Fun things to do in Pittsburgh when you're alive?
July 28, 2011 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be going to Pittsburgh to visit a friend this weekend. She works until 8:30 pm, however, so I'll be left to my own devices for the afternoons and early evenings. I'm totally cool with that, and I look forward to exploring on my own. But I need a place to start! Can you help?

I know I want to visit the zoo/aquarium, but is there anything else that I could do (preferably free or cheap) during the day on Saturday or Sunday? Anything I should do?

I'll have my car, and I have a gps, but I'd rather not go too far afield so that I'm back in good time to spend the evening with my friend.

Thanks guys.
posted by sandraregina to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about the Heinz History Center in the Strip District? Not free but worth it, I think. There's also the Andy Warhol Museum on the Northside, and the Carnegie Science Center, just across the Allegheny River from Downtown. Where does your friend live?
posted by miaou at 11:20 AM on July 28, 2011

I really love kayaking in Pittsburgh. It's central, and cheap. You can find some info here: Kayak Pittsburgh. I would grab parking downtown, on Sixth Street, and walk across the Bridge - it's a nice view.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the weather's cool enough to hang out outside, Pittsburgh is a fantastic city to just stroll around in. I lived there for five years, and it was by far my favorite thing about the city. Lots of real neighborhoods with more local businesses than chains, and though the hills can be a bit of a workout, it's all very walkable — sidewalks everywhere, few big high-traffic streets, etc.

Bloomfield, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are all nice neighborhoods for a stroll. Lawrenceville is too, though it's a bit less centrally located. If you want more greenery, Schenley park is also lovely.

(Actually, for that matter, if you like driving around in the countryside, the area around Pittsburgh is great for that too. Lotsa little windy roads and great hilly landscape. Probably for the best that you've got GPS, though, since what with the little windy roads it's easy to get lost as hell.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:24 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

The most bang for your museum buck is probably the Carnegie in Oakland, as admission will get you into both the Natural History and the Art museum. (Note that this is part of the same umbrella group as the Warhol and Science Center miaou mentions.) If you have a local museum membership where you live, they're probably an affiliate organization for a discounted entry fee.

Is there anything you particularly LOVE that you like to do in your free time? That could help...
posted by librarianamy at 11:24 AM on July 28, 2011

Here's the "Weekend Hotlist" from the local paper. There are a few free concerts floating around, it's animal rescue day at the Aviary (which I really enjoy, if you like birds), and there are a few festivals.
posted by librarianamy at 11:28 AM on July 28, 2011

Hmm.. This weekend? It's supposed to be the first nice weekend we've had this summer so I'm tempted to second the kayaking recommendation or just walking around. If you get there before 2pm or so, it's great to walk around the Strip District. Lots of street vendors and amazing food. If none of the street food looks good to you, head over to Salem's nearby for the best falafel of your life (stuffed with real turkish pickles). You could easily waste hours wandering around here on the weekend.

Also, take a drive up to Mount Washington or take the incline up for incredible views.
posted by Raichle at 11:30 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like walking tours, museams, art, history...I'm up for just about anything except sports. I'm not a sports person.
The Carnegie sounds good, and thank you librarianamy for the link to the Weekend Hotlist. I will peruse.
My friend actually lives just outside Pittsburgh but works at The Rivers.
posted by sandraregina at 11:33 AM on July 28, 2011

Just as a warning - since you mention the zoo specifically - depending on what "outside" Pittsburgh means, know in advance that Route 28 is a sheer and utter fiasco, and that may impact your route to the zoo. If you take the surface streets you'll be fine, but check the advised route in advance and I'd really avoide 28 at all costs. (It's my daily commute, trust me.)

If your route to the zoo takes you through Lawrenceville, there's an awesome little store called Wildcard that has a lot of locally made art and great stationary and jewelry. (There is also a parking lot directly across the street from it.)

Also, if you don't mind a little creepy, you may drive past the Allegheny Cemetery on the way to the zoo. I have had time to kill more than once and utterly lost myself driving through admiring the sculptures and stones. There's also a walking tour available.
posted by librarianamy at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2011

It doesn't quite fit your criteria of being close or free, but Falling Water is amazing. It's about 90min drive from Pittsburgh.
posted by jasonhong at 11:46 AM on July 28, 2011


Home of one of my favorite roller coasters EVER!
posted by anastasiav at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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