15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Pittsburgh, PA

Downtown Pittsburgh, PA
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There is nothing as majestic as a city bordered by two rivers, like downtown Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

It rests comfortably in conjunction with the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, forming a triangle.

Because of its shape, Downtown Pittsburgh is usually called The Golden Triangle.

The downtown area has just the right amount of nature and urban environment, with trees beside skyscrapers and riverbanks converted into highways.

Are you ready to explore?

Here are the best things to do in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Explore Point State Park

Water fountain of Point State Park
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The two Pittsburgh rivers join to form the mighty Ohio River.

You can see the beautiful Point State Park at this confluence.

Also known as the Point, this National Historic Landmark is a local favorite because of the spaciousness of the area and the peaceful vibes.

More importantly, though, people love to visit the fountain at the tip, a spectacular sight whenever you are in the area.

People at Point State Park during a festival
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You can stand by this edge across the river, looking over the stunning landscape of Heinz Field and PNC Park, among others.

Point State Park hosts many recreation and education programs and is the best place to walk, hike, bike, or even go boating!

Benches overlooking the waters at Point State Park
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See Tricks at Liberty Magic

Few will think magic is a kind of art and that magicians are indeed artists.

At Liberty Magic, magic is considered beautiful and given its deserved reverence.

It is a proud project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, ensuring that visitors can explore the world of magic to their hearts’ content.

To add more to the magic, Liberty Magic is located precisely where Harry Houdini dazzled the locals with his skills in 1916.

Guided tours take place every half an hour, where you can check out the storefront, converse with magicians, and marvel at their magic tricks.

Check out the Magician Closet, Theatre, and even a fortune teller named the Amazing Zoltar!

Explore Fort Duquesne

View of Fort Duquesne bridge
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Downtown Pittsburgh is full of historical wonders, and one of those wonders is Fort Duquesne.

It was built in 1754 by the French, right where Point State Park stands today.

The fort has a great history, filled with war and politics.

Even though it's not there anymore, the fortress has been outlined in brick in the park.

It is adjacent to Fort Pitt, built by British forces in the late 1750s.

Aerial view of Fort Pitt tunnel
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Fort Duquesne may seem bland to some tourists, which is why the nearby Pitt Museum is there to explain the rich importance of these forts.

You can learn all about it with the help of the museum's rich exhibits, display figures, and artifacts!

Exterior of Fort Pitt museum
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Grab a Meal at Yuzu Kitchen

Bringing you a bowl of Asian food in Downtown Pittsburgh is Yuzu Kitchen.

It was established in 2017.

Since then, it has served ramen, rice bowls, stir-fry, noodles, and a fine selection of Asian beers, sake, Japanese whiskey, and an array of unique cocktails.

The ambiance is dim yet cozy, featuring soft lights, wooden tables, artsy walls, and pink flowers hanging on the ceiling.

The menu is delicious, the service is prompt, and the prices are reasonable!

Moreover, the restaurant promises you to leave with a full belly and a content smile!

Do you need any more incentives to visit Yuzu Kitchen?

Explore the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Exterior of Carnegie Museum of Natural History
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One of the best museums in Pittsburgh is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

This museum is unlike the usual ones, focusing more on the natural world and humans’ intrinsic relationship with it.

Their exhibits range from dinosaurs and rock displays to flowers and antique preserves.

Dinosaur skeleton in Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum also offers different programs you can participate in and learn from.

If you’re hungry while strolling around, you can grab some snacks and drinks at the Café on-site.

A souvenir shop is tucked away on the campus, where you can get books and stationery to natural pieces and accessories.

It’d be a shame not to visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History!

Explore the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Makeshop in Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
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If you’re traveling with children, there’s always a question of how to entertain them floating in your mind.

Downtown Pittsburgh answers your question with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

This old establishment features an interactive setting where you get a hands-on experience.

The interactive exhibits – Nursey, Garage, MAKESHOP, Backyard, and Waterplay, among others – are scattered over a lovely three-story, certified green building.

It also features MuseumLab for kids above ten, where they can play with art and technology.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is guaranteed to induce curiosity and creativity in your little ones.

After all, there’s a reason it was counted in Parents Magazine’s list of the Nation’s top 15 children’s museums in 2015.

See a Show at the Arcade Comedy Theatre

Go to Arcade Comedy Theatre if you want a good laugh!

Founded in 2013, this theatre is a non-profit establishment focusing solely on comedy to sustain society on lightness and laughter.

Various programs, including improv, sketch, and stand-up, are presented all year round.

Even the children can shine in the theatre’s bi-monthly matinee improv show!

The theatre Arcade Academy deploys its talents to conduct classes for improv, sketches, and stand-ups for all age groups.

While kids of any age can attend the shows, the theatre offers a special show to engage only children.

Most people love to see the original shows at Arcade Comedy Theatre, which are funny and exciting.

What are you doing in Downtown Pittsburgh if you don’t visit the ‘Best Place to See Live Comedy’?

Visit the City of Asylum

Exterior of City of Asylum
Popscreenshot, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is no way one can guess what the City of Asylum is based on the name: it’s a community for exiled writers!

Founded by Diane Samuels and Henry Reese in 2004, it is a non-profit organization that provides sanctuary to writers threatened by their countries for their controversial work.

They lean more toward the non-profit, community-based model, where the writers get free housing, social services, and healthcare.

The City of Asylum conducts 150 arts, literary, and humanities programs annually, free for the public to attend.

Visitors can explore Alphabet City, check out the collection at their bookstore, eat good food in their in-house restaurant, 40 North, and read their beloved magazine, Sampsonia Way.

Ride the Monongahela Incline

A Monongahela Incline gondola
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The Monongahela Incline looks nothing like your regular tourist spot, but it is a beloved attraction.

It is referred to as a Pittsburgh icon and has also been placed on the National Register of Historic Places!

The site is a funicular cable railway system on a steep slope.

The Monongahela Incline has existed since the 1870s and is naturally the oldest operating funicular in the US.

Exterior of Monongahela Incline
Suckindiesel at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is used by more than half a million people annually, traveling from Carson Street (lower terminal) to Grandview Avenue (upper terminal).

While some people use it for their daily commute, tourists can travel up the incline to catch breathtaking glimpses of the city spread!

Grab Drinks at Howl at the Moon

Howl at the Moon is a bar slash concert area located on 7th Street and one of the best nightlife spots in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The place is buzzing with wild energy from hip-hop to classic rock, fusion to pop!

Undoubtedly, the bar is one of the top choices for hosting events and parties, including bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and even corporate events.

The bartenders are friendly, and the drinks menu is eclectic and wild, perfectly matching the raving atmosphere of the place.

Likewise, the music might make you howl at the moon in pure excitement!

Check Out the Gulf Tower

Top part of the Gulf Tower
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Any city’s skyline is made prettier with its awe-inspiring skyscrapers.

The Downtown Pittsburgh skyline gets its loveliness from the Gulf Tower!

Situated on Grant Street, the skyscraper was constructed in 1932, initially as the headquarters for the Gulf Oil Company.

The tallest building in Pittsburgh before 1970 was built in Art Deco Style, with the top featuring a step pyramid style.

Exterior of the Gulf Tower
Cbaile19, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before the building changed ownership, the top had an intricate mechanism of neon tubes that predicted the weather through colors.

The mechanism has been replaced by a different color-coded, tiered system that should work as an excellent background for your Instagram pictures.

Check out the Gulf Tower on your visit downtown!

Grab a Meal at Con Alma

Cozy ambiance, delicious menu, and live jazz music are the three terms that best describe Con Alma!

This restaurant, located on Penn Avenue, is small and always teeming with returning customers.

The menu frequently changes, bringing freshness to people’s plates every visit.

You can get anything, from mushrooms and prawns to rice cakes and curries and waffles, burgers, tacos, and frites for brunch.

The bar menu focuses primarily on wine and cocktails, with the latter having a unique list.

The live jazz music is the highlight, where local musicians play their pieces in the evenings.

Putting jazz music back into the music scene and good food make Con Alma a great restaurant!

See the Art at Wood Street Galleries

Exterior of Wood Street Galleries
David Brossard, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has put a lot of effort into making the downtown area as culturally rich as possible.

One such project is the Wood Street Galleries, located at Wood Street and Sixth Avenue.

This visual arts gallery fills the upper floors of the Max Azen building with mesmerizing art.

The exhibits are more inclined towards contemporary and technological themes, curated by multi-disciplinary artists from around the globe.

Since the displays are changed frequently, a new experience waits for you every time you visit.

You can stroll around this space for as long as possible and get your fill of art.

People pop in the Wood Street Galleries for a while before dinner and drinks!

Five Iron Golf

Five Iron Golf is an unconventional golfing space in the sea of traditional golf!

Just a small distance from Market Square, it is an outlet of the globally popular franchise of the same name.

Instead of the usual golf course, though, the place offers 11 custom-built golf simulators, where you can enjoy golfing in virtually any setting.

The machines have high-speed cameras that easily catch and record all your swings.

You can play solo or have small contests with your company.

If you’re stuck somewhere, the golf instructors will readily help you, making the experience much smoother.

If you’re not in the mood for golf, Five Iron Golf offers alternative fun options, such as pool, shuffleboard, and ping-pong!

PNC Park

Exterior of PNC Park
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One of the well-known landmarks of Downtown Pittsburgh is PNC Park, a baseball stadium near the Allegheny River.

As the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it opened during the 2001 season of Major League Baseball.

It is modeled like the city’s Forbes Field, built with a starkly retro-classic theme.

The stadium sees baseball lovers flocking to the ballpark all year round.

Aerial view of PNC Park
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During the off-season, tours are conducted frequently, allowing you to experience the vast 38,000-seat stadium.

PNC Park also hosts large-scale events and concerts, so you can still tour the place if you’re not a baseball fan.

It is one of the most beautiful ballparks in MLB, and now you know why.

Baseball player statue at PNC Park
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Downtown Pittsburgh is a cultural hub of the city for a reason.

There are so many cultural and artistic details in the area that you’ll never get bored for a second.

Explore this district with the best things to do in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!  

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