Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one of the region’s top destinations. Whether it’s free walking tours, free galleries, parks, free museums, and more, there are plenty of attractions to choose from. Some attractions are free only on certain days – please check before you go.
1.Public Art Tour
© Mark Kamyk/stock.adobe.com
Visitors to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or even locals as well, can take a Public Art Tour through the city. One option is to join a guided walking tour of artwork or artists’ studios, however, those tours usually charge a small fee. The free option is a self-guided walking tour. Those wanting to do their own free public art tour can take a look at the Pittsburgh Art in Public Places guidebook. This book is available as a free download from the website or a free hard copy can be obtained at the Office of Public Art or the Visit Pittsburgh Welcome Center.
2.The MLK Community Mural Project
The MLK Community Mural Project is an Arts organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania focused on education, youth development, and the arts. Established in 2002 by Kyle Holbrook, a muralist and artist, the vision for MLK Mural is to use public artwork to reach youth throughout the summer season and try to get them to do some positive work in the community during the time they are not in school. The organization collaborates with after school programs, churches, juvenile justice halls, foster homes, community groups, schools, and artists. Hundreds of artists and possibly as many as six thousand youth have shared this vision.
3.Chatham University Arboretum and Labyrinth
The Chatham University Arboretum and Labyrinth can be found on the campus of Pittsburgh’s Chatham University. The Shadyside campus of the university is one of the city’s most idyllic locations, featuring elements designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers for the original estate of Andrew Mellon. The Arboretum offers a welcoming space for meditation and strolling, along with an outdoor classroom. The Chatham University Arboretum features 115 varieties of plant species, such as the Kentucky Coffee tree, River Birch, and the Japanese Flowering Crabapple. Visitors can also attempt to navigate Jessica’s Labyrinth, thought to be Pittsburgh’s largest public outdoor labyrinth.
106 Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, Phone: 412-365-1290
4.Society for Contemporary Crafts
© Society for Contemporary Crafts
The Society for Contemporary Crafts is open to the public on Mondays to Saturdays from 10:00am until 5:00pm. The various exhibitions on display are free for visitors to view. Contemporary Crafts presents contemporary art in the craft media by regional, national, and international artists, and has been doing so since the year 1971. Cutting-edge exhibits at Contemporary Crafts focus on non-mainstream art and multicultural diversity, along with offering a variety of community outreach programs, classes, and their own retail store. The Drop-In Studio lets both adults and kids participate in hands-on activities during normal hours.
2100 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Phone: 412-261-7003
5.Fort Pitt Block House
Originally built back in the year 1764, the Fort Pitt Block House served as a defensive structure for the fort, which was a crucial fortification for the British during the French and Indian War. It is Western Pennsylvania’s oldest authenticated structure and is part of the region’s Forks of the Ohio National Historic Landmark. The Block House has been open to the public with free admission since 1895 and the only remaining structure of Fort Pitt, holding quite a bit of historical significance for Pittsburgh and the rest of the region. Most of the elements of the Block House are original.
601 Commonwealth Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Phone: 412-471-1764
6.The Frick Pittsburgh
© The Frick Pittsburgh
Both visitors and locals alike can experience the refinement and culture of the Gilded Age. Guests of The Frick in Pittsburgh can tour Clayton, which is the historic residence of the Frick family, along with interesting exhibitions, concerts, and educational programs. Visitors can also take a walk through the more than five acres of gardens, enjoy delicious food, and more. The grounds of the Frick, the Greenhouse, and the Car and Carriage Museum charge no admission fees. Special exhibitions and tours, however, charge a fee. The Frick is closed on Mondays throughout the year and is open later on Fridays.
7227 Reynolds St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208, Phone: 412-371-0600
Randyland is house owned by Randy Gilson, a local Pittsburgh artist who bought the building in 1995 on a credit card. He used to wait tables every day and then went home and painted, trying to bring some happiness to the neighborhood. People from all over now travel to Randyland to share in Gilson’s dream. The first floor serves as Randy’s studio, however, the majority of his artwork is located outside for visitors’ enjoyment. Randyland is open from 10:00am until dusk and is surrounded by vibrant outdoor murals with people often dancing outside to bands playing music.
1501 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, Phone: 412-342-8152
Mount Washington is a charming place known for providing panoramic views of the City of Pittsburgh from spots that include the Restaurant Row on Grandview Avenue, a spot where visitors can enjoy food from Italian and upscale seafood restaurants. The Duquesne Incline and the Monongahela Incline are both funiculars that climb up the hill to the lookouts, including Grandview Overlook. Emerald View Park has several trails, while Point of View Park boasts a sculpture of George Washington with Guyasuta, the Seneca leader. Station Square, near the lower station of the Monongahela Incline, is a popular dining and shopping location.
The Allegheny Observatory is situated within a public park, however, it is owned and managed by the University of Pittsburgh. It is used by the university as a research laboratory, so it is only open to the public to visit through its tour program. Tours of the Allegheny Observatory are available from the month of April until November 1st. Tours are held on Thursdays from May through August, and on Friday nights from April until November. These tours start at 8:00pm and go until around 10:00pm. While the tours of the Allegheny Observatory are free, reservations are required.
159 Riverview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15214, Phone: 412-321-2400
© Bicycle Heaven
Bicycle Heaven is the largest bicycle shop and museum in the world. Founded by Craig and Mindy Morrow in 2011, Bicycle Heaven has been featured in the Associated Press and the New York Times. Here, people can get their bike fixed, buy a new one, or rent a bike. The museum at Bicycle Heaven lets guests have a chance to view bikes used in movies, including ones from Fences, Super 8, and A Beautiful Mind among several others. Guests can visit Bicycle Heaven any day of the week from 10:00am until 7:00pm and there is no fee to explore the museum.
1800 Preble Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233, Phone: 412-734-4034
11.Pittsburgh Banjo Club Performances
© Jose Gil/stock.adobe.com
The Pittsburgh Banjo Club performs at the Elks Lodge in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania every Wednesday night from 8:00pm until 11:00pm. Performances are open to the public, both visitors and locals alike, and are completely free of charge to watch. Guests can attend an open rehearsal and even sing along with the performers if they wish. Drinks, snacks, and hot food are also available. Reservations for the Pittsburgh Banjo Nights on Wednesdays are highly recommended and need to be made by 5:00pm on the Tuesday before the event. Each week is friendly and familiar, but different.
400 Cedar Ave, Pittsburgh PA, Phone: 412-321-1834
12.Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden
The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden displays the archeology, horticulture, and agriculture of the ancient Near East. Each season focuses on a different theme related to the horticulture of the ancient Near East or the religious concerns that divide people. Plants that are appropriate are added to each exhibit. The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden is handicap accessible and charge no fees for admission. Guests can enter into the Holy Land, which is a replica of Israel during ancient times in the Biblical Botanical Garden. The area features over one hundred tropical and temperate plants for visitors to discover.
4905 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, Phone: 412-621-6566
Frick Park is the largest historic regional park in Pittsburgh, encompassing almost 650 acres. The park stretches from its southern border at the Monongahela River to the north to Point Breeze. The park is known as the city’s woodland park due the extensive trails in the park through the wooded slopes and steep valleys, offering a great escape from the bustling city. The Blue Slide Playground is an ideal area for children to play, while the Frick Environmental Center is offers an opportunity to learn more about nature. Frick Park also include the state’s only public green for lawn bowling.
1981 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, Phone: 412-682-7275
14.Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum
© Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum aims to expose visitors to artifacts interpreting the honor and experiences of the American service personnel. Guests can follow the marble pathway to discover a timeline of various displays that range from the era of the Civil War up to the more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Artifacts on display at the museum include equipment, artwork, firearms, medals, and uniforms. Admission is free for all active duty military members, as well as those in the Reserve and Guard, and to retired member of the military and veterans.
4141 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, Phone: 412-621-4253
15.The Center for PostNatural History
© The Center for PostNatural History
The Center for PostNatural History is one of the city of Pittsburgh’s more unique and odd museums. First opening to visitors in March of 2012, the center has a focus on postnatural organisms. Postnatural is defined by the Center for PostNatural History as “the study of the origins, habitats, and evolution of organisms that have been intentionally and heritably altered by humans.” Topics such as genetic modification and selective breeding are explored back to the roots that extend to thousand of years in the past. Items on display have been modified to some extent to change their genetic traits.
4913 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, Phone: 412-223-7698
The Soergel Orchards is a family farm, country store, and much more. Visitors can find popular gourmet foods, produce right from the fields, and warm pies just taken from the oven. There is also a good selection of garden and home items. In addition to the fresh fruit and vegetables, there is a place area of small wooden stores and houses for children, along with a monster truck, pirate ships, and wooden train for kids to climb aboard. During festivals, Soergel Orchards also had children’s games, pony rides, bouncy houses, and more. Three different building house a variety of different shops.
2573 Brandt School Rd, Wexford, PA 15090, Phone: 724-935-1743
Mellon Park sits on the former estate of banker and industrialist Richard Mellon. While his mansions no longer exists, the stunning walled garden and park still remain. The park is used today as a beautiful green space for the residents and visitors of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and hosts the Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch live music series during the summer season that typically consists of shows during Sunday mornings. Groups featured include the Allegheny Brass Band, Aeolian Winds, and River City Brass. There is also a hidden memorial that only appears at night in the Walled Garden.
1047 Shady Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, Phone: 412-682-7275
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18.Garfield Community Farm
© Garfield Community Farm
The Garfield Community Farm is located on the Commercial Urban Farm Land in Pittsburgh and is gardened by occasionally volunteers, owners, and staff with the food grown on the grounds sold to farm stands, restaurants, and others. The mission of the Garfield Community Farm is to learn, practice, and teach organic farming and gardening in areas that have been abandoned and neglected in and around the Garfield neighborhood. The space for growing is generally open from Monday to Saturday. Produce grown on property is available to volunteers, sold to individuals or commercially, or donated to food pantries.
509 Wicklow St, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, Phone: 412-215-6398
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19.Emerald View Park
Emerald View Park stitches together three different historic parks and is one of the leading spots to get an amazing view of the Pittsburgh skyline. The 257-acre parks was established as part of a grassroots effort to combine three historic park areas, the Grand View Scenic Byway, and wooded hillsides. Visitors today can find winding trails, surprise vistas, and wooded hillsides. Historic spaces throughout the park include overlooks, ballfields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and sandstone walls and steps from the Depression era. The neighborhoods of Allentown, Mount Washington, and Duquesne Heights surround the urban Emerald View Park.
Bailey Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15211, Phone: 412-682-7275
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Canton Avenue in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the steepest street anywhere in the United States. It is also often noted as one of the steepest streets in the world. With its maximum gradient of thirty-seven percent, Canton Avenue in the neighborhood of Beechview poses an intriguing and rather difficult challenge for any cyclist. It may be just one-tenth of a mile in length, but there is a elevation gain of thirty-seven feet for every one hundred feet. The streets closest competition is New Zealand’s Baldwin Avenue, whose thirty-five percent gradient continues for a longer distance.
Canton Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15216
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North Park is the largest park in the county, consisting of more than three thousand acres of wooded trails that wind their way through the park. The grounds also boast an array of sport facilities, a beautiful boathouse constructed back in 1934, and lake encompassing seventy-five acres. Guests can enjoy a swim in of the country’s largest outdoor pools, have a lively game of tennis, or play a round of golf at North Park. Visitors can also take part in ice skating beneath the stars, as well as baseball, hiking, biking, and platform tennis among other outdoor activities.
303 Pearce Mill Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101, Phone: 724-935-1766
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Roslyn Place is a unique place in Pittsburgh, a street made up of thousands of wooden blocks that still remains after over a hundred years. The Shadyside neighborhood street is only 250 feet in length, and while it may not really merit a lot of visitors’ attention, the fact is that Roslyn Place is the last wooden street in the city and one of just a few remaining in the world. During the late 1800’s, Shadyside was like a patchwork quilt consisting of large estates. Roslyn Place was established in the year 1914, after which home began to be built along the road.
22 Best Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh Year Round
- Public Art Tour, Photo: Mark Kamyk/stock.adobe.com
- The MLK Community Mural Project, Photo: mehaniq41/stock.adobe.com
- Chatham University Arboretum and Labyrinth, Photo: Steven/stock.adobe.com
- Society for Contemporary Crafts, Photo: Society for Contemporary Crafts
- Fort Pitt Block House, Photo: duke2015/stock.adobe.com
- The Frick Pittsburgh, Photo: The Frick Pittsburgh
- Randyland, Photo: Randyland
- Mount Washington, Photo: karlsson_photo/stock.adobe.com
- Allegheny Observatory, Photo: sonate/stock.adobe.com
- Bicycle Heaven, Photo: Bicycle Heaven
- Pittsburgh Banjo Club Performances, Photo: Jose Gil/stock.adobe.com
- Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden, Photo: idgara000/stock.adobe.com
- Frick Park, Photo: woodsnorth/stock.adobe.com
- Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Photo: Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum
- The Center for PostNatural History, Photo: The Center for PostNatural History
- Soergel Orchards, Photo: Nitr/stock.adobe.com
- Mellon Park, Photo: woodsnorth/stock.adobe.com
- Garfield Community Farm, Photo: Garfield Community Farm
- Emerald View Park, Photo: Maksud/stock.adobe.com
- Canton Avenue, Photo: Mcdonojj/stock.adobe.com
- North Park, Photo: Mark Herreid/stock.adobe.com
- Roslyn Place, Photo: lpweber/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Konstantin L/stock.adobe.com