Things To Do & See In Pittsburgh
The second largest city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh sits at the confluence of three rivers, at the western end of the state. A former center of industry, there’s so much more to Steel City than just factories and warehouses.
Today, the city is vibrant and picturesque, with plenty to see and do, whether you’re into history, art and culture, sports or the outdoors. Here are our picks for the 15 best things to do in Pittsburgh.
1. Duquesne Incline
Riding the Duquesne Incline is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh. The funicular railroad was first built in 1877. It was used to transport residents and workers up to the Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights neighborhoods.
Today, the Duquesne Incline is a working museum. Ride one of two original cable cars to the upper station. During your ride you will enjoy one of the best views of the city skyline. At the upper station, there’s a large viewing platform, a small museum and gift shop.
Mount Washington can also be accessed by one other operating funicular, the Monongahela Incline.
2. Andy Warhol Museum
Andy Warhol achieved worldwide fame as a pop art pioneer. At the Andy Warhol Museum, you can see the largest collection of work by the legendary artist from Pittsburgh.
The museum is housed in a 7-story restored warehouse. Exhibits cover Warhol’s prolific career spanning art, film, music, design, writing and more. See drawings, paintings, prints, films and multimedia installations.
You can see Warhol’s early works as well as his more famous works, such as the Campbell Soup series. The museum also hosts special exhibitions of other artists, and events and classes from time to time.
3. The Strip District
Formerly an industrial area, the Strip District is now a lively and vibrant neighborhood.
One of the top attractions in Pittsburgh, the area only covers around half a square mile. But there are plenty of restaurants, international markets, shops and galleries to keep you occupied for a few hours or an entire day.
You can find many of them concentrated on Penn Avenue, Liberty Avenue and Smallman Street. Walk around and take in the atmosphere. This is a great spot to pick up some unique goods.
Before leaving though, make sure you enjoy some food. There are many options, but you can’t go wrong with a sandwich from the iconic Primanti Brothers.
4. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Enjoy nature and beautiful flowers and plants at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Located inside Schenley Park, it’s one of the oldest greenhouses in the country.
Donated to the city by real estate baron Henry Phipps, the conservatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Extensive outdoor gardens surround a central Victorian glasshouse. Inside, 13 rooms showcase a rotation of seasonal exhibits.
See plants such as bonsai, orchids and other tropical plants. Kids can enjoy hands-on activities in the Discovery Garden or pretend to be a pirate on Treasure Island
5. Market Square
Located in the heart of downtown, Market Square is a popular meeting and people watching spot. Numerous events are held at this pedestrian-only square, especially over the summer and holidays.
Enjoy farmers markets, food trucks, educational programs, live music and much more. Many events are free and a schedule can be found online.
A popular Christmas Market is held here every November and December. There are also many restaurants and shops surrounding the square.
Don’t miss the oldest restaurant and bar in the city, The Original Oyster House.
6. Carrie Furnaces
See why Pittsburgh is called Steel City at Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark.
It was originally built in 1881 as part of the U.S. Steel’s Homestead Steel Works. Although the complex shut down in 1978, the 100-foot furnaces still remain. Several tours are available and highlight different aspects.
You can learn about the site’s technology, the workers and their culture, as well as the art that has been created.
Don’t miss the “Carrie Deer,” made from pipes and other material from the site. In addition to tours, the site also hosts special events and workshops throughout the year.
7. Point State Park
Ideally situated in downtown Pittsburgh, at the confluence of three rivers. A lovely place to walk and enjoy the outdoors, Point State Park also offers a lot off history.
It was the site of several forts and you can learn some of that history at the Fort Pitt Museum.
Relax at the massive fountain and enjoy wonderful views of the rivers, Mount Washington and PNC Park. Kayak rentals are available if you want to get out on the water.
There are also monthly and pop-up events, such as art installations, educational walks and children’s activities.
8. Heinz History Center
Spend some time at the Heinz History Center to learn more about Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Located in the Strip District, the 6-floor museum covers just about every aspect of Pittsburgh’s history.
Exhibits start from the early settlements, through the Civil War, and to the steel industry and more. Don’t miss the Western Pennsylvania Sports Exhibit, which covers the area’s many athletic successes.
The museum also has the largest collection of original items from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. You can even see the original set. Although there’s a wide range of exhibits, they are well organized and easy to navigate.
9. Sports Games
Sports are a big deal in Pittsburgh, and the city is home to many professional sports teams. Depending on the season, one of the best things you can do in Pittsburgh is to catch a game. See why the city is considered one of the best for sports.
Watch a Steelers game at Heinz Field, a Pirates game at PNC Park, or a Penguins game at PPG Paints Arena.
In Pittsburgh, even college sports are popular. If you can, catch a game at one of the many universities in the city, such as the University of Pittsburgh or Duquesne University.
10. Carnegie Science Center
One of four Carnegie museums in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center offers a fun day of learning for kids and adults. There’s a planetarium and four floors, with more than 250 interactive exhibits.
You can learn about electricity and weather. Or play around with robotics. There’s a real life submarine, as well as a replica of the international space station.
A sports related section includes an indoor climbing wall, ropes course and zipline. Finally, the center is home to the Omnimax screen, the largest theater screen in Pittsburgh. It requires a separate fee, but films change on a regular basis.
11. Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh for families with kids. Located in Highland Park, it’s one of only six zoo and aquarium combinations in the country.
The zoo and aquarium sits on more than 75 acres of parkland.
There are more than 400 different species, including more than 20 endangered species, and around 4,000 animals. See animals in different habitats, such as The Islands, Water’s Edge, Tropical Forest, African Savannah and Jungle Odyssey.
The zoo and aquarium also offer educational and conservation programs.
12. Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art are located in the same building. Even better, they can be visited on the same ticket.
Learn all about the natural world at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur collection is excellent. It includes actual fossils as well as reproductions. Other topics include earth sciences and cultural history.
On the other side, the Carnegie Museum of Art has more than 35,000 works of art. There’s a strong focus on American and European art. Additionally, there’s a large photography collection, as well as artwork by Pittsburgh-area artists.
Located in Pittsburgh’s North Side, Randyland is the most colorful landmark in the city. You won’t be able to miss this unique art museum full of color and whimsy. Local artist Randy Gilson purchased several run-down buildings in the 1990s.
He has since then decorated it with colorful murals and all sorts of found items repurposed as art. It’s a sight you have to see in person to appreciate.
Randy’s influence stretches beyond Randyland and you can see art installations throughout the neighborhood. The Mattress Factory nearby is another great spot for interesting art.
Enjoy a day of family fun and thrills at Kennywood. It’s located only a short distance from downtown Pittsburgh. Spanning 150 acres, Kennywood has a whole range of rides and attractions that you would expect at a theme park.
There are also water rides and rides for young kids. Besides plenty of rides and attractions, Kennywood is also a National Historic Landmark.
You can still ride certain rides built in the 1920s. A crowd favorite is the Thunderbolt wooden roller coaster.
There are also many special events in the park, including the popular Pierogi Fest in September.
Although Fallingwater is located outside of Pittsburgh, it is worth the trip if you are an architecture fan.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater is considered the finest example of American architecture. Built in 1935, the house is a masterpiece of organic architecture.
It skillfully integrates the natural world around the structure, including the waterfall over which the house is built.
Tours of the UNESCO World Heritage site and add-on experiences are available and recommended. For a hassle-free experience, book a tour from Pittsburgh that includes round-trip transportation.
Not sure where to start or how to see it all? A guided tour will show you the top highlights of Steel City.
To see Pittsburgh at your leisure, opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour instead.