Birthplace of Gertrude Stein and once home to Andrew Carnegie, as well as other iron and steel millionaires, the North-Side neighborhoods are my favorite Pittsburgh attractions. Much of this area was once known as the city of Allegheny before Pittsburgh annexed it in 1907. I discovered this area after my daughter moved here in 2009. One of the first places we visited was the Children’s Museum in Allegheny Square. From there, our explorations continued over the next three years during my visits; we discovered for ourselves that Pittsburgh’s North-Side is historic, charming, and brimful of fascinating things to do.
Blessed to have been able to move to Pittsburgh in 2012, we still visit our local favorites on the North Side. As a guide, I suggest these five unique starting places, which are all within walking distance of Heinz Field, PNC Park, Carnegie Science Center and many of the other usual North Shore attractions. Begin with these fascinating five, and then go exploring on your own; find the rest of what our distinctive Pittsburgh has to offer.
Andy Warhol Museum
As of 2013, the Andy Warhol Museum houses a permanent collection comprised of more than 8,000 Warhol works. It is the most comprehensive single-artist museum in the world. This place changed my view of art and ignited an artistic creativity that I was not aware that I had.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Like the name suggest, this destination is for the kids. The exhibits are interactive and encouraging to your child’s creativity. The Children’s Museum calendar is full of events year round. Like many, I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. All Fred Rogers fans should see the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood exhibit. My daughter and I created cherished paintings together in the studio there that still hang in my home today.
Mattress Factory Art Museum
The Mattress Factory Art Museum has been located amongst the historic Mexican War Streets since 1977. This unique, contemporary art museum is one of few museums of its kind, anywhere. In-residence artists from across the country and around the world create ever-changing, unique exhibitions that feature a variety of media that engage all of the senses. You can immerse yourself in these room-size exhibits for a personal connection.
American’s bird zoo. The National Aviary hosts a collection of more than 600 exotic and endangered birds from nearly every continent. My best-loved exhibit is the rain forest at feeding time.
One of Pittsburgh’s oldest parks and a seasonal favorite on our list, West Park is home to “Gus & Yia Yia’s” stand, a favorite place for nearly 60 years to get snacks like freshly, roasted peanuts and freshly, buttered popcorn. However, they are most famous for their ‘ice balls’, shaved ice off the block the old-fashioned way. This park is a keeper on our treasure list for the ice balls alone, but there are other good features to this park as well. For example, let your dog off the leash at this park, enjoy playing tennis, and/or canoe in its lake.