5 Famous Battlefield Sites Near Pittsburgh You Can Visit

Every battle that takes place has the capacity to change the history of the world as we know it. 

While Pittsburgh and southwest Pennsylvania has not experienced too many appreciable battles, the five major events that occurred have been some of the most consequential in early American history. 

From George Washington inadvertently kicking off the French and Indian War, to the British taking over the confluence from the French, and Pontiac's War shortly thereafter, the events that transpired between 1754 and 1763 had a profound impact on the region we know and love today.

So let's take a look at some of the major battlefield sites near Pittsburgh and share a bit more about their significance and what you can see when visiting today!

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Escape USS Requin – Escape Room on a Submarine

When we heard that our resident submarine, the USS Requin at the Science Center, was getting an escape room, we knew we had to check this out immediately. Although we're not that big on escape rooms overall, we're all about the unique concept of one on a submarine and tried to get a booking right away.

The emphasis should be on tried because this one's limited operating hours meant that the initial tours sold out quickly- within minutes of posting for the first few dates.

It wasn't until the second season of Escape USS Requin that an appreciable number of timeslots were added, and we booked one right away to go with friends. As far as escape rooms are concerned, this one was a real treat!

Note: Photography is prohibited on board the USS Requin during the Escape Room experience. All on-board photos here are from a visit during the conventional tour outside of escape room season. Do not expect hints to escape room games in photos here, because there are none.

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Braddock’s Battlefield History Center Connects Early History

You are likely familiar with how the British and French fought for control of the confluence in what is now downtown Pittsburgh during the French and Indian War in the 1750s.

Many local battles took place during the war, including the Battle of Jumonville Glen at Fort Necessity (where George Washington is thought to have inadvertently been responsible for starting hostilities), the Braddock Campaign's devastating loss at the Battle of Monongahela, the subsequent victory of the Forbes Campaign taking the confluence for the British (giving us the Pittsburgh we know today from Fort Ligonier to Fort Pitt), and more.

The Battle of Monongahela is memorialized in the appropriately named Braddock and North Braddock, PA, and today you can visit the battlefield site at Braddock's Battlefield History Center at the site of where the battle took place.

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The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum Offers Good Family Fun

We often lament the fact that Pittsburgh no longer has trolleys. The closest we have these days is The T, and due to its limited operating area, is only really useful for a few neighborhoods in the city (and beyond).

For those nostalgic for days when trolley transportation was the norm, you are in luck- The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington shares the history of this transportation method with informative and interactive exhibits and a massive collection of trolley cars in their showroom.

But for those looking for even more, this one comes with a fun twist- you can even ride one of the historic trolley during your visit!

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Phipps Conservatory for the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show

The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show, aptly themed “Into the Mist” for 2024, brings these two beautiful plants (both favorites of ours) to the forefront of the Conservatory while highlighting how some of the flowers with special water features and lighting.

As always with our show features, we wanted to share a few of our favorite rooms from this show and hope you'll make it out to visit for yourselves!

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The Museum of Illusions Takes a Deep Look at Optical Tricks

The Museum of Illusions is an international museum chain that shares some of the world's best optical illusions for guests to experience in person.

Although we are not terribly fond of chain museums, we have to admit we were intrigued by this one because who doesn't love a good optical illusion?

While this one most certainly has its target market, particularly those new to optical illusions outright, there is a lot to see in this museum on the North Shore for all visitors!

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Fun Fore All Holiday Lights – Mini Golf With a Holiday Twist

You may know about the family-friendly entertainment complex, Fun Fore All, in Cranberry.

This staple north of the city is home to a large assortment of fun activities be it mini golf, arcade games, bumper cars, rides for kids, and so much more.

But did you know that Fun Fore All gets into the holiday spirit by decorating the mini golf course with holiday lights? This one certainly makes for a different kind of winter experience if you can visit on a night with good weather!

We were invited by Fun Fore All to check out the Holiday Lights mini golf and have to admit we had a lot of fun here!

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The Historical Society of Carnegie – Honus Wagner and More

We love a good historical society and are fortunate that so many boroughs in the region have modest museums dedicated to their region's history.

Carnegie is no different, and the Historical Society of Carnegie features several gems, including a model of what the city was like in the early 1900s, exhibits to notable citizens, and a small wing dedicated to Honus Wagner- one of the Pittsburgh Pirates' most famous players who called Carnegie home!

Although a visit to this one will be brief, it is a must for anyone who enjoys the borough.

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