Add These Hidden Gems to Your Pittsburgh To-Do List

Rossilynne Skena Culgan, author of the book “100 Things to Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die,” invites you to explore the road less traveled.

By Google Arts & Culture

Showcase BBQ by Showcase BBQ

The Food

Discover the best place to grab a bite in the 'burgh.

Farmer x Baker by Farmer x Baker

Farmer x Baker

Nestled along the Allegheny River inside a shipping container, Farmer x Baker in Aspinwall is the spot for a casual brunch or dinner with an extraordinary view. 

This eco-friendly cafe sources produce locally, focuses on seasonal ingredients, and offers plenty of veggie-friendly options.

Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor by Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

As if frozen in time, Klavon’s is a time capsule from an earlier era. Once a 1920s-era apothecary (you can still see old medicine bottles in the back), today it serves decadent ice cream sundaes, floats, and sweet treats. 

S&D Polish Deli by Rossilynne Culgan

S&D Polish Deli

Buttery, oniony, pillowy pierogies are the star of the show at S&D Polish Deli in the Strip District. But the supporting cast — sausages, borscht, and stuffed cabbage, to name a few — deserves a standing ovation as well. 

Plus, don’t miss the shelves stocked with Polish foods and decor.

Showcase BBQ by Showcase BBQ

Showcase BBQ

Get here early before this Homewood BBQ spot sells out of its daily preparation of ribs, chicken, brisket, and more. And don’t sleep on Showcase’s sides — take your pick of mac and cheese, potato salad, greens, yams, or baked beans to round out your meal. 

Vanka murals by Pawsburgh Photography, courtesy of the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka

Arts and Theater

Find out where to catch a show or discover a museum.

Arcade Comedy Theater by Arcade Comedy Theater

Arcade Comedy Theater

We could all use a laugh, and Arcade Comedy Theater is here to help. This Downtown comedy club will have you belly-laughing with stand-up, improv, and shows for the whole family.

CMNH Hall of Minerals and Gems by Joshua Franzos, courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Hall of Minerals and Gems at the museum of natural history

This hidden gem is literally a hidden gem. The renowned Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland showcases more than 1,300 specimens in vivid yellows, deep greens, and every other sparkly hue you can imagine.

Vanka murals by Pawsburgh Photography, courtesy of the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka

Maxo Vanka murals

Painted in 1937 and 1941, the murals by Maxo Vanka resonate strongly today with themes of social justice, immigration, industrialization, and religion. Find these powerful pieces inside St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale. 

Teenie Harris gallery by Carnegie Museum of Art

The Teenie Harris Archive at Carnegie Museum of Art

What was Pittsburgh like from 1935 to 1975? Let Charles “Teenie” Harris show you through his 70,000 photographs documenting Pittsburgh’s African American community. Today the iconic late photographer’s collection is housed inside Oakland’s Carnegie Museum of Art. 

Bayernhof by Rossilynne Culgan

History and Culture

Only in Pittsburgh can you go from blast furnaces to beautiful views.

Bayernhof by Rossilynne Culgan

Bayernhof Museum

There are surprises around every corner at the Bayernhof, a 19,000-square-foot O’Hara Township home turned into a music machine museum. Without giving away too much, here are some keywords to stoke your curiosity...

... Secret passageway, creepy cave, world’s first jukebox, and the “8th Wonder of the World.”

Carrie Furnaces by Rivers of Steel

Carrie Blast Furnaces

A testament to Pittsburgh’s industrial might, Carrie Blast Furnaces towers 92 feet over the Monongahela River in Swissvale. Look for a variety of tours of the now-defunct blast furnace, which has transformed into a space for art and history. 

Fineview Pittsburgh by Ken Sutton on Flickr

Fineview overlook

Pittsburgh’s staggering skyline is best viewed from above. Skip the crowds on Mount Washington and head to the Fineview overlook for a different but equally grand view of the city. 

Keeping Tabs Pittsburgh by Rossilynne Culgan

Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture

Tucked along a residential street in Squirrel Hill, the Keeping Tabs sculpture is made up of aluminum tabs inside glass blocks and memorializes the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Local students collected 6 million tabs, each one representing a life lost at the hands of the Nazis.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter by Heinz History Center

Meadowcroft Rockshelter

Go back in time 19,000 years to explore the oldest site of human habitation in North America. Meadowcroft’s awe-inspiring rock shelter offers a look at what life was like for prehistoric hunters and gatherers, and it’s just an hour’s drive from Downtown in Washington County.

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