Pittsburgh Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in Pennsylvania
Credit

Courtesy of HDRExposed - Dave DiCello Photography/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is full of fun things to do, especially for families. You and the crew can take in a baseball game at PNC Park or root for the Steelers at Heinz Field. You can also get to know the animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium or explore the interactive museum that is the Carnegie Science Center. And after a long day of trekking about the hilly city, relax at the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 28, 2016

  • #1
    Things to do in Pittsburgh
    View all Photos
    #1 in Pittsburgh
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Duquesne Incline is one of two uphill trolleys — and it has been carting visitors up Mount Washington since the 1870s. After falling on hard times, the Duquesne Incline was lovingly restored in 1963. But why should you visit the trolley in this area instead of the Monongahela one?

    This one transports you to an ideal vantage point in Mount Washington, directly above where Pittsburgh's three rivers collide. There's a large viewing platform that extends just over the cliff and on a clear day, the view from the top makes for some excellent photographs. However, some recent visitors say you should wait and hop on the incline at night since it's less crowded and you can see the illuminated city below. Once you get to the top, aside from admiring the view, you can take some time to check out the small museum with some fun facts on Pittsburgh's history and photographs, or grab a souvenir from the gift shop. There are a few restaurants near the upper station as well, though travelers say they're pretty pricey and you're better off heading back downtown to grab a bite to eat.

  • #2
    Senator John Heinz History Center
    View all Photos
    #2 in Pittsburgh
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Senator John Heinz History Center isn't your typical museum. Yes, there are artifacts from the city's role in the French & Indian War, but then there's the Western Pennsylvania Sports exhibit, detailing the city's football and baseball legacies, and the exhibit on Heinz Ketchup and other Heinz products. From the Civil War to the industry titans of steel, if it's got to do with Pittsburgh, it's here.

    Most recent visitors enjoy the museum's wide variety of displays and said they left feeling pleased that they know a little more about Pittsburgh. Travelers also appreciated the sensible layout and organized approach of the museum, which made it easy to navigate.

  • #3
    Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
    View all Photos
    #3 in Pittsburgh
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Nestled in the Shadyside neighborhood, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium can make an entertaining afternoon for young families. Everything from the petting zoo in Kids Kingdom to the stingray tanks in the aquarium is family-friendly. This zoo is home to more than 400 different species of animals, some of which are threatened or endangered. Animals are grouped in different habitats, ranging from the African Savanna (where you'll see elephants, lions and giraffes) and the Asian Forest (say hello to tigers, red pandas and snow leopards) to the PPG Aquarium (with penguins, sharks and colorful fish) and Water's Edge (home to sea otters and polar bears).

    Visitors said they were impressed by the zoo and the number of animals that were on exhibit, noting that when the weather's nice it's a great attraction to explore. "Wonderful displays of so many animals with lots of written information available at each stop," said one TripAdvisor user. "This is a place to take the kids over and over. ...  the animals are terrific and there is a HUGE variety."

  • #4
    Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
    View all Photos
    #4 in Pittsburgh
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a popular backdrop for local weddings and a haven for stressed undergrads, since two universities are just a short walk away. But the conservatory has plenty to offer visitors as well: You can explore the collection of green rooms, each of which is dedicated to a region or specific plant type. Phipps is home to everything from tropical forests and butterfly gardens to bonsai, Joshua tree and orchid plant and flower collections. Just beyond the main entrance, a small shop and a cafe invite travelers to relax. Phipps is great for families, too. The conservatory offers different hands-on activities as well as play areas for children. Most visitors say while the admission may seem a little steep, it's well worth the price tag.

    You'll find the Phipps Conservatory adjacent to Carnegie Mellon University's campus on Schenley Park. Admission is $17.95 for adults and $11.95 for children between ages 2 and 18. Phipps is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays. Check out the conservatory's website for more information.

  • #5
    PNC Park
    View all Photos
    #5 in Pittsburgh
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located on the southern shore of North Side district, PNC Park is the home base for Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates. Catch an afternoon game and enjoy the local craft beers, hometown hot dogs and pierogies, plus some awesome game play.

    Most visitors praise the stadium for its views (and suggest visiting on a fireworks night for added fun), but many say it's the entire experience that sets this ballpark apart. "It's not just the stunning, first-class ballpark and fabulous view of the skyline that make it great. It's the total package of greatness: the pre-game street scene, entertainment, tons of bars, sidewalk cafes, beer trucks, riverfront, kayaks — and that's just outside!" said one TripAdvisor user.

  • #6
    Carnegie Science Center
    View all Photos
    #6 in Pittsburgh
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Offering a range of interactive exhibits covering a variety of topics, the Carnegie Science Center is a hit with adults and families with children. The science center, one of four Carnegie Museums in Steel City, is home to a planetarium, an exploration station with electricity and weather exhibits, a sports-focused venue, a robotics experience, a naval submarine and more. Within different areas of the museum, visitors can learn about energy through a kiosk game show, see what it feels like to be weightless on the zero-gravity climbing wall, understand the physics of sports and interact with the robots in roboworld.

    Carnegie Science Center also offers entertainment options that are particular visitor favorites, including laser shows where neon lights and music combine (think: light shows set to Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd and Daft Punk hits) and screenings in the four-story Rangos Omnimax Theater (a massive domed IMAX theater).

  • #7
    Heinz Field
    View all Photos
    #7 in Pittsburgh
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Whether you're a Steelers fan or a devotee of another NFL team, Heinz Field is worth a visit. This modern stadium has one of the most unique views throughout the league thanks to its waterfront location. It also doubles as a concert venue for major acts throughout the year.

    Although tickets for games and concerts are pricey, you can take a tour for much less. Tours last about 90 minutes, run from April through October and cost $8 for adults and $7 for seniors and kids ages 5 to 17. Recent visitors say the tour is a good consolation if you can't catch a game, noting the guides are informative and you still get the opportunity to take photos with the river backdrop.

  • #8
    Andy Warhol Museum
    View all Photos
    #8 in Pittsburgh
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located a block east of PNC Park in the North Side, the Andy Warhol Museum is the largest single-artist museum in the country. Housed in a refurbished warehouse, it holds seven floors' worth of instillations, reproductions and educational exhibits dedicated to one of the most famous Pittsburghers. Fans will find originals like the Brillo Boxes sculpture and the Elvis Presley painting among other artifacts and exhibits.

    And with all that space, visitors can easily get their pop art fix. Most museumgoers appreciated the colorful pieces and loved learning a little more about Warhol's life and creative process. However, some say this museum might only interest die-hard fans and note the admission is a bit pricey.

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