10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA: Tips and Ideas From Locals

Updated on March 27th, 2024

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to Pittsburgh, a city that seamlessly blends industrial roots with modern charm. Whether you’re living in Pittsburgh, just moved into a house for sale, or you’re a visitor exploring the neighborhoods, Pittsburgh has a unique character that captivates everyone. With its iconic bridges, thriving cultural scene, and a genuine warmth from its residents, the Steel City invites you to discover its diverse offerings. In this Redfin article, we’ll navigate through the neighborhoods, unveiling hidden gems and sharing insights from locals to ensure you experience the best of what Pittsburgh has to offer. 

Aerial Pittsburgh Skyline

1. Go on a hike

Local and Newborn Photographer Anne Wilmus Photography recommends visiting “One of Pittsburgh’s hidden gems just 15 minutes south of the city in the South Hills of South Park. If you are looking for a great trail to take a walk or run, playgrounds for the kids, a place to host a party, or some ice-skating in the winter, South Park has you covered. Go off the main walkway of Corrigan Drive and find some beautiful landscapes, such as the one pictured below—perfect in all seasons of the year.”

Anne Wilmus Photography

Courtesy of Anne Wilmus Photography

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2. Take in Pittsburgh’s beautiful architecture 

“One of my favorite places to photograph wedding couples and experience true Pittsburgh architecture is Mellon Park in the Squirrel Hill area of the city,” shares Leeann Marie, a Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer. “The park is small but has lots of character, including stone walkways, iron arches, and a large open grassy knoll that often hosts yoga sessions, Pittsburghers with their pups, and small parties and events.”

3. Go on a adventurous bike ride

Leeann also recommends, “For active friends, I always point them to Pittsburgh’s “Rails to Trails” system, which turned old, unused railroad tracks into miles and miles of biking trails. These were some of my favorite trails to bike in college, and the routes allowed me to adventure through the city and become familiar with many little neighborhoods.”

4. Riverside views

Leeann continues, “If you’re looking to experience a great view of the rivers in a little more magical way, walk through the water passage at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The walls of fountains change colors and wind on a pathway down to the Allegheny River. At the end of the pathway, you can see the yellow sister bridges and watch boats pass by, experiencing the great Pittsburgh river life.”

5. Dancing and pizza

A Pittsburgh-based short-term rental company, HostWise, recommends, “Pittsburgh’s blue-collar roots shine through at one of our favorite locations in Lawrenceville – Spirit PGH. Think 80s firehall wedding reception meets hipster bar. With a DJ usually spinning on the weekends, Spirit is the go-to place for dancing & drinks – and if you get hungry, they have a great little pizza window in the back.” 

6. Visit a retro cocktail lounge

“For another retro cocktail lounge, check out Tina’s,” says Hostwise. “Unassuming from the outside, but an amazing little mixology bar on the inside. They specialize in classic cocktails at affordable prices – think go-to classics such as $7 negronis and old fashioneds, or new classics, like $11 Naked & Famous and Paper Planes. Because no bar is complete without snacks, they also specialize in unique conservas, like habanero smoked oysters and smoked tuna pate.”

7. Enjoy panoramic views of Pittsburgh

Professional headshots and commercial photographer, Theresa Glenn Photography says “Pittsburgh has a reputation as a smoky steel town. When people visit, they are often surprised to see that it’s nothing like what they thought it was. We’ve got beautiful scenery, art, entertainment, great food, and lots of funny yinzers to entertain you while you’re here. We have multiple gorgeous views, but one of my favorite places to take pictures is a lesser-known spot on Grandview Avenue near a George Washington statue called Point of View

From this spot, you get an entire view of the city: the Point, the Duquesne Incline, the city skyline – it’s all there. I love it the most because at certain angles, when the light hits just right, it looks like you’re floating on top of the city. Another spectacular view is from the North Shore in Riverside Park. From here, you can see all of our beautiful bridges up close, and when the sun is setting, you can capture the most beautiful sky. It really makes the city look magical.”

8. Watch the sunset 

Family and newborn photographer, Rachel Rossetti Photography says, “No matter the location, I always recommend the timing of “golden hour” for my clients’ photo sessions, which is the time of day when the sun is lowest in the sky and casts a flattering glow on everything. We usually shoot in the evenings before sunset, but technically there are two golden hours a day, and it’s worth an early alarm to greet the Steel City in its prettiest light. If you can get yourself to Mt. Washington as the sun is just peeking up over the city, you’ll be rewarded with one of Pittsburgh’s most magical views.

Looking out over the Ohio River, the city of Pittsburgh rises up out of a warm, dreamy haze; a wow-factor backdrop all on its own, and a really fun way to incorporate the city in your photo. Any other time of day, the view is nice— great, even. But when nature turns a spotlight on this panorama, it becomes an almost ethereal experience.”

Rachel Rossetti Photography

Courtesy of Rachel Rossetti Photography

9. Spend the afternoon at a museum

“Spend an afternoon at the Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, and then grab a bite to eat and drink at the Café,” recommends Rachel. “Simply walk around the grounds and take in the beauty of the lush gardens, the perennially-beautiful greenhouse, and the entrance to Frick Park right across the street with its nearly 100-year-old stone gatehouse. Built to further the artistic vision of one of Pittsburgh’s most famous heiresses and philanthropists Helen Clay Frick, strolling around the Frick feels a little like stepping back in time to Pittsburgh’s Gilded Age (but you get to keep your iPhone).”

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10. Visit Pittsburgh’s newest park

“Finally, one of my absolute favorite places to shoot in Pittsburgh is a location that I believe embodies the spirit of the city best,” shares Rachel. “It’s one of the newest ‘official’ parks on the list but has a long history. In 2011, the public rallied to save the Allegheny RiverTrail Park from being sold for commercial development and instead turned the former private marina and industrial scrap yard into a park with the perfect Pittsburgh juxtaposition of industry and nature. This park is a testament to the power of Pittsburgh’s people and the beauty that comes from embracing a gritty history and building connections. Old railroad trestles overtaken by native gardens rise between new walking paths. 

The open-air pavilion hosts classes and events, and if you time it right, you can grab a bite to eat at a food truck or Farmer x Baker Cafe (one of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants built into an old shipping container). Finally, the sunset views overlooking the fishing dock on the Allegheny River simply can’t be beaten.”

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Holly Hooper

Holly is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and lifestyle. Her dream home would incorporate both an industrial and biophilic design.

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