A Guide to Pittsburgh Museums – From Obscure to World Class

Last Updated on by Jeremy

Disclaimer: Discover the Burgh uses demographic data, email opt-ins, display advertising, and affiliate links to operate this site. Please review our Terms and Conditions for more information and our Privacy Policy. Pricing, operating hours, or menus may have changed since initial publication.

Pittsburgh museums are often considered to be world-class, and after visiting most of them we have to say, we agree.

In this one we wanted to share all of the museums in Pittsburgh that are open for visitors, be it well-known options in the city limits to obscure museums in the suburbs!

As with everything else on this site, as we visit more museums in the city we'll update this guide accordingly. So if your favorite is not here please let us know about it so we can visit as soon as possible!

Map of Pittsburgh Museums

To start, check out our Pittsburgh museum map below to find a museum based on location!

After checking out the map, scroll down to read more about all of the options inside the city limits.

If you're looking for museums in the greater metro area, click here to jump to the end of this post to read more about museums nearby!

Pittsburgh Museums in the City

Bicycle Heaven is a Great Museum in Pittsburgh

Before diving into this guide, we have to take a step back and talk about what we think can be classified as a Pittsburgh museum to begin with.

To us, a museum is anything that is exhibit based. This could be in the form of themed collections, like in a traditional art gallery, or could be a spot that is open for tours in order to preserve history. Other kinds of attractions that aren't collection or history-oriented are not included in this guide.

In the first section of this guide, we'll take you through the museums that can be found in Pittsburgh's city limits, then branch out to feature even more options in the greater metro area at the end of this article.

Phipps Conservatory

Phipps Conservatory's Desert Room

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of our favorite places in Pittsburgh, and there are a number of reasons for this. First, the conservatory holds a number of gorgeous themed flower shows each year (including the spring, summer, fall, winter, and orchid shows), but also because it is simply a wonderful place to be able to enjoy nature no matter the weather outside. As far as museum collections go, we can get behind flowers any time!

Phipps Conservatory is located at 1 Schenley Drive in Oakland. 

Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol Museum

You may already know that Andy Warhol was a native Pittsburgher who went on to make some of the most iconic works of arts of his age. But did you also know that the Warhol Museum in the North Side is also the largest museum dedicated to a single artist in North America? This large museum contains several floors full of Andy Warhol's work, from the soup cans you know to others you don't. You may like all of his work, or you may find some of it odd, but whatever you do you'll walk away with a firm appreciation for one of the most acclaimed artists to come out of Pittsburgh!

The Warhol Museum is located at 117 Sandusky Street in the North Side.

The Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory Infinity Dots Room

In the mood to check out contemporary art? The Mattress Factory in the North Side is the place to be. As contemporary art varies quite substantially, and the museum features an array of temporary exhibits, you'll never quite know what you're going to see here (beyond perhaps our favorite, permanent exhibit, the Infinity Dot Room). As such, The Mattress Factory and its annex buildings are the kind of place you can return to again and again to check out art in Pittsburgh!

The Mattress Factory is located at 500 Sampsonia Way in the North Side. Please note that exhibits can be adult-oriented at times.

Heinz History Center

Heinz History Center

If you are in the mood to learn more about Pittsburgh's history from the settlement days to present, a trip to the Heinz History Center in the Strip District is a must. This museum is just as large as the Warhol Museum above, and features many floors focusing all on Pittsburgh's history. So whether you want to learn about the battles that took place to control the confluence during the 1700s, the iron and steel making days of the 1800s and 1900s, or more recent inventions that came out of the city, a trip to this one is a must (and a personal favorite of ours)!

The Heinz History Center is located at 1212 Smallman Street in the Strip District. Be sure to check on ticket specials for adding a visit to the Fort Pitt Museum or Meadowcroft when visiting. Often you can present your ticket for same day / next day discounts (discounts may vary)!

Randyland

Randyland is Pittsburgh's most colorful spot

If you are in the mood for a burst of color, a trip to Randyland in the North Side is a must. This is the creation of local artist Randy Gilson who wanted to add color to the neighborhood in the 90s. He bought two houses on credit card, began painting and organizing various tchotchkes, and Randyland was born! The best part about this one, apart from the color, is that Randy and his team of volunteers are constantly painting, designing, and re-organizing the art at Randyland such that you'll always find something new when visiting. He even decorates for Christmas in Pittsburgh!

Randyland is located at 1501 Arch Street in the North Side and is free but a donation is suggested.

Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural History sound like two separate museums on the surface, but they're actually located in the same space and are accessed via one ticket! This makes for a great museum outing as you will, quite literally, find yourself walking from European art, to modern art, to a dinosaur exhibit, and onward to the Hall of Gems, and back. When we say this one is a world-class museum, we really mean it!

The Carnegie Museums are located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in Oakland.

Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning

Nationality Rooms at Pitt

We have a number of unusual museums in Pittsburgh, and the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning on Pitt's campus are just that. The university has transformed dozens of rooms on the first and third floor of the Cathedral into stunning classrooms themed in period design from countries the world over. Going further, nearly all of the classrooms are themed to a time before Pitt's founding in 1787, giving a great historical look into places of learning from ages long since passed. Even better? New rooms are almost always under construction which makes this one a great spot to return to time and time again!  

The Nationality Rooms are located inside the Cathedral of Learning at 4200 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. The rooms are used as classrooms in the spring/fall semesters, so it is best to plan your visit accordingly as hours vary. When open, the 3rd floor rooms are generally unlocked and free if you only have time for a quick visit. Likewise, do not miss the Pittsburgh skyline view from the Honors College on the 36th floor (the highest publicly accessible room on campus)!

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Children's Museum in Pittsburgh

Looking to visit a museum with kids? The Pittsburgh Children's Museum is the place to be with a number of exhibits designed solely for the littlest Pittsburghers. Don't have a kid yourself (or one you could borrow for the day) to visit? This museum also hosts periodic 21+ Nights for adults-only fun- perfect for those, like us, with an inner child waiting to come out!

The Children's Museum is located at 10 Children's Way in the North Side.

The Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center

Want to learn a bit more about the sciences? A trip to the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side is for you! This one features an array of science focused exhibits from water to space, robotics to the science of sports, and a whole lot more. Many of the exhibits here are oriented to the younger crowd, which makes this one a perfect spot for those with kids a bit older than the Children's Museum target audience, but younger than perhaps the Warhol and the Mattress Factory!

The Carnegie Science Center is located at 1 Allegheny Avenue in the North Side. Note that the Carnegie Science Center has the PPG Science Pavilion wing which features rotating exhibits at an additional charge with timed entry tickets. 

The USS Requin

USS Requin

The USS Requin is a Tench-class submarine that was launched in 1945 and never found its way to World War II as the war ended just six days before it was scheduled to depart. The submarine remained active until 1968 when it was decommissioned, and found its way to Pittsburgh in the 1990s where it is now open for tours for guests to learn about life on a submarine in the 20th century. 

The USS Requin is located behind the Carnegie Science Center and is included in the ticket price. You can also visit the USS Requin on a standalone ticket if you do not wish to visit the museum.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Polar Bear Walkway at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is just one of a few combination zoos and aquariums in the country and operates in a similar style to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History above. One ticket will get you into both spots, and you'll be able to enjoy checking out the land and water-based animals during your walk around the property. And, if you're lucky, you may be able to spot the polar bears playing the water via the underground walkway- a personal favorite!

The Pittsburgh Zoo is located at 7370 Baker Street in Highland Park.

The National Aviary

Bird at the National Aviary

Are birds more your speed over land/water animals? Then a trip to the National Aviary in the North Side is for you! This one is the largest Aviary in the United States and is the only one recognized with the National title by Congress. When visiting you'll be able to see various themed rooms with exotic birds from around the world!

The National Aviary is located at 700 Arch Street in the North Side.

Bicycle Heaven

Bicycle Heaven is a wonderful Pittsburgh Museum

Whether you like to bike or not is immaterial as far as Bicycle Heaven is concerned. Why do we say that? Well, this one will blow you away no matter what as it is home to a collection of 4,000 unique, rare, and unusual bicycles- giving it the distinction of being the world's largest bicycle store and museum! There are Beatles bikes, Pee-Wee Herman's bike, bikes growing into a tree, and so much more to see at this two-floor showroom.

Bicycle Heaven is located at 1800 Preble Avenue in the North Side and is free with a suggested donation. 

Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

Johnny Angel's

For those who are music fans (or familiar with local Pittsburgh musicians), the name Johnny Angel may mean something to you. This local artist has had an illustrious career in the metro area and opened up a music store and museum, aptly named Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff, in the North Side just next door to Bicycle Heaven. So whether you want to talk to learn more about his vast music career, shop for records, or peruse other music items for sale, a visit to this one is a great option.

Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff is located at 1800 Preble Avenue in the North Side, just next door to Bicycle Heaven. Admission is free. Note that this store is frequently closed without advanced notice due to music performances or other non-posted reasons.

The Frick

Clayton at The Frick Pittsburgh

The Frick is a collection of properties once owned by Henry Clay Frick, an industrialist and steel magnate who called Pittsburgh home in the early 1900s. While much of his property was given to the city to become what is now known as Frick Park, his house, Clayton, and immediate property were re-purposed as a museum space. On the grounds, you can visit an on-site art gallery, Frick's collection of now-classic cars, or schedule a tour of the property- a must to learn more about Frick, Pittsburgh's steel heritage, and see one of the last remaining mansions from the industrial age in the city!

The Frick is located at 7227 Reynolds Avenue in Point Breeze.

The Roberto Clemente Museum

The Clemente Museum

Are sports more your thing? A trip to the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville is a must to learn about this Pittsburgh Pirates legend. This is a smaller museum but is packed full of memorabilia from Clemente's career, and as one of the best baseball players of all time it is really a sight to see!

The Clemente Museum is located at 3339 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville. Note that all tours require reservation and have a minimum age requirement of 12+.

Fort Pitt Museum

The Fort Pitt Museum

The Fort Pitt Museum is a smaller museum located at Point State Park which features the history of the settlements at the Point including Fort Duquesne (French) and Fort Pitt (British). While a visit to this one can be quite fast, it is a great spot to learn about how early control of the region resulted in everything we know today!

The Fort Pitt Museum is located at 601 Commonwealth Place in Point State Park. Take your ticket to the Heinz History Center in the same or following day to receive discounted admission! (Note, this promotion may be subject to change.)

Downtown Galleries

Downtown Pittsburgh Galleries

Are more independent art galleries your speed? Why not consider exploring some of the downtown galleries like SPACE, Wood Street Galleries, and more! There are a number of wonderful art exhibits found throughout the Cultural District, and while they have varying hours during most weeks and weekends, they are opened late-night for quarterly downtown Pittsburgh gallery crawls!

Garfield Galleries

Garfield Gallery Crawl

Much like the independent galleries in downtown Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Garfield is exploding with independent artist spaces that feature frequent shows and exhibits. And, much like the downtown gallery crawl, are open late during the first Friday of the month in the Unblurred gallery crawl series!

Allegheny County Jail Museum

Historic Allegheny County Jail

The historic Allegheny County Jail is one of the most iconic non-skyscraper buildings in downtown Pittsburgh, and when you pass by it doesn't take long to understand why that is.

The Historic Allegheny County Jail is located at 440 Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh and is only open Mondays from 11:30am to 1pm. Note that no cameras are allowed and you must pass through a metal detector before entering as the museum is located in a government building.

Center for PostNatural History

PostNatural History Museum in Pittsburgh

Did you know Pittsburgh is home to a museum all about genetic engineering? It is true! The Center for PostNatural History in Garfield features all things where man has altered life over natural evolution. Coming up with new flower species via selective breeding? Genetic engineering. Making crops more resistant to drought or disease? Genetic engineering. Breeding a goat whose milk contains spider silk? Also genetic engineering (and true!). While small, this one does a great job going into the science behind an industry that is often quite misunderstood (and fascinating).

The Center for PostNatural History is located at 4913 Penn Avenue in Garfield and is only open on Sundays.

Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology

Kelso Museum

The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology is a small museum located on the Pittsburgh Seminary campus in East Liberty that focuses on the school's excavations in the Holy Land in the last 100 years. In addition to archaeological finds and photography, the museum features an exhibit about the history of the written language that is absolutely fascinating.

The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology is located on the Pittsburgh Seminary campus at 616 N Highland Avenue in East Liberty.

Soldiers and Sailors

Soldiers and Sailors

You may know of Soldiers and Sailors as the gorgeous memorial hall in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. But this one also features a modest museum with exhibits dedicated to the soldiers and sailors who have fought in the many wars we have seen as a country. This one not only does a great job in honoring our troops, but also highlights many historical elements of the wars you may not know about as well.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall is located at 4141 Fifth Avenue in Oakland.

Saint Anthony Chapel

Saint Anthony Chapel

Outside, Saint Anthony Chapel in Troy Hill looks like just another church. But on the inside you'll be almost overwhelmed as this one is home to the largest collection of Catholic relics outside of the Vatican- totaling 4,000 to 5,000! Beyond this, the church is also home to a life-size Stations of the Cross!

Saint Anthony Chapel is located at 1704 Harpster Street in Troy Hill.

Photo Antiquities Museum

Photo Antiquities Museum

Many museums are often built around the concept of showing photography in one form or another, but few are designed to highlight the history of photography in its own right. Enter the Photo Antiquities Museum in the North Side- home to an impressive number of cameras, print mediums, and historical photographs illustrating where photography has evolved over the last 200 years.

The Photo Antiquities Museum is located at 531 East Ohio Street in the North Side. Visits are by appointment for the main museum and a separate ticket is required for the rotating exhibit.

La Hutte Royal and Kunzhaus

Troy Hill
Out of all of the museums featured in this guide, La Hutte Royal and Kunzhaus are the two we're not actually allowed to talk about in great detail. That is because these two art houses in Troy Hill are meant to have the element of surprise for visitors who get an appointment to explore. As such, we're going to leave the surprise open for you to enjoy for yourself, and we recommend you schedule a visit ASAP- just don't look for photos before visiting as this will ruin the surprise!

Book an appointment to tour the art houses here. Separate appointments are required for each house. Photo is of Troy Hill view as we did not take any photos inside La Hutte Royal in order to keep the exhibit a secret.

Museums in the Greater Pittsburgh Area

The greater Pittsburgh area is also home to a number of wonderful museums, and in the following section we wanted to share all of the great museums found outside the city limits!

The following is organized by region to help you find a new favorite with ease, with museums organized by closest to downtown to further away when possible!

Museums North of Pittsburgh

Maxo Vanka Murals in Millvale

Museums East of Pittsburgh

Trundle Manor in Swissvale

  • Trundle Manor – Swissvale – A home of two local artisans with an interesting style you need to see to believe!
  • Carrie Furances – Rankin – The remains of the blast furnaces of an old steel plant, saved by the Rivers of Steel heritage foundation and now open for tours. Seasonal.
  • Braddock's Battlefield Museum – Braddock – A museum devoted to the Braddock Expedition history in the borough of the same name.
  • Kerr Museum – Oakmont – A historical home tour showing middle-class life in the late 1800s. Once home of Dr. Thomas Kerr.
  • Large Scale Systems Museum – New Kensington – A museum featuring historic computers.
  • The Big Mac Museum – Irwin – A small museum inside a McDonald's celebrating the invention of the Big Mac.
  • Bushy Run Battlefield – Jeannette – Former battle site during Pontiac's Rebellion and home to a small museum.
  • Westmoreland Museum of American Art – Greensburg – A large and free art museum in downtown Greensburg.
  • Hanna's Town – Greensburg – A historic 18th century village in Greensburg. Seasonal.
  • The Lincoln Highway Experience – Latrobe – A museum focused on the Lincoln Highway- the USA's first coast-to-coast highway.
  • The Fred Rogers Center – Latrobe – A small museum dedicated to everyone's favorite neighbor- Mr. Rogers.
  • McCarl Coverlet Gallery – Latrobe – A modest coverlet gallery on St. Vincent's campus.
  • Latrobe Heritage Museum – Latrobe – A small historical society museum in Latrobe with exhibits on Mr. Rogers, Arnold Palmer, and more.
  • Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art – Ligonier – A modest art museum in Ligonier.
  • Fort Ligonier – Ligonier – A re-created fort featuring the history of the Forbes Campaign to overtake Fort Pitt.
  • Compass Inn Museum – Ligonier –  A 200+ year old stagecoach stop/inn in the Laurel Highlands.
  • Ligonier Valley Railroad Museum – Ligonier – A railroad station that was restored and converted into a museum.
  • Antiochian Village – Bolivar – A spiritual museum focusing on the Antiochs.

Museums South of Pittsburgh

Donora Smog Museum

  • Donora Smog Museum – Donora – A historical society museum in Donora with an exhibit regarding the Donora Smog Disaster.
  • Pennsylvania Trolley Museum – Washington – A large collection of railroad trolley cars south of Pittsburgh. Seasonal.
  • The LeMoyne House – Washington – A historic house which was used for anti-slavery efforts in the 1800s.
  • Bradford House – Washington – Former home of a leader of the Whiskey Rebellion.
  • Fallingwater – Laurel Highlands – Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic house designed over top a waterfall in Ohiopyle- now a UNESCO site.
  • Kentuck Knob – Laurel Highlands – A second Frank Lloyd Wright house in the Laurel Highlands.
  • Polymath Park – Laurel Highlands – A collection of Frank Lloyd Wright homes (and those of a student) available to tour and for overnight stays.
  • Nemacolin Castle – Brownsville – A former trading post turned mansion.
  • West Overton Village – Scottdale – Historic buildings and origin of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey.
  • Fort Necessity – Laurel Highlands – One of the earliest forts in the Laurel Highlands, where George Washington had an ill-fated battle that shaped modern life as we know it.
  • W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop – Historical foundry and machine shop that supplied products for local mills, mines, and businesses.
  • Greene County Historical Society – Waynesburg – Historical society museum for Greene County. Seasonal.
  • Friendship Hill – Farmington – Former home of Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Jefferson and Madison.
  • Quecreek Mine Rescue – Somerset – Site of a mine resuce in 2002.
  • Somerset Historical Center – Somerset – A historical foundation for all things Somerset, PA. Seasonal.
  • Flight 93 Memorial – Somerset – Crash site of Flight 93 on September 11th. Now a memorial and museeum.

Museums West of Pittsburgh

Pinball PA

  • Pinball PA – Aliquippa – A collection of hundreds of pinball machines and retro arcade games all set to free play!
  • Meadowcroft Rockshelter – Avella – An archaeological site with 19,000 years of continuous human habitation found.

Know of a museum we haven't featured in this guide yet? Get in touch to let us know about it! We're on a quest to visit them all and are looking forward to discovering more to feature here soon!

Looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh beyond just museums? Click the previous link to check out more of our favorite spots! Or, perhaps you're looking for free museums in PA outside of the city (organized by our friends at UncoveringPA who gave us many tips for this guide) or maybe a Pittsburgh restaurants to go along with your visit to a great museum in Pittsburgh!

shares