A Night at the Museum

The weather is going to start getting colder so it’s time to let you in on a few good museums to visit during the cold weather months.  Pittsburgh has a wide variety of museums from your classic art and natural history, to sports and modern art museums.

The great part about all of these museums is that you can go with your friends, a date, or your family.  There is something for everyone to enjoy.  Below is a list of some of our favorite places to visit.

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

Located between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University on Forbes Avenue, The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History contain a beautiful and vast collection.

Carnegie Museum of Art:  Houses a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, installation art, and much more.  If you want to see a panel of Monet’s famous water lilies, you can do so here as well as learning more about modern forms of art that you may not have known about.  The Carnegie Museum of Art is dedicated to collecting and conserving all types of art, and creating wonderful displays so that visitors may have the greatest art experience possible.  The museum is also actively involved with education programs for children, teens, adults, teachers, and anyone with a disability.  They offer classes and are “culturally rich experiences” to people all over the Pittsburgh area through their projects, neighborhood initiatives, and collaborations with other organizations.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History:  Attached the Museum of Art is the Natural History Museum, an amazing museum filled with all types of learning experiences.  Ranked as one of the top 5 natural history museums in the country, it is world famous for its dinosaurs and houses the first ever discovered T-Rex!  How cool is that!  There are more than 20 galleries and research rooms that maintain, preserve, and display 10,000 specimens at any given time out of 21 million objects and scientific specimens.  They are passionate about instilling a love of science, nature, the environment, and history into their visitors and offer a wide variety of programs for kids and adults to dig deeper into their scientific learning.

The best part about these two museums is that most admission prices include admission into both of the museums, since they are attached.  If you are interested in learning more or planning your next trip, visit the Carnegie Museum of Art’s website here and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History here.

Andy Warhol Museum

The Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in the country that is solely dedicated to one artist.  Consisting of 17 galleries on 7 floors that contain thousands of prints, sculptures, photographs, and films, the Warhol Museum is a great homage to the late great Andy Warhol, Pittsburgh native and pop art notable.  The museum also shows exhibitions from other up and coming new and modern artists, collaborative efforts between Andy and others, and drawings done by his mother.  There are many educational programs for children, teens, and adults, and they also host adult nights where you can get yourself a cocktail and take in the amazing exhibitions of the museum.  The Warhol, a primary source for contemporary art and popular culture is active in the performance community, hosting live performances as diverse as the visitors who come through their doors.

If you are interested in learning more about Andy Warhol or The Warhol Museum, you can check out their website here for more information, a schedule of upcoming events, and educational opportunities for the whole family.

The Mattress Factory

Housed in two buildings on the North Side, the Mattress Factory was established in the late 1970’s as a way to support and house artists and to create on site installations.  Both of these buildings house permanent exhibitions but also display new installations that are constantly changing throughout the year.  Since then, the museum has presented exhibitions of art, sculpture, photographs, performance art, and much more of more than 600 artists.  The museum hosts a residency program which helps artists to cultivate room size art installations and provides them leadership, resources, and guidance to challenge the creativity of these artists.  Since these installations take up entire rooms, all of your senses become engaged which helps you experience the art in a much more visceral way than at more classical museums.  Just like the other museums we have talked about on this list, the Mattress Factory has a long list of educational programs through tours, workshops, hands-on projects, and so many more, allowing the visitor to create their own art and form their own opinions on exhibitions.

For more information about the museum or to find out about admission and programs, make sure to visit their website here.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Do you know children that love to get theirs hands dirty creating arts and craft?  If you do, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is the perfect place to take them.  As one of the nation’s top 15 children’s museums, named by Parent magazine, the exhibition spaces throughout the museum are geared towards creating opportunities for kids to have some first-hand and “real stuff” experiences.  These exhibits include a studio for creating art projects, the water play room that allows kids to play in a river, a make shop to explore and make designs using real things with real life materials, a garage where kids are able to learn about all types of transportation, and so many more spaces and exhibitions that are designed to allow children to explore their creativity.  There are also a vast array of educational programs for children through school trips, summer camps, youth camps, and more.

Interested?  Find out more about the museum here.

Heinz History Center

How well do you know Western Pennsylvania history?  The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, is a museum dedicated to the celebration of over 250 years of Western Pennsylvania history.  An educational institute, the Heinz History Center inspires audiences with wonderful long term exhibits housed on 6 floors, but also plays host to traveling exhibits as well.  From George Washington’s first forays in Pennsylvania to anything and everything Pittsburgh Steelers, the museum has an array of topics to look at and interact with.  The space can also be rented out for private parties. The Thomas and Katherine Detre Library & Archives can be found on the sixth floor and is accessible to anyone looking to do research on the more than 250 years of the region’s history.

Their website will provide you with more information if you are curious about what this museum, and their affiliate museums offer.

Fort Pitt Museum

Located at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers in Point State Park, the museum is housed in a recreation of the bastion of Fort Pitt that was built originally by the British in 1758.  The museum’s focus is on that the Fort played during the French and Indian War, and also includes details on the part the Fort played during the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, and in the founding of the city of Pittsburgh.  In the warmer months, they do recreations outside of the museum in the park.

You can find out more information about this gem here.

The Clemente Museum

Pittsburgh Pirates fans rejoice! Located in Lawrenceville is a museum dedicated to the Clemente-era Pirates that is housed inside of a former fire station and has a huge assortment of artifacts and exhibits.  Unlike the other museums on this list, this one is by appointment only.  If you love the Pirates and are interested in seeing some great memorabilia, visit their site here to find out more information and to make an appointment.


Phipps Conservatory, located in Schenley Park near Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, is a public garden that was founded in 1893 by Henry Phipps, a steel and real-estate magnate, as a gift to Pittsburgh.  It is housed in a 13-room Victorian greenhouse and is known as one of the world’s greatest and most beautiful greenhouses.  Their mission is to educate visitors about the importance of plants, to advance sustainability, promote environmental well-being, advocate for the advancement of green-building practices, and show visitors about sustainable gardening practices.  Throughout the year they exhibit some spectacular installations as well as seasonal installations including their Fall Flower Show and the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden.

If you are looking for a unique and out of this world experience, you should definitely check out Phipps.  To learn more about the botanical gardens and their educational programs, check out their website here.

Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center is located right next to Heinz Field and is the home of science and technology.  The museum has four floors full of exhibits and theaters that teach both kids and adults how science and technology connect in everyday life.  One of their best exhibits is their miniature railroad installation that is set up to look like a historic version of some of Pittsburgh’s greatest treasures.  Not only do they provide exciting and educational programs for kids, they also host 21 and over nights for adults that are themed and allow adults to enjoy cocktails and science nights.  There is also a separate building that hosts the Highmark SportsWorks, an interactive sports themed museum that teaches kids about physics, anatomy, and biology while letting them get to experience some cool physical activities.  Another great part of the Science Center is the Omnimax Theater that hosts interactive IMAX movies guaranteed to make you feel like you are a part of the experience, as well as laser light shows that are musically themed.

The science Center is a great place for every one of all ages to enjoy.  If you’d like to learn more you can visit their website here.

Frick Art & Historical Center

Located on five acres of landscaped lawns and garden’s in the East End of Pittsburgh, The Frick Art & Historical Center is housed in the Frick mansion, one of America’s best preserved Gilded Age houses.  In 1970, Henry Clay Frick’s daughter decided that she wanted to share the family art collection with the world, thus the Frick was born.  As you walk through Clayton, the Frick family home, you will see many works of classical art, artifacts, and decorative arts that were on display throughout the mansion while the Frick family lived there.  In 1997, the Car and Carriage Museum was built to present the cars and carriages of the family and also teaches visitors about the history of the automobile.

To learn about upcoming exhibits and events, you can check out their site here for more information.

This Autumn/Winter, make sure to check out these museums for some wonderful and unique experiences with your friends and family.  If you like this post, make sure to comment, share, and like!