Pittsburgh Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in Pennsylvania
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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 September 3, 2019

  • #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
    Strip District
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    #2 in Pittsburgh
    Cafes, Museums, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Museums, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    What was once a primarily industrial neighborhood is now packed with restaurants, international markets, museums and shops. The Strip District, which runs alongside the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, measures only half a square mile, but it has plenty of attractions and eateries to fill up your day (and your stomach). 

    What was once a primarily industrial neighborhood is now packed with restaurants, international markets, museums and shops. The Strip District, which runs alongside the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, measures only half a square mile, but it has plenty of attractions and eateries to fill up your day (and your stomach). 

  • #3
    Senator John Heinz History Center
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    #3 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.

  • #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
    Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
    View all Photos
    #5 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."

  • #6
    PNC Park
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    #6 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.

  • #7
    Three Rivers Heritage Trail
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    #7 in Pittsburgh
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    An asphalt link between some of Pittsburgh's most notable spots, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail lines the banks of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio waterways. The 24-mile-long path connects the downtown area to the surrounding neighborhoods and makes it easy for people to travel across the city without getting in a car or on a bus. It's also the perfect scenic recreation spot: You'll find people walking, running, biking and roller blading down the trail nearly every day. 

    An asphalt link between some of Pittsburgh's most notable spots, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail lines the banks of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio waterways. The 24-mile-long path connects the downtown area to the surrounding neighborhoods and makes it easy for people to travel across the city without getting in a car or on a bus. It's also the perfect scenic recreation spot: You'll find people walking, running, biking and roller blading down the trail nearly every day. 

  • #8
    Carnegie Science Center
    View all Photos
    #8 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).

  • #9
    Heinz Field
    View all Photos
    #9 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.

  • #10
    Kennywood
    View all Photos
    #10 in Pittsburgh
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    From the major splash at the bottom of Pittsburg Plunge water ride to the 230-foot drop on the Phantom's Revenge roller coaster, Kennywood has a thrill in store for everyone. Located on the banks of the Monongahela River, this 150-acre amusement park has roller coasters, water rides, carousels, bumper cars, 3D experiences, a 4D theater, paddle boats and more. Crowd favorites include Thunderbolt, a wooden roller coaster built in 1924, and Turtle, which was built in 1927 and provides picturesque views of the river valley.  The park has a Kiddieland which is perfect for adventurous youngsters between 36 inches and 56 inches tall.  

    From the major splash at the bottom of Pittsburg Plunge water ride to the 230-foot drop on the Phantom's Revenge roller coaster, Kennywood has a thrill in store for everyone. Located on the banks of the Monongahela River, this 150-acre amusement park has roller coasters, water rides, carousels, bumper cars, 3D experiences, a 4D theater, paddle boats and more. Crowd favorites include Thunderbolt, a wooden roller coaster built in 1924, and Turtle, which was built in 1927 and provides picturesque views of the river valley. The park has a Kiddieland which is perfect for adventurous youngsters between 36 inches and 56 inches tall.  

  • #11
    Randyland
    View all Photos
    #11 in Pittsburgh
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Randyland brings sunshine to Pittsburgh even on the dreariest days. Created by native Pittsburgh artist Randy Gilson, Randyland is a vibrant, intricate and eclectic experiential art museum in the city's North Side. It's been bringing smiles to visitors' faces since 1995 when Gilson originally bought the building using funds he had earned as a part-time waiter and proceeded to decorate it with repurposed trash. 

    Randyland brings sunshine to Pittsburgh even on the dreariest days. Created by native Pittsburgh artist Randy Gilson, Randyland is a vibrant, intricate and eclectic experiential art museum in the city's North Side. It's been bringing smiles to visitors' faces since 1995 when Gilson originally bought the building using funds he had earned as a part-time waiter and proceeded to decorate it with repurposed trash. 

  • #12
    Market Square
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    #12 in Pittsburgh
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Market Square is an open public space surrounded by restaurants and shops, located at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Market Street. The area has long been a meeting spot for Pittsburgh residents and it's where the city's first courthouse and first jail were built. Nowadays, the pedestrian-only square is the grounds for many community-building events and festivals.

    Market Square is an open public space surrounded by restaurants and shops, located at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Market Street. The area has long been a meeting spot for Pittsburgh residents and it's where the city's first courthouse and first jail were built. Nowadays, the pedestrian-only square is the grounds for many community-building events and festivals.

  • #13
    Andy Warhol Museum
    View all Photos
    #13 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.

  • #14
    Point State Park
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    #14 in Pittsburgh
    Museums, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Point State Park juts into the water at the spot where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet the Ohio River. The 36-acre park in downtown Pittsburgh is at water level and provides great views of the riverboats, Mount Washington and PNC Park. Near the water, there is a large fountain where visitors can lounge and admire the views, and behind it on the lawn is the outline of the former Fort Duquesne, traced in granite. 

    Point State Park holds a lot of city history, as it was also the site of the 18th-century Fort Pitt. For those looking to delve further into the details, the Fort Pitt Museum sits in the back of the park and provides information about Pittsburgh's role during the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution. The indoor-outdoor museum is kid-friendly with engaging and interactive exhibits. 

  • #15
    Mattress Factory
    View all Photos
    #15 in Pittsburgh
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Immerse yourself in an unconventional art experience at Mattress Factory – a three-building museum on Pittsburgh's North Side featuring exhibits from both established and up-and-coming artists. Mattress Factory was established in 1977 and played a major role in bringing new energy and culture to the city's North Side, specifically to the historic Mexican War Streets neighborhood. The museum came to inhabit many previously abandoned buildings and, because it appeals to tourists, it has helped make the neighborhood a more attractive place to visit in Pittsburgh.

    The museum specializes in contemporary installation art, and exhibits are specifically created for the space in which they're showcased. The displays will challenge everything you think you know about contemporary art with vibrant colors, visual illusions and thought-provoking themes. Everyone is encouraged to experience the art using all their senses, so visitors can feel free to walk around, examine and, in some cases, even touch the displays. "Perplexing," "mesmerizing" and "one of a kind" are just a few ways previous visitors described the eclectic exhibits. However, some warn the content is not always child-friendly, with some exhibits leaning toward risqué and macabre. While some exhibits are permanent, others rotate every so often to keep the museum fresh and to showcase a wider variety of artists' work. Some permanent crowd favorites are the Repetitive Vision exhibit and the Infinity Dots Mirror Room. 

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