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Iconic — and cheap — Pittsburgh spots new students won’t want to miss

  • Our City/Our Campus
  • Students
  • Pittsburgh Campus

Your Panther Card not only unlocks doors around campus, but also around the city of Pittsburgh. There are plenty of places to explore — for free — whether you’re new in town or feel like you’re coming home.

The @PittOfficial social media team spent the summer scoping out Steel City, er, Bio Valley, destinations you can reach by bus, bike or foot. Here’s what they found. Follow the University on social media for more ways to get to know your new home.

Walk through the past

Known as Pittsburgh’s “people museum,” the Heinz History Center preserves and interprets the history of Western Pennsylvanians. Explore its six floors of interactive exhibitions, which feature iconic artifacts like the TV set from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and the world’s oldest jeep.

You can also journey through history without leaving Oakland at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Located on Forbes Avenue, they trace the natural and cultural history of our world. Be sure to check out the museum’s collection of original dinosaur fossils, including that of Diplodocus carnegii, who stands outside the museums at the corner of Schenley Drive sporting seasonal fashions.

Cover art for Sarah's Super Summer Sightseeing Saga features the title and History Center logo

Encounter a local legend

With seven stories of rotating exhibits dedicated to the Pittsburgh-born icon, The Andy Warhol Museum is the largest in North America dedicated to a single artist. Warhol’s films, music, star-studded photographs and art — including the famous “Campbell’s Soup Cans” — are all on display here.

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Stop and smell the flowers

Called an oasis and the perfect Pittsburgh date destination, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been showcasing nature’s beauty for 130 years. Located on 15 acres and including 23 gardens, don’t miss its seasonal flower and art shows, plus extensive orchard and bonsai collections.

Pay tribute to service members

Honor veterans of all branches of service without leaving campus at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum. It costs $5 with your student ID to see themed displays and artifacts spanning generations, from the Civil War to recent conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan.

Immerse yourself in art

The Mattress Factory is a leader in contemporary art, showcasing site-specific exhibits that push the boundaries of both the artist and viewer. The museum also offers opportunities to explore Pittsburgh’s North Side and interface with artists from around the world.

Bonus: Come for the school, stay for the pickles

Here’s something to look forward to through the long winter: the annual Picklesburgh festival in downtown. Each summer, you can eat your way through international dishes, prepared foods and artisan cocktails that feature pickled ingredients. It’s kind of a big dill.

A cover for Sarah's Super Summer Sightseeing Saga shows the series title and a Heinz pickle balloon

Stay tuned for more of Sarah’s Super Summer Sightseeing Saga.


— Nora Smith, photography by Alex Mowrey