25 Great Destinations in Pittsburgh
If you’ve followed all of our instructions in the 2019-2020 City Guide, you’ve hit many of the city’s most beloved locations and plenty of hidden treasures. There are plenty of treasured local landmarks that didn’t quite fit into any of our neighborhood itineraries, however — and they’re worth a special trip.
photo by dave dicelllo
Point State Park and Fort Pitt Museum — Head to the recognizable fountain at the point where the three rivers meet for a beautiful view of the city (and an easy Instagram photo). Spend some time in the park, then visit the Fort Pitt Museum to learn about the city’s origins; don’t miss the small Blockhouse, which dates to 1764. (601 Commonwealth Place, heinzhistorycenter.org/fort-pitt)
PHOTO BY DOUGLAS DUERRING
Allegheny Cemetery —This historic and picturesque Lawrenceville landmark includes the final resting place of prominent Pittsburghers including Josh Gibson and Stephen Foster. Go for an afternoon stroll or jog; the winding hills make for one of the city’s best easy walks. (4734 Butler St., alleghenycemetery.com)
The Andy Warhol Museum — The permanent collection at this North Side institution showcases the work of the Pop Art king, a Pittsburgh native. Keep an eye out for guest exhibitions of Warhol’s contemporaries and artistic descendents; also watch for the museum’s Sound Series concert lineup. Many performances take place in the museum’s striking lobby. (117 Sandusky St., warhol.org)
photo by amanda myers
Arcade Comedy Theater and Liberty Magic —These Downtown neighbors provide the Cultural District’s most intimate performances. At Arcade (943 Liberty Ave., arcadecomedytheater.com), improv, sketch and stand-up take place every Thursday to Sunday on two stages; at Liberty Magic (811 Liberty Ave., trustarts.org), magicians from near and far deliver world-class parlour shows.
photo by chuck Beard
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts and Heinz Hall — The twin pillars of the Cultural District offer architectural splendor and excellent performances in equal measure. The Benedum (237 7th St.) hosts shows from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (trustarts.org), as well as summer productions from the Pittsburgh CLO (pittsburghclo.org) and more; Heinz Hall (600 Penn Ave., pittsburghsymphony.org) is home base for the Pittsburgh Symphony, among other concerts.
Carnegie Science Center — Kids are dazzled by a sprawling collection of educational exhibits, from outer space to robotics and beyond, at this North Shore museum. Adults are equally impressed by touring exhibits and movies, including Hollywood fare and throwback favorites, on the Rangos Giant Cinema, the most technologically advanced screen in town. (1 Allegheny Ave., carnegiesciencecenter.org)
Carrie Blast Furnaces —Elements of the former U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works remain as a hulking emblem of the city’s industrial past on the border of Swissvale and Rankin. Schedule a tour and be sure to note some of the art that has sprung up since the mills closed, including the massive deer sculpture. (Carrie Furnace Blvd., riversofsteel.com)
The Frick Pittsburgh —The Point Breeze home of the industrialist has been preserved as a historical site; on-site museums highlight pieces from the lauded Frick art collection, historic cars and more. Visit on summer Fridays for outdoor performances and food trucks, or stop by for lunch at the Cafe at the Frick. (7227 Reynolds St., thefrickpittsburgh.org)
Sen. John Heinz History Center — A permanent collection of artifacts and exhibits on local history is paired with touring exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution at this Strip District museum. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, under the same roof and included with admission, has Steelers, Pirates and Penguins treasures and more. (1212 Smallman St., heinzhistorycenter.org)
Highmark Stadium and Station Square — The new centerpiece of the longstanding South Shore destination is an outdoor stadium, home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer team. The pitch hosts occasional concerts, as well. Make a night of it in Station Square; see more on its offerings in our tour of Mount Washington (p.50). (510 West Station Square Drive, highmarkstadium.com)
Photo by Brad Truxell
Kayak Pittsburgh —Tucked under the Roberto Clemente Bridge, this program of Venture Outdoors rents kayaks during the summer months. Rent a tandem kayak and (heeding some simple safety instructions) explore the confluence of the three rivers. Additional locations can be found in Aspinwall and at North Park. (1 Federal St., ventureoutdoors.org/kayak-pittsburgh)
photo courtesy kennywood
Kennywood Park — The iconic amusement park has been open for more than a century in West Mifflin. A collection of roller coasters (including the historic Jack Rabbit, Thunderbolt and Racer) will be joined by a new coaster, the Steel Curtain, this year. Younger children will love the “Thomas the Tank Engine” area; new visitors must eat at The Potato Patch. (4800 Kennywood Blvd., kennywood.com)
Mattress Factory — The installation-art museum has been a must-visit for decades. The “Repetitive Vision” and “Infinity Dots Mirrored Room” exhibits by Yayoi Kusama are essential. Head down the street to see the dramatic “House Poem” by writer Huang Xiang (408 Sampsonia Way), now used by other writers in City of Asylum/Pittsburgh programs (cityofasylum.org). (500 Sampsonia Way, mattress.org)
PHOTO BY PAUL G. WIEGMAN
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens — More than 20 separate gardens comprise this beautiful Oakland institution, a neighborhood fixture neighborhood since 1893. Leave time to wander; don’t miss the seasonal exhibits or the tranquil butterfly room. Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes is among the world’s greenest buildings. (One Schenley Park, phipps.conservatory.org)
photo by dave dicello
PNC Park and Heinz Field — Both the Pittsburgh Pirates (115 Federal St., pirates.com) and Steelers (100 Art Rooney Ave., heinzfield.com) have handsome homes on the North Shore. Get tickets to a game and arrive early for food, in-stadium exhibits and more; on an off day, both facilities offer tours that go beyond the areas you’d see on game day.
photo by renee rosensteel
Randyland — Artist Randy Gilson turned his North Side home into a technicolor marvel of outsider art — and you’re free to visit, from 10 a.m. through dusk daily. The museum is a favorite stop for ’Burghers entertaining guests. (1501 Arch St., randy.land)
Rivers Casino —Pittsburgh’s Downtown casino celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Multiple food and drink options make it an easy place to spend an evening; for non-gamblers, look at the event schedule for larger shows in the new Events Center or, during the summer, outdoor shows at the casino’s riverfront amphitheatre. (777 Casino Drive, riverscasino.com/pittsburgh)
Sandcastle Water Park — A bit of the beach on the banks of the Monongahela, Sandcastle offers waterslides, a lazy river and more. For families looking to keep the kids busy during the summer, season passes are available; for those looking to slide during the day and relax at night, the Waterfront shopping and entertainment district is just down the road. (1000 Sandcastle Drive, sandcastlewaterpark.com)
Stage AE — The North Shore concert venue is three stages in one: The largest, an outdoor space that hosts shows en plein air during warmer months; a sizable indoor venue with balcony seating and a large floor “pit”; and an intimate club-style setup. There’s live, touring acts at Stage AE multiple nights a week, year-round. (400 North Shore Drive, promowestlive.com/pittsburgh/stage-ae)