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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 so 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.
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 more 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 in the city, you can use our guide to plan your best Pittsburgh trip!
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 city highlights that showcase the best of Pittsburgh. Sights are listed in an order that naturally flows, so there is seldom any need to double back or retrace your steps.
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 the 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 border. The city is situated at the meeting point of three rivers: The Ohio River, the Monongahela River and the Allegheny River.
The city is well-connected, both by roadways and air travel. We discuss more on how to get to Pittsburgh – plus where to stay and what to pack! – at the end of the article.
What are Pittsburgh’s Nicknames?
Throughout the years, Pittsburgh has earned several nicknames. Steel City is a long-time nickname, which nods to the city’s history in steel production. City of Bridges, another moniker, calls attention to the multitude of bridges found in the city (there are 446!). The nickname, City of Champions, refers to the city’s numerous past sports championships (the city hosts NFL, MLB and NHL 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 most 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 city 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. 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.
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, too.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Pittsburgh blog post so that you can easily access it as your plan – and during – your trip to Pitt!
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, the activities in Day 1 are the best things to see in Pittsburgh in one day!
#1 Three Rivers Heritage Trail
Start your city exploration along the riverside on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Incorporating 33 miles of paved paths, the trail system lines the riverfront 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 familiar with the city layout. That said, if you brought your running shoes, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is the best place for a morning jog!
#2 Three Sisters Bridges
On the north side of downtown, 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 walk 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 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 city’s 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 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 visit 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 the 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, the city is nowhere in sight before entering the tunnel, which passes through Mount Washington and is only a half mile long. However, at the tunnel’s exit, visitors are practically on top of the city with a picture-perfect Pittsburgh skyline view.
Pro Tip: Hopefully, the route you took into the city was through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel, but if not, don’t fret. Simply cross over the Fort Pitt Bridge to the first viewpoint. The experience is not as dramatic as driving through the tunnel, but 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 from the city 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.
At the Upper Station, visitors should step out onto the viewing platform for an astounding city 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 Point of View Park, which offers fantastic views.
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!).
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!
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 hillside. The Mon and the Duquesne are the only two that still exist.
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 the 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 in Cincinnati and the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. The current Smithfield Street Bridge was built in 1883.
Ranking as the second-oldest steel bridge in the country 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.
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 city structures – like the courthouse, city jail, and newspaper office. Today the square stands as a social gathering place where visitors can play games or dine at one of the surrounding eateries. You can read more information for a Self-Guided Pittsburgh Tour of Market Square.
The Agnes R Katz Plaza is, perhaps, the most 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.
A sub-district within downtown Pittsburgh, the Cultural District encompasses 14 blocks – and is known for its high concentration of theaters, art galleries and public artworks. The art and entertainment district is rife with fun Pittsburgh activities, like live performances and city events.
Historic theaters – such as the Benedum Center and Byham Theater – have been beautifully restored and are premier places to watch performances.
#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.
#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 in the city 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.
Summertime visitors can catch the Major League Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Team playing at PNC Park. The ballpark is on the north side of the Allegheny; just walk across Roberto Clemente Bridge (and don’t miss his statue) to get to the Pirates game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team plays at Heinz Field in the autumn, although tickets can be difficult to come by (and expensive if you do find them for sale). 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. Theater productions cover a range of performances from opera to comedy to Broadway plays and rock and roll bands. Find a current schedule on the Cultural District website.
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. Start your discovery with a cup of coffee and a pastry from Commonplace Coffee.
The neighborhood coffee shop is a local favorite that extends a warm welcome to visitors, too. Loved for both the delicious coffee and the friendly service, it’s the best place to get caffeinated before a day of exploring.
Pro Tip: Love the coffee?! Buy a bag of beans to go!
#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 neighborhood’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 sights to visit in MWS, too (which are the next three attractions on our list!)
City of Asylum Alphabet Reading Garden
The small City of Asylum Alphabet Reading Garden is a quiet respite from city life. 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 see 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 – many of which push the 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.
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.
Top Tip: Randyland is one of the free museums in Pittsburgh! Museum hours vary, but it is usually open 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 city green spaces for outdoor activities in Pittsburgh. The park was created in 1867 – making it the oldest park in the city.
Fountains, monuments and statues dot the park that is crisscrossed by tree-shaded walking paths.
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 mainstays (like Max’s Allegheny Tavern, an old school German pub), but has new upscale establishments, too (like Fig & Ash).
The businesses on Ohio Street are an eclectic mix and it is evident that the neighborhood is being revitalized.
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 Museum: Heinz History Center or Andy Warhol Museum
Some of the best museums in Pittsburgh are located along the riverside – and just a short distance from Deutschtown. Our top picks for Pittsburgh museums in the area are the Heinz History Center and The Andy Warhol Museum.
Senator John Heinz History Center
The engaging and interactive Heinz History Center features 6 floors of exhibition space, plus an included Pittsburgh sports museum.
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.
Because it is kid friendly, the Heinz History Center is one of the fun family things to do in Pittsburgh – but it’s fun 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.
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 can score discounted admission on Friday evenings; check their website for details!
#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.
We are highlighting just a few of our favorite things to do in the Strip District to help you plan your time.
S&D Polish Deli
As surprising as it may sound, pierogies are one of the top things to eat in Pittsburgh. Polish immigrants brought their food to the city 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!
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 church.
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 in 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 one (or two!) local brews ranks as one of the best Pittsburgh, PA things to do. With multiple venues within close proximity, it is possible to complete your own 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 wineries.
Make a final stop at Insurrection Taproom, 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
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 must-eat.
Established in 1933 as a roving sandwich cart in The Strip, Primanti Bros has evolved into one of the most 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 two more districts: Oakland and Lawrenceville. Begin your day with a famous pancake breakfast and see the sights in the Schenley Farms National Historic District. Then, spend your final evening drinking craft brew in a church and dining in a comeback neighborhood.
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 city 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. We highlight the best places to see below!
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 the city. 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! Find information about visiting here.
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.
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 city 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: 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 city stadium where Pittsburgh’s beloved teams played…and it was in the heart of Oakland.
Built in 1909, the stadium witnessed some of the most iconic Pittsburgh sports moments. It was where Bill Mazeroski hit the game-winning homerun in the 1960 World Series and the place where Babe Ruth hit his final three homeruns of his career. Forbes Field was also where the Steelers played their first 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 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.
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 endless – from upscale (Poulet Bleu is good for steaks) to casual eateries (like Franktuary, a hot dog restaurant inside an old church).
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, too!
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 trip plan.
Kayaking and Cycling
Two fun outdoor downtown Pittsburgh activities are kayaking and cycling. Visitors can rent kayaks downtown and paddle along the cities three rivers. Likewise, there are places to rent bikes so that you can pedal your way around the city and along the riverbanks.
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 city landscape and learn about the history of Pittsburgh. That said, Sunset and Dinner cruises are fun, too!
Day Trip 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 beyond the city) can take a Pittsburgh day trip!
One of the most popular Pittsburgh day trips is visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece. The 20th-century home is only about an hour drive from the city and the architecture is awe-inspiring.
Visitors can make the trip on their own or 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
For a great introduction to the city, join a fun and informative 2-hour bus tour that swings by all the city’s top attractions. Get tickets here!
Guided Pittsburgh Walking Tour
We provided some great links to Self-Guided Walking Tours in Pittsburgh – but if you prefer a guided city 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, 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 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 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 we have arrived by airplane in the past.
By plane, visitors will arrive at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). The airport is serviced by all major US carriers. Before booking plane tickets, read our tips on getting the best flight deals.
The airport is located about 20 miles west of the city. To get 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 trip.
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 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 so that you can easily get to the places you most want to see.
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 more 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 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 hotel has free parking – which is a true rarity in the city (and will save you tons of money if you will have a car!).
While the hotel is not a budget option, per se, the nightly rate during our stay was one of the lowest nightly rates in the city. Check rates and availability for your trip!
What To Pack for Your Weekend in Pittsburgh
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.
Read more about the Best Budget Travel Cameras for more tips!
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 in the morning 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.
Get more of my day pack tips in my blog post, 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 advice in the comments below!
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Traveling to other top US cities? We have guides to help you plan your trip!
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