Around 20-miles east of the border with Ohio, the city of Pittsburgh is an epic place to visit whilst exploring the state on a road trip around Pennsylvania. Great for a few days break, there’s a heap of the best things to do in Pittsburgh dotted all across the city.
From vast museums, swanky shopping spots and incredible architecture, it’s one of those fun US cities that totally cool to visit. Plus, you can easily partner this with a much wider trip towards Lake Erie coastline that’s totally lovely; especially with all the delicious vineyards.
Anyway, slightly getting off-topic… but Pittsburgh is amazing and totally worth a weekend trip whilst in the state!
So, to make it nice and easy, I wanted to share some of my favourite spots that I totally love. This way, you’ll have much more time to focus on the travel and less time being bogged down by all that planning.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Pittsburgh. Have the best trip to the city.
1.) Explore the Carnegie Science Center
Nestled right on the shoreline of the Ohio River, the Carnegie Science Center is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh that’s great for all the family.
Here, you’ll get to learn about everything and anything from cool science, artificial intelligence to food production. It’s all-encompassing
Once inside, you can see the collection of robots, hands-on displays or head over to the OmniMax theater, and visit the sports center, too. It’s a great spot for kids to test their skills at rock climbing and zip-lining.
2.) Tour the Cathedral of Learning
Not too far from Schenley Park, the Cathedral of Learning is one of the most iconic buildings in all of Pittsburgh. You see, it’s a gothic revival building that stands proudly over 42-stories high that’s so beautiful.
If you’ve got time, be sure to head on the Nationality Room tours that take place at certain times throughout the year. Trust me, its nationality rooms are a must-see with the Syria-Lebanon room being my favourite.
Afterwards, head over to the Heinz Memorial Chapel that’s so incredible inside.
Such a stunning spot, you really can’t miss it.
3.) Ride the cable car At Duquesne Incline
Riding the Duquesne Incline is easily one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh if you want to experience a slice of the city’s long history. Once used to transport workers all the way back since the 1800s.
Now, once you arrive at Duquesne, you can learn about the history of incline and many details about how the incline operates. Though, for me, the fun bit is the ride and those gorgeous views of the city from Grandview Overlook.
4.) Eat at the Strip District
Just shy of the city centre, the Strip District has some of the same vibes you’d expect in Shoreditch in London. Once here, head over to Primanti Bros. for their huge sandwiches. you’ll leave stuffed.
Alternatively, head over to DiAnoia’s Eatery for the tastiest gnocchi and homemade meatballs. So good.
Finally, for the best nightcaps, hop over to Bar Marco. It’s ones of the best things to do in Pittsburgh for cocktails. The nutty buddy cocktail is totally tasty (and pretty strong, too).
5.) Stroll through Point State Park
Point State Park is right on the edge of Downtown Pittsburgh and a great place to visit for an afternoon stroll in the city.
Here, you can visit Fort Pitt Museum and learn about the history of that historic British Fort – it’s said to date all the way back to the 1700s. Plus, you can get views of the river and enjoy the famous 150-foot fountain where the three rivers meet.
6.) Visit the Heinz History Center
If you want to know everything about the history of Pittsburgh, then you must visit the Heinz History Center.
You can learn everything about the history of Pittsburgh from the revolutionary war and underground railroad to the industrial revolution of the city. It’s fantastic and not just for the history buffs between us.
Just be sure to give yourself lots of time, this place is huge.
7.) See Randyland
Another spot that reminds me of London; Camden this time! The whole area around Randyland is such an epic reminder of how incredibly diverse, creative and unique Pittsburgh is.
Once here, you can explore public art displays and colourful vibrant buildings that’s just up from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. A relatively small place, it’s perfect for a little gander when you’re in the area.
8.) Find the Carrie Furnaces
Okay, hear me out on this one! Carrier Furnaces might not look like one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh but it’s actually totally cool.
Part of the history of Pittsburgh, the steel industry once had a massive place in the city. Nowadays, however, the site can be viewed on an industrial tour or the arts and grounds tour that takes in the creative side of the site.
To get here, it’ll take you around 15-minutes by car (from downtown) and is well worth it if you want something a little more unique.
9.) Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History
You’ve gotta love museums, especially when they’re as good as the ones in Pittsburgh.
Here, you can see many American and European paintings over the past two centuries, sculpture, decorative art, and architecture that span centuries. It’s a totally incredible spot that can take all day to truly see everything.
From African art, temporary exhibits, unusual modern pieces, to the gorgeous sculpture hall, it’s a total treasure-trove of a spot to visit.
10.) Stroll through Mount Washington
Mount Washington is a neighbourhood in Pittsburgh that’s really easy to visit if you’ve taken the Duquesne Incline from the riverfront.
Here, you’ll find a heap of foodie spots and bars for a great evening on the town. For the best cocktails, head to The Summit who make up some tasty treats at the bar. Plus, the grilled pineapple tacos are so yummy.
Again, don’t forget about the views and get to see Emerald View Park, too.
11.) Phipps Conservatory
Exploring Phipps Conservatory is easily one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh if you want a more relaxing afternoon.
Here, you’ll get to explore the gorgeous themed rooms including the; Orchid Room, Desert Room, Japanese Courtyard, Tropical Forest Conservatory, and over several other themed rooms. Each focus on different flora and fauna from all over the world – it’s amazing.
The conservatory is totally huge and great in any season!
Afterwards, head over to Hastings Street (10-minute cab ride) and grab a bite to eat at Point Brugge Cafe who make the best brunch. Their duck confit hash is to die for!