Things to do in Pittsburgh -Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Things to do in Pittsburgh

Welcome to Pittsburgh! The Steel City has been named among the best places in the world to visit, the most livable city in the U.S., and the second-best place in the U.S. for financial opportunity all within the last three years!

Listed below are some suggestions to help you get settled in and explore your new surroundings.


§  Tours
§  Grocery Stores Close to Campus
§  Shopping Districts
§  Museums
§  Craig Street: Dining Options Close to Campus
§  Amusement Parks and Attractions
§  Transportation
§  Kid Friendly Pittsburgh

Affordability Chart

$ = Under $15
$ = $15 - $25
$$ = $25 - $35
$$ = $35 and up 


Whether you want to explore your new home, or you have family and friends in town, these tours will help you get to know Pittsburgh:

Gateway Clipper   $  
The Gateway Clipper fleet offers a variety of riverboat tours, from sightseeing to dinner and dance cruises.  Tickets may be purchased in advance, some cruises require reservations.  Call or visit their website for details. 

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's historical and cultural sites.  Reservations are recommended.  Visit the web site or call for times and rates.  

Molly's Trolleys   $
Molly's Trolleys offers sightseeing tours as well as special holiday tours such as the Trolley Tour of Terror at Halloween.  Additional details are available on their website.

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.  Visit the website or call to schedule a tour.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation   $
The PHLF offers a variety of events and tours highlighting Pittsburgh's architectural history.  See the "Tours and Events" section of their web site for tour details and additional events happening this summer.

Rivers of Steel   $
Learn more about the role of the steel industry in shaping Pittsburgh.  Rivers of Steel offers "Big Steel Heritage Tours" by bus or boat on various dates throughout the summer.  Also offered is the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area Digital Trail which may be downloaded.

Venture Outdoors   pricing varies by activity
Venture Outdoors encourages people to enjoy the great outdoors in the Pittsburgh area.  Information about outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, biking and more can be found by calling or visiting their website.

‘Burgh Bits & Bites   $$
Are you a foodie? These tours will help you explore and learn about some of Pittsburgh's historic neighborhoods, by using your taste buds. See their website for tour information.

Grocery Stores Close to Campus

Each grocery store has its own style but all have locations close to CMU's campus. If you are interested in shopping at markets with international flare, see information about Pittsburgh's Strip District in the "Shopping Districts" category below.

Giant Eagle
Market District
Whole Foods
Trader Joes
East End Food Co-op

Shopping Districts

Southside is a shopping area of Pittsburgh that has exclusive shops, hip restaurants, and a movie theater.

Station Square
Station square brags that it is "Pittsburgh's most popular tourist attraction" with shopping, restaurants, and tours of Pittsburgh.

The Strip District
The Strip District is a one-half square mile area northeast of downtown Pittsburgh.  Every Saturday in the Strip there is an outdoor market.

The Waterfront is home to over 70 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The unique open-air shopping environment and beautiful landscaping provides an upscale shopping experience like no other. Convenient, free, front door parking available.

This neighborhood next to CMU's campus offers outdoor shopping along both Walnut Street and Ellsworth Avenue. Its Chamber of Commerce website has a list of businesses.


Carnegie Museum of Art  $ with student ID
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."

Andy Warhol Museum   $ with student ID
"The Andy Warhol Museum is a vital forum in which diverse audiences of artists, scholars, and the general public are galvanized through creative interaction with the art and life of Andy Warhol.  The Warhol is ever-changing, constantly redefining itself in relationship to contemporary life using its unique collections and dynamic interactive programming as tools."

Mattress Factory  Free with a CMU student ID
"The Mattress Factory is a museum of contemporary art that exhibits room-sized works called installations. Created on site by artists from across the country and around the world, our unique exhibitions feature a variety of media that engage all of the senses."

For those that are interested in exploring some of Pittsburgh's smaller galleries and art events, check out Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's list of events. Also, check out the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's list of galleries and exhibits.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History  $
"Carnegie Museum of Natural History collects and cares for specimens and artifacts that document the history of life and human cultures."

Carnegie Science Center   Free with a CMU student ID
The Carnegie Science Center consists of four floors of interactive exhibits. "See an Omnimax movie on the BIGGEST screen in Pittsburgh! Explore the galaxy without ever leaving the North Shore at the Buhl Planetarium. Watch hair-raising live shows and discover an array of programs for the whole family!"

Craig Street: Dining Options Close to Campus

Ali Baba   $-$

Crepes Parisiennes   $
732 Filbert St

Eat Unique   $

India Garden   $-$

Lucca Ristorante   $-$

LuLu's Noodles   $
400 S. Craig St.

Union Grill $-$
413 S. Craig St.

Amusement Parks and Attractions

Duquesne Incline - Free with CMU ID
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.

Kennywood Amusement Park   $$
Kennywood is an amusement park with roller coasters and thrill rides. 

National Aviary  Free with CMU ID
The National Aviary is America's only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. The diverse collection comprises more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. 

Phipps Conservatory   Free with CMU ID
A botanical garden located in Schenley Park and is considered one of the "greenest" facilities in the world.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium  $
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is home to thousands of amazing animals representing more than four hundred species, including 22 threatened or endangered species.

Sandcastle Water Park  $$
The park has a total of 14 water slides including 3 speed slides, and other water attractions including a lazy river.


Port Authority Transportation 
Port Authority provides public transportation buses throughout Pittsburgh. For planning routes, we recommend using the public transit feature on 
Google Maps.

CMU Shuttle and Escort Service
The Carnegie Mellon shuttle service is a fixed-route, fixed-stop transportation option which is available to all CMU students, faculty, and staff. Shuttle buses are assigned to different geographical areas which surround Carnegie Mellon.

The CMU escort service is a transportation option that services the geographical areas surrounding Carnegie Mellon that include Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, and Oakland. This is an evening and night time service that operates from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. with the mission of getting CMU community members home safely by transporting them to the intersection nearest their residence.

Kid Friendly Pittsburgh

Blue Slide Playground  at Frick Park (FREE)

Fun Fore All  $

Jump Zone $

Miniature Railroad Museum $

Movies in the park  (FREE)

North Park Boat House  (FREE to visit park / rates for rentals vary) $- $

Pleasant Kingdom  (FREE)

Robinson Clever Park  (FREE) and Pool  $

Round Hill Park  and Exhibit Farm (FREE)

Roving Art Cart  (FREE)

Soergel Orchards  (FREE admission)

South Park Game Preserve  (FREE)

Triple B Farms   (FREE) 

Troy Hill Sprinkler Park   (FREE)

Water Feature  at PPG Place (FREE)

Watersteps   (FREE) 

Last Updated: July 10, 2017