Have a few hours to kill in Pittsburgh and not quite sure what to do with it? Well, you've come to the right place - I have a ton of options for you! There is so much to see and do in our fair city that I had trouble narrowing it down to what you see below.
Take a Tour by Land, Water, or Both!
Taking a tour is one of the most fun ways to get to know a city. Here in Pittsburgh we have a lot of options for unique tours to choose from. For a view of Pittsburgh from the three rivers, Gateway Clipper is the way to go. They offer sightseeing, dinner, kid-themed and holiday cruises, and provide some great discounts for travelers on a budget.
Just Ducky Tours traverse both land and sea - taking visitors through the cultural and business district before plunging into the river for a different view of the city. For a rolling good time, Segway Pittsburgh is your best bet. Glide effortlessly as you take in the sights and sounds of the city and pick a tour based on location or time of day.
My favorite kinds of tours include food, so I love 'Burgh Bits and Bites tours. You can tour one of six different neighborhoods by exploring the food - one of the best ways to experience the culture of the community!
Explore Authentic Pittsburgh
There is nothing more authentically Pittsburgh than the Strip District. Check out where it all began for Pittsburgh's robust wholesale produce industry. Think open-air markets that sell everything from flowers and produce to knit hats and Pittsburgh sports shirts. There are street vendors selling tacos, pepperoni rolls, books and jewelry. There are also some amazing local businesses selling the best coffee, meat, fish, cigars, and donuts that you've ever had. Read our blog all about The Strip District for some of our recommended places to eat, drink, and shop while you're there.
Sip Some Whiskey
One of my favorite place to take first time visitors to is Wigle Whiskey. There are several options for visiting Wigle. You can check out the Distillery in The Strip District for tasting flights, cocktails, and bottle purchases. Distillery tours are offered on Saturdays and select Fridays. The tour includes a cocktail to start, a hands-on tour of the distillation process, a history of the Whiskey Rebellion told through the eyes of Philip Wigle, and a seated tasting of straight spirits.
Starting May 6 and throughout the summer, you can opt to head to the Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden in the Northside and wile away a few hours while sipping some award winning beverages. The $20 tours on Saturday and Sunday start off with a barrel aged cocktail in the Whiskey Garden and ends with tastings of five straight spirits, including limited edition and experimental batches. You'll also get a sneak peek of their upcoming products!
Flock to the Birds
You don't need to be a kid or an ornithologist to enjoy The National Aviary, it is a great option for anyone looking to spend a fun-filled two hours in Pittsburgh. The National Aviary is truly one of Pittsburgh's treasures. Where else can you meet (and feed!) a sloth, interact with hundreds of types of birds, and pretend to BE a bird and fly over New York City in a virtual reality exhibit? In fact, I love the National Aviary so much so that I've already written a whole blog post about it.
Reflect on Modern Art
Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world. This museum works hard to promote an inclusive and interactive experience and actually encourages its visitors to take personal photos of the exhibits. All of the works at the Mattress Factory are conceived in the space you view them in - making this a really unique experience.
Relax in an Indoor Oasis
Bad weather outside? Too much on your plate? Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a great place to go to relax and spend time in nature. After all, being around plants has been proven to be good for your health, by reducing fatigue and stress, and sharpening your focus. After you spend some time in the breathtaking seasonal flower shows and stunning outdoor botanical gardens, all will be right with the world again.
Make Your Own Souvenior
Create a piece of art at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. They offer "Make-it-now" classes with themes like "Girls Night Out", "Make it a Date", and "Sunny Summer Saturdays." If you're more into looking at glass and not blowing it, (see what I did there?) the The Hodge Gallery at Pittsburgh Glass Center is for you. The Hodge Gallery presents critically acclaimed contemporary glass art exhibitions throughout the year. A wide range is showcased - from student exhibitions to cutting edge installations by established artists that incorporate light, sound and time-based elements.
Blast Some Iron
If you're in town from May - October you have to check out the Carrie Blast Furnace. Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area operates tours of the Carrie Blast Furnaces at the former U. S. Steel Homestead Works. Tours take visitors through the iron-making process and include the famous 40 feet "Deer Head" crafted entirely of materials found on the site.