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Looking for the best things to do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Look no further! We wrap up the top attractions and fun activities into a perfect 3-Day Pittsburgh Itinerary.
The historic city is rooted in industry, but there is much more to Pittsburgh than its gritty past. In fact, balancing the past and the present is one of the things that Pittsburgh does best. Landmark sights, modern museums, iconic architecture and innovative cuisine are just a few of the top experiences that we pack into our Pittsburgh trip plan.
About Our 3 Day Itinerary for Pittsburgh
Designed in an easy-to-follow, day-by-day guide, our Pittsburgh 3-Day Itinerary is ideal for a Pittsburgh weekend trip. It features all the highlights that showcase the best of Pittsburgh.
While we have outlined a plan for three days in Pittsburgh, our itinerary can be used as a base for longer and shorter trips, too. Sightseeing is arranged by district so that visitors with alternate timeframes and interests can easily adjust our suggested Pittsburgh itinerary to jive with their trip.
With our Pittsburgh, PA Itinerary, a good pair of travel shoes and bit of curiosity, visitors can quickly get acquainted with Steel City!
Things To Do in Pittsburgh FAQs
Before we jump into all of the fun activities in Pittsburgh, let’s cover a few of the Frequently Asked Questions so that when you arrive you will be ready to hit the ground running!
Where is Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh, PA is located in southwestern Pennsylvania about 30 miles from the Ohio state line. Situated at the meeting point of three rivers – the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny – Pittsburgh is well-connected by road and air.
We discuss more about how to get to Pittsburgh (plus where to stay and what to pack) at the end of the article. Additionally, we share our Pittsburgh Attractions Map that is marked with all our recommended sights.
What are Pittsburgh’s Nicknames?
Throughout the years, Pittsburgh has earned several nicknames. Steel City is a long-time nickname, which nods to it’s history in steel production. City of Bridges, calls attention to the multitude of bridges found in the area (there are 446!). Another nickname, City of Champions, refers to the numerous sports championships won by Pittsburgh sports teams.
The Golden Triangle is the nickname for Downtown Pittsburgh and comes from its triangular shape (bounded by two rivers) and the many banking institutions that dominated downtown during the steel industry heyday.
All that said, many locals simply shorten the name of their hometown to The ‘Burgh – which is what you will likely hear it called during your trip.
What is Pittsburghese?
Pittsburgh residents have their own dialect – called Pittsburghese – which can be both difficult to understand and somewhat humorous. To avoid confusion, there are a few words you should know before you go to Pittsburgh.
Yinz is a word you will see throughout the city, in shops and on t-shirts. Yinz is slang for ‘You All’ and it is often said with a heavy accent. Yinz goin’ to the game tonight?
A Yinzer, on the other hand, is what you call someone from Pittsburgh. He’s a lifelong Yinzer.
N’at (or N@) is a conjunction of the two words “And That” and is typically said at the end of a sentence. We are going to The Strip to eat, drink beer, n’at.
Are There Free Things To Do in Pittsburgh?
As budget-conscious travelers, we are always on the lookout for free things to do. While there is not an abundance of free activities in Pittsburgh there are a few free or cheap attractions, and we feature them throughout our itinerary.
Furthermore, Pittsburgh is a conglomeration of distinct and interesting districts – and exploring is always free. We highlight the best neighborhoods, plus we share links to free Pittsburgh walking tours in our trip plan.
Are There Things To Do with Kids in Pittsburgh?
Yes, absolutely! There are many things to do in Pittsburgh with kids. Our itinerary for Pittsburgh is not specifically geared toward family travel, but we do include many kid-friendly sights.
What Is There To Do in Pittsburgh?
If you are wondering what to do in Pittsburgh, don’t worry – the city has something for everyone!
Foodies will delight in The Strip District. Sports fans can cheer on the local team (or their team). History buffs can delve deep into the past at a Pittsburgh museum. Drama lovers are spoiled for choice of theaters in the Pittsburgh Cultural District. And art aficionados will find something at every turn – from street murals to fine art.
We heap all of these fun things to do in Pittsburgh into a succinct 3 Days in Pittsburgh trip plan.
How To Plan a Trip to Pittsburgh, PA
Planning a trip to Pittsburgh can be a big task, but don’t worry, we’ve made it simple with our itinerary!
The best attractions in Pittsburgh are located in the heart of downtown and the districts immediately surrounding it. Most sights can be reached on foot. The few attractions that exceed walking distance can be reached by car, Uber/Lyft or public transport.
Deciding where to stay is a big factor in how you plan your sightseeing, so we discuss the best places to stay in Pittsburgh in detail later. We also share tips on getting there, getting around and what to pack.
Whether you are trying to see Pittsburgh in a day or have three full days to explore, you can use our guide to plan your best Pittsburgh trip!
As you make your Pittsburgh plans, stay organized with our Printable Travel Planner! Download the 26-page planner and get started on planning your trip right away.
3-Day Weekend in Pittsburgh Itinerary
Our Pittsburgh travel guide includes everything you need to plan your trip! Created with Pittsburgh weekend getaways in mind, our Pittsburgh itinerary can be used for weekday travel, as well.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Pittsburgh blog post so that you can access it as your plan – and during – your trip to The ‘Burgh!
DAY 1 of Pittsburgh Things To Do
Kick off your trip with some of the absolute best things to do in Pittsburgh! Navigate your way past the city’s best bridges, ride a historic cable car to an epic viewpoint and discover downtown – then cap off your day with a classic Pittsburgh event!
Top Tip: If you are limited to a single day of sightseeing, these activities are the best things to see in Pittsburgh in one day!
#1 Three Rivers Heritage Trail
Start your Weekend Pittsburgh Itinerary with exploration along the water on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Incorporating 33 miles of paved paths, the trail system lines the waterfront of all three Pittsburgh rivers. For Yinzers, utilizing the recreational paths is one of the best things to do outside in Pittsburgh – but for tourists, it is an ideal way to get an introduction. That said, if you brought your running shoes, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a great place for a morning jog!
#2 Three Sisters Bridges
On the north side of downtown Pittsburgh, spanning the Allegheny River, are three identical bridges, which are best known as the Three Sisters. The suspension bridges were constructed in the 1920s and were engineering feats in their time; now they are Pittsburgh attractions.
Painted Pittsburgh Yellow (officially ‘Aztec Gold’), the bridges run north/south and are named after prominent Pittsburgh residents. The Sixth Street Bridge is called Roberto Clemente, the Seventh Street Bridge is named for Andy Warhol and the Ninth Street Bridge bears the name Rachel Carson.
Pro Tip: One of the cool things to do in Pittsburgh is to zig-zag across all three bridges. You can do it now or walk the Three Sisters over the course of your visit.
#3 Point State Park, Fountain and Confluence of Three Rivers
Without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Pittsburgh, PA is to visit Point State Park and the massive fountain. Located at the tip of the Golden Triangle where the three rivers meet – and often just referred to as ‘The Point’ – the land is steeped in history.
The National Historic Landmark Point State Park was once the site of two forts – Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne. The forts played a pivotal role in the relations between Native Americans, French colonists and British colonists.
While very little remains of the original forts, the brick Fort Pitt Block House still stands in the park. It ranks as the oldest surviving structure in Western Pennsylvania.
Pro Tip: The Point State Park Fountain is an icon of the city. Sitting on the edge and watching water blast 150 feet into the air is a must-do in Pittsburgh!
#4 Fort Pitt Museum
The Fort Pitt Museum is located at Point State Park and utilizes a bastion of the former Fort Pitt.
Ranking as one of the best things to see in Pittsburgh, the history museum details the events of the French and Indian War and other historical conflicts involving Fort Pitt.
Featuring artifacts and informational plaques, visitors gain a better understanding of relationships and disputes over the rights of the territory. We recommend allowing at least two hours to enjoy the museum.
Pro Tip: While this is not one of the free museums in Pittsburgh, the ticket can be used for discounted admission to the Heinz History Center, which we visit on Day 2 of our Pittsburgh Itinerary. So, hang onto your ticket!
#5 Mount Washington
Southwest of downtown Pittsburgh, across the Monongahela River, stands 450-foot-tall Mount Washington. The neighborhood is one of the most visited places in Pittsburgh, due to the outstanding vistas that overlook the downtown Pittsburgh skyline.
We are highlighting the top Mount Washington attractions (the next 4 sights) to help you plan your time in the district.
Ft Pitt Tunnel and Bridge
Entering Pittsburgh via the Fort Pitt Tunnel has been dubbed, “The best way to enter an American city,” by The New York Times – and we wholeheartedly agree! Driving east on Interstate 376, it’s difficult to imagine you’re about to enter a major metropolis. However, at the tunnel’s exit, visitors are practically dropped on top of the city and greeted with an impressive Pittsburgh skyline view.
Pro Tip: Hopefully, your route into Pittsburgh was through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel, but if not, don’t fret. Simply cross over the Fort Pitt Bridge to the first viewpoint. While not as dramatic as driving through the tunnel, the vantage point is still great!
Dating to 1877 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Duquesne Incline is a Pittsburgh must-see!
The funicular – which has an 800-foot-long track and an elevation gain of 400 feet – was built to alleviate the steep uphill climb to the top of Mount Washington (then called Coal Hill).
Although the popularity of automobiles rendered the incline obsolete, local residents rallied to save it from destruction. Today, the Duquesne Incline is still in operation – and riding to the top is one of the fun things to do in Pittsburgh, PA.
At the Upper Station, visitors should step out onto the viewing platform for an astounding vista. Inside the station, memorabilia and information about the cable car decorates the walls – and there is a small gift shop, too.
Pro Tip: There is a fee to ride the Duquesne Incline and for visitors it is a cash-only ticketing system.
Walk Grandview Avenue
The Pittsburgh city view from the Duquesne Incline is pretty spectacular, but we think the best views in Pittsburgh are from the various lookout points on Grandview Avenue, the street that runs along the top of Mount Washington.
From the Duquesne Incline Upper Station, a short walk northwest leads to appropriately named Point of View Park.
To the southeast, there are three phenomenal viewing decks: Grandview Overlook, Pittsburgh Skyline Overlook and the Upper Incline Scenic Overlook at the Monongahela Incline (which is how we recommend getting back to downtown). Beyond the Monongahela Incline, Emerald View Park also offers epic views in a lush setting.
Pro Tip: Expand your Pittsburgh sightseeing to a few Grandview Avenue area attractions. St. Mary of the Mount Church is a historic landmark site, and the Shiloh Street Shops are a good spot for a sweet treat, cup of coffee or even lunch. Looking for a posh place to dine with a view? Make a dinner reservation at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mt Washington, one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh, PA!
The Mon Incline was the first passenger funicular railway in the United States, pre-dating the Duquesne Incline by 7 years.
By the early 1900s, there were more than 20 inclines that carried passengers, freight and even motor vehicles up and down the Mt. Washington hillside. The Mon and the Duquesne are the only two Pittsburgh Inclines still in operation.
Utilizing both inclines to visit the top of Mount Washington is definitely one of the unique things to do in Pittsburgh.
Pro Tip: Tickets can be purchased with cash or credit card. There is a roundtrip discount on The Mon Incline (but not the Duquesne). If you ride up one and down the other, you need to purchase one-way tickets for each ride, as the two inclines are run by separate companies.
#6 Smithfield Street Bridge
One of the things we love about visiting Pittsburgh is all the bridges – and the Smithfield Street Bridge that straddles the Monongahela River is a fabulous one!
The current bridge is the third bridge on this site. The first bridge was a wooden river crossing that burned in the Great Fire of Pittsburgh in 1845. The second bridge was built by John A Roebling – the same engineer that built the Roebling Suspension Bridge that connects Covington KY and Cincinnati, OH – as well as the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. The current Smithfield Street Bridge was built in 1883.
Ranking as the second-oldest steel bridge in the US and the oldest bridge in Pittsburgh, Smithfield Street Bridge is a National Historic Landmark.
Pro Tip: The Smithfield Street Bridge is one of the most trafficked bridges in the city. Use it to cross into downtown, where we highlight more top attractions in Pittsburgh.
#7 Downtown Sightseeing in Pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh attractions are best seen on a short walk through the city. The following featured sights are listed in order for an easy Pittsburgh sightseeing trek.
Fourth Avenue Historic District
Strolling down the narrow Fourth Avenue under the towering historic skyscrapers is one of the top things to do Downtown Pittsburgh! Use this information for a Free Pittsburgh Self-Guided Tour of Fourth Avenue.
Visiting the PPG Place complex is one of the most interesting things to do in Downtown Pittsburgh. The buildings were designed in the 80s, centering around a 40-story skyscraper for PPG Industries (formerly Pittsburgh Plate Glass). Nearly 20,000 pieces of glass were used to complete the project, which consists of 6 buildings on 3 city blocks covering 5.5 acres of land and features a popular fountain.
Marking the heart of the city, Market Square is one of the best places to visit in Pittsburgh, PA. Long a hub of activity, the square was once ringed by important structures – like the courthouse, jail, and newspaper office. Today Market Square stands as a social gathering place where visitors can shop, sip and dine. You can read more information for a Self-Guided Pittsburgh Tour of Market Square.
The Agnes R Katz Plaza is a unique and interesting square in downtown. The urban oasis features a 25-foot-tall bronze fountain and artistic benches that resemble giant eyeballs. In fact, resting your feet and sitting on one of the eyeball benches is one of the fun downtown Pittsburgh things to do and great photo op!
A sub-district within downtown Pittsburgh, the Cultural District encompasses 14 blocks – and is known for its high concentration of theaters, art galleries and interesting architecture. The art and entertainment district is rife with fun Pittsburgh activities, like live performances and community events.
Historic theaters – such as the Benedum Center and Byham Theater – have been beautifully restored and are premier places to watch performances in Pittsburgh.
#8 Allegheny Overlook and Pop Up Park
The Allegheny Overlook is an elevated park wedged between the Cultural District and the Allegheny River. Enjoying a leisurely walk through the urban park is one of the things to do outside in Pittsburgh; you can rest in the shade and take in the views across the Allegheny River.
Pro Tip: During the summer months, the overlook coverts into the Allegheny Pop Up Park – complete with food trucks and a beer garden! The park plays host to many of the summertime free activities in Pittsburgh, like on-stage musical performances and community classes. If you trip coincides with an Allegheny Pop Up event, be sure to check it out – it’s one of the fun things to do in Downtown Pittsburgh.
#9 Evening Events: Things To Do in Pittsburgh at Night
On Day 1 of our itinerary, we have covered some of the best places to visit in Pittsburgh – but there is still more to do! End your first day with an iconic evening event.
Pittsburgh Sporting Events: Baseball, Hockey, Football
Pittsburgh is crazy about its sports teams, so naturally, one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh is to attend a sporting event. In fact, watching a game is often a highlight of Pittsburgh weekend trips.
Summertime visitors can catch the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Team playing at PNC Park. The ballpark is on the north side of the Allegheny; just stroll across Roberto Clemente Bridge (and don’t miss his statue) to get to a Pirates game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team plays at Heinz Field in the autumn, although tickets can be difficult to come by. The Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Hockey Team takes on opponents at the PPG Paints Arena, located on the east side of downtown.
Another great night activity in Pittsburgh is to watch a live performance – and there is something for everyone!
Theater productions cover a range of performances from opera to comedy to Broadway plays and rock and roll music. Find a current schedule on the Cultural District website to find a performance to add to your Pittsburgh Weekend Itinerary.
DAY 2 of Your Weekend in Pittsburgh
On the second day of your 2 days in Pittsburgh discover some of the best sights in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Start your day exploring North Side, visit a few museums and end your day in the hip Strip District.
Pro Tip: If you only have 48 hours in Pittsburgh, we recommend following our tips for things to see in Pittsburgh on Days 1 and 2.
#10 Commonplace Coffee
Get a ride or take a morning walk to North Side – the neighborhoods north of the Allegheny River. The district is dotted with Pittsburgh top attractions.
That said, ease into the day and start your discovery with a cup of coffee and a pastry from Commonplace Coffee.
The regional coffee shop is a local favorite that extends a warm welcome to visitors, too. Loved for both the delicious coffee and friendly service, it’s the best place for coffee in Pittsburgh before your day of exploring.
Pro Tip: While we kick off what to see in Pittsburgh in 2 days at Commonplace Coffee, there are other great coffee shops in the Northside neighborhood! Adda Coffee, Chateau Coffee and Yinz Coffee are three other great spots for a morning cup o’ Joe.
#11 Mexican War Streets Sightseeing
Step out into the Mexican War Streets – one of the best places to see in Pittsburgh – and get a full dose of the area’s unique charm.
The historic neighborhood dates to the mid-1800s. Originally called Buena Vista, the streets names were all attributed to people and places from the Mexican-American War…and now the district is simply referred to as Mexican War Streets – or MWS.
Pro Tip: Appreciating the district’s architecture is one of the top activities in Pittsburgh – but there are a few must-see sights to visit in MWS, too and we are highlighting a few of the best.
City of Asylum Alphabet Reading Garden
The small City of Asylum Alphabet Reading Garden is a quiet respite from city life and is one of the tranquil Pittsburgh, PA things to do. The community garden features benches and nooks to read and rest.
The City of Asylum is a non-profit group dedicated to protecting creative expression, promoting social justice and providing sanctuary to writers who face being silenced.
Pro Tip: In addition to the garden, visitors can peruse their House Poem, Jazz House and their nearby bookstore.
One of the top Pittsburgh tourist attractions, Mattress Factory is a unique and creative modern art museum that takes many visitors by surprise. Multiple forms of art are on display – some of which may push your boundaries of what art is (spoiler alert: none of them are mattresses).
The exhibits are designed by in-residence artists and meant to be thought-provoking and engaging. Travelers looking for stuff to do in Pittsburgh that is a little outside the box should definitely plan on visiting the Mattress Factory.
Pro Tip: Tickets are required and sometimes sell out, so it is best to buy in advance. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Randyland is one of the cool places in Pittsburgh that you have to see to believe. The house-turned-art museum features the upcycled artwork of owner Randy Gilson.
Colorful, intriguing and sometimes a little weird, the outdoor art exhibits are fun to contemplate – and Randy is often on-site personally greeting guests. Visitors seeking unique attractions should definitely have Randyland on their Pittsburgh To Do list.
Top Tip: Randyland is one of the free museums in Pittsburgh, but opening hours are a bit random (usually daily from noon until 5pm).
#12 Allegheny Commons
Want to know where to go in Pittsburgh for some fresh air and exercise? Allegheny Commons Park!
The expansive Allegheny Commons is one of the best green spaces for outdoor activities in Pittsburgh. Created in 1867, it the oldest park in Pittsburgh.
Fountains, monuments and statues dot the landscape that is crisscrossed by tree-shaded walking paths. Strolling through the quiet commons is one of the things to do in Pittsburgh for couples.
Pro Tip: Pittsburgh attractions located within (or near) the park include the National Aviary and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
#13 Federal Galley
Dining at Federal Galley is one of the top things to do in Pittsburgh! The unique food hall hosts four up-and-coming chefs before they branch out to open their own restaurants.
The spacious eatery has both indoor and outdoor seating – as well as a fun beer garden.
Pro Tip: In addition to the excellent eats, Federal Galley hosts events – like live music and beer specials – so check out their calendar to see what is on offer!
Deutschtown is a National Historic District in North Side that has strong German roots. The area has a mix of mainstays (like Max’s Allegheny Tavern, an old school German pub) and new establishments, as well (like Fig & Ash).
The businesses on Ohio Street are an eclectic mix and it is evident that the neighborhood is being revitalized. If you have time during your weekend trip to Pittsburgh, be sure to stop in the Photo Antiquities Museum on Ohio Street. The shop showcases antique cameras and historic photography.
Pro Tip: The Elk’s Lodge in Deutschtown is one of the most popular places to go in Pittsburgh – especially on Wednesday nights when they host a free banjo night! Just be sure to make reservations if you plan to attend, as it does fill up.
#15 Pittsburgh Museums: Heinz History Center, Andy Warhol Museum or Carnegie Science Center
Some of the best museums in Pittsburgh are located along the riverside – and just a short distance from Deutschtown. Our top picks for best Pittsburgh museums in the area are the Heinz History Center and The Andy Warhol Museum. However, family travelers looking for Fun Things To Do Pittsburgh with kids might want to check out the Carnegie Science Center.
Senator John Heinz History Center
The engaging and interactive Heinz History Center features 6 floors of exhibition space, plus an included Pittsburgh sports museum. We think it is a must see in Pittsburgh, PA.
Fascinating history is displayed throughout the museum in easy-to-digest exhibits. The historical information relates directly to the development of Pittsburgh and its impact on worldwide events.
The Heinz History Center is one of the fun family things to do in Pittsburgh – but it’s truly great for everyone!
Pro Tip: Tickets are on the pricey side, but they are essentially good for entry into 3 museums: The Heinz History Center, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and Fort Pitt. If you already bought a ticket for Fort Pitt on Day 1, hang onto it for reduced admission at Heinz History Center.
Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum is one of the top attractions in Pittsburgh, PA. It ranks as one of the largest museums in the world dedicated to a single artist. The museum celebrates the life, art and legacy of the Pittsburgh native. For fans of contemporary art, it’s a Pittsburgh must do.
Exhibits feature Warhol’s art, as well as his personal affects. Not only does the museum tell the story of the life of Andy Warhol, but it also traces the artist’s influence on pop culture.
Pro Tip: Visitors receive discounted admission on Friday evenings; check their website for details!
Carnegie Science Center
The engaging and interactive Carnegie Science Center boasts more than 400 fascinating exhibits. A must do Pittsburgh attraction for families, top exhibits at the Science Center include Roboworld (all things robotic), a planetarium, a submarine – plus many other spectacular displays.
Pro Tip: The Carnegie Science Center sells general admission tickets, plus tickets for special exhibits. It is best to buy them in advance online, as certain exhibits sell out.
#16 Sightseeing in the Pittsburgh Strip District
The Strip is a destination for Pittsburgh shopping, eating and having fun! For travelers enjoying Pittsburgh vacations, we recommend spending at least a couple of hours hanging out and grazing on local fare in the revitalized district.
The history of The Strip District dates to the early 1800s when factories and mills lined the Allegheny riverside, making for easy shipping and transportation of products. In the 1900s, manufactures moved into the spacious warehouses. As transport hubs shifted, much of the area was left abandoned by the 2000s.
Today, however, the historic market district is once again thriving. Restaurants, bars and breweries have moved into the spaces – as well as tech companies and start ups…and residents, too.
The Strip is close to our recommend Pittsburgh hotel (more on that below), and we spent quite a bit of time there and loved the area. We are highlighting just a few of our favorite things to do in the Strip District to help you plan what to see and do.
S&D Polish Deli
As surprising as it may sound, pierogies are one of the top things to eat in Pittsburgh. Polish immigrants brought along their cuisine when they arrived in the mid-1800s and the hearty fare never went out of style.
If you love pierogies, then you need to put the S&D Polish Deli on your Pittsburgh to-do list! The Strip deli cranks out authentic prepared Polish food – and offers pantry items for sale as well.
Pro Tip: At this point in the day, you are probably in between lunch and dinner – so maybe just a pierogi snack is in order. If, however, you have a bigger appetite, go for the Kielbasa Platter (a hefty and delectable portion of kielbasa, haluszki and pierogies); we can tell you the quality and taste rival meals we ate in Warsaw!
Robert Wholey and Co Seafood Market
Known locally as Wholey’s, the Robert Wholey Seafood Market was established in the Pittsburgh Strip District in 1912 – and is still going strong today. The bustling market is fun for a look at the incredible array of seafood goods, but sampling the product is even better.
The onsite restaurant makes delectable fish sandwiches, savory lobster bisque and heavenly lobster mac and cheese.
Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop
Not necessarily a long time Pittsburgh shop, but definitely a fun one, Grandpa Joe’s evokes nostalgia with it’s aisles of classic candies, chocolates, sodas and old fashioned root beer.
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
Built in 1891 by a congregation of Polish families, the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church stands as one of the top Pittsburgh places to visit.
The brick church features classic European architecture. Inside, light flows through stained-glass windows, illuminating the murals that decorate the elaborate building.
Pro Tip: The historic church does not charge an admission fee; it’s one of the things to do in Pittsburgh for free!
Craft Beer at The Strip District in Pittsburgh
As a central hub of local cuisine, it is not surprising that several Pittsburgh craft breweries have set up shop in The Strip. Sipping some local brews ranks as one of the best Pittsburgh, PA things to do. With multiple venues within close proximity, it’s simple to create your own Pittsburgh brewery bar hop!
We recommend starting at Cinderlands Warehouse, a spacious and industrial brewery with a good range of beers (and cocktails, too).
Next, head over to 1700 Penn Ave where Helltown Brewing produces tasty brews in-house. Also on-site at 1700 Penn Ave is Pennsylvania Libations, a shop that sells wine from regional vineyards.
Make a final stop at Aslin Beer Company, where they boast a heavy IPA tap list and a selection of canned brews, as well.
Pro Tip: Although not a brewery, the BeerHive has an extensive list of beers that hail from PA and beyond – plus they have happy hour deals!
Dinner at Primanti Bros
One of the best things in Pittsburgh is the food – and no Pittsburgh vacation is complete without indulging in a classic Primanti sandwich! Piled high with meat, cheese, coleslaw and fries (yep, fries ON the sandwich!), the decadent sandwich is a Pittsburgh must-eat.
Established in 1933 as a roving sandwich cart in The Strip, Primanti Bros has evolved into one of the iconic Pittsburgh eateries. The original Strip District restaurant features counter-style dining and friendly staff – so, go ahead and belly up. It is one of the fun things to do in Pittsburgh!
Pro Tip: Primanti Bros sandwiches are huge. If you have a traveling companion, we recommend sharing one.
DAY 3 of Things To Do Around Pittsburgh
On the final day of your 3 Days in Pittsburgh trip, discover more districts: Oakland – and then Lawrenceville or South Side Flats. Begin your day with a famous pancake breakfast and see the sights in the Schenley Farms National Historic District. Then, spend your final evening either drinking craft brew in a church and dining in a comeback neighborhood or enjoying an evening out on the south side of the city.
Pro Tip: The best way to get around on Day 3 of our itinerary is with a vehicle. If you don’t have a car, consider hopping in a convenient Uber or Lyft. Otherwise, you can use public transport – as the areas we visit are serviced by several bus lines.
#17 Oakland Pittsburgh Sightseeing
Head to one of the best districts in Pittsburgh: Oakland. Home to 3 universities, world-class museums, historic buildings and incredible gardens, Oakland is definitely one of the best Pittsburgh places to see.
Pro Tip: Most of our district discovery focuses on the Schenley Farms National Historic District, which is a sub-district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Start your day with an exceptional breakfast of crepe-thin pancakes at Pamela’s Diner. Established in 1980, Pamela’s has expanded to include multiple locations around Pittsburgh. Everyone raves about Pamela’s pancakes – even former US Presidents!
Pro Tip: In addition to short stacks, Pamela’s offers a full range of favorite breakfast foods – including their famous Lyonnaise potatoes!
Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial
Standing as a Pittsburgh landmark, the Soldier and Sailors National Military monument honors service members of all branches of the US military.
The memorial was created in 1910 and the museum displays artifacts from numerous US-involved conflicts.
Pro Tip: In addition to the memorial and museum, there is an auditorium for live performances and speeches – so it’s always a good idea to check out what is going on before you visit.
Cathedral of Learning
A must-see Pittsburgh sight, the 42-story Cathedral of Learning stands in the center of the University of Pittsburgh Main Campus. Built in the 1920s, the 535-foot-tall building ranks as the second-tallest university building in the world.
Not only is the building itself one of the top Pittsburgh, PA attractions, but the 31 Nationality Rooms housed in the structure are top sights, too. Each room is decorated to celebrate a different culture.
Pro Tip: Visiting the Nationality Rooms is one of the free things to do Pittsburgh, PA! Check out this information before your visit.
Carnegie Cultural Complex
An entire complex of Carnegie cultural institutions is based in Oakland. Founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in the late 1800s, the complex houses two Carnegie museums – the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art – as well as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Music Hall.
The colossal Carnegie Museum of Art – or the CMOA – is considered to be the first contemporary art museum in the United States. Visitors can see an array of modern artwork on display.
The Natural History Museum is one of the fun things to do in Pittsburgh for kids (but adults will like it, too!). Dinosaur bones, ancient sea creatures, brilliant gems and wildlife are all on display.
Pro Tip: There are two other Carnegie museums in Pittsburgh – The Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center – both of which are located on the North Shore in Pittsburgh’s Northside (and featured on Day 2 of our Pittsburgh Itinerary outline).
Culture is not only found in Oakland Pittsburgh museums – it’s also on the streets. Oakland has a diverse population resulting in eclectic neighborhoods. Simply walking and observing can provide interesting insight into the area and people that live there.
Taking a walk into the streets in North Oakland, for example, will reveal the area’s diverse religions. On a 1.5-mile trek, you can pass by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Catholic St. Paul Cathedral, the Pittsburgh Chinese Church, the Rodef Shalom Congregation Synagogue and the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
Pro Tip: Self-guided neighborhood navigation is one of the fun and cheap things to do in Pittsburgh!
Forbes Field Remnants
Before PNC Park and Heinz Field, Forbes Field was the stadium where Pittsburgh’s beloved sports teams played…and it was in the heart of Oakland.
Built in 1909, the stadium witnessed some iconic Pittsburgh sports moments. It was where Bill Mazeroski hit the game-winning homerun in the 1960 World Series and the place Babe Ruth hit the final three homeruns of his illustrious career. Forbes Field was also where the Steelers played their first ever games.
Outdated by the 1960s, Forbes Field was demolished in 1971…well, mostly demolished. A section of the outfield wall still stands on Roberto Clemente Drive. It’s definitely one of the cool places to visit in Pittsburgh for sports fans.
Pro Tip: You can also find the last home plate used at Forbes Field. It is enshrined in glass on the floor of Posvar Hall (the building opposite the outfield wall). However, the relic does not mark the exact place where home plate was…as that is in the ladies’ restroom.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
One of the top sights in Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory is comprised of elaborate gardens and beautiful flora exhibits.
The conservatory was established in 1893 and the 14-room glasshouse is a listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Each room features a different plant habitat – such as the Palm Court, Fern Room, Orchid Room and Tropical Forest Conservatory.
In addition to the themed rooms in the Phipps Conservatory, there are outdoor gardens on exhibit, as well. Visitors usually spend 2 or more hours at Phipps.
Pro Tip: At Phipps Conservatory, they excel at green innovation and strive to create healthy environments. The welcome center is LEED certified and the Tropical Forest Conservatory is environmentally sustainable.
Dating to 1889, Schenley Park is one of the top outdoor places to visit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The vast park encompasses 456 acres of land, miles of hiking and biking trails and numerous attractions – like a swimming pool, golf course and poignant memorials.
Pro Tip: The Schenley Overlook (near the tennis courts and disc golf course) provides an impeccable view of downtown Pittsburgh.
#18 An Evening Out in the Best Pittsburgh Districts
From Oakland, visitors can either go north into Lawrenceville or cross the Monongahela River into South Side Flats. Both districts host a slew of fun bars and restaurants for evening entertainment.
Lawrenceville is another Pittsburgh district that has been turned around in recent years. The once industrial district is now a thriving hot spot. The neighborhood has an abundance of eateries and bars – so if you are looking to have some fun in Pittsburgh at night, Lawrenceville is a good choice.
For a night on the town, start at Church Brew Works, a former chapel-turned-brewery. Then, head out to Butler Street, the main thoroughfare in Lawrenceville, and find a place for dinner. Dining choices are robust – from Morcilla (Spanish), Senti (Italian), Burgh’ers Brewing (Burgers) to Frankie’s Extra Long hot dog restaurant!
Pro Tip: Lawrenceville is known for hosting fun and quirky events – like Art All Night and a Cookie Tour – that could be fun to add to your Pittsburgh itinerary!
South Side Flats
Bohemian and eclectic, the South Side Flats district is a fun place to go in Pittsburgh for indie cafes, dive bars and character.
Start your exploration on East Carson Street – a historic district decorated with Victorian architecture and lined with boutique shops, art galleries and tattoo shops.
Swing by Fat Head’s Saloon for craft brews, devour a gyro from Mike and Tony’s Gyro Shop and then knock a few more back at South Side institution, Jack’s Bar!
Use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive version of our Things To See and Do in Pittsburgh, PA Map.
More Things To Do: Pittsburgh Activities
Our Pittsburgh weekend guide highlights the best places to visit in Pittsburgh, PA in 3 days. However, there are a few more attractions and sights that you might want to squeeze into your vacation.
Kayaking and Cycling
Two fun outdoor downtown Pittsburgh activities in the summertime are kayaking and cycling. Visitors can rent kayaks downtown and paddle along the three rivers. Likewise, there are places to rent bikes so that you can pedal your way around the ‘Burgh.
The Gateway Clipper Fleet offers an array of options for cruising the Pittsburgh waterways! Classic Three Rivers sightseeing boat tours are a relaxing way to see the landscape and learn about the history of Pittsburgh. Sunset and Dinner cruises are loads of fun, too!
Visiting the zoo is one of the top things to do at Pittsburgh with kids. From polar bears to penguins and lions to alligators, the Pitt Zoo has a dazzling array of animal exhibits and attractions.
The Frick Pittsburgh and Frick Park
The Frick Pittsburgh Art Museum houses exhibits of the Henry Clay Frick Art Collection and has immaculate on-site gardens. The nearby Frick Park is an excellent park with walking trails, picnic areas and a dog park. There is no charge to enter the museum, gardens or park – they are free!
Pittsburgh Botanical Garden
Picturesque and serene, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Trails weave through the park past fields of wildflowers and around a lotus pond.
Escape Room Pittsburgh
Fun for families with older kids or even for a guys weekend in Pittsburgh, the Escape Room PGH offers a variety of different challenges.
Day Trips from Pittsburgh, PA
While there is no shortage of fun things in Pittsburgh to fill your weekend itinerary, travelers spending more than 3 days in Pittsburgh (or return visitors who want to explore more) can take a Pittsburgh day trip!
One of the most popular Pittsburgh day trips is visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece in Laurel Highlands; in fact, it’s one of the top things to do near Pittsburgh. The 20th-century home is only about an hour drive from the city and the architecture is awe-inspiring.
Top Tip: Visitors with a car can make the day trip from Pittsburgh, PA on their own or leave the details to someone else and book a highly rated day tour.
We created our itinerary for Pittsburgh in an easy-to-follow format and packed it with useful tips and information. However, joining a local tour guide can be immensely helpful…and heaps of fun! We are highlighting a few of the most popular tours in Pittsburgh.
Open-Air Bus Tour Pittsburgh: What To Do for a City Intro
For a great introduction to the city, join a fun and informative 2-hour bus tour that swings by all the top attractions. The bus is a great option for visitors who have just one day in Pittsburgh and want to be sure to see all the highlights. Get tickets here!
Hop On Hop Off Pittsburgh City Tour Bus
With an all-day Pittsburgh Hop On Hop Off Bus pass, visitors can easily reach the top city sights without wearing off the tread on their shoes. The bus makes 21 stops and has a tour guide on board that shares live commentary on the city and attractions. Buy tickets!
Guided Pittsburgh Walking Tour
We provided some great links to Self-Guided Walking Tours in Pittsburgh – but if you prefer a guided tour, then the Essential Pittsburgh Tour is a good tour to take! The local guide is both knowledgeable and entertaining. Reserve your spot!
Pittsburgh Bike Tour
Pedal around the city on a guided bike tour for a fantastic introduction to Pittsburgh! Tours last 3 hours, which is plenty of time to see unique architecture, find hidden gems and visit iconic sights. Book it now!
Pittsburgh Brewery Tour
Instead of hopping from brewery to brewery on your own, meet-up with fellow travelers and let a guide lead the way to some of the best Pittsburgh breweries! Enjoy samples, learn the process and eat a meal paired with the city’s top brews! Get the details!
Pittsburgh Food Tour
Travelers who want a guided taste of the city can join a Food Tour in Pittsburgh. The Bits and Bites Food Tour gets great reviews on TripAdvisor.
Pittsburgh Travel Tips
Now that you know what to do in Pittsburgh, PA, we have a few final tips to help complete your Pittsburgh travel plans.
How Many Days in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In our Pittsburgh Itinerary, we outlined the best way to spend 3 days in Pittsburgh, PA. We think it is the perfect amount of time to see all the highlights.
That said, there are enough things to do and see in Pittsburgh that travelers could easily spend 5 days or longer. Travelers staying longer than three days in Pittsburgh can use our tips from our More Pittsburgh Activities and Tours sections.
On the other hand, we know some travelers are visiting for work or on a road trip and will have limited time to explore. If you are wondering what to see in Pittsburgh in one day – and are a first-time visitor – we recommend following our itinerary plan for the first day in order to create a perfect One Day in Pittsburgh, PA. If you are a repeat visitor, then pick and choose from the attractions in our Pittsburgh 3 Day Itinerary that are of most interest to you and best fit your travel style.
When is the Best Time to Visit Pittsburgh, PA
Determining when it is the best time to go to Pittsburgh will depend on your desired activities. Pittsburgh weather is seasonal – with cold winters and humid summers.
Personally, we think summer or early autumn is the best time to travel to Pittsburgh. The summertime and early autumn weather is ideal for exploring districts on foot, taking in the sights and attending a baseball game.
However, there are things to do in Pittsburgh in the winter, too. The city hosts a magical Christmas market, there are outdoor ice skating rinks and it’s a fantastic time to spend hours inside the intriguing museums.
How To Get to Pittsburgh
Visitors can travel to Pittsburgh via plane, train, car or bus. On our most recent trip, we drove to Pittsburgh from Columbus, but have arrived by airplane on our previous visits.
Located about 20 miles west of downtown, to get from PIT to the city, passengers can rent a car (but use our tips for the best car rental rates first), take an Uber, taxi or public transport. It is also possible to book private transport in advance of your arrival.
Driving: Pittsburgh, PA Travel Times
Pittsburgh is well-connected to several nearby cities.
- Pittsburgh from Columbus, Ohio is about a 3-hour drive.
- To get to Pittsburgh from Cleveland, OH is about a 2.5-hour drive.
- Philadelphia to Pittsburgh is about 5 hours.
- Washington DC to Pittsburgh is a 4.5-hour drive.
Bus or Train to Pittsburgh
While there are buses and trains to Pittsburgh, it is not the most ideal way to get there. Travel times are usually longer than driving or flying and the ride can be nearly as expensive (if not more!) than a plane ticket. That said, it can be an interesting way to travel. You can find information about the Pennsylvanian train line from NYC on the Amtrak website.
How To Get Around Pittsburgh
One of the things we love most about Pittsburgh is its walkability! Most of the city is flat with high walkability, which makes getting around on foot a cinch.
However, trying to pack in sightseeing for three days in Pittsburgh can really rack up the miles. There is an easier way to get from sight to sight: The Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus.
With the Pittsburgh Hop On Hop Off Day Pass, you get live on-board commentary and the ability to hop off at any of the 21 stops along the route. It will save you from having to trek around the city, plus you will learn useful info and have someone on hand that can answer any questions you might have. Find out more!
Where To Stay on your Pittsburgh, PA Vacation
Where to stay for your Pittsburgh weekend getaway is a big decision! Ideally, you will want to be centrally located near the best attractions in Pittsburgh.
On our recent weekend in Pittsburgh, we diligently researched the best options for accommodations. While we usually stay in Airbnb apartments during our travels, we think a hotel is more suitable and allows better flexibility for a quick trip.
Our Top Pick for Pittsburgh Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites
The Downtown Pittsburgh Hampton Inn and Suites is situated on the northeastern end of downtown on the edge of the Strip District. It is literally across the street from the Heinz History Center and has easy access to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, as well as several nearby Pittsburgh bridges.
It is not just the ideal location that make it the best hotel in Pittsburgh; the hotel itself is incredible. The rooms are huge with comfy beds and brand-name toiletries. In the morning, they provide an included hot breakfast, with eggs, meat, waffle stations and fresh fruit (as well as many other breakfast options). Plus, the Hampton Hotel Pittsburgh has free parking – which is a true rarity in the city and will save you a lot of money and hassle if you are driving to Pittsburgh! Check rates and availability for your trip!
What To Pack for Your Weekend in Pittsburgh
We have a few final tips about what you will want to bring in your suitcase on your Pittsburgh trip. You can find all of our packing advice and hacks on our Travel Packing page. Need a packing list? Grab your FREE Packing Checklist here!
We cover some serious ground in our Weekend in Pittsburgh Itinerary! When sightseeing in Pittsburgh, PA, you will want to wear a quality pair of comfortable shoes.
Pro Tip: Read more about the Best Budget Travel Cameras and how we chose which camera to travel with.
Paper Map of Pittsburgh
Our highlighted Pittsburgh, PA activities are spread across the city. While our Pittsburgh sightseeing map can help you find your way, it is best to have a backup paper map available to you during your trip – just in case you phone battery runs out of juice (which is why carrying a portable battery is a good idea, too!).
In our Pittsburgh trip planner, we feature the best places to go in Pittsburgh in 3 days. You will want to make sure you are prepared with all your daily essentials when you leave your accommodations for long days of sightseeing.
I like to carry all of my items in a day bag. Recently, I have been using a lightweight backpack day pack, which works great for city sightseeing.
Top Tip: Get more day pack advice in our complete article, Best Day Bags for Travelers.
We Want To Know: What would you add to our Pittsburgh itinerary? What are your favorite things to do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Give us your tips and Pittsburgh What To Do advice in the comments below!
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