With names like Warhol and Carnegie attached to many of the museums and cultural centers in Pittsburgh, it’s no wonder you don’t have to look far to find tourist attractions that more than live up to the hype. Pittsburgh has made a rapid transition over the past 30-plus years from an industrial epicenter to a culturally diverse, technologically advanced, 21st century city. The museums and performing arts centers on this list only scratch the surface of truly exceptional places to visit within city limits. Here are the best tourist attractions in Pittsburgh worth the hype.
117 Sandusky St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
One of the pioneers of pop art, Andy Warhol’s beginnings trace back to childhood growing up in Pittsburgh. Contrary to popular belief, it was here in the Steel City that the style of art that would make him an international figure first began to take shape. Today, he is buried in the South Hills and fans from around the world visit the humble gravesite to leave cans of Campbell’s Soup to pay tribute to Andy. The Museum that bears his name is dedicated to continuing the tradition of both the bizarre and beautiful, just as Warhol would have wanted. Keep in mind that when visiting the museum with children, the content on the fourth floor is filled with artistic exhibits of a sexual nature and has been described by many visitors as X-rated.
Carnegie Science Center
1 Allegheny Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Two attractions currently showing at the Carnegie Science Center are “The U.S.S Reqiun Submarine” exhibit and “Bikes: Science on Two Wheels.” These are the latest in a seemingly endless catalogue of educational, awe-inspiring exhibits that make the Science Center “worth the hype.” “The USS Requin” exhibit showcases the U.S. Navy’s first Radar Picket Submarine and traces the sub’s illustrious history as both a defensive and scientific exploration vessel. Next, there’s “Bikes: Science on Two Wheels.” This has been a mainstay at the Science Center for most of 2013 and one of the reasons it has become such a favorite through is through is its seamless blend of history, technology and hands-on interactive experiences that all revolve around every kid’s first means of transportation, the bike.
945 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Center stage at the Toonseum right now is the 40th Anniversary celebration of the comic strip, “Hagar the Horrible.” It is a perfect example of an exhibit that was custom made for the downtown cartoon museum that has garnered itself a level of following that is quickly surpassing cult status and moving right into the mainstream. The exhibit runs from October 1 through December 1 and features 40 original pieces of art as well as personal artifacts of the artist Dick Browne, who also created the comic strip “Hi and Lois.” Admission for adults and children over 13 years of age is $6.
The Benedum Center
803 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
The Benedum Center, located in the city’s Cultural District, is undeniably a venue that lives up to the hype. While a popular destination for Pittsburghers and visitors alike due to its ability to track the latest and greatest from the world of Broadway and live theatre acts, it particularly shines brightly during the holiday season. This year, don’t miss the story of Buddy, everyone’s favorite oversized yet kind-hearted Christmas elf. The story, first made famous by Will Ferrell on the big screen in 2003, is just as charming in this retelling onstage at the Benedum.
Carnegie Museum Of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Andrew Carnegie’s impact on Pittsburgh is well represented on this list of tourist attractions in Pittsburgh that are worth the hype and this is the second world class museum that bears his name in the town that he made synonymous with steel manufacturing. Although it’s been nearly 95 years since his passing, there’s little doubt that the Carnegie’s dedication to humanitarian institutions and the arts lives on and is well represented around the United States. For some of the most magnificent natural history exhibits anywhere in the Eastern U.S., pay a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. On December 14, there will be the kid-themed “Breakfast with the Dinosaurs” that features a special visit by Santa-saurus just in time for the holidays. Click on the following link to learn more about registering for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s “Breakfast with the Dinosaurs.”
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Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.