Things To Do In Pittsburgh Before You Die

If your image of Pittsburgh is of a dirty industrial city think again, there are now a wide range of things to do in Pittsburgh whether its for a weekend or a longer stay.

Americas, City Breaks, Culture & History, Gastronomy, Outdoors

If your image of Pittsburgh is of a dirty industrial city think again, there are now a wide range of things to do in Pittsburgh whether its for a weekend or a longer stay.

The ‘steel city’ as it was once known, has gone through a bit of a renaissance and is now a thriving metropolis that offers visitors a destination spanning cultural activities, outdoor adventures, a burgeoning food scene and an art district.

Things to do in Pittsburgh
Now the Laurel Highlands is clean and great fun for everyone

In recent years the municipal authorities have cleaned up the three rivers that meander through the city, opening up a host of riverside activity including open parks, cycling lanes, kayaking and paddle boarding, as well as a running tracks.

Here’s our tip for the best things to do in Pittsburgh, and where to stay.

Experience Pittsburgh

Take in an exhibition at the Mattress Factory

Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world.

Explore Pittsburgh by bike

things to do in pittsburgh
Getting around by bike can be one of the more enjoyable things to do in Pittsburgh

Cycle around the city on one of Pittsburgh’s popular bike trails, including the Eliza Furnace Trail, a part of the larger Three Rivers Heritage Trail running through the city, or along the Steel Valley for a more scenic route. Golden Triangle Bike offers bike rentals to use all around the city.

If cycling is your ticket, join Mike East on his bike trip around Washington DC.

‘Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tour

Enjoy a historic tale as you explore the local neighbourhoods of Pittsburgh on foot, stopping to sample cuisine from some of Pittsburgh’s best small local businesses and eateries along the way. Public and private tours are available throughout many Pittsburgh districts providing visitors with an enriching food tasting adventure. Tickets available for $43.

Experience the psychedelic art at Randyland 

Visit the most colourful landmark located in the Central Northside of Pittsburgh. A free outdoor art museum that opened over 20 years ago and has become a treasured community landmark ever since. Folk artist Randy Gilson fills the area with vividly coloured, upbeat murals and objects, and has turned this Pittsburgh neighbourhood into a psychedelic dream.

Visit the most arguably famous artist in the US – Andy Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol Pittsburgh
Andy Warhol is Pittsburgh’s most famous sun and a museum shows many of his works

Birthplace of America’s arguably most prolific modern artist Andy Warhol, this museum is a must do on a visit to Pittsburgh. As well as housing more than 4,000 works of art including prints, films, photography and videos from Andy himself, the museum also rotates exhibits by artists who push the boundaries of art, just like Warhol did.

Stay in Pittsburgh

Kimpton Hotel Monaco

The impressive drink range at the bar of the Hotel Monaco

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco is an elegant hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, an ideal location for a romantic stay. The beautifully decorated rooms and rooftop bar offer amazing views across the city. In-room spa treatments are also available for a relaxing evening in. Rates start from $153 per night. 

Eat and Drink in Pittsburgh 

Grab a Primanti Sandwich 

Get a taste of the famous Primanti sandwich from one of the 12 Primanti Bros locations around the city. The Strip District boasts the first location dating back to 1933, open 24 hours, 7 days a week. For only $7 you can experience the much loved local sandwich made from house-made coleslaw, tomatoes, French fries, meat and melting cheese layered between two slices of fresh Italian bread.

Dine with a view at LeMont 

Take in the spectacular view of Downtown Pittsburgh from atop Mt. Washington at Pittsburgh’s only five-star diamond award winning restaurant LeMont. Open Tuesday-Saturday at 5pm, and Sundays at 4pm for a la carte dining.

Whiskey tasting at Butcher & Rye

James Beard semi-finalist for Outstanding Bar Programme for two consecutive years, the Butcher and the Rye boasts an ambitious cocktail list that adds depth to the Pittsburgh dining scene. Butcher and the Rye features two bars, the first featuring their acclaimed Whiskey Wall, with 600+ varieties of whiskey, and the second a first come first serve cocktail bar and library for lounging.

If you want to get more into the American whiskey scene, then why not try hugging on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail?

“That’s the Kentucky Hug…heh heh…,” the guide drawled in a thick Southern US accent, as a tiny sip of Kentucky straight bourbon seared its way down my throat. I was unable to smile back, but I think I managed to keep my face expressionless as my eyes bulged only slightly. Never let them see you sweat – even if you are sculling bourbon straight up at 11 in the morning.

Pittsburgh also provides a gateway to the East Coast main destination attractions including New York (7 hour drive), Washington DC (4.5 hours drive) and Niagara Falls (only 4 hours drive) all in close proximity. This could open up the opportunity for an East Coast road trip or fly-drive.

Flights to Pittsburgh

Icelandair fly from London via Reykjavik to Pittsburgh International Airport, meaning you can combine a your trip to Pittsburgh with a short stay in Iceland.

Accommodation in Pittsburgh

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Further ideas on things to do in Pittsburgh,

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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