The so-called City of Bridges might only be home to 300,000 folks, but boy does it pack a punch.
Famed for its steel industries, largely long since died with the rest of the embers of the Midwest’s industrial boom, the metro area here is a place of red-brick facades, countless depots and arched bridges, utilitarianism oozing from each pore and pocket.ccoff
However, delve a tad deeper and you’ll see Pittsburgh’s more characterful edge.
There are more bars per capita than any other town in the US, believe it or not, all hidden in the basements and old workshops and mills.
Steel City’s museums punch heftily above their weight too – thanks largely to the endless investments of one Andrew Carnegie in the 19th century.
Parks abound, draped over the hills and riverside ridges of the downtown, while there’s Major League Baseball, packed cheese-steak sandwiches, Bavarian beers and oodles, oodles more on the menu besides. Check out the best things to do in Pittsburgh!
1. Explore Asian forests and Polar icecaps at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium
A whopping 475 individual species await visitors to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, making the sprawling institution on the banks of the Allegheny River one of the most enticing animal parks in the United States.
Founded more than 100 years ago, in 1898, this iconic attraction has since grown to incorporate the likes of the Tropical Forest, home to formidable mountain gorillas, endangered sloths and swinging gibbons, The Islands enclosure, where crocodiles meet colossal Galapagos tortoises, and the African Savanna, crossed by lions and giraffe, springbok and rhino.
The adjoining aquarium is also uber-famous, boasting ecosystems that go from the piranha-bitten tropics to the penguin-trodden arctic!
2. See mummies and a tyrannosaurus at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Mysterious mummies meet ancient fossils between the seemingly endless exhibition rooms of the great Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
A place of countless curiosities, this research and education institution is considered one of the finest of its kind in the world.
Visitors can see the bones of dug-up dinosaurs next to glimmering ancient gem stones forged under the earth thousands of years ago.
They can wonder at painted totem poles while discovering the evolution of the Jurassic age. They can see majestically beautiful minerals and unravel the secrets of archaeologists. In short: this one’s a fine place to while away a rainy day in Pittsburgh!
3. Get a panorama of the city atop Mount Washington
For some of the most breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views of the Pittsburgh downtown and the joining waterways of the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, Mount Washington simply can’t be beaten.
But this hill of green parks and swish mansions offers plenty more than just a picture-perfect broadside of the city’s skyscrapers and steely high-rises.
It’s got two funicular railways, the swanky eateries and joints of appropriately-named Restaurant Row (some of the best evening dining views in town), historic spots supposedly once trodden by George Washington himself, and the leafy reaches of Emerald View Park – perfect for escaping the urban fray for a spell!
4. See one of America’s finest collections at the Carnegie Museum of Art
For more than 100 years the Carnegie Museum of Art has reigned as the most prestigious art gallery in all of Pittsburgh, showcasing a sprawling collection of more than 35,000 individual pieces, predominantly from across Europe and North America.
Visitors are invited to tour the Hall of Architecture, where friezes and casts of iconic constructions from Greece to Egypt to Italy to France all draw the eye.
Then there’s the Forum Gallery, booming with often mind-boggling displays of cutting-edge contemporary American art.
And that’s not even mentioning the acclaimed fine arts section, which includes classic masters like Durer and Abbott McNeill Whistler.
5. Discover your inner botanist at the Phipps Conservatory
A veritable icon of Pittsburgh city if there ever was one, the Phipps Conservatory has stood its ground amidst the beautiful parklands and revered institutions of Oakland since the very end of the 19th century.
That makes it one of the oldest greenhouses in the country and a truly deserving listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Elegant and Victorian in appearance, the building is home to blooming fern gardens and the winding courses of the Serpentine Room exhibition space, not to mention the colors and flower beds of the Orchid Room, and the humid climes of the so-called Tropical Forest.
The whole space is also surrounded by some gorgeous manicured lawns and ponds, making it a fine spot for a little rest and relaxation in Steel City.
6. Sample the potent delights of the Wigle Whiskey Distillery
Reanimating Pittsburgh’s love for good whiskey, the Wigle Distillery opened its doors in 2012 – the first locally-owned, family-run craft whisky distillery in the city since the days of Prohibition.
Nestled amidst the boutiques and bars and nightclubs of the iconic Strip District, the space offers regular tours to visitors, who can come to see the barrelhouse or the distillery itself, uncovering the intricacies of whiskey brewing and tales of Pennsylvania’s historic brewers from the 1700s as they go.
Of course, there are plenty of chances to sample the local produce too, with oodles of whiskey-based cocktails flowing from the al fresco on-site bar: the blackberry-topped Whisky Bramble; salty Whiskey Daisy; lemony Whiskey Buck – all good!
7. Understand the past of western Pennsylvania at the Heinz History Center
Housed in a gorgeous post-industrial red-brick build that’s typical of the reinvigorated riverside Strip District, the Heinz History Center is the go to place for gaining an understanding about the history of western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh itself.
An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this one’s exhibitions are both rich and wide-ranging.
There are sections showcasing the town’s reign as America’s glass workshop, collections chronicling Steel City’s penchant for innovation and invention (from the Big Mac to major vaccines), and a colossal area – the western Pennsylvania Sports Museum – that encompasses artifacts, films and interactive shows related to the Keystone State’s competitive prowess over the decades.
8. Discover perhaps Pittsburgh’s most famous son at the Andy Warhol Museum
Opened only shortly after the death of the great modern artist in 1987, the Andy Warhol Museum is the top spot in the entire United States for tracing the ground-breaking work of perhaps Pittsburgh’s most famous son.
The center showcases a collection that spans from the artist’s early student days to his time spent painting portraits of global VIPs and megastars, whilst also hosting exhibitions dedicated to continually pushing the boundaries of American art and the artistic world in the same way Warhol did during his lifetime.
That means the Campbell’s Soup Cans rub shoulders with appearances from the likes of Ai Weiwei, avant-garde performance art, artistic workshops and more.
9. Sample Bavarian beer and food at the Penn Brewery
Once one of the most iconic leaders in the Pennsylvanian brewing scene, the Penn Brewery led the way with its dedication to age-old Bavarian purity laws and a focus on real, hearty German beers.
Unfortunately, the spot was closed in the late noughties, only to reopen shortly after with a new focus on everything from classic pilsners out of Munich’s beer halls to more creative IPAs, AIPAs and more.
Today, the spot is the oldest and largest of all the microbrews in Pittsburgh, offering a taste of the German flavors that so heavily influenced the city after mass migrations from Europe.
That means visitors can expect a menu of schnitzels and sauerkraut, pretzels and poutine, Polish pierogi and sausage sandwiches. Nice.
10. Get some macarons at Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery
With a kitchen that’s run by the guiding hand of master pastry chef Jean-Marc, a family baker who hails in from the rural towns of Brittany, it’s hardly surprising that this charming little spot between the streets of quiet Millvale is one of the top places to come for morning pastries in all of Pittsburgh.
The menu is a medley of brioche buns and all-butter croissants, chocolate mousse tower cakes and Danish pastries, all rounded off with one of the best and most colourful selections of macarons in town!
Other specialities include tasty Breton cake, poppy seed rolls and mini pastries of all shapes and sizes. Mouth watering yet?
11. See a game at PNC Park
Rising against the waterside where the Allegheny River becomes the Ohio, PNC Park is the much-loved home of Pittsburgh’s Major League Baseball franchise: The Pittsburgh Pirates.
Famously built to mimic the styles of America’s classic baseball fields, this multi-tiered stadium in the shadow of the 6th Street Bridge has hosted all-star games and playoffs alike, while it’s also home to a series of eateries serving up Pittsburgh’s own Primanti Brothers sarnies, Polish pierogis and classic all-American steaks to boot.
Tickets throughout the season range from around $10 to $40 a seat, but you can always be guaranteed a raucous time with roaring crowds of locals all around!
12. Sample a Primanti Brothers sandwich
No culinary trip through downtown Pittsburgh could possibly be complete without at least a quick sampling of Steel City’s iconic Primanti Brothers sandwiches.
Now found all over the eastern United States, this famous name started life in the Strip District here.
The flagship store can still be found nestled between the old red-brick industrial depots and warehouses, serving up those iconic stacked breads, booming versions of that Philly cheese steak, jumbos creaking at the crusts with baloney and cheese, Cajun chicken, American coleslaw and hand-cut French fries by the bucket load. This one’s simply not to be missed!
13. Get a fix of colour and psychedelia at Randyland
Billed as ‘Pittsburgh’s Most Colorful Landmark’, Randyland really does live up to its name.
Stuck between the straight-laced homes and terraces of the Mexican War Streets area of town, it’s impossible to miss this kaleidoscopic boom of colour and creativity.
It comes courtesy of owner and namesake, Randy Gilson, who’s now nothing short of a local legend in Steel City, known for his dedication to recycling used materials and spaces throughout town into vegetable gardens and ad hoc works of art.
This location on Arch Avenue is the prime place to come and explore the bombastic work of art and colour wrought by Randy, with a chance to meet the perennially-smiling man himself and learn more about his sustainable art projects.
14. Take a stroll through Schenley Park
A patchwork of oak tree groves and beeches, winding pathways and arched stone bridges, elegant memorials and historic cabins, Schenley Park certainly deserves its reputation as one of the coolest and most interesting urban gardens in the country.
Covering a whopping 300 acres of land just south of the Carnegie Museums and the University of Pittsburgh, the spot is home to disc golf courses, running tracks and the likes of Panther Hollow, where an elegant bridge reflects beautifully in the lake waters below, gilded on the sides by carvings and sculpture works by Giuseppe Moretti.
Walking, picnicking and sports are all top attractions between the borders of Schenley.
15. Have an artisan coffee brew at 4121 Main
Part hipster coffee shop, part curiosities boutique, part wedding planners, part floral arrangers, 4121 Main (conveniently located at 4121 Main in Pittsburgh) is leading the new wave of off-beat drinkeries in Steel City.
Housed in a charming building dating from the pre-war era, the joint’s owners – Kira Hoeg and Thommy Conroy – serve up speciality beans roasted by Heart Coffee Roasters based out of Oregon (all fair trade and packed with a smooth, rich flavor).
There’s a loyal following of local patrons and always something to look at while sipping a brew at this cool and quirky establishment.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PA)
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What is Pittsburg famous for? ›
Pittsburgh is known both as "the Steel City" for its more than 300 steel-related businesses and as the "City of Bridges" for its 446 bridges. The city features 30 skyscrapers, two inclined railways, a pre-revolutionary fortification and the Point State Park at the confluence of the rivers.Is Pittsburgh good for tourists? ›
The city has a lot to offer tourists. It's home to many professional sports teams, as well as a variety of museums and historical sites. Pittsburgh also has fantastic art, music, and food scene.What is downtown Pittsburgh known for? ›
Downtown Pittsburgh offers residents and visitors more than ever: From the Pittsburgh Cultural District and its many theaters, restaurants and nightspots to Market Square with its European piazza flair, there is a spot for everyone and every occasion. (Not to mention it has some of the best food in the city.)What sandwich is Pittsburgh famous for? ›
One more thing that stands out to anyone who has been to "The City of Bridges" is the famous Primanti Brothers sandwich, a must-eat experience for anyone near Pittsburgh. These remarkable sandwiches have been filling the stomachs of Pittsburghers for over 75 years.Where is Pittsburgh hidden graffiti? ›
Welcome to the most colorful place in Pittsburgh, where creative expression in the form of graffiti is not only legal, but welcomed. The Color Park is located in the South Side of Pittsburgh along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail between Liberty Bridge and the 10th Street Bridge.Does Pittsburgh have nightlife? ›
Nightlife in Pittsburgh gives you a vast choice of places to drink, hit the dance floor, and enjoy live music. The Strip and South Side host some of the city's best nightclubs and bars, while the North Shore has a vibrant casino with classic and modern slot machines, table games and live entertainment.Can you hold a sloth at the Pittsburgh Zoo? ›
You can meet a sloth up close daily, except Tuesdays, at 9:30 a.m.!What is the nicest part of Pittsburgh? ›
- Shadyside. Shadyside, Pittsburgh, is quaint, walkable, and eclectic. ...
- Squirrel Hill South. The city eventually divided the area into two for municipal purposes. ...
- Squirrel Hill North. ...
- The Strip District. ...
- Bloomfield. ...
- Mount Washington. ...
- North Oakland. ...
Some of the neighborhoods are known for higher rates of crime. Always try to walk on well-lit streets and avoid alleyways, even if it is faster. Ultimately, the best idea is to use public transportation or a taxi to get around the area for those unfamiliar with it.Is Philly or Pittsburgh safer? ›
Neither Pittsburgh nor Philadelphia are known for their high safety rating but one of the benefits of living in Pittsburgh is it's a bit safer than Philadelphia. The violent crime rate is lower in Pittsburgh but the property crime rate in Philadelphia versus Pittsburgh is about the same.
What are five firsts from Pittsburgh? ›
- First newspaper west of the Alleghenies (1789) - The Pittsburgh Gazette.
- First Ferris Wheel (1893)
- World's First Commercial Radio Station (1920) - KDKA.
- First Ice Capades (1940)
- First All-Aluminum Building (1953) - Regional Enterprise Tower (formerly the Alcoa Building)
- First Polio Vaccine (1954) - Dr.
The Name. "The Strip," as locals call it, is just that – a narrow strip (one-half mile) of land between the Allegheny River and a mountain of a hill.Where is the Golden Triangle in Pittsburgh? ›
Downtown Pittsburgh, colloquially referred to as the Golden Triangle, and officially the Central Business District, is the urban downtown center of Pittsburgh. It is located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River whose joining forms the Ohio River.What is the oldest bar in Pittsburgh? ›
At 149 years old, the Original Oyster House is Pittsburgh's oldest bar and restaurant. Located in the heart of downtown Market Square, near the courts and just across the river from the stadiums, the unique tavern has been designated a historic landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundations.What are Pittsburgh people called? ›
Yinzer is a 20th-century term playing on the Pittsburghese second-person plural vernacular "yinz." The word is used among people who identify themselves with the city of Pittsburgh and its traditions.What is a YINZ Pittsburgh? ›
What does yinz mean? Yinz is a Pittsburgh equivalent to y'all. It is used to address two or more people as a second-person plural pronoun.Where is Millionaires Row in Pittsburgh? ›
Fifth Avenue in Shadyside developed the apt nickname “Millionaire's Row”, and was in the early 1900's home to luminaries such as George Westinghouse, Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie, and many other household names.What cookies are famous in Pittsburgh? ›
One of the most famous cookies in Pittsburgh, the original chocolate chip at Nancy's B's in West Homestead, has been a cookie staple in Pittsburgh since the shop opened 38 years ago.Why does Pittsburgh put fries on salad? ›
The fries add warmth, texture, saltiness, and bulk to the salad. In Pittsburgh, it was not historically referred to as a “Pittsburgh salad”. It is often on menus as "steak salad" or "chicken salad". Pamela's Diner, Whitfield, and Eat'n Park are local restaurants that serve or have served this dish.What superhero movie was filmed in Pittsburgh? ›
The Dark Knight Rises
Some of the film's most memorable scenes were filmed in Pittsburgh. For example, Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon Institute stands in as Gotham City Hall, where Bane makes his speech about Commissioner Gordon.
Are there underground tunnels in Pittsburgh? ›
The Liberty Tunnels (also known as the Liberty Tubes) are a pair of tunnels located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States that allow motorists to travel between the South Hills of Pittsburgh and the city, beneath Mt. Washington.What are the black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh? ›
The Hill District is a grouping of historically African American neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Beginning in the years leading up to World War I, "the Hill" was the cultural center of black life in the city and a major center of jazz.Can you walk around Pittsburgh with alcohol? ›
Police can charge you for an open container if you are walking around with an open beer between bars or between the car and the stadium. Nonetheless, the harder charge to avoid is public drunkenness.What side of Pittsburgh is the Strip District? ›
The Strip District is a bustling warehouse district just northeast of Downtown Pittsburgh, situated along the Allegheny River from 11th to around 31st Streets.What city has the biggest nightlife? ›
- Las Vegas.
- New York City.
- New Orleans.
- Key West.
- Los Angeles.
- San Diego.
- San Francisco.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is delighted to offer free daytime admission for RADical Day on October 2, 2022, in partnership with the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). Guests must reserve a free timed-entry ticket on pittsburghzoo.org to attend.How many miles is it to walk through the Pittsburgh Zoo? ›
To take your time and enjoy, allow around 5 -6 hours, but that truly depends upon your preference. Their website may give the actual trail miles. over a year ago. I'm guessing around 2.5 miles, excluding playgrounds.Why are there no polar bears at the Pittsburgh Zoo? ›
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has relocated its male polar bear resident, Koda, in hopes that he will propagate with another female companion at his new home in Tennessee. The polar bear population is rapidly declining due to loss of sea ice habitat.Where do the rich people live in Pittsburgh? ›
With high rankings in nearly every category Pittsburgh Magazine measured, Edgeworth edges out other posh Pittsburgh communities to earn the title of Best Affluent Suburb. The borough attracts a fair share of millionaires, with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as its most famous resident.Where do the hipsters live in Pittsburgh? ›
Lawrenceville Pittsburgh isn't just another neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It is the neighborhood for hipsters, art lovers, and the trendy entrepreneurs looking for a place to laugh, love, to live their lives to the fullest.
Is the Cultural District in Pittsburgh Safe? ›
Pittsburgh's Cultural District is one of the safest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, a city among the safest metropolitan areas in our nation. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust takes your safety very seriously. We have implemented additional measures and upgraded our security systems to help in our health efforts.Is Pittsburgh liberal or conservative? ›
Other urban areas, such as Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, and Scranton lean Democratic as well. Like most states, Pennsylvania's rural areas tend to be more conservative and support Republicans.Is the Hill District in Pittsburgh Safe? ›
While more visitors are likely to fill The Hill District during the hockey season, it is still considered a dangerous area and tourists should remain aware whenever walking the area after dark. Walking together with others in a large group is highly recommended, regardless of the time of year.Is Pittsburgh a rich area? ›
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Turns out the Pittsburgh area is home to Pennsylvania's richest town, according to a new study. In a new study done by 24/7 Wall St., the Pittsburgh suburb Edgeworth has a household income of more than $150,000. That's nearly triple the state average of $54,895.Which is bigger Philly or Pittsburgh? ›
Philadelphia is twice the size of Pittsburgh but has more than five times the number of residents crammed into that space. That means more traffic.Is Pittsburgh colder than New York? ›
It's just that Pittsburgh is a little colder and has a bit more snow in winter. You are already used to snow in NYC, so it won't make a big difference. And remember how awful was to have sunburns in the City during summers? Well, you can avoid that problem here, because the summers are a little colder, too.What was Pittsburgh originally called? ›
Originally Fort Duquesne, the earliest known reference to the new name, Pittsburgh, is in a letter sent from General John Forbes to William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham, dated November 27, 1758.Was the Big Mac created in Pittsburgh? ›
A Brief History of the Big Mac
The brief backstory is that the burger was created in 1967 by Jim Delligatti in the Pittsburgh area. Many locals will dispute the exact location of where the sandwich was created, but it is generally accepted that the burger was created at a Ross Township store off of McKnight Road.
One neighborhood that has been increasingly lost to history is Soho. Today's Pittsburghers would know the area as the southern portion of the Bluff/Uptown and South Oakland neighborhoods. Running along the northern shore of the Monongahela River, Soho roughly followed the path of Second Avenue.What do they call rubber bands in Pittsburgh? ›
'Gum' is a common alternative for 'rubber', as in 'gum boots' and 'gumshoe'. It is possible that rubber bands were originally sold in the Pittsburgh area under the trade name 'gumband'. Source: Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE).
What are furries Pittsburgh? ›
Anthrocon (abbreviated AC) is a furry convention that takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania each June or July. Its caters to the furries: fans of fictional anthropomorphic animal characters in art and literature.What does green belt mean in Pittsburgh? ›
Pittsburgh's Wayfarer System
The Wayfarer System divides the city into five color-coded sections. Light blue represents the North Side; green the South Side; Downtown, purple; The Strip District, greenish-brown; and East End, orange.
Pittsburgh's newest mural is the words “Black Lives Matter,” painted in white letters 12 feet tall in one of Downtown's most prominent spots: on the wall of the Allegheny River wharf, right across from PNC Park, along a busy riverfront trail.What is the oldest building still standing in Pittsburgh? ›
The Neal Log House is the oldest existing residential structure in Pittsburgh and one of the last few buildings left from the eighteenth century. The two other buildings - the Old Stone Inn, 1756 (not confirmed) and The Fort Pitt Block House, 1764 are not residential structures.For which industry Pittsburgh is famous? ›
The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has long been known for the steel industry since the Gilded Age, thanks to industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse. The steel industry played an enormous role in the history of Pittsburgh business.What is Pittsburgh's main export? ›
Trade In August 2022, the top exports of Pittsburgh, PA were Medical Instruments ($3.51M), Orthopedic Appliances ($1.14M), Non-optical Microscopes ($873k), Disc Chemicals for Electronics ($820k), and Other Electrical Machinery ($817k).What is the most common job in Pittsburgh? ›
|2||Customer Service Representative||4,865|
Region's largest employers 2022.
|Employer||End of 2021 employment|
|University of Pittsburgh||14,003|
|Walmart (and Sam's Club)||12,000|
Well, the most common answers are: Its industrial and manufacturing history, its three rivers, its many bridges, and its sports team championship sports franchises. Additionally, Pittsburgh is known for famous celebrities like Mr. Rogers, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Jeff Goldblum, and Andy Warhol.What is Pittsburgh's city nickname? ›
What are Pittsburgh's nicknames? Pittsburgh's most common nicknames include the City of Bridges, Iron City, Steel City, the Burgh, the 412, the Paris of Appalachia, and the City of Champions.
Is Pittsburgh growing or shrinking? ›
Growing America, shrinking Pittsburgh: City population falls 2.6 percent since 2000.Is steel still made in Pittsburgh? ›
Once the center of the American steel industry, and still known as "The Steel City", today the city of Pittsburgh has no steel mills within its limits, though Pittsburgh-based companies such as US Steel, Ampco Pittsburgh and Allegheny Technologies own several working mills in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.