14 Best Sights in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Fodor's choice

The the Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Music Hall, and the Carnegie Library, are all under one Beaux-Arts roof. Don't miss the 19th-century French and 20th-century American paintings, the Hall of Architecture, the Hall of Mammals, Egyptian collections, and one of the country's oldest dinosaur collections.


Fodor's choice

About an hour and a half southeast of Pittsburgh is Frank Lloyd Wright's residential masterwork—a stone, concrete, and glass house dramatically cantilevered over a waterfall. In 1936, Edgar J. Kaufmann—who'd made a fortune as owner of Kaufmann's, Pittsburgh's premier department store—hired Wright to design a weekend retreat for his family on a piece of land in Mill Run. Wright's design incorporated much of what was already on the site, including rocks, trees, and a rushing creek. Battles of will between Kaufmann and Wright over the details of the house design became legendary. Wright wanted to cover the concrete parapets of the house with gold leaf; Kaufmann didn't. Kaufmann wanted a swimming pool on one of the balconies; Wright didn't. And so on. Despite their many differences, they produced an amazing house. The only way to see the house is on a guided tour; children under six cannot tour the house. Reservations are essential for the detailed tour.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Fodor's choice

The devotes seven floors to the work of the native Pittsburgher and pop-art icon. Set inside an old warehouse, the museum includes thousands of works in many media: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, film, and video. An enormous collection of source material—audiotape interviews with friends and associates, thousands of photographs, books, and magazines—sheds light on the artist, the man, his creative processes, and his legacy. Many of Warhol's seminal works, like his Brillo Box sculptures and Elvis paintings, are on display, as are rotating exhibits and programs.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail

The designed by the influential architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1888, is one of the country's outstanding Romanesque buildings. Once you get by courthouse security, don't miss the frescoes on the first floor, the grand staircase near the entrance to the old law library, or the "bridge of sighs" connecting the courthouse and former jail (now a court facility). There is a self-guided tour brochure available at the Mayor's Service Center near the Forbes Avenue side of the building.

Carnegie Science Center

The has a planetarium, a World War II submarine, more than 250 hands-on science exhibits, and a four-story Omnimax theater.

Duquesne Incline

A short walk or drive away is the Both 19th-century funiculars edge up ever-so-steep hillsides. The view at the top is well worth the $3.50 round-trip. Several restaurants at the top have great views.

Frick Art and Historical Center

The includes Clayton, the turn-of-the-20th-century home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, which preserves the original furnishings and art; a car and carriage museum; the Frick Art Museum, which possesses a small but choice collection of old master works; a Victorian greenhouse; and a café serving an excellent lunch. Reservations for tours of Clayton and café seating are recommended.


One of America's oldest amusement parks and a National Historic Landmark, contains water rides and several roller coasters—including three wooden coasters dating from the 1920s. The park is 10 mi southeast of Downtown.

Mattress Factory

The in the North Side's historic Mexican War Streets District, is devoted to contemporary installation and experimental art, often with an environmental theme. The space gets its unusual name from its location, a former Stearns & Foster mattress factory warehouse. The rock garden outside, designed by Winifred Lutz, is breathtaking. Check for special events on the Web site.

National Aviary

The has a wide variety of bird species, including parrots, bald eagles, and flamingos. Some of the raptors are in room-sized cages, but other species occupy tree-filled aviaries that visitors can walk through.

PPG Place

Philip Johnson's 1984 postmodern whose glass spires and towers were modeled after London's Houses of Parliament, exemplifies the Pittsburgh renaissance. The structure's exterior is made almost entirely of plate glass (19,750 pieces to be precise). At sunset, with orange light bouncing off so many panes of glass, the effect is magical. On hot summer days, kids (and adventurous grown-ups) can cool off by romping through the courtyard's fountains.

Senator John Heinz History Center

Housed in a former ice house, the celebrates and documents the region's history, from the French and Indian War to the city's ascent as America's premier industrial center. Located in the Strip District, the center features the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, as well as exhibits on the history of glass, Lewis & Clark, and Pittsburgh's diverse ethnic heritage.

Station Square

on the Monongahela across the historic Smithfield Bridge, is a converted rail station from the early 20th century. Today, this is a development filled with shops and restaurants.

The Grand Concourse Restaurant. The restaurant's pleasant interior is composed of brass, wood, marble, and a glass ceiling, and the kitchen turns out inventive cuisine. 1 Station Square. 412/261–1717.

At an adjacent dock, the Gateway Clipper fleet offers riverboat cruises and shuttles to PNC Park and Heinz Field (home of major league baseball's Pirates and the NFL's Steelers, respectively). 412/355–7980. www.gatewayclipper.com.

Across Carson Street is the Monongahela Incline, run by the Port Authority of Allegeny County. 412/442–2000.

A short walk or drive away is the Duquesne Incline. Both 19th-century funiculars edge up ever-so-steep hillsides. The view at the top is well worth the $3.50 round-trip. Several restaurants at the top have great views. 1197 W. Carson St. 412/381–1665.