You can find any number of travel guides to Pittsburgh that focus on sports arenas and sandwiches made with coleslaw and French fries between the bread.
This is not that kind of guide.
This guide/itinerary has been created to show you the off-the-path Pittsburgh. It’s a town with a vibrant arts community and some amazing hidden sites, and, as someone who has spent a good part of his life hanging out in Pittsburgh, I wanted to show them with you. I’ve written this guide/itinerary with two main focuses in mind:
- To inform you of the best unusual things to do in Pittsburgh so you don’t have to wade through the many options and choices many of which simply repeat each other.
- To provides as specific directions possible along with supplemented pictures and maps.
There’s nothing more frustrating than being lost in a foreign city. While I can’t guarantee you won’t get lost, hopefully the directions provided will vastly reduce the number of times you do.
When writing this itinerary, I tried to fill a hole that exists for a city like Pittsburgh. There are plenty of tour guides available for an older crowd that wants to check out some sports sites and eat at some touristy places. Likewise, there are plenty of guides available for the younger traveler out for a party (Pittsburgh is, after all, home to an astounding amount of colleges and universities).
This guide is for travelers interested in exploring some of the fantastic arts and culture that has grown up around Pittsburgh’s Renaissance – especially that art and culture that lies a little off the beaten path, is a little quirky, or a little unexpected – just like I think you’ll find Pittsburgh overall.
The trip can easily be done on a very low budget (you’re going to be surprised what an inexpensive city Pittsburgh is), but you’re going to be doing a quite a bit of walking. Pittsburgh grew organically, with small, distinct ethnic neighborhoods, and has some challenging topographic nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with rivers bisecting the city (The Steel City has more bridges than Venice or San Francisco). That means that driving can be an intimidating experience for out-of-towners, so walking seemed like the best idea. But, I’ve also included tips for using Pittsburgh’s extensive and award winning public transit system should the walking be too tiring.
- One of only three museums dedicated to cartoon art in the United States
- The park underneath which Pittsburgh’s “fourth river” flows
- The largest collection of relics outside the Vatcian
- Cutting edge installation and contemporary art including one museum that also serves as a research and development lab for artists.
- A WWII era submarine, floating in the Allegheny Rover and open for tours
- The largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist (hint: it involves Campbell’s soup cans)
- The final resting place of Congressman, scandal makers, and Negro League Baseball stars
- 1.2 million dollars of glass art nestled inside palm trees (even during a Western Pennsylvania winter!)
- and much more!
What does the itinerary include?
- Numerous pictures pointing to key landmarks to help you get where you need to go, as well as maps for your trip.
- My contact information if you need anything else or have any other questions while in Pittsburgh.
Who is this guide for?
- The visitor to Pittsburgh who’s looking for the best of the off-the beaten-path stops.
Cover Image Credit: Dougtone (Flickr, Creative Commons)