2104 E. Carson St.) for fine Italian and French, respectively. All three serve dinner only. At Nakama Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (1611 E. Carson St.), lunch for two runs about $30.

INFORMATION: Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-359-0758, www.visitpittsburgh.com.

-- Christine O'Toole