Carnegie Mellon's home city, Pittsburgh - or 'the 'Burgh' - has been named among the best places in the world to visit, the most livable city in the United States, a top mid-sized metro city for students, and an urban hub of global innovation. What makes Pittsburgh so remarkable is that the city buzzes with activity and abounds in places to explore. Between Pittsburgh's 88 neighborhoods and districts, and the 10 colleges and universities whose collective student body surpasses 86,000 undergraduates, there's many things to do in the 'Burgh.
Pittsburgh offers such a wide variety of places to go and activities to participate in - understandably, such an eclectic diversity of activities may make some students' heads spin. To point you in the right direction, here are a few must-see destinations our admission staff and Carnegie Mellon students recommend you visit.
For starters, what better way to get a Pittsburgh primer than embarking on a city tour! There are several types of tours available, and each offers a unique experience and a different window into the city.
- Gateway Clipper: At the tip of land where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers merge together to form the Ohio River is Downtown Pittsburgh, and you can see the beautiful city skyline on the deck of one of several riverboats that comprise the Gateway Clipper fleet. The Gateway Clipper fleet provides a variety of ways to tour the Three Rivers, from sightseeing to dinner and dance cruises.
- Just Ducky Tours: See Pittsburgh in a vintage, World War II amphibious vehicle. Just Ducky offers one hour tours several times per week highlighting Pittsburgh historical and cultural sites.
- Molly’s Trolleys: Offers sightseeing tours as well as special holiday tours, such as the Trolley Tour of Terror during Halloween.
- Pittsburgh Double Decker Tours: The Pittsburgh Tour Company’s Double Decker tour offers Pittsburgh’s only hop on/hop off tour of the city and showcases some of Pittsburgh’s favorite areas for shopping, live entertainment, stadiums, museums, restaurants, bars, and architecture.
- Venture Outdoors: Venture Outdoors encourages people to enjoy the great outdoors in the Pittsburgh area through outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking and biking.
The Steel City (nicknamed when the city was one of the largest steel producers in the world) has become known for its green living. For instance, Pittsburgh has more trees per square mile than any other U.S. city, 1,700 acres of city parks and is bike-friendly. The city also has one of the world’s largest concentrations of certified "green" buildings, including Phipps Conservatory.
If you’re an avid biker, check out the Great Allegheny Passage, one of America’s best bike trails connecting 150 miles across state lines. In the winter, take the bus downtown to PPG Plaza and skate around the 2,000 square foot outdoor rink. For those who enjoy climbing, visit The Climbing Wall, an indoor gym with over 14,000 square feet of climbable walls.
Through the sponsored Arts Pass Program, Carnegie Mellon students can gain free admission to many of Pittsburgh’s renowned museums, art galleries and other venues – all they need to do is show up and simply swipe their Carnegie Mellon Student ID cards at the entrance!
- Carnegie Museum of Art: First open to the public in 1895, this art museum has a collection of more than 35,000 pieces, including painting and sculpture; prints and drawings; photographs; architectural casts, renderings, and models; decorative arts and design; and film, video, and digital imagery.
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Just a few steps from Carnegie Mellon's campus is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which features a growing collection of specimens and artifacts that document the history of life and human cultures.
- Andy Warhol Museum: See and interact with the art and life of Andy Warhol, a Carnegie Mellon alum, through a selection of unique collections and dynamic, interactive showpieces at the Andy Warhol Museum.
- Carnegie Science Center: Consisting of four floors of interactive exhibits, the Carnegie Science Center includes an array of scientific programming, hair-raising live shows, the Buhl Planetarium where you can explore the galaxy, and the Omnimax theater - aka, "the biggest screen in Pittsburgh."
- Gallery Crawl: In the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon students can freely access multiple art galleries, studios, and entertainment spaces.
Amusement Parks and Attractions
There are also things to do and places to go in Pittsburgh for you adrenaline junkies, animal lovers and nature enthusiasts.
- Kennywood Park: Named among the best theme parks in the nation for its old-fashioned atmosphere and exciting rollercoasters, Kennywood is ideal for thrill seekers.
- Duquesne Incline: One of Pittsburgh’s distinctive features is its cable-powered inclines designed for transportation between the river valleys and the communities on top of the overlooking bluffs.
- National Aviary: America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds, the National Aviary offers a diverse collection of more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild.
- Phipps Conservatory: A botanical garden located in Schenley Park and is considered one of the “greenest” facilities in the world.
- Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: Home to thousands of amazing animals representing more than four hundred species, including 22 threatened or endangered species.
Dining in Neighborhoods Around Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh's lively, ever-expanding food scene is one of our favorite things about calling this city home. Pittsburgh has garnered more and more national attention for its culinary accomplishments, including recognition in The New York Times and Zagat. So if you love eating quality food, you can explore the many restaurants that call Pittsburgh home.
- Squirrel Hill is where you'll find one of Pittsburgh's greatest ongoing pizza rivalries between Aiello's Pizza and Mineo's Pizza House. There's also a number of popular Asian eateries, including Everyday Noodles, Cafe 33, Sichuan Gourmet and Bangkok Balcony.
- Shadyside is just a few minutes from campus and is home to Pittsburgh's famous Prantl's Bakery. On Highland Ave you'll find some favorite spots for students: Mad Mex, Noodlehead and Urban Tap. After dinner head over to Millie's Homemade Ice Cream for some of the best ice cream in town.
- Lawrenceville is one of the city's most prominent neighborhoods for dining out and is home to Morcilla, recognized by Bon Appétit as No. 4 on the list of America's Best New Restaurants in 2016. Smoke BBQ Taqueria is a local favorite for delicious tacos, or try gourmet hot dogs at Franktuary.
- The Strip District is a gastronomical destination for local produce and speciality groceries. It also includes popular restaurants like Smallman Galley, an incubator for chefs and restaurant concepts that features four unique concepts at a time, as well as Gaucho, home to a wide selection of wood-fired Argentine fare that's always in high-demand.
- Downtown offers many Pittsburgh staples as well as many new, exciting concepts. If you're looking for a gastropub experience, try The Commoner or explore three distinct Italian dining options on each of Sienna Mercato's separate levels.
- The South Side is home to dozens of dining options. Interested in international cuisine? Try Nakama for a Japanese steakhouse, Mallorca for up-scale Spanish food or The Pub Chip Shop for traditional British street food. Fat Head's Saloon and Double Wide Grill are Pittsburgh favorites for American eats. If you can save room for dessert, check out the Milkshake Factory for shakes, sundaes and chocolates.
To learn about more places to explore in Pittsburgh and to stay up-to-date on city life and events, visit NextPittsburgh.org or VisitPittsburgh.com!