Welcome to Pittsburgh! What do you want to do first? Not sure yet? Well what about plans for tomorrow? …Well you still have time to decide… Where are you staying? You haven't booked a hotel yet?!?!
Explore the off-the-beaten path and uncover the obscure side of Pittsburgh.
It doesn't get better for spooky season than having Friday the 13th in October (unless you have triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13). A compilation of Norse myths, Christian associations and a long-running horror franchise have cemented this as a day to beware.
But, for those looking to venture out on this unluckiest of days, prepare for the unexpected in Pittsburgh! Here's some of the top unusual spots you can find around the city that won't be showing up on a normal tour. You'll have to wait five years for the next Friday the 13th in October, so don't miss out!
Step back in time to the Victorian and Prohibition eras at Dr. Tumblety’s specialty store. Located in Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood, this retail shop features trinkets, hats, fragrances, cosmetics, novelties, curiosities and more. Follow Dr. Tumblety’s on Facebook and Instagram for updates, like their spirits distillery (coming soon), bimonthly burlesque shows and new Storyville Lounge event space, modeled after New Orleans' red light district. Can’t make it in-person? Check out their online store for shipments right to your door.
An extremely unique, 19,000-square-foot space, the Bayernof Museum houses a world-class collection of music boxes, antique automatic music machines and a number of other fascinating items. And, the building itself provides guests with an enjoyable experience as they pass from one unbelievable room to another, at times through hidden doors and secret passageways.
Self-described as a “tourist trap based on the eternal need to show off the unusual,” Trundle Manor is a must-stop destination on your obscure adventure. Featuring a private collection of weird things and vintage taxidermy, and specializing in “dead things in jars,” the space is an artists’ residence and museum.
Housed in an old factory in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood, The Zenith is the city’s oldest vegan restaurant. Sharing its space with an eclectic store filled with antiques, vintage clothing and jewelry, kitschy bric-a-brac, and a touch of the bazaar with various installations interspersed throughout the business, the restaurant is certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. Even the tables and chairs you sit on are for sale! An all-inclusive, family-style environment hosting a wide array of events from music and poetry, art shows, and photo and film shoots, The Zenith prides itself on encouraging and showcasing the many talents Pittsburgh has to offer.
Did you know that Pittsburgh is home to the second largest collection of relics just behind the Vatican itself? St. Anthony's Chapel may look like an average church from the outside, but when you enter, you will be in the presence of more than 5,000 holy relics. The collection and history behind it are breathtaking.
Located in McCandless Township right outside of Pittsburgh is a mysterious road that defies gravity. When you get to the top of Kummer Road, put your car in neutral and prepare to get spooked. Instead of your car rolling backward down the hill, your car will start to move forward up the hill. Is it gravity-defying or could there be other forces involved? Take a drive and see for yourself!
While you're in the McCandless area exploring Gravity Hill, you can also stop by the haunted Blue Mist Road. When the sun sets, the road becomes shrouded in a blue mist that local lure says is paranormal. This road has a spooky tale, and you're sure to get an eerie feeling even via a simple drive-by.
Related: Pittsburgh: The Home of Zombies
At the end of one Pittsburgh’s many bike trails sits Western Penitentiary, an abandoned state correctional facility. Built in 1826, the facility was in use up until 2017 when it eventually closed its doors. Today, the stone-walled building looks like it belongs in a horror film with the old guard towers and sharp pronged fences.
One of the newest museums in the city, the Pittsburgh Tattoo Museum is tucked into a basement spot and active tattoo parlor in Shadyside and promises something fascinating to discover even if you're not into ink. A rare set of personal sketches from Lew Alberts, a pioneer of American tattooing, highlights an impressive collection of tattoo antiques including stencils, traveling kits, archival photos and tattooing equipment. Take home the ultimate souvenir and schedule a tattoo appointment before your visit.
The complex relationship of culture, nature and biotechnology are explored in fascinating detail at the Center for PostNatural History in Garfield. See how flora and fauna have been intentionally altered by humans through domestication, genetic engineering and selective breeding with specimens, interactive displays and other amazing exhibits. Be sure to keep an eye on their schedule, as this museum is currently only open Fridays 5-9 and Sundays from noon-4.
The important thing to remember about Gallery Closed is this: it's always open. If you're more confused now, don't worry, just stop by their location on Troy Hill and take it all in. Designed during the pandemic, this ever-changing gallery space can only be viewed through two large windows, permanently closed yet always accessible. Don't forget to read the 8-ft. tall historic plaque for a (very) extended history of the location.
Need to fill your home with curiosities just as odd as you are? Mounted human vertebrae and scapulas, vintage mortuary bone saws and embalming fluid bottles, casket handles and more oddities are for sale here amid 100s of other unusual gifts, odd art and sad merch for sad kids (our personal favorite category) at The Weeping Glass.
Please Note: They recently moved down the street and are now located at 746 E Warrington in Allentown.
For something truly one-of-a-kind, venture out to the Forest Hills neighborhood and take in the remains of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher, the first Van de Graaff generator in the world which began nuclear research for civilian applications back in 1937. What looks like a giant lightbulb is the 65-ft tower, and makes for an amazing apocalyptic backdrop. Important: Please stay behind the fence and do not trespass for all photos to help with preservation efforts.