The second largest city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is a great weekend destination, home to famous museums, scenic parks, free attractions, excellent restaurants, unique wedding venues and a vibrant performing arts scene. Visit the Carnegie Museum of Art, explore the National Aviary, see the Frick Art & Historical Center, view the collection at the Andy Warhol Museum, and go for a romantic stroll in Schenley Park.
Best things to do in Pittsburgh, PA with kids include the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, the Carnegie Science Center, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
1. Carnegie Museum of Art
© Carnegie Museum of Art
The Carnegie Museum of Art is a dynamic, contemporary art museum that features a collection of more than 30,000 objects across a spectrum of art forms, ranging from painting and sculpture to decorative arts, design, film and video.
One of the top Pittsburgh attractions, the museum explores the role of art and artists in society and confronts social issues through an extensive range of permanent and traveling exhibitions, art programming and publications. A wide variety of programs for visitors of all ages and levels is available to enjoy, ranging from classes, workshops and docent-led tours to community-based education programs.
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, Phone: 412-622-3131
2. Carnegie Museum of Natural History
© Carnegie Museum of Natural History
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is dedicated to inspiring and educating the public about the natural world and human cultures. Located on Forbes Avenue in the neighborhood of Oakland, the museum was founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie and is ranked as one of the top five natural history museums in the country. Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The museum features over 10,000 specimens on display in 20 galleries and over 20 million specimens cataloged in online databases on the Museum’s extensive research library. World-renowned exhibitions include the “Dinosaurs in Their Time” exhibition, which presents the third largest collection of mounted, displayed dinosaurs in the country.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History also offers a range of educational and community-based outreach programs for learners of all ages.
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, Phone: 412-622-3131
3. The National Aviary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Located on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary is one of the foremost bird sanctuaries in the country, home to more than 500 birds from 150 different species from across the globe, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild.
The National Aviary features extensive, interactive exhibits that visitors can walk through to allow for an intimate interaction with the free-flying birds, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hand feed and meet many rare species. If you are wondering what to do in Pittsburgh with kids, this is a great place to visit. The National Aviary is also home to the Department of Conservation & Field Research that studies the impacts of human population on birds and the environment through conservation and biodiversity programs.
It also offers a range of educational programs for learners of all ages, which include field trips, summer camps, and workshops.
700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA, Phone: 412-323-7235
More ideas: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
4. Carnegie Science Center
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The award-winning Carnegie Science Center inspires and entertains visitors from around the world by connecting science and technology with everyday life. Located along the banks of the Ohio River, the Center features a variety of popular attractions, including the newly constructed Buhl Digital Dome, the Rangos Omnimax Theater, an authentic Cold War-era submarine, the USS Requin, and roboworld - the world's largest permanent robotics exhibit.
Explore hundreds of tiny historic local landmarks at the Miniature Railroad & Village, brave kinetic energy as a human yo-yo at Highmark SportsWorks, or head into space at SpacePlace, a walk-in replica of the International Space Station.
One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-237-3400
5.Frick Art & Historical Center
© Frick Art & Historical Center
Surrounded by landscaped gardens in Pittsburgh's East End, the Frick Art & Historical Center showcases the refinement of the Gilded Age through a curated collection of fine and decorative arts and artifacts, vintage cars and carriages.
Donated by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of industrialist and art collector, Henry Clay Frick, the Center features an art museum, which boasts an admirable collection of fine art, and a house museum, which offers the public an intimate glimpse into the life of the Frick family a century ago.
The Car and Carriage Museum houses the Frick family’s personal collection of cars and carriages and delves into the history of western Pennsylvania’s early auto enthusiasts and manufacturers.
7227 Reynolds St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-371-0600
More weekend destinations: 25 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia.
6.Three Rivers Heritage Trail
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The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a popular 24-mile-long riverfront network of trails in Pittsburgh. The trail segments follow the banks of all three Pittsburgh rivers and run through different neighborhoods, passing by various businesses, attractions, and parks. The multi-use trail is popular with hikers, bikers, and rollerbladers and is used for recreation and to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as for safe commuting. Along the trail are signs marking significant locations and buildings, historic events, and local wildlife. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is connected to other trail networks, such as the Erie-to-Pittsburgh Trail, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway. It will also be connected to the Ohio River Greenway Trail and the Montour Trail once these have been completed.
7. Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
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The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is home to animals representing more than 400 species, 22 of which are critically endangered. Located in Highland Park, the Zoo and Aquarium sits on 77 acres (31 ha) of parkland which feature a range of habitats and ecosystems for the facility’s animals to thrive, including the African Savannah, the PPG Aquarium, the Asian Forest and the Bears.
Striving to foster active, lifelong connections between animals and people, the Zoo and Aquarium offer several educational programs and conservation projects to educate and inspire visitors to take an interest in the natural world, including overnights at the zoo, teen programs and an exclusive wildlife academy.
7340 Butler St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-665-3640
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8. What to Do in Pittsburgh: The 'Burgh Bits & Bites Food Tour
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Experience the city of Pittsburgh on fun-filled Food Tasting and Historic Walking Tours, which explore the rich history and culinary delights of the Steel City.
Visitors can choose from a variety of tours - the Strip District Market Tour is where you can discover a melting pot of ethnic eateries intertwined with specialty shops and sidewalk vendors selling local produce; Bloomfield is home to Pittsburgh's Little Italy, where you can savor the delicious flavors of Italian delicacies from specialty shops, delis and eateries; and the Northside / Former Allegheny City offers samplings of cuisine from some of Pittsburgh's best small local businesses. Tours can be enjoyed in a group or private capacity and need to be booked in advance. Read more
9.Things to Do in Pittsburgh: Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
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Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and presents a calendar of musical experiences and other events at the highest level of expression throughout the year.
Led by Music Director, Manfred Honeck, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents over 200 performances a year, along with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in Pittsburgh, watch a performance at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. Located in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh, the Heinz Hall boasts over 2,700 seats for audiences from around the world, a beautiful Garden Plaza, which features a waterfall and water sculpture. It also boasts the elegant Mozart Room for special events and the Garden Café, where patrons can enjoy lunch throughout the week. Next read: water parks in PA
600 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-392-4900
10.Pittsburgh Tours & More
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Pittsburgh Tours & More provides visitors with a broad range of tours that highlight the best that the city has to offer, from food and beer tours to movies, sports history, and winery tours. These fantastic tours not only showcase parts of the region for local residents and tourists but also benefit local non-profit organizations at the same time by donating a percentage of the ticket sales.
Popular tours include “Lights, Camera, Pittsburgh” which explores areas of the city that have appeared in famous movies, such as “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Flashdance”; “The Flavor of Pittsburgh,” which celebrates the city’s burgeoning food culture; and the “City of Champions” which takes visitors on a historic journey through Pittsburgh sports locations.
Wet your whistle on a popular brewery tour, which includes visits to Church Brew Works and Penn Brewery, among others. Private and custom tours are available and all tours need to be booked in advance.
11.Historic Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Historic Market Square rests in the center of Downtown Pittsburgh and is the beating heart of the district. Renovated, refreshed, reinvigorated, the Market is a hive of activity and is home to a wealth of restaurants, cafés and bars, eclectic boutiques and quirky stores. Once home to the city’s first courthouse, jail and newspaper, the Pittsburgh Gazette, today the square attracts locals and visitors to enjoy the vibrant energy, dine at one of the many eateries around the plaza and relax with friends.
The Square also hosts some events throughout the year, such as the region's best Farmers Markets and the annual Light-Up Night, which kicks off the holiday season.
23 Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-566-4190
12.Sienna On The Square
© Sienna On The Square
Sienna On The Square is a romantic, sophisticated and relaxed neighborhood restaurant where diners enjoy authentic Italian dining in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. Located in downtown Pittsburgh's vibrant Market Square adorned with rustic-chic décor, Sienna On The Square offers a creative menu of traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist.
Created by award-winning chef, Matthew Porco, the menu features delights such as fresh antipasti plates, handmade pasta, including the signature gnocchi, beautifully prepared lunch and dinner Italian dishes of meats, chicken and seafood and sweet desserts. A curated wine list accompanies the menu with wine by the glass and bottle, as well as imported spirits, craft beers and hand-crafted, specialty cocktails.
22 Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-281-6363
Great romantic things to see and do in Pittsburgh, PA, include the Carnegie Museum of Art, Frick Art & Historical Center and the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts.
13.Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA
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Schenley Park is an urban oasis in the heart of Oakland. Established in 1889 by heiress Mary Schenley for the public to enjoy the great outdoors, the civic park comprises over 450 acres of beautiful natural landscapes, trails, and woodlands.
In addition to hiking and biking trails, the park is home to the Schenley Oval Sportsplex, which offers ice-skating in the winter and swimming in the summer months. Visitors to the park can enjoy outdoor concerts at the Phipps Conservatory, lunch at the Schenley Park Café and a round of golf at the Bob O’Connor Golf Course.
The park also hosts a range of significant annual events throughout the year, such as the Vintage Grand Prix and the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure.
45 South 23rd Street, Suite 101, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-682-7275
14.Great Escape Room
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It all began in China, what once started in a virtual room online, turned into a real life Escape the Room game. The interactive game is played with ten people who are locked in a room where, in order to escape, they must use their brains in the form of creative thinking and trivia knowledge. Since then, the game has spread all over the United States.
The Great Escape Room Pittsburgh is the city’s first Escape the Room game. Located in The Pittsburgher (The Lawyer’s) Building on Forbes Street, you can be locked in the Sherlock Holmes library, his game room or an operating room where you have to perform heart surgery. Filled with mind tricks, riddles and gadgets, you and your teammates will have 60 minutes of isolation to solve all puzzles to be set free and escape the room. Don’t worry, even if you do not solve the game, you will be let out to talk over the strategy with your friends over a few beers.
428 Forbes Ave #001, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, Phone: 412-467-6785
© The Commoner
Paying tribute to the Steel City's industrial past with modern, industrial-style interiors and a menu to match, The Commoner is a polished tavern-style eatery located in Kimpton's new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
The menu features traditional dishes such as steak and ale pie, smoked short ribs and pan-seared scallops, with interesting sides like spicy broccoli, duck fat potato wedges and curry roasted carrots and peanuts.
A large bar designed with Pittsburgh's legendary sports fans in mind serves an array of signature cocktails, craft and imported beers and a range of wines from around the world. A cozy sidewalk café and takeaway counter of the Commoner Corner serves breakfast and lunch. Read more
458 Strawberry Way, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-230-4800
© Morcilla Pittsburgh
Morcilla is a small Spanish restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Lanceville neighborhood, snuggled in a narrow room with exposed brick walls, mood lights, warm woods, and traditional hams hanging over the counter. Chef Justin Severino offers large menu with plenty of pintos, croquetas, montaditos, plates, and platters. All dishes are easily paired with Spanish wines, on tap, by the bottle or glass, Spanish cider on tap, and great cocktails. If you are coming with the family, go for a large platter of suckling pork roast. The best deal, and the opportunity to try a bit of everything, is to go for the four-course family-style dinner.
3519 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, Phone: 412-652-9924
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Spanning 644 acres from its northern borders in Point Breeze down to the Monongahela River, Frick Park is Pittsburgh’s largest regional park.
Bequeathed to the city in 1919 by Henry Clay Frick, Frick Park features a beautiful landscape of woodland parklands meshed with extensive trails that run throughout the park’s steep valleys and wooded slopes. An ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the park is home to hundreds of species of birds, making it a birding enthusiasts’ delight.
The park also has a variety of recreational facilities, such as clay tennis courts, baseball fields, and a lawn bowling green, as well as an environmental center where visitors can learn about the local nature and a children’s playground.
45 South 23rd Street, Suite 101, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-682-7275
Cure is a friendly neighborhood restaurant owned by Chef Severino, which serves an intimate menu of Mediterranean food created from locally sourced ingredients. With a vision for the restaurant to be a reflection of Western Pennsylvania’s seasons and its local farms, the dinner menu features dishes such as fresh oysters, ‘Salumi di mare’ of sockeye salmon, arctic char and swordfish, as well as handmade pasta and entrées of various meats, chicken and vegetables.
Desserts include treats such as pawpaw cream pie and dark chocolate soufflé cake. An elegant wine list features a range of whites, reds and sparkling wines from around the globe, as well as imported spirits, whiskeys and beers, and handcrafted cocktails.
5336 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-252-2595
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Franktuary is an award-winning eatery that is famed for its excellent food and casual, relaxed atmosphere. Franktuary serves a farm-to-table menu that focuses on fresh, sustainable cuisine made from locally sourced farm produce and ingredients.
The menu features a variety of frankfurters made from grass-fed beef, pork or chicken, which are served with an array of sauces, including house-made ketchup and sides such as crispy salads, sweet potato fries, falafel balls, and chili. Libations include signature cocktails, bottled beer and a selection of wine.
Lawrenceville: 3810 Butler Street, 412-586-7224
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20.City Brew Tours
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City Brew Tours offers an exclusive look at Pittsburgh's favorite breweries. In a 5-hour tour you will be crossing bridges and passing through tunnels going from one brewery to another while their expert guides tell you stories of the history of craft beer in the Steel City. You will visit three to four of Pittsburgh’s best breweries and taste about 15 different craft brews. You will also enjoy a gourmet beer-paired meal and learn how to match the right food with the right beer. In each brewery, you will have an opportunity to see the process of making beer and learn about the history of each brewery and their challenges. But, most of all, you will be tasting some really good beers. You can choose between the Original Brew Tour, the After Hours Brew Tour, and the Sip of Pittsburgh Tour.
112 Washington Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, Phone: 412-419-2337
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What was once modest street food in Mexico became a palette for experimenting with flavors and ingredients in Tako, a trendy and very popular restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. The whimsical decor, soft lighting, and massive mural of an octopus on the wall create an urban atmosphere that attracts local fashionistas and taco enthusiasts. The food is a wide-open interpretation of tacos, which come with bistec, duck confit, and just about anything else. There is also Hawaiian poke, Tex-Mex queso fundido, Korean tacos, make-your-own guacamole, and plenty of margaritas to wash it all down with. They have 250 tequilas and 100 mezcals to choose from, indie rock music is blasting, and fun is had by all.
214 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Phone: 412-471-8256
22.Dinette, Pittsburgh PA
Casual, laid-back and relaxed, Dinette is a family-friendly neighborhood eatery in East Liberty that focuses on fresh, unfussy food. Led by Chef Sonja J Finn, whose quality-first attitude translates to stellar menu selections, the open kitchen radiates warmth and energy, producing a daily-changing menu of plates to share, starters and thin-crust, wood-fired pizza.
Vegetables and herbs come from the restaurant’s quaint rooftop garden, which is home to fresh tomatoes, arugula, shishito peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and figs. Dinette offers a range of 20 great value wines, which are available by the glass or bottle, as well as sparkling wine, beer, and soft drinks.
5996 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-362-0202
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23. Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA: Mattress Factory
© Mattress Factory
Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations that present art you can get into in room-sized environments created by artists in residence from around the world. The Mattress Factory hosts several continuous, permanent installations, including ‘Trespass’, ‘Ash’, ‘Music for a Garden’, and ‘Repetitive Vision’, and is a pioneer among museums in the world of social media.
In conjunction with its unique gallery exhibitions, the Mattress Factory provides educational programming throughout the year for both adults and children, including community workshops, artist talks, summer camps, and art-based educational partnerships with local schools.
500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-231-3169
24.Pittsburgh Glass Center
© Pittsburgh Glass Center
The Pittsburgh Glass Center is a gallery, glass studio, and public-access school dedicated to teaching, creating and promoting studio glass art. Located in Pittsburgh's East End neighborhood of Friendship/Garfield, the Center is open to the public to enjoy self-guided and docent-led tours of the facility, which include glass-blowing demonstrations, meeting the artists and watching them at work, and hands-on glass-making activities.
The center offers a variety of educational classes and workshops for all ages and showcases works by famous glass artists such as Paul Joseph Stankard, Dante Marioni, and Cesare Toffolo.
5472 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-365-2145
More vacation ideas:
20 Best Weekend Getaways in Pennsylvania.
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25.Things to Do in Pittsburgh: Randyland
Randyland is the home of artist, Randy Gilson and features a variety of public art displays in and around the property. Located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh’s Northside, Randyland is open for the public to enjoy and features the bright and colorful painting, sculptures and designs of the renowned artist.
1501 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-342-8152
More great attractions in Pittsburgh, PA: the Phipps Conservatory, The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the Andy Warhol Museum.
25 Best Things to Do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Carnegie Museum of Art, Photo: Carnegie Museum of Art
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History
- The National Aviary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Photo: Courtesy of Megan - Fotolia.com
- Carnegie Science Center, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Frick Art & Historical Center, Photo: Frick Art & Historical Center
- Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Christian Hinkle - Fotolia.com
- Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Photo: Courtesy of _jamie- Fotolia.com
- What to Do in Pittsburgh: The 'Burgh Bits & Bites Food Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Christian Hinkle - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Pittsburgh: Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Photo: Courtesy of Lukas Gojda - Fotolia.com
- Pittsburgh Tours & More, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Historic Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Hooper - Fotolia.com
- Sienna On The Square, Photo: Sienna On The Square
- Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA, Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Foster - Fotolia.com
- Great Escape Room, Photo: Courtesy of Victor Moussa - Fotolia.com
- The Commoner, Photo: The Commoner
- Morcilla Pittsburgh, Photo: Morcilla Pittsburgh
- Frick Park, Photo: Courtesy of YAROSHIK - Fotolia.com
- Cure, Photo: Cure
- Franktuary, Pittsburgh, Photo: Franktuary
- City Brew Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- Tako, Photo: Tako
- Dinette, Pittsburgh PA, Photo: Dinette
- Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA: Mattress Factory, Photo: Mattress Factory
- Pittsburgh Glass Center, Photo: Pittsburgh Glass Center
- Things to Do in Pittsburgh: Randyland, Photo: Randyland
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
Pittsburgh Filmmakers & Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Pittsburgh Filmmakers & Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) is a contemporary visual arts organization that is housed in a historic mansion on Millionaire's Row on the grounds of Mellon Park.
The Center also has some satellite centers in several of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods including Shadyside, Oakland and in downtown's Cultural District. The Center has a campus with four buildings - two mansions and a carriage house, as well as a fourth structure that houses newly built kilns. Visitors to the centers can see and experience visual arts in a wealth of fantastic and unusual forms, as well as partake in some arts education programs.
The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, where a vast outdoor tented patio and 5,400 square feet of galleries provide unique and art-infused spaces for corporate and family events.
6300 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Phone: 412-361-0873
Pamela's Diner, Pittsburgh, PA
Serving delicious breakfast since 1980, Pamela’s Diner is an all-American diner with several locations in Pittsburgh that offers an extensive menu of comfort food in a relaxed and inviting environment. Serving breakfast and lunch in five locations across the city, Pamela’s Diner has regulars returning time and again for their famous specials, which include a variety of omelets, banana walnut hotcakes and French toast.
Enjoy free refills on soft drinks, bottomless pots of coffee and freshly squeezed fruit juices in the warm and welcoming, family friendly ambiance.
Millvale: 232 North Avenue, 412-821-4655; Oakland: 3703 Forbes Avenue, 412-683-4066; Mt. Lebanon: 427 Washington Road, 412-343-3344; The Strip District: 60 21st Street, 412-281-6366; Squirrel Hill: 1711 Murray Avenue, 412-422-9457; Sharyside: 5527 Walnut Street, 412-683-1003