Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh appears trough its history as a city built on coal and steel. Today Pittsburgh will impress you with its exhibits of contemporary art and rides on antique cable cars. Downtown Pittsburgh, the "Golden Triangle" as it's often called, blends the historic, administrative, economic, and cultural diversity into the heart of the city. Rediscover Pittsburgh trough its fascinating landmarks. Here are some sites that should be seen when you come to Pittsburgh.
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Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Pittsburgh (See other walking tours in Pittsburgh)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: Caroline
1
Allegheny County Courthouse

1) Allegheny County Courthouse (must see)

Allegheny County Courthouse is a government building of Allegheny County located in the county seat of the city. Following the destruction of the second courthouse, Allegheny County Commissioners decided to hold a competition to design a replacement. The winner of the competition was Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson and construction of the buildings was begun by the Norcross Brothers, Richardson's construction firm of choice, in 1884. The design of the Allegheny County Courthouse has influenced buildings in many cities across America, such as Minneapolis City Hall, Altgeld Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and James W. McLaughlin's Wayne County Courthouse in Richmond, Indiana.

In 1974, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects asked Harris Interactive to survey 2,000 people, who were shown 247 photographs of buildings and other structures in different categories chosen by 2,500 architects. The Allegheny County Courthouse was ranked 35th overall on the list and above every other courthouse in the nation except the U.S. Supreme Court. Muralist Vincent Nesbert completed four murals for the building on its second floor in 1940: "Industry," "Justice," "Peace," "Fort Duquesne" and "The Battle of Grant's Hill."

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Frick Building

2) Frick Building

The Frick Building was built by and is named for Henry Clay Frick, an industrialist coke producer who created a portfolio of commercial buildings in Pittsburgh. The tower was built directly adjacent to a building owned by his business partner and rival Andrew Carnegie, on the site of Saint Peter Episcopal Church. Frick, who feuded with Carnegie after they split as business associates, had the building designed to be taller than Carnegie's in order to encompass it in constant shadow.

The Frick Building was opened on March 15, 1902 and originally had twenty floors. The building's architect was Daniel H. Burnham of D.H. Burnham & Company, Chicago. The top floor includes a balcony around the perimeter of the building, a high, handcrafted ceiling, and heavy, elaborate brass door fixtures. Originally, H.C. Frick used it as his personal office and as a meeting place and social club for wealthy industrialists. On the 19th floor was Frick's personal shower.

Fittingly for a building created for a man who vowed to be a millionaire by age thirty, the lobby features an elegant stained-glass window by John LaFarge, depicting "Fortune and Her Wheel" (1902). The two bronze sentinel lions (1904) in the lobby were created by sculptor Alexander Proctor. A bust of Frick by sculptor Malvina Hoffman (1923) is displayed in the rear lobby, which extends from Forbes to Fifth Avenue.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Mellon Square

3) Mellon Square

Mellon Square is the first Modernist park built above a parking garage. With its distinctive black-and-white geometric pavement, it is a prominent feature and gathering spot of Downtown Pittsburgh. The square, bounded by Smithfield Street, William Penn Place, and Oliver and Sixth avenues, is surrounded by many prominent downtown buildings including the Oliver Building, 525 William Penn Place, Omni William Penn Hotel, and the Regional Enterprise Tower.

The square is part of the Pittsburgh Central Downtown Historic District, which received National Register of Historic Places status in 1985. A historical marker in the square commemorates the Founding Convention of the American Federation of Labor, which took place on November 15, 1881, in Turner Hall, near this location. This site is on the List of Pennsylvania state historical markers in Allegheny County. The Square serves as the backdrop to revealing scenes in the 2002 thriller The Mothman Prophecies with Richard Gere and Laura Linney.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Omni William Penn Hotel

4) Omni William Penn Hotel

The Omni William Penn Hotel is located at 530 William Penn Place on Mellon Square. A variety of luminaries have stayed at the hotel, including John F. Kennedy. The hotel staff innovated Lawrence Welk's now famous bubble machine, and it was the site of Bob Hope's marriage proposal in 1934.

The hotel has won numerous awards including being named to the “Best of Weddings 2009” list by The Knot and receiving the Editor’s Choice Award in the Business Hotels category on Suite101.com. The hotel also features an award winning restaurant that dates from 1916, the Terrace Room, featuring among other amenities a wall long mural entitled "The taking of Fort Pitt". The Terrace Room was voted "Best Hotel Dining" establishment in both 2008 and 2009 by readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Built from 1915 to 1916, the William Penn opened on March 11, 1916, in what newspapers hailed as the Grandest Hotel in the nation, its first night it hosted the annual Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce Gala and was recorded as the largest gala in city history up to that time with U.S. Secretary of State Philander Knox hosting the event.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Trinity Cathedral

5) Trinity Cathedral (must see)

Trinity Cathedral is the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The present Gothic church, the third structure to hold the congregation, was completed in 1872 on the site of a hilltop cemetery. The site, centered on a terrace above the historic "point" (where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join to form the Ohio River) was sacred to Native Americans as a burial ground. Early settlers also used this site as a cemetery. The congregation built its second church here in 1824.

The Trinity Churchyard has the oldest marked graves west of the Atlantic Seaboard, of both Native American leaders, French, English, and American colonists. The first Trinity Church was built two blocks to the west of this burial ground at the base of the hill or terrace initially. It was constructed from the 1780s to 1805.

In 1824 Trinity moved to its current site in the middle of the terrace churchyard with what is regarded as the first gothic structure in Western Pennsylvania. John Henry Hopkins led the design and construction of the cathedral, which was complete with butresses, a tower, pointed arches and a vaulted ceiling. In 1872 the new Trinity Cathedral was completed. It was the tallest building in the city until the construction of the Allegheny County Courthouse in 1888.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
First Presbyterian Church

6) First Presbyterian Church (must see)

The First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest Protestant organizations west of the Allegheny Mountains. The First Presbyterian Church proudly profiles roofs, which date back to 1758, and gorgeous memorial stained-glass windows, all of which were designed and installed by the famous Tiffany Studios.
7
Pittsburgh's Market Square

7) Pittsburgh's Market Square

Pittsburgh's Market Square is a public space located in Downtown Pittsburgh. The square was home to the first courthouse, first jail (both in 1795) and the first newspaper (1786) west of the Atlantic Plain, the Pittsburgh Gazette. A public/private modernization in the late 2000s has re-established the square as a social and cultural hub. A great number of restaurants, ranging from fast casual to fine dining, cafes and retailers occupy ground level buildings immediately facing the square, while housing units and offices occupy upper levels.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
PPG Place

8) PPG Place (must see)

PPG Place is a complex in downtown of the city, consisting of six buildings within three city blocks and five and a half acres. Named for its anchor tenant, PPG Industries, who initiated the project for its headquarters, the buildings are all of matching glass design consisting of 19,750 pieces of glass. The complex centers around One PPG Place, a 40-story office building.

Groundbreaking ceremonies occurred on January 28, 1981. The complex buildings opened between 1983 and 1984, and a dedication ceremony took place on April 11, 1984. The buildings were sold by The Hillman Company to Highwoods Properties in 2011. The buildings are recognized by their 231 glass spires, with the largest one 82 feet (25 m) tall. Also notable are the surfaces of reflective insulating glass, that served to advertise the project's founder.

The design of the building not only made it distinct, but created high energy-efficiency. Heat in the summer is reflected away from the building by the glass, while in winter infrared heat is reflected and contained within the building. The surface walls feature a barrier construction that effectively separates the interior walls from the exterior. The building also collects heat from computer equipment and recycles it throughout the structure. Construction of the building highlighted Pittsburgh's "Renaissance II period", which saw the Pittsburgh economy falter as a result of steel mill closures, while Pittsburgh Plate Glass remained a Fortune 500 company.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Point State Park

9) Point State Park (must see)

Point State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 36 acres (150,000 m2) located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, forming the Ohio River. Built on land acquired via eminent domain from industrial enterprises in the 1950s, the park opened in August, 1974, when construction was completed on its iconic fountain. Pittsburgh settled on the current design after rejecting an alternative plan for a Point Park Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The park also includes the outlines and remains of two of the oldest structures in Pittsburgh, Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne. The Fort Pitt Museum, housed in the Monongahela Bastion of Fort Pitt, commemorates the French and Indian War (1754–1763), in which the area soon to become Pittsburgh was a major battlefield. Today the park provides recreational space for workers, visitors, and residents in downtown Pittsburgh and also acts as the site for major cultural events in the city, including the Venture Outdoors Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival and Three Rivers Regatta.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Fort Pitt Museum

10) Fort Pitt Museum (must see)

Fort Pitt Museum is an indoor/outdoor museum that is administrated by the Senator John Heinz History Center in downtown of the city. It is surrounded by Point State Park, a Pennsylvania state park named for the geographically and historically significant point that is between the rivers. This piece of land was key to controlling the upper reaches of the Ohio River Valley and western Pennsylvania, before, during and after the French and Indian War as well as the American Revolution.

The museum is in a recreated bastion of Fort Pitt, which was originally built in 1758 by the British. An outline of Fort Duquesne is nearby. The historical focus of the museum is the role that Fort Pitt played during the French and Indian War. The museum also features detailed information on Fort Pitt's role during the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion and the founding of Pittsburgh.

The museum was established and operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission until its closure in August 2009 from state budget cuts. The Heinz Center took over operation of the museum and reopened it in April 2010.

Operation hours: Daily 10 am - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Fort Pitt Blockhouse

11) Fort Pitt Blockhouse (must see)

The Fort Pitt Blockhouse, or Bouquet's Blockhouse, is a historic building in Point State Park in the city. It was constructed in 1764 as a redoubt of Fort Pitt, making it the oldest extant structure in Western Pennsylvania, as well as the "oldest authenticated structure west of the Allegheny Mountains". The Fort Pitt Blockhouse was constructed in 1764 to address weaknesses in Fort Pitt's original design.

Fort Pitt had been completed in 1761 and survived a difficult siege in 1763 during Pontiac's Rebellion. Although the Blockhouse resides within the boundaries of Point State Park, it is owned and operated by the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR allows visitors to the park to tour the structure. The building is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as being the sole surviving historical building in the "Forks of the Ohio (Site of Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt, Bouquet's Blockhouse)" historic place.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Heinz Hall

12) Heinz Hall (must see)

Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center and concert hall located at 600 Penn Avenue in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh. Home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, the 2,676 seat hall presents about 200 performances each year.

Originally built in 1927 as Loew’s Penn Theatre, the former movie palace was renovated and reopened as Heinz Hall in 1971. Built as the Loew's and United Artists' Penn Theatre, construction of the building was completed in 1927. Motion picture business magnate and pioneer Marcus Loew engaged the architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp to design the movie palace.

The Grand Lobby was particularly impressive, with its 50-foot (15 m)-high vaulted Venetian ceiling, massive ornamental columns, marble staircase, bronze and crystal chandeliers and silk drapes. From 1967 to 1971, the building was extensively renovated.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
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13
Cultural District

13) Cultural District

The Cultural District is features six theaters offering some 1,500 shows annually, as well as art galleries, restaurants, and retail shops. Its landmarks include: Allegheny Riverfront Park, Benedum Center, Byham Theater, Harris Theater, Heinz Hall, O'Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery, Wood Street Galleries, and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
PNC Park

14) PNC Park (must see)

PNC Park is a baseball park located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It opened during the 2001 MLB season. PNC Park features a natural grass playing surface and seats 38,362 people for baseball.

The $216 million park stands along the Allegheny River, on the North Shore of Pittsburgh with a view of Downtown Pittsburgh. Built in the style of "classic" stadiums, such as Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, PNC Park also introduced unique features, such as the use of limestone in the building's facade. The park also features a riverside concourse, steel truss work, an extensive out-of-town scoreboard, and many local eateries. Constructed faster than most modern stadiums, PNC Park was built in a 24-month span.
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Andy Warhol Museum

15) Andy Warhol Museum (must see)

The Andy Warhol Museum is located on the North Shore of the city, near the intersection of Interstate 279 and Interstate 579. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. The museum holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives from the Pittsburgh-born pop art icon Andy Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and is a collaborative project of the Carnegie Institute, the Dia Art Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The museum is located in an 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) facility on seven floors. Containing 17 galleries, the museum features 900 paintings, close to 2,000 works on paper, over 1,000 published unique prints, 77 sculptures, 4,000 photographs, and over 4,350 Warhol films and videotaped works. Its most recent operating budget (2010) was $6.1 million. In addition to its Pittsburgh location the museum has sponsored 56 traveling exhibits that have attracted close to 9 million visitors in 153 venues worldwide since 1996.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm (Friday until 10 pm).
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
National Aviary

16) National Aviary (must see)

The National Aviary is America's only independent indoor nonprofit aviary. It is also America's largest aviary, and the only accorded honorary "National" status by the United States Congress.The National Aviary is open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. Although some of the birds must be fed in private, almost all feedings (both vegetarian and carnivorous) are scheduled to be viewable by visitors. The National Aviary has daily interactive experiences for visitors.

It is home to more than 500 birds of more than 150 species, many of which are threatened or endangered in the wild. It has one of the most diverse collections in North America (exceeding, for example, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and the Niagara Falls Aviary). The National Aviary also takes part in breeding programs designed to increase the numbers of endangered birds in captivity including the Bali Mynah (nearly extinct in the wild), the Micronesian Kingfisher, and the African Penguin.
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Walking Tours in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Create Your Own Walk in Pittsburgh

Create Your Own Walk in Pittsburgh

Creating your own self-guided walk in Pittsburgh is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Pittsburgh Museums and Galleries

Pittsburgh Museums and Galleries

Pittsburgh is home to various museums which depict everything from history to modern art. Visitors may learn about the city’s early history at Senator John Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum, appreciate installation art at Mattress Factory Museum, admire works of Andy Warhol at Andy Warhol Museum, and have fun at two other Pittsburgh museums dedicated to children. Pittsburgh is also home...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
Discover Pittsburgh's Art on the South Side

Discover Pittsburgh's Art on the South Side

The southern district of Pittsburgh was originally a village of Birmingham that was annexed to Pittsburgh in 1872. Today, the southern section of the city is rich in culture, profiling the historic East Carson Street - covered in numerous small stores, restaurants, and bars.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Pittsburgh Religious Buildings

Pittsburgh Religious Buildings

Pittsburgh features a rich history and is home to various religious buildings and places of worship. Several of the city’s churches represent historic landmarks and date back to the 19th century. Religious buildings like these are open to the public and highly recommended during your visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
East Pittsburgh

East Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s eastern region offers various attractions of interest, including city landmarks and historic sites. East Pittsburgh is home to the outstanding Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Schenley Park, Stephen Foster Memorial Museum, Mary Schenley Memorial fountain, and two of the Carnegie Museums.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Pittburgh Downtown Architecture Walk

Pittburgh Downtown Architecture Walk

The city of Pittsburgh offers amazing architecture composed of stylish contemporary buildings, as well as buildings which date back to the 18th century. Fort Pitt Blockhouse, one of the many brilliant structures in the city, is the oldest of Pittsburgh’s buildings and an outstanding landmark.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles