Hidden Gems and Unique Things to Do in Pittsburgh

I would describe Pittsburgh, PA as a city with Midwest hospitality…with a little grit.

Pittsburgh is a blue-collar city that’s a great place to visit for diverse interests and cultures including art, history, sports, great food and so much more.

I’m sharing the best-hidden gems and unique things to do in Pittsburgh.

dinosaur exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh

Thanks again to Visit Pittsburgh for hosting my visit. All opinions are my own. This article contains affiliate links.

See Dinosaurs and More at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

The Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of the country’s largest collections of dinosaur bones.

dinosaur exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Are the dinosaur fossils on display real?

What’s unique about the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is that most of the exhibition’s dinosaur skeletons are REAL.

In fact, 75% of 230 objects on display are original fossils from one of the finest paleontological collections in the world.

dinosaur exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur fans of all ages will enjoy learning more about the unique types of dinosaurs on display.

Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh

Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems

Another literal gem at the museum is the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. The exhibit features more than 1,300 specimens from around the world.

Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh

The gems and jewelry section doesn’t allow photography but it’s worth seeing for yourself!

exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

How long does it take to visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History?

It’s recommended to allow 3-4 hours to explore.

You’ll want to allow several hours to explore this 115,000 sq. ft museum with 20 galleries. There are about 10,000 specimens on a rotating display and 22 million specimens in total.

hallway Carnegie Museum of Art

Admire the Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art

4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 

Admission includes both the Carnegie Museum of Art AND the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Hall of Architecture at Carnegie Museum of Art
Hall of Architecture

You can see a variety of mediums of art as sculptures, on the walls, and in the architectural design featured.

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History.
Grand Staircase

I didn’t anticipate such incredible and grand architecture inside this building.

Carnegie Music Hall foyer at Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Music Hall Foyer

It’s as if you’ve been transported into other parts of the world as you step into these gallery spaces.

 mural on the side of The Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh

Take a Guided Tour of The Clemente Museum

3339 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

Learn more about the life and achievements of Pittsburgh baseball legend Roberto Clemente on and off the baseball field on a guided tour.

The museum isn’t open to the public and you need to book a guided tour before your visit via email at or by using the website’s scheduling form.

bat and glove on display at The Clemente Museum

The Clemente Museum is located inside the historic Engine House 25 building.

The museum houses the world’s largest exhibited collection of Roberto Clemente memorabilia on and off the baseball field.

 The Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh

This is the largest museum dedicated to a single player, known for his generosity and humanitarian efforts including service to his home country of Puerto Rico.

baseball cards on display at The Clemente Museum

Roberto Clemente was drafted to The Pirates baseball team in 1954.

The museum tour takes you on a journey from his humble beginnings, and the adversity he faced including racial injustice, baseball achievements, humanitarian efforts, personal life, and his tragic death.

memorabilia at The Clemente Museum

“The Great One” nickname is justified because Roberto Clemente received every possible award given in Major League Baseball in his 18-year career.

Tour guests can park for free in the lot located next to the building. The guided tours last around 90 minutes and are recommended for ages 12 and up.

The guided tour of the museum is a nice addition for baseball fans in town to watch the Pirates play a baseball game at PNC Park.

Purchase Discounted Tickets for a Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Game Here
Wine Cellar at Engine House 25

Tour and Tasting in the Wine Cellar at Engine House 25

Wine and baseball?

Historic Engine House 25 houses both a museum AND an urban winery.

You can book a tour of the Clemente Museum AND enjoy a selection of Engine House 25 Wine!

Wine Cellar at Engine House 25

The lower level of Engine House 25 is a beautiful and popular space for private special events and gatherings.

Wine Cellar at Engine House 25

The grapes are sourced from premium growers in California, Chile, and South Africa and are pressed and bottled in-house by hand.

Wine Cellar at Engine House 25

The winery uses old-world techniques for aging wine for 18-24 months, using a combination of French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels.

The two house tours and tastings at the museum require a minimum of 10 people and a cheeseboard is included.

Randyland in Pittsburgh

Art is Everywhere at Randyland

1501 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 

If you love eclectic art, Randyland is the perfect place to visit!

Randyland in Pittsburgh

Randyland is a free and unforgettable experience created by Randy Gilson.


In 1995, he took an abandoned building scheduled to be demolished and transformed it into a destination that is helping transform a neighborhood.

toy truck chandelier at Randyland

Randyland is described as an “Outdoor Museum/Yard Filled With LOTS Of Recycled, Repurposed, Found, Dumpster TREASURES, PAINTED IN 100s OF HAPPY BRIGHT COLORS.”

Randyland in Pittsburgh

There’s so much to see and take in at Randyland from the moment you approach the outdoor museum.

Randyland in Pittsburgh PA

It’s like walking into a kaleidoscope where each step reveals something new to pique your curiosity.

Randyland in Pittsburgh

Even though Randyland is free to visit, donations are accepted if you want to help contribute to its future.

Randyland in Pittsburgh

Visitors have come to Randyland from around the world. There are even signs on the wall to prove it.

international welcome wall at Randyland

Randyland boasts the largest international welcome wall in America. Each sign represents the country of someone who has visited Randlyland.

International guests can paint a sign with the symbol of their country with the word welcome in their language and English.

You Can Book a Guided Bike Tour of Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures Tour Here
Houses at City of Asylum

Learn About the Houses at the City of Asylum

408 Samsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA

Located within walking distance of Randyland, houses at the City of Asylum have been built to create a community that protects and celebrates freedom of creative expression.

The City of Asylum Exiled Writer and Artist Residency Program provides sanctuary to endangered artists and writers.

The program ensures that artists can continue to create, without the fear of their voices being silenced.

Houses at City of Asylum

The program’s mission is to “help each artist and writer create and transition to an independent life in exile from their home countries due to the threat of persecution of their work.”

House Poem Houses at City of Asylum

Be on the lookout for signs on the buildings to help you learn more about the story of each home and its former residents.

The story of the artist Huang Xiang who lived in “House Poem” is really moving.

commonplace coffee

The Mattress Factory Contemporary Art Museum and Commonplace Coffee are two noteworthy stops in the neighborhood that you can walk to from Randyland.

eagles at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

See a Beautiful Variety of Birds at the National Aviary

700 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 

The National Aviary was founded in 1952 and is the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the United States.

The 40,000 sq ft building also has bragging rights as the country’s largest aviary.

flamingo at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

It’s recommended to allow 1.5 – 3 hours to visit the National Aviary, home to more than 500 birds and animals.

owls at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

There are more than 150 species of birds represented from around the world at the aviary.

bird and sloth at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

One of the popular animals at the aviary ironically isn’t a bird, it’s actually a Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth. The National Aviary offers several animal encounters for an additional fee including sloth encounters.

Make sure that you plan ahead if you want to experience an animal encounter during your visit.

entrance to The Andy Warhol Museum

See Iconic Works of Art at The Andy Warhol Museum

117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh, PA

Learn more about the life and works of artist Andy Warhol, a leader in the pop art movement in the 1960s.

photograph of Andy Warhol at The Andy Warhol Museum

One of the unique things about the museum is that it’s the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist.

exhibit at The Andy Warhol Museum

You’ll begin by learning more about the artist and his early life and childhood. Andy’s roots were in Pittsburgh before moving to New York City as an adult.

Double Elvis at  The Andy Warhol Museum
Double Elvis at The Andy Warhol Museum

There are seven floors of art and archives to discover during your visit.

tactile art reproductions

The museum strives to be inclusive for all abilities and offers accessibility accommodations for guests with special needs during their visit.

One of my favorite accessibility accommodations was the touchable tactile art exhibit showcasing three-dimensional reproductions of signature works.

When visually impaired guests use The free Out Loud audio guide app they’ll hear vivid visual descriptions and guided tactile narration of these works.

I appreciate their impressive efforts to make art truly accessible for everyone!

exhibit at The Andy Warhol Museum

The museum recommends starting with the exhibits on the top floor and working your way down.

time capsules at The Andy Warhol Museum

You don’t miss Andy Warhol’s personal Time Capsules collection that is truly fascinating.

Before you leave, stop by the Warhol Store gift shop stocked with unique one-of-a-kind items. You can also shop online if you don’t have room in your luggage to bring your items back.

yellow bridge in Pittsburgh

Explore the City of Bridges

Pittsburgh is known as the “City of Bridges.” Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world. For perspective, Venice, Italy has 435 bridges.

You can see the Andy Warhol Bridge, one of the three Sister Bridges in downtown Pittsburgh painted in Aztec gold.

The Andy Warhol Bridge is on Seventh Street. The other Sister Bridges are on Sixth Street (the Roberto Clemente Bridge) and the Rachel Carson Bridge on Ninth Street.

There are sidewalks on all of the Sister Bridges for pedestrians to use.

Bicycle Heaven Museum Pittsburgh

Reminiscence at the Bicycle Heaven Museum

1800 Preble Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

This hidden treasure is the gift of going down memory lane.

Bicycle Heaven Museum Pittsburgh

There are bikes to draw in all ages within the world’s largest bicycle museum and shop.

I was specifically looking for my beloved childhood bike, the Huffy Capri 10 speed…and I might have found it if given a few more hours to explore.

Bicycle Heaven Museum Pittsburgh

Owner Craig Morrow turned one discarded bike in 1996 into a collection of more than 6,000 bicycles in the museum that was founded in 2011.

donald duck bike at Bicycle Heaven Museum

His bicycle collection is rideable art. The two floors of the bike museum are bursting with an assortment of popular, rare, and collectible bikes.

vintage bike at Bicycle Heaven Museum

You’ll want to read the bike description tags and ask Craig some of his favorite stories if you’re fortunate enough to get a few moments with him.

Pee Wee Herman Bike at Bicycle Heaven Museum Pittsburgh

See some of the most famous bikes from movies in-person including the Pee-wee Herman bike from the movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure!”

After you visit the Bicycle Heaven Museum, check out Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff, located next door.

It features an assortment of music and entertainment memorabilia spanning several decades.

ketchup bottle sign at  Senator John Heinz History Center

Explore the Senator John Heinz History Center

1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 

 bus at Senator John Heinz History Center

You can learn about Pittsburgh’s 250-year history at Pennsylvania’s only affiliated Smithsonian Institution, the Senator John Heinz History Center.

You’ll want to allow 2-3 hours to go through this museum with over 40,000 artifacts!

Heinz ketchup exhibit at Senator John Heinz History Center

There is a lot to see on the 6 floors of the museum. There are permanent and temporary exhibits, including the Heinz exhibit on America’s favorite ketchup brand and more founded in Pittsburgh.

Other highlights include interactive play at Kidsburgh, and exhibits From Slavery to Freedom, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, We Can Do It World War II, and Fort Pitt: Keystone of the Frontier.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood exhibit at  Senator John Heinz History Center

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Exhibit at Senator John Heinz History Center

There is an incredible exhibit dedicated to Pittsburgh’s hometown hero Mister Rogers.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood exhibit at  Senator John Heinz History Center

The museum has the largest collection of original items from the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood television set that will take you down memory lane.

It was special to see these items that brought me back to memories of watching the show as a child.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood exhibit at  Senator John Heinz History Center

The Mister Roger’s Neighborhood exhibit includes:

  • The entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through to begin each show with a life-like figure of Mister Rogers dressed in his iconic style
  • King Friday XIII’s Castle
  • The Great Oak Tree – Residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X The Owl
  • Picture Picture, the display that helped Mister Rogers teach children using interactive media
  • McFeely’s “Speedy Delivery” tricycle
  • The sweater worn by Mister Rogers
  • Puppet characters -Dr. Bill and Elsie Jean Platypus, Grandpere Tiger and Cornflake “Corny” S. Pecially
  • A variety of additional items from the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe,” including King Friday XIII’s telephone, Henrietta Pussycat’s outfit, Chef Brockett’s hat, Harriett Elizabeth Cow’s desk, and the bench that Mister Rogers sat on during each show.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood exhibit at  Senator John Heinz History Center

Another notable tribute to Mister Rogers in the Pittsburgh area is the “Tribute to Children” sculpture.

The ten-foot bronze sculpture of Fred Rogers is at North Shore Drive (located between Heinz Field and PNC Park).

Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at  Senator John Heinz History Center

Celebrate Sports at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

A 20,000-square-foot museum within a museum! The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum has two floors inside the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at  Senator John Heinz History Center

Sports fans of all ages will find more than 70 interactive sports-themed activities.

Steelers exhibit at Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at  Senator John Heinz History Center

The museum highlights professional sports teams in Pittsburgh, legendary high school athletes, and incredible athletes who played for Negro League baseball.

Champions from the sports of Golf, racing, and boxing are also featured.

Duquesne Incline

Ride the Duquesne Incline

1197 W Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA

Enjoy scenic views of downtown Pittsburgh during a ride on the Duquesne Incline.

The incline dates back to 1877 and is in operation now thanks to the rescue and restoration from local residents in 1963.

The Duquesne Incline is a working museum. History meets function because people still use the incline for their everyday public transportation needs.

Book a Guided Tour that Includes Duquesne Incline Here
Wigle Whiskey Distillery

Tour and Tasting at Wigle Whiskey

2401 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA

Enjoy a tour and tasting at Wigle Whiskey pronounced (wiggle).

Book a Wigle Whiskey Rebellion Distillery Tour Here
whiskey history at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh

The artisan small-batch whiskey distillery is located in The Strip District neighborhood of Pittsburgh honoring its namesake Phillip Wigle.

whiskey love child sign at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh

On the tour, you’ll learn about Wigle’s role in the American Whiskey Rebellion and how American whiskey was born in Pittsburgh.

tour at Wigle Whiskey Distillery

After you learn about the history, you’ll learn more about the modern-day production of small-batch artisan whiskey.

tour at Wigle Whiskey Distillery

The one-hour tour is limited in size and takes you through the process of grain to glass ending with a tasting of their award-winning rye and bourbon whiskey, gin, rum, and other spirits. 

Bar at Wigle Whiskey

Dine at Wigle Whiskey Tasting Room and Kitchen

In addition to whiskey, Wigle Whiskey has amazing food worth planning a lunch or dinner stop around.

fritters at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh
cheese curds at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh
Cheese curds
sweet potato hummus at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh
Sweet potato hummus
chicken sandwich at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh
Fried chicken sandwich
mac and cheese at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh
Mac + cheese

During our visit, we tried the following:

  • Fritters (if you see them on the menu get them!)
  • Crispy cheese curds
  • Sweet potato hummus
  • Fried Chicken sandwich
  • Mac + cheese

Some menu items change seasonally so be on the lookout if you have a few favorites.

Whiskey tasting at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh

You can’t go wrong with a specialty cocktail or a whiskey flight if you want to experience more than one flavor.

If you want to try a few of their more unique flavors, I recommend trying their Pickle Whiskey or Ginger Whiskey.

There is a gift shop where you can purchase your favorite spirits or bring some back as gifts.

Pittsburgh Brewery Guide

Discover Local Craft Beer on the Pittsburgh Brewery Trail

Speaking of drinking, if you’re a craft beer fan, Pittsburgh has you covered with over 40 breweries throughout Allegheny County.

Book the Pittsburgh Signature Guided Brewery Tour Here

beers at Dancing gnome brewery
Dancing Gnomes Brewery

The Pittsburgh Brewery Guide gives locals and tourists an excuse to discover other neighborhoods around Pittsburgh.

Each craft brewery that you visit has a unique personality and origin story to share.

Pittsburgh Brewery Guide

Get Your Stamps on The Pittsburgh Brewery Guide

If you’re visiting multiple breweries, I recommend purchasing a Pittsburgh Brewery Guide at any participating breweries in town.

You can learn more about each brewery’s history and amenities within the guide and write notes in your guide to help recall your favorites.

When you visit one of the breweries in the guide they will stamp their designated page.

The new version of the Pittsburgh Brewery Guide offers more ways to earn prizes.

More Popular and Hidden Gem Restaurants in Pittsburgh

When I visit a city I like to find some of the favorite local restaurants to visit.

sandwich at the Original Primanti Bros

Eat at the Original Primanti Bros

46 18th Street, Pittsburgh, PA (in the Strip District)

There are several Primanti Brothers restaurants throughout Pittsburgh and even in other states.

the Original Primanti Bros in the Strip District

To truly appreciate the restaurant’s roots, experience your first Primanti Brothers sandwich at The original Primanti Brothers location.

murals in the Original Primanti Bros

Joe Primanti’s restaurant started with a small sandwich cart feeding blue-collar workers during the Great Depression that later expanded.

The fries are located INSIDE the sandwich which is a unique twist that makes it easier for restaurant patrons to take their meal to go.

sandwich at the Original Primanti Bros

The sandwich is made with fresh Italian bread, tomatoes, sweet and sour house-made coleslaw, fresh-cut fries in the middle, melted provolone cheese, and your grilled meat of choice.

Guests also have the option to add an egg to the sandwich which I’m told enhances the flavor.

A sandwich with fries inside is an acquired taste, much like our beloved Cincinnati-style chili. If you’ve never tried Primanti Brothers, it’s a rite of passage to experience at least once.

Kelly O’s Diner

Kelly O’s Diner Featured on The Food Network

Kelly O’s Diner is a local favorite that has also been featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Triple D Nation.

pictures with Guy Fieri at  Kelly O's diner

This woman-owned and operated family business has no shortage of wonderful breakfast menu items that will leave you full for hours.

waffle at Kelly O's diner

Your hardest decision might be if you want to go there for breakfast or lunch.

mural at Kelly O’s Diner

If you want to try one of the menu items featured on Triple D Nation and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives they are listed in a special section on the menu.

biscuits and gravy at Kelly O’s Diner

I opted to try the biscuits and gravy because it was featured on one of the shows.

You can’t go wrong with the biscuits and gravy served with home fries made in-house.

Square Cafe

Breakfast With a Twist at Square Café in East Liberty

134 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

Nutella Crepes at Square Cafe

This popular breakfast stop includes vegan and vegetarian options. Meat eaters will still find plenty of options they will love too.

Pierogies at Square Cafe
Vegan peanut butter pancakes at Square Cafe
Peanut butter pancakes (Vegan Pancakes)
Lemon-Berry Ricotta Pancakes at Square Cafe
Lemon-berry ricotta pancakes
Brussels Sprout Hash at Square Cafe
Brussels Sprout Hash

Thankfully I was joined for breakfast by a table of “food sharers” and were able to try several menu items.

I’m so glad that we shared because everything was SO GOOD! I highly recommend trying their Pierogies!

entrance Hotel Monaco

Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh

620 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh, PA

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Kimpton Hotel Monaco has reimagined a building that dates back to 1903.

hallway at Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

The hotel is stylish and eclectic with art installations and vibrant colors throughout, without compromising comfort.

room at Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

I love it when rooms are attentive to detail in both form and function.

room at Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

I could easily charge my phone by my bed AND I had a bedside light inside a bright yellow birdcage.

  Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

You’ll notice a bird theme in the art throughout the hotel which is a nice tribute to the city with a National Aviary.

The Commoner at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh

During your stay, I highly recommend making a reservation for dinner at The Commoner open for breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch.

The Commoner at  Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

I suggest getting several appetizers and small plates to share with the table.

crispy potatoes at The Commoner at  Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

Kennywood Amusement Park

4800 Kennywood Blvd, West Mifflin, PA (Less than 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh)

This amusement park has a 125+ year history for entertaining generations of families.

Kennywood has over 40+ attractions and rides, including thrill rides, water rides, 8 roller coasters, and more!

Purchase Discounted Tickets to Kennywood Amusement Park Here

Save on Additional Tours Around Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is only an hour from Laurel Highlands if you want to continue exploring beyond the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

Which Adventure in Pittsburgh do you want to try next?

6 thoughts on “Hidden Gems and Unique Things to Do in Pittsburgh”

  1. I’ll definitely have to check out the cider house the next time I’m in Pittsburgh.Thanks for the tips!

  2. So happy you featured Wigle whiskey! My husband is actually a manager there. They are proud of the product they put out, organic from start to finish using local grains. They have a cider house too located on Pittsburghs North Side called Threadbare. The cider is a dry style and not overly sweet like most are used too. They also feature a pizza that is to die for. Custom or pre arranged styles your choice. Brick fired and the dough changes in taste monthly as they use the yeast from the distilling process. Great places to stop in my town for sure!

  3. If you ever go back make sure you go to Phipps. Amazing conservatory and right down the street from Carnegie Museum. There’s also the tower of learning at Pitt University, also right near the Carnegie, but you can only go in during the summer as it’s closed to the public during the school year.

  4. Thanks for all the great tips! I’m going next month and now have several must see places on my list.

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