Although it may seem contradictory, Pittsburgh owes much of its rich cultural heritage to its gritty manufacturing history. Wealthy industrialists, like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and H.J. Heinz, were active forces behind the city’s largest and most notable institutions. This culture of philanthropy paved the way for a city recognized around the world for its museums, creative centers, and music and theater companies.
Students at the Tepper School of Business can take advantage of the Carnegie Mellon University Arts Pass Program, which allows all students free access to several area museums with their Carnegie Mellon I.D. card. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust also offers discounts to Carnegie Mellon students for many performances in the downtown Cultural District.
No matter what corner of Pittsburgh you may find yourself in, you are not far from an exhibit or gallery. Right in Oakland, home of the Tepper School of Business, is the Carnegie Museum of Art, a multilevel gallery containing modern and classical art in innovative and educational exhibitions. Nearby in Friendship is the Pittsburgh Glass Center, featuring contemporary glass sculpture. And on the north side of Pittsburgh, a short distance from downtown, lies the popular Andy Warhol Museum.
All over Pittsburgh, galleries specializing in media, culture or region can be found in the most unlikely places. Tucked away in the Strip District is the Society for Contemporary Craft. In the heart of the Walnut Street shopping district in Shadyside lies the Four Winds Gallery, featuring Southwest Native American material. And nestled in Point Breeze is the Frick Art and Historical Center, featuring the collections of Henry Clay Frick and his daughter, Helen, on his former estate.
Lovers of distant and no-so-distant history will enjoy the top-ranked Carnegie Museum of Natural History and its collection of Jurassic dinosaurs (the largest in the world), part of the Carnegie Museums in Oakland. Downtown Pittsburgh offers the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, celebrating the cultural and intellectual contributions of the region’s African Americans, and the Heinz History Center, showcasing more than 250 years of Pittsburgh history and sports legacy.
Pittsburgh’s professional theatrical performances, opera, dance and music await you in the city’s beautifully restored, early 20th century theaters located in downtown’s Cultural District. The 2800-seat Benedum Center for the Performing Arts stages first-run Broadway productions and is home to the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Pittsburgh Opera. Nearby, the internationally renowned Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts houses the acclaimed Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, whose repertoire spans classical orchestral pieces to pop rock.
Fantastic performances are not restricted to the Cultural District, however. The edgy Quantum Theatre specializes in unusual locales for their imaginative performances; the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale travels to many different venues throughout Pittsburgh; and performers of all kinds stop by venues as far-flung as Stage AE on the North Shore, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, and the Improv Theater and Carnegie Library Music Hall in Homestead.
Arts & Entertainment highlights
Experience a unique collection of contemporary installation art, including 16 permanent exhibitions, located in Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Streets.
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Stroll through tropical forests, Japanese gardens and exotic flora, and get an up-close look at Victorian greenhouse architecture in this 13-room conservatory.
Learn more about Pittsburgh’s diverse ethnic groups through this collection of 27 classrooms, located in the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.