Pittsburgh is known as the city of bridges, the city of champions, and the city of steel. It is a world-class center for technology, art, and medical science. With a rich history, Pittsburgh has something here for everyone. So whether you want to catch a game, stroll the waterfront, or explore the entertaining neighborhoods, there is plenty of fun in the store.
Everyone who visits this magnificent city should have a chance to see the iconic landmarks and experience the best-hidden gems Pittsburgh has to offer. Now, let us dive straight into the top 10 high-rated attractions in this vibrant and exciting city.
High-rated attractions in Pittsburgh, PA
1. Point State Park
Located at the confluence of three rivers, Point State Park is one of the most visited attractions in Pittsburgh. As you open the city map and look at downtown Pittsburgh, you will immediately notice where the park gets its name from. It points out of the downtown district towards the point where the Ohio River, the Monongahela River, and the Allegheny River become one. This point is the most scenic spot in the entire downtown area.
Apart from its prime location, the park also holds tremendous historical significance. This area played a crucial role in the French and Indian War as a strategic post. The city of Pittsburgh got its distinctive name from the military fort situated right in this area of the region, the Fort Pitt. The only remaining structure from this fort is the Fort Pitt Blockhouse. It was built in 1764 and is termed the oldest structure in the city. When you are visiting Point State Park, you can get a free tour of this Blockhouse. As you enter the park, one of the first things that will strike your eyes is a vast 150-foot fountain that sits at the tip of the Golden Triangle. It shoots water more than 200 feet into the air. Other than this massive fountain, more than 20 monuments and markers throughout the Point State Park celebrate the historical importance of this location.
Even if you are not interested in the historical status of this place, Point State Park can host you all day long with plenty of other fun and entertaining activities. Two adventurous hiking trails pass through this park as well. These include the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage.
Since the park is situated at the tip of downtown Pittsburgh, it has relatively easy access from all over the city. Here, we must mention that Pittsburgh is known for its chaotic traffic, so you will be better off coming to this place through public transport. Using public transport in downtown Pittsburgh is entirely free, too. The city usually receives harsh winters. Therefore, if you want to see this park in all its splendor and glory, try to visit it sometime between May and October.
2. Duquesne Incline
The Duquesne Incline is a cable car that was built in 1877. That makes it 144 years old. It was initially created to carry the workers, who lived on top of Mount Washington, down the mountain to work along the rivers at steel mills. The steel mills are long gone, but the Duquesne Incline is still here. The best place to get on the incline is the Western End of the Station Square Complex, Southern Pittsburgh. The reason to start here is that you can park, either your car or your motor coach if you have come with a group, down in the free parking lot.
At the upper station of the incline, located on Grandview Avenue, there is a mini Pittsburgh History Museum, a gift shop, and a self-guided tour of the voicing equipment. Next, the cable cars take you to what many call the best part of the Duquesne Incline, the observation deck. From here, you can take in the beauty of Pittsburgh and the beautiful Golden Triangle. The view from this observation deck was voted as the second most beautiful view in America by the USA Weekend Magazine. This tells you that it is a must-see for anyone visiting Pittsburgh.
All cable cars in use at Duquesne Incline are beautifully restored and air-conditioned. You can even see the hoisting equipment from the viewing platform, with all the gears and devices working in unity to take you to the top. More than 140 years after it was built, the Duquesne Incline is now operated as a nonprofit by the Society For The Preservation Of The Duquesne Heights Incline.
3. National Aviary
The National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is America’s only independent nonprofit facility dedicated to birds. It was opened in 1952 and is home to more than 600 birds representing around 200 species. Here, you can get some astonishing close-up views and see the birds flying all around you in their natural habitat.
The daily activities at the National Aviary include African Penguin Feeding, Flamingo Feeding, Vultures in Flight, Bird Meet & Greet, Pelican Talk, African Adventure, Eagles of Africa, and more. In addition, they recently unveiled a newly-renovated Rainforest Exhibit which is home to tropical birds, plants, and other creatures. You can see condors, bald eagles, macaws, rainbow lorikeets, toucans, flamingos, songbirds, and tons of different bird species at the National Aviary. Apart from just visual exhibits, there are plenty of interactive exhibits at the aviary as well. You can feed the penguins, play with the owls, and capture a memorable picture with hawks.
This is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Pittsburgh. If you want a guided tour, you might have to book a few days in advance. The facility also hosts multiple cafes and restaurants. This means that you can enjoy crepes, waffles, and a delicious glass of mimosa as you watch the birds in awe. It takes around 2 to 3 hours to visit the entire aviary, so keep some time at hand and relish spectacular bird species from all over the world.
4. Senator John Heinz History Center
The Senator John Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. It is also Pittsburgh’s oldest cultural institution. It tells the story of why Pittsburgh is the way it is. Their philosophy at the history center is for kids and adults to have a meaningful experience in the same space at the same time. Therefore, all of their exhibits are designed so that adults can learn while kids are having fun.
Exhibitions at the Senator John Heinz History Center are constantly changing, so one can never tell what to expect on the next visit. But you can always find their Heinz exhibit. You can also see Pittsburgh, A Tradition Of Innovation. It showcases the 250 year-story of how Pittsburgh changed the world. The Clash Of Empires covers the French & Indian War, which made America we all know today. From Slavery To Freedom is about the African American experience in Western Pennsylvania. Finally, shattering Notions tells the story of glass, Pittsburgh’s first primary industry.
There is always something happening at the History Center. For young professionals, they have a great program called History Uncorked. It has food and dancing and music and more. Everything is going on under the roof of Senator John Heinz History Center. Here, you can also find a massive collection of Pittsburgh’s books, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, films, and more than 750,000 photographs.
5. Strip District
Now, let us take you over to the most incredible spot in all of Pittsburgh, the Strip District. It is nestled right next to the Point State Park along the Allegheny River. If you are looking for a spot that truly embodies the city of Pittsburgh, the Strip District is the place you are looking for. It represents authentic culture, great food, lots of action, and much more. It is a place where you cannot possibly get bored.
As you might have already imagined, the Strip District was home to many steel mills and factories in the early 19th century. It was a booming, action-packed place with a lot of trade going on at all times. The steel mills have all closed; however, the action remains. Most of the sites have been converted into modern stores, contemporary markets, and restaurants. Here, you will find Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, the Stamoolis Brothers, the Pennsylvania Macaroni, De Luca’s, Mancini’s Bread, La Prime Espresso Company, The Pittsburgh Popcorn, and more. There are just way too many places to cover in a single day.
If you are into any kind of Pittsburgh sports gear, the Strip District is home to the finest sports shops in the entire city. Today, the district is rapidly expanding, with many restaurants and shops opening up off of the main street. There is also a considerable place called The Terminal on the other side of Penn Avenue. It is a mega mall with lots of different stores, cafes, and bars. There is also a beer garden which is a great place to hang out with your friends whenever you are in this town.
6. PPG Aquarium
PPG Aquarium opened as an Aqua Zoo back in 1967. Back at that time, it was something unique to the state. When opened, the PPG Aquarium was the second-largest aquarium in the entire country. In 2000, the aquarium was transformed completely. It now hosts three different zones: the Fresh, Salt, & Cold Worlds. Here, you can also get a behind-the-scenes look at the aquarium’s conservation efforts. The sea turtle head-start program is also on display for you to see what it takes to bring back a critically endangered species. The most visited exhibits include Antarctic Penguins and a two-story ocean tank.
The official entrance to the aquarium is in the upper-level lobby. In the middle is a 360 degrees column tank. The aquarium also hosts two female California Sea Lions. For more information about aquatic life and the world under the water, you can book a guided tour. These tours not only provide you with the information but also teach you how to preserve sea habitats. If you are visiting with your family, we would recommend you book one of these tours. Whenever you are in Pittsburgh, make sure to give this place a visit. It displays a great variety of fish, covering more species than most of the other aquariums.
7. Carnegie Science Center
Most dictionaries say a robot is an automated machine that can be programmed to perform various specific mechanical functions, and here in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Science Center, there is no shortage of them. In what has been built as the largest robotic exhibit globally, you can see robots tracking objects and even playing basketball. That is not all you will find inside the 60,000 square-foot Science Center, though. Many interactive exhibits are geared towards younger children, including tornadoes, earthquakes, and even beach balls that float by themselves.
The Carnegie Science Center is a unique family destination in Pittsburgh, and its mission over the years has been to delight, entertain, inspire, and educate. In a separate building, steps away from the main center, is Sports Works. It is a place that features full-body interactive exhibits that teach the science behind sports. From motion simulators to rock-climbing walls, you won’t run out of things to experience here.
One of the most popular exhibits they have is their first one that goes back almost 90 years. The miniature Railroad Moon Village features a 5,000 square-foot miniature railroad exhibition with over 100 animated displays that represent Western Pennsylvania at the turn of the 18th century. During the summer months, you can also head around the back of the building and climb aboard a vast Cold War submarine, where you can have an insider look at torpedo tubes, crew dining areas, officer’s quarters, the control room, and much more. Any visit to the Carnegie Science Center will almost certainly teach you something you didn’t know before walking through the door. After all, where else can you explore fish, investigate a submarine, and immerse yourself into a fascinating world of robots?
8. Carnegie Museum Of Natural History
Amid dinosaurs, surrounded by wild animals and 20 different exhibition halls, lies the massive Carnegie Museum Of Natural History. This world-class museum has millions of artifacts. But, far and away, the most popular area of the museum is Dinosaurs In Their Time. It is a stunning exhibition that features accurate and immersive environments. Please pay special attention to the fossils themselves as you browse, as they are much different from many of the other museum displays you may have seen in the past. About 75% of the fossils are actual, real fossils that were excavated.
It’s not all dinosaurs here, though. You will find a vast collection of minerals and gems as well. Dozens of glass cases protect genuinely unique objects, and rare up-close looks will certainly command your attention. The Hall Of Ancient Egypt offers rare looks at temple craftsmen, creating beads for necklaces alongside dozens of other artifacts and countless halls that depict wildlife from bears to rhinoceros. Next time you find yourself in Pittsburgh, consider stopping here at the Carnegie Museum Of Natural History. If you are not amazed by the recreations of wildlife, chances are still good that you will find something that is perfect for you.
9. Frick Arts & Historical Center
Decorative and original artifacts, historically significant architecture, vintage cars and carriages, special exhibitions worldwide, and a diverse schedule of programs and classes for people of all ages. There is only one place in Pittsburgh where you can find all this and more, the Frick Arts & Historical Center. Located in Pittsburgh’s East End, The Frick is a museum that examines this great American city’s artistic and cultural significance.
The centerpiece of this site is Clayton, the historic home of Henry Clay Frick and his family. It is the largest single object in the museum’s collection. Each room in the house is filled with art, decorative objects, and furnishings that date back to the late 19th century. You can learn who Frick was and how he became one of the world’s most influential industrialists and art collectors. Every year, hundreds of adults and children take the educational programs at Frick Arts & Historical Center. These offer lectures, workshops, and hands-on experience with the arts. At this center, whether visitors come from down the street or another part of the globe, they can explore their connections with Pittsburgh.
10. Bicycle Heaven
Bicycle Heaven is located on the Northern End of Pittsburgh. It is the world’s largest bike shop/museum. There have more than 3,500 bikes in their collection. The owner started the collection around 35 years ago with just one bike in his garage. Now, he is hosting the most exceptional bike collection anywhere. This is the only place in the world where you would find 4 Bowden Spacelanders in one place.
They also have a bicycle named Boneshaker. It is made up of a wooden frame, wooden brakes, wooden seat, and wooden fenders. Just like these, they have so many more unique bicycles that you have never seen before. We can bet that you would be able to find the bike you rode as a kid in this vast collection. It will take you back to being young.
The city of Pittsburgh is home to more than 300,000 people. Located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh sits on the junction of three rivers and the foothills of mountains. It is a great city filled with beautiful scenery in every direction you turn. With a stunning skyline, delicious food, and extremely friendly people, Pittsburgh has it all. So, what are you waiting for?