As sisters who grew up an hour from Pittsburgh, we have a great appreciation for this wonderful city. And this travel guide to Pittsburgh with the top things to do in Pittsburgh has insider and local tips!
Pittsburgh, the city of champions, or the city of bridges, or the steel city, or Steeler country, is a lively city worthy of making it on your United States bucket list. Pittsburgh has been named one of the best up and coming cities in America, and is considered one of the most affordable for settling down! With that said, there are a lot of things to do in Pittsburgh year-round for adults, young people, and families alike.
This guide will show you how you can spend your time in Pittsburgh! We include the top things to do in Pittsburgh and include some insider unique things to do in the city as well. We have designed this guide primarily for first-time visitors to Pittsburgh, but we also include ideas for people who have visited Pittsburgh before or people who are from the city. Keep reading for the top things to do in Pittsburgh!
Top Things to Do in Pittsburgh
What to Do in Pittsburgh
Discover the Museums in Pittsburgh
Our favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh is visit one of the city’s many museums. Pittsburgh is home to some world-class museums! The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh are some og the most popular, but there are other, more unique museums worth visiting as well. Read more about the museums in Pittsburgh on our Pittsburgh museum guide post!
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of our favorite museums in Pittsburgh because there is always so much to see in one day. The Natural History Museum features human origins and culture, dinosaurs, animals, plants, and rotating exhibits.
Carnegie Museum of Art
The Carnegie Museum of Art is connected to the Natural History Museum, so your admission gets you into both! The Carnegie Museum of art features a range of media including sculpture, painting, and the abstract and from classical to modern art.
Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum is one of the most unique museums in Pittsburgh because it is one of the largest museums in the world featuring the work of a single artist! Andy Warhol was a native of Pittsburgh, so it’s only appropriate a museum of all his work is in the heart of the city.
Carnegie Science Center
The Carnegie Science Center is a perfect place to bring your kids to get them excited about science! Full of interactive exhibits, the Science center takes you on a journey through different fields of space including the Robot Hall of Fame, the human body, and space travel, to name a few.
The Carnegie Science Center also is home to the Rangos Giant Cinema, a large screen theater featuring documentaries and special screenings of old and new movies
Heinz History Center
If you’re interested in learning about the history of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Brand, the Heinz History Center is for you. This large 6-floor museum features exhibits about the industrial history of Pittsburgh and how Heinz has become a household name.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
If you’re looking for something fun to do in Pittsburgh with your family, visit the Pittsburgh zoo! The Pittsburgh Zoo has a wide range of animals from all over the world for you to enjoy. The PPG Aquarium is also included in your admission!
Phipps Conservatory is wonderful to visit no matter the season! If you’re visiting Pittsburgh for the first time, don’t miss out on visiting Phipps! It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Pittsburgh and shouldn’t be missed. During the winter, the Christmas flower show is beautiful and in the summer the outdoor gardens are in full bloom! Throughout the year, the flower shows are changed so you can visit something different each time you visit.
Learn About Pittsburgh’s Industrial History at the Carrie Blast Furnaces
Pittsburgh was once a major industrial hub for the steel industry. While the smog has cleared and many of the industrial sites have been removed, The historic Carrie Blast Furnaces remain to tell the story of Pittsburgh’s industrial history. The Carrie Furnaces are some of the only remaining blast furnaces in the country! Here you can tour the elegantly decaying furnace structures and learn about how Pittsburgh has transformed over the decades. Read more about visiting the Carrie Blast Furnaces on our post here!
The National Aviary
The National Aviary is a great place to visit if you want to see interesting and exotic birds, in addition to some animals. The Aviary has desert, tropical, and rainforest birds from all around the world including African penguins! They also have some unique animals like sloths! The Aviary is much smaller than the zoo, but it makes for a great indoor afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Visit the Point State Park
It’s hard to imagine that the Point, or where the three rivers meet, was once a military fort and railroad hub for Pittsburgh. Today’s it’s a beautiful green space with a water fountain. At the Point, you can enjoy the outdoors and tour the Fort Pitt Museum. Throughout the year, festivals and events are held at the point. Kayaking in Pittsburgh is offered through Venture Outdoors and you can paddle around the Point for a different View!
Attend a Sporting Event to Get the Full Pittsburgh Experience
Pittsburgh is known as the city of champions in hockey, football, and baseball. If you’re visiting the city at any time of the year, you can see a sporting event! Pittsburgh has great hometown pride and you won’t want to miss the exciting atmosphere of a Pittsburgh sporting event! Most of the sporting events are located on the North Shore, which has great restaurants!
Go on a Boat or Trolley Tour
Pittsburgh offers a variety of city tours. The Gateway Clipper cruises are very fun for families! On this tour, you’ll take one of the historic boats around the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers and learn about the city! Groupon usually offers deals for the cruises! There are also Molly’s Trolley’s tours where you can explore the city in the 1920’s trolley!
Explore Pittsburgh’s Parks
Pittsburgh has some beautiful parks in and near the city. If you’re looking for green space in Pittsburgh, you don’t have to go very far! Schenley Park in Oakland is beautiful and the Three River’s Heritage Trail is great for getting some exercise outside while viewing the city!
Ride a Historic Incline and Get the Best View of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington
One of the best things to do in Pittsburgh is getting a panoramic view of the city. Pittsburgh has a beautiful skyline and the best way to see it is to take one of the historic Inclines up to Mount Washington. Here, you’ll get panoramic views of the city! Pittsburgh has two remaining inclines left for tourists and locals to enjoy. Because of the steep hills in Pittsburgh, the inclines were used to transport people and supplies up and down the steep slopes.
Kennywood and SandCastle
If you’re looking for a family fun day in an amusement park, visit Kennywood. This historic amusement park still has some of its original rides! The park first opened as a “trolley park” attraction at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway in 1899. Over time, the park grew to add a carousel, casino hall, and dance pavilion and eventually rides! Kennywood Park features themed areas, wooden roller coasters, modern coasters, and children’s rides.
Sandcastle is the local waterpark located at the Waterfront in Pittsburgh.
See a Show in the Arts and Cultural District
The Benedum Center and Heinz Hall of Performing Arts hosts numerous shows throughout the year. The Pittsburgh Ballet, Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh CLO, and theater performances are excellent and affordable.
Explore Pittsburgh’s Neighborhoods for Unique Food Scenes
Pittsburgh is full of many little neighborhoods that are full of unique local restaurants. If you’re visiting Pittsburgh for the first time, you should go to Primanti Brothers where you can get french fries as a topping on your sandwich!
See Some Unique Things to Do in Pittsburgh
Read about unique and off the map things to do in Pittsburgh on our blog post here!
Annual Events in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh hosts annual events throughout the year. Check out this post by Visit Pittsburgh about the annual events. Some of our favorite events include.
- Three Rivers Regatta
- Pittsburgh Pride
- Three Rivers Arts Festival
- Open Streets
- Pittsburgh Wine Festival
- Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival
- Pittsburgh Marathon
- Pittsburgh Irish Festival
- Pittsburgh Beerfest
- Pittsburgh Restaurant Week
- Little Italy Days
- Pittsburgh Renassiance Festival
- Pittsburgh Grand Prix
- Kennywood Fright Nights
- Kennywood Christmas Light Show