Be among the many who have discovered Pittsburgh to be the perfect combination of new and different meets tried-and-true. Named one of the Top Travel Destinations Worldwide (Frommer’s), Pittsburgh offers a city full of affordable amenities that today demanding visitors expect a vibrant city to offer – outstanding museums, a thriving Cultural District, eclectic neighbourhoods – plus unique attractions that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether it’s the breathtaking view from PNC Park (voted the best ballpark in Major League Baseball), the original art found inside the Andy Warhol Museum or a ride up a mountain on the 130-year-old “Incline” (Funicular), Pittsburgh promises to deliver the unique experience all travellers hope for.
Purely Pennsylvania’s top ten things to do whilst in Pittsburgh:-
No visit to Pittsburgh is complete without a ride on one of the restored 1800s inclines to the top of Mt. Washington - just across the river from downtown Pittsburgh. There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from on top of this former "Coal Hill," and the stunning view of downtown (especially beautiful at night) was ranked by USA Today as the second best beautiful place in America.
Campbell’s soup cans anyone? Continue your exploration of Pittsburgh at the Andy Warhol Museum, an ultramodern tribute to the founder of pop art. The most comprehensive single artist museum in the world houses more than 4,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, films, and videos, from this native Pittsburgh artist. While dedicated to Andy Warhol, the museum also hosts rotating exhibits by artists who push the boundaries of art, just as Warhol did.
Point State Park
At this tiny state park in downtown Pittsburgh, on land once coveted by three empires, the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio. The 'glass castle' PPG building dominates the skyline. And one of the tallest fountains in the nation (a 275-foot geyser that blasts 6,000 gallons of water per minute) is fed by an aquifer found 53 feet underground (sometimes referred to as Pittsburgh's fourth river). While there, explore the Fort Pitt Block House & Museum located among the remains of the famous British fort or just sit and watch the boats go by.
The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History combine two world renowned museums in one unforgettable visit. Same day admission to both museums provides a wide variety of things to explore, and many sections include hands-on activities where children are encouraged to touch as well as look. Enjoy one of the best dinosaur exhibits in the world, breathtaking gems and minerals, an extensive Native American gallery, plus the museum ranked by Child Magazine among the "10 Best Art Museums for Kids."
Stroll through one of the largest Victorian "glass houses" in the country to see towering tropical plants that were the original seedlings at the 1890 Exposition, beautiful orchids, indoor and outdoor gardens, and a fabulous bonsai collection. Children will revel in the Discovery Garden, where they are invited to exercise their green thumbs and explore the world of plants and flowers, worms and all. Seasonal exhibits include a butterfly garden, flower shows, and a miniature railroad display.
It's an "amusement park for the mind" at this large science museum, where more than 250 hands-on, interactive exhibits bring together science and fun for all ages. Tour a WWII submarine, marvel at a four-story Omnimax film, or tour South-western Pennsylvania via miniature railroad - all under one roof. Then, race against an Olympic sprinter, try out your fastball, or climb a rock wall, all at the place where science and sports comes together - UPMC SportsWorks next door!
The Miniature Railroad & Village is located at the Carnegie Science Centre on the North Shore of downtown Pittsburgh. The layout is 83' by 30' in length and encompasses an entire room. Four Lionel trains and one trolley can operate at the same time on five tracks. Over 22 electronics and software drive the display's miniature lights, animations and trains.
Just across the Allegheny River from the History Centre is the National Aviary, where over 600 of the world's most incredible birds are displayed in naturalistic exhibits and walk-through habitats. Marvel at hummingbirds the size of a thumb or Andean Condors with giant 10-foot wingspans at the nation's premiere bird zoo!
Cathedral of Learning
A 42-story neo-Gothic structure at the centre of the University of Pittsburgh campus, the Cathedral contains 26 Nationality rooms designed by the different ethnic groups that resided in Allegheny County. On the grounds of the Cathedral you'll also find the beautiful Heinz Memorial Chapel which, with its 23 enormous stained-glass windows, is a favourite Pittsburgh wedding location.
Good Ship Lollipop
Kids of all ages will enjoy Lolli the Clown as the Captain presents a moving portrait of our great river city. A wide variety of other cruises are also available on the boats of the Gateway Clipper Fleet, including dining, entertainment and narrated sightseeing tours which truly capture the personality of Pittsburgh. If you have the time, we especially recommend the Lock and Dam cruise.
When the Sun Goes Down enjoy the nightlife of East Carson Street on Pittsburgh's historic South Side, where old buildings have been converted into trendy bars and local bands provide great entertainment.
Shop till you drop – Tax free
Where do you prefer to shop? Is it a lively downtown district, or is it a convenient shopping mall? Do you like to linger between the boutiques of a small town street or delve into artists' studios, flea markets and antique stores? Or, perhaps factory outlets are your thing? You can find it all in the greater Pittsburgh area. As an added perk, Pennsylvania has no sales tax on clothing or shoes.
Here is our pick of the best not to miss shopping areas:
Shopping in Downtown Pittsburgh
Whether you shop the classic elegance of Saks Fifth Avenue or browse the pop art memorabilia at The Andy Warhol Museum Store, Pittsburgh's compact, walk able downtown means that shops are conveniently located within easy distance of hotels and the convention centre.
Shops at Station Square
Hop on the "T" (subway) in Downtown and head across the river to Station Square, a restored 19th-century railroad building that houses more than 40 specialty shops and more than a dozen outstanding restaurants. Purchase contemporary gifts of handcrafted glass or steel at the Occasion Station or indulge in a luxurious sweater from St. Brendan's Crossing.
Strip District and Lawrenceville
All the flavours of Pittsburgh come together in the bustling Strip District at the edge of Downtown. Find fresh meats, seafood, pastas, and pastries along the Strip, along with antiques and kitchen gadgets; unique Pittsburgh gifts at the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Centre; and one-of-a-kind home furnishings and accessories in the 16:62 Design Zone, a collection of more than 100 businesses in a 56-block stretch running from The Strip District through Lawrenceville.
South Side Shops
Just minutes from Downtown, Pittsburgh's South Side offers a treasure trove of unique and novel gift shops, galleries, bookstores, antique stores and jewellery stores. When you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of restaurants and sidewalk cafes to tempt your taste buds and tired feet. While on the South Side, check out the new retail development area of the South Side Works, featuring chic upscale boutiques.
A Pittsburgh shopping adventure is not complete without a trip to Shadyside, located 15 minutes from Downtown, near Oakland. The short drive is well worth it, for along Ellsworth Avenue, Walnut Street and the area's cosy side streets you will find many of the finest and most upscale shops in the Pittsburgh region. Be sure to allow time in your schedule to browse through music and bookstores, sip a cappuccino, and have dinner at one of the Shadyside shopping district's numerous restaurants.
At night Pittsburgh transforms into a sparkling metropolis and a whole new world awaits! Pittsburghers work hard by day. But when the sun goes down, they like to play too. From rocking nightclubs to cosy coffeehouses, there are plenty of great spots to enjoy live music, dancing and a well-earned night of fun.
Here are some suggestions if you're looking for adventure after dark.
Dine at one of Downtown's outstanding restaurants then plan to spend the rest of the evening in the Cultural District. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra makes magical music at Heinz Hall, while the elegance of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Pittsburgh Opera graces the beautiful halls of the Benedum Centre.
At night, this one-of-a-kind historic market district draws adventurers of all kinds with its gritty urban vitality. Enjoy a meal at Kaya or lidia’s then take in some live jazz or R&B at CJ’s in the Strip.
Across the river from Downtown Pittsburgh is Station Square, where dance floors beckon and the summer's hottest concerts blast from the Chevrolet Amphitheatre. Looking for an eclectic mix of music, atmosphere and food? Discover East Carson Street, where local bands perform at neighbourhood clubs and bars. End your night with a steaming cup of java at one of the South Side's many cosy coffeehouses.
If a quiet night and elegant dinner is more your style, set your sights on one of the restaurants along Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington. The night time view of downtown Pittsburgh, ranked number two on USA Weekend's "Top 10 Most Beautiful Places" list for 2003, provides the perfect backdrop to a romantic evening.
Whether dining in one of the region's premier restaurants or stepping out on the town, Pittsburgh sets new marks for culinary excellence and good times. Generations of ethnic flavour and cooking secrets, combined and improved upon over the years, converge like the city's three rivers to form a melting pot of good taste.
Breakfast lovers can have it both ways, fast and light for those on the go, or eggs and pancakes with all the fixings. Coffee is king in Pittsburgh (it has one of the nation's highest per-capita consumption rates), and coffee lovers can choose the right bean from a number of specialty shops. Nicholas Coffee Co. has been roasting and selling gourmet coffee beans in Pittsburgh since 1919, as is proudly proclaimed on their downtown landmark store in Market Square. La Prima Espresso also located downtown as well as in the Strip District and Oakland, also roasts its own beans. Pittsburgh also boasts many outstanding neighbourhood coffeehouses throughout the city, including the Beehive on the South Side, The Vault in Brighton Heights, Enrico's Tazza d'Oro in Highland Park, Affogato in Bellevue and Aldo Coffee in Mt. Lebanon. With that cup of coffee add a fresh, hot bagel from one of the city's many Breugger's Bagels.
The hungry man or woman will find everything from buckwheat pancakes to omelettes to homemade sausage at DeLucas or Jo Jo's in the Strip District, Pamela's in Squirrel Hill or The Original Pancake House in the North Hills. The family favourites are local chains, Kings Restaurants and Eat N' Park (where in the old days you could literally park and eat in the car). Both offer average breakfast fare at inexpensive prices. New to the Pittsburgh scene, but extremely popular nation-wide is Cracker Barrel, which adds good Southern food like grits, ham and biscuits to the traditional breakfast fare. Sunday brunch is served up by many Pittsburgh area restaurants, with brunch at the Grand Concourse in Station Square a special favourite of both locals and visitors.
How about escaping the city and exploring the many counties that surround Pittsburgh.
Here is our guide to the region:
Lawrence County: Your back roads drive through Lawrence County will provide a glimpse into the life of the Old Order Amish, third largest in the nation. Be sure to stop in the villages of Volant and New Wilmington or walk the labyrinth at Villa Maria Retreat Centre. You’ll be awed by the architecture of the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the Victorian mansions and the nightly “fireworks” display in New Castle. Save time to ride on a
camel at Living Treasures Animal Park, drive through the covered bridge at McConnell’s Mill State Park, enjoy a theatrical performance at the New Castle Playhouse or canoe the Connoquenessing Creek near Ellwood City.
Your Americana visit would not be complete without a stop at the Statues of Liberty in New Castle and Ellwood City.
Mercer County: Mercer County is located at the crossroads of Interstates 79 and 80 just one hour north of Pittsburgh and is known for great shopping and scenic countryside. Exciting shops include Reyers, the world’s largest shoe store; Prime Outlets at Grove City, with over 140 shops; Kraynak’s, with its beautiful Santa’s Christmas land and Easter Bunny Lane; and The Winner, the world’s largest off-price fashion store. Other
attractions include Slovak Folk Crafts for beautiful handmade folk crafts; Wendell August Forge, where you can view handcrafted metalworkings; Victorian Mercer and Courthouse Square; and the ever-delicious chocolate candy factory tours at Daffin’s or Philadelphia Candies.
Washington County: Just south of Pittsburgh, Washington County welcomes you to a prehistoric campsite and homes along American milestones. Our “Dawn’s Early Light” tour takes you from the ancient Meadowcroft
Rockshelter through homes of the Whiskey Rebellion and the Underground Railroad then transports you to the modern age to ride along at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. At day’s end, bring down the curtain at Little Lake Theatre, enjoy hot slots and fast trotters at The Meadows racetrack & casino, or chalk up a victory with Wild Things baseball. It’s all right here at the crossroads of Interstates 70 and 79 – the crossroads of mild and wild.
Armstrong County: Bisected by the mighty Allegheny River and located just 40 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh, Armstrong County has long been known for its beauty. This area is full of interesting and diverse
activities...ROAM over the rolling hills, FISH in the breathtaking streams, HIKE & BIKE through the woodlands and trails, GOLF one of the many diverse courses, RIDE the rail at Kiski Junction, SEARCH for your family connections or find your own way to DISCOVER the wealth of recreation opportunities. Let Armstrong County’s outdoor tapestry be the backdrop for your next adventure! We invite you to COME, PLAY and DISCOVER...the heart of Western Pennsylvania.
Beaver County: Located just minutes north of Pittsburgh, Beaver County is one of the region’s best kept secrets. Here among the rolling hills, hardwood forests and river valleys you’ll find historical treasures and modern-day amenities in a picturesque small-town setting. The attractions include Old Economy Village, final home of the Harmony Society and the Riverfront Antique Mall, the largest antique mall in western PA.
If you’re into history and art, you’ll enjoy visiting the Merrick Art Gallery, which houses more than 200 paintings and the Beaver Area Heritage Museum, located in a renovated 90-year-old railway freight station.
Greene County: Bordered on the west and the south by West Virginia, Greene County’s 576 square miles of rolling hills make up the cornerstone of the Keystone state, the only square corner of Pennsylvania. Western Greene County boasts nature trails shimmering with perfect specimens of rare and endangered biological species, plus the nation’s longest continuously running country fair, The Jacktown Fair. The Waynesburg area hosts progressive industrial parks and technology corridors. Enjoy an Agricultural Tourism experience, whether it is a farm Bed & Breakfast or a visit to one of our wineries. The 40,000 citizens of Greene County invite you to join the sportsmen and others who visit our hunting lands, covered bridges, museums and libraries
and numerous annual shows, fairs and festivals.
Indiana County: Located in south western Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, Indiana County is an excellent place to visit for its natural beauty and exciting attractions. Come visit Indiana County and explore the culture, history, heritage and recreation. “It’s a Wonderful Life in Indiana County!” Visit the hometown of Jimmy Stewart, the Smicksburg Amish community, covered bridges, historic sights, over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails, festivals, parks, fishing, golfing and performing arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, all in “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World!” We invite you to experience our hometown hospitality and charm.
Butler County: Your adventure awaits in Butler County! Just 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh is a vast array of attractions ranging from Pennsylvania’s only protected prairie at Jennings Environmental Centre to a toy store housed in a stealth bomber! Explore Harmony, western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District, as well as the state’s largest manmade lake at Moraine State Park. Butler County boasts two fine wineries, two
exceptional breweries, a world-class glass blowing centre, twelve golf courses and the Maridon Museum, the only museum in the region with a specific focus on Chinese and Japanese art and culture. Butler County’s hotels, Bed & Breakfasts and campgrounds are waiting to welcome you to our corner of the world.
Laural Highlands: Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands is a picturesque playground of opportunity! Southeast of Pittsburgh, the three-county region shares the beauty of majestic mountains. Experience major resorts, festivals, amusement and animal parks, living history including French and Indian War re-enactments, heroic legacies, theatre, art and spectacular outdoor recreation. We welcome you to white-water rafting, hiking-biking trails along the Great Allegheny Passage and exhilarating ski slopes including the largest ski resort in PA.
Compare architectural masterpieces, three Frank Lloyd Wright homes including Falling water®, dramatically
Cantilevered over a waterfall. It’s about time...We invite you to “Explore the Seasons” and create wonderful
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