Mattress Factory#15 in Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh
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.
Previous Mattress Factory patrons recommend leaving time to explore the surrounding neighborhood as well, because of its extensive history and Victorian architecture. Also, travelers were pleased to find Randyland, another popular and unique art experience, just a short walk away.
Upon arrival at Mattress Factory, check in at the admission desk at 500 Sampsonia Way, then explore the other spaces across the various buildings. A general adult ticket is $15, but there are discounts available for students and seniors; children 6 and younger gain free admission. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday until 8 p.m. It's closed on Monday. Travelers can park for free in the museum lot. The museum has a cafe that serves drinks, snacks and sandwiches and is open daily from Wednesday to Sunday, to both museumgoers and the general public. A museum shop is available on-site as well. The main museum building is fully wheelchair accessible with some wheelchairs available at the front desk, but the other two buildings are only partially accessible because of their historic structure. For more details visit the museum website.
More Best Things To Do in Pittsburgh
#1 Duquesne Incline
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.
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