We spent five full days checking out Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The weather was perfect and we explored what felt like every inch of the city on foot. We were invited by Visit Pittsburgh to check out the city’s amazing arts and culture scene. We were both blown away by how much the city had to offer. From the robust collection of Carnegie Museums to the stunning Andy Warhol museum and of course all the quirks of Randyland there is no shortage of things to do in Pittsburgh.
This western Pennsylvania City known is known as the City of Bridges because of the 446 bridges there. Yes, it’s the most of any city in the world. The city is situated on three rivers the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio all intersect to create ample unique opportunities for exploring the Steel City even by water. Whether you’re looking for art, history, sports or food, you’ll find it here. If you plan anything like me you’ll start by deciding what to eat in Pittsburgh, then decide what to see and do in Steelers country. This list includes 20 of the best things to do in Pittsburgh.
Before digging in check out our 1-minute highlight video of all our favorite moments from the week.
Randyland might be the best place in Pittsburgh for Instagram photos. This free outdoor art museum is exploding with colors. They’ve managed to turn everything from plants, tires and broken benches into an interactive art display. We got there early afternoon on a Tuesday and had the whole place to ourselves for the better part of an hour. Be prepared to get creative.
The Best Sunset Dinner Cruise in Pittsburgh
Set sail aboard the Gateway Clipper on a weekend night for a sunset dinner cruise while a DJ plays of your favorite songs from the 90s. Guests on the Gateway Clipper fleet of boats enjoy a dinner buffet during this 2-hour cruise. The Gateway Clipper tours run from May through November and include several seasonal sailings and special events throughout the year. Visitors can also take advantage of holiday specials, parties, and events for kids like the Princess Cruises
Visit the Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum is a must-visit if you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Pittsburgh. Rotating exhibits are featured here alongside the largest collection of Warhol art. Get hands-on here and try to create your own Andy Warhol-esque work of art.
Meg Ten Eyck had some beautiful things to say about the queer community’s impact on the arts. It opened my eyes in many ways. Check out her thoughts here and if you aren’t following her duh now is a good time to do so.
The Strip District in Pittsburgh the Best Spot for Pierogi
If you’re coming to Pittsburgh, not grabbing some Pierogi while you’re here is almost illegal. The Strip District is located just north of the downtown area and serves up international grocery stores and restaurants where you can find the best Pierogi in the states. Settle in for some of the best affordable, filling and delicious comfort food in Pittsburgh. If you’re not familiar I’d start with the classic potato filling topped with sour cream and chives.
The Best Views in Pittsburg Can be Found At Mount Washington
Mount Washington extends across Grandview Avenue overlooking the Pittsburgh skyline. Here you can visit Restaurant Row and enjoy a delicious meal with the skyline as your backdrop. Mount Washington is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and is a must-do when visiting the city. The vantage point is one of the best views in Pittsburgh.
While you can drive or catch an Uber to see this view the best way to get here is on the incline. These wooden cable cars are charming and uniquely western Pennsylvania. The Duquesne Incline gives the best views out of the two in my opinion.
The Pittsburgh Tour Company – Just the Tour
For those not wanting to get off and on The Pittsburgh Tour Company bus, consider just staying on. This will allow you to map out a future itinerary or just learn more about the city before you dive in. The Just the Tour Pass includes a narrated historic tour of the area and lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
It’s one of the best ways to spend a fun afternoon in Pittsburgh. Learn about the city on this fun tour and get an insider take on what makes it great. This tour is great for families with young children.
History and Beauty Come Together at Point State Park
Point State Park is located at the center-point where all three rivers merge; it is a National Historic Landmark that chronicles the history of the area during the French and Indian War. The park commemorates the people, places, and events of the time and is also a great spot for an afternoon stroll.
Carnegie Science Center
Of the four Carnegie Museums, the Carnegie Science Center is my absolute favorite. What makes this stand apart from the rest is that it a totally interactive experience. From the Nasa exhibit to the beat the robot sports games its a place that just makes you want to play. We also had the privilege of touring the Mummies of the World exhibit before it opened. What we loved most about it was they include so much more than just the mummies from Egypt.
Visit the Quirky Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh
A contemporary art museum in Pittsburg, The Mattress Factory is one of the best, unusual stops in Pittsburgh. Visitors will delight in the changing art exhibits throughout this sprawling museum. Artists in residence create art directly within the space itself. The Mattress Factory Museum is comprised of three buildings in the Mexican War district and well worth a visit. It’s also a super fun place to grab some photos for your social media.
Explore American History at Fort Pitt Museum
The Fort Pitt Museum offers several exhibits and displays that preserve this history of Pittsburgh and parts of Western Pennsylvania. This indoor-outdoor museum is run by the John Heinz History Center.
Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Located in Greensburg a bit outside the traditional downtown tourist area you’ll find the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. This beautifully renovated American art museum has a heavy focus on art from Southwestern Pennsylvania. They also have some great interactive exhibits. There is a wonderful little cafe on-site so plan to make an afternoon of it.
The Frick Pittsburgh
You can find The Frick Pittsburgh in the Point Breeze neighborhood about 30 mins from where we stayed in at the TRYP hotel in Lawrenceville. The Frick is a series of museums and stunning gardens based around the Frick family residence. The car and carriage museum was our absolute favorite part. Meg grew up with a grandfather who rebuilt cars so it was fun wandering and hearing their stories.
The Pittsburgh Tour Company Hop-on Hop-off Tour
One of the best ways to get your bearings when visiting Pittsburgh is to take advantage of The Pittsburgh Tour Company’s bus tours. The Hop-on, Hop-off tour brings visitors to 21 stops within the city. From the Duquesne Incline to Heinz Field or the Andy Warhol Museum, you can choose your own adventure of sorts.
Visitors can board at any stop along the way and ride the entire course along the river to The Strip and through the Oakland neighborhood. It’s a great way to get acclimated and familiarize yourself with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Pittsburgh.
Stroll Through Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens include 15-acres of orchids, bonsai trees and a variety of flowers and plants. With 23 gardens to explore and a stunning greenhouse, the sights, sounds, and smells of this historic landmark delight visitors at every turn.
We got there with only about an hour before close and had practically the whole place to ourselves. It was the perfect place for a date or just some quiet time with a friend.
The Ultimate Bicycle Museum is in Pittsburgh
If you like bikes, you’ll love Bicycle Heaven. It’s the biggest transportation museum in the world strictly related to bikes. This personal collection of Craig Morrow’s also includes the bicycle from the 80s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure Movie. I learned while I was there that the city of Pittsburgh is currently investing a ton of money into bike lanes. It’s absolutely becoming a very bikeable city.
Discover the History of Pennsylvania at Heinz History Center
The Heinz History Center incorporates the history of Western Pennsylvania, encompassing everything Mister Rogers Neighborhood items to a Heinz Tomato Ketchup tour. The guided tour chronicles the company’s 150 years of innovative products.
Check out the Pirates at PNC Park
Baseball fans can enjoy a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park Field. From PNC Park fans can see glorious views of the Pittsburgh skyline. Whether you’re interested in watching the game or not, be sure not to miss the PNC Park food courts. Smorgasburgh features an eclectic mix of food found throughout the city and Pop’s Plaza serves more traditional baseball park food like nachos and hot dogs.
This was actually our first professional baseball time together and we had the best time. We made a whole evening out of it complete with buying to jerseys to dress the part. We’re not big baseball fans but sports is such a huge part of what makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. I’m glad we got to experience all the black and gold.
Visit the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh
This contemporary art museum in Pittsburgh features works by Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso among others. This vast collection is inspiring to both artists and art fans. Founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, it features a wide range of art and is well worth a visit on your next trip to Pittsburgh.
See What Steeler’s Country is All About at Heinz Field
Until 2001, The Pittsburgh Steelers home field was Three Rivers Stadium. Once Heinz Field was built, it became one of the top stadiums in the NFL. Like PNC Park Field, Heinz is also horseshoe shape which allows for sweeping views of the Pittsburgh skyline. Situated on the Allegheny River, it is a must-visit for football fans, whether Steelers fans or not.
One of my first memories from college is meeting a ton of kids from Pittsburgh. On Sundays, it’s like everything would come to a screeching halt so everyone could watch the Steelers. I’ve never been to a place with more passionate sports fans.
Southern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial
Take some time to visit the Southern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial and learn about the sacrifices that citizens made during this tumultuous period in history. This outdoor museum chronicles the lives and activities of residents during wartime. Panels and enclosed art displays create a timeline of events leading up to the war and its outcome.