There’s no shortage of art galleries to visit during your stay in Pittsburgh, running the gamut from larger museums to smaller venues and featuring a kaleidoscope of styles and mediums.
Take the T to the North Shore you’ll find two distinctive highlights of the Pittsburgh art community, the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory. The Warhol, a seven-floor gallery of the Pittsburgh-born icon’s own life and work also features plenty of other like-minded artist’s creations. The nearby Mattress Factory is a well-known installation art exhibit with permanent works and temporary installations. Both are must-see spots for the visiting art lover. And if you’re up for a bit more walking after touring these expansive venues, stroll over to 501 Arch Street and awe at the slapdash majesty of Randyland, a candyland of ephemera and paint that is oddly inspirational.
Closer to home, Downtown houses Toonseum, an art museum dedicated to cartoons and comic books, as well as a handful of smaller galleries (most in or near the Cultural District) like Space, 707 & 709 Penn, Future Tenant, and the Wood Street Gallery. Be sure to stop by Agnes R. Katz Plaza and enjoy some people-watching in this small but fascinating public space.
Those venturing further out and with somewhat more classical tastes will definitely want to visit the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland. This massive venue, adjacent to Pitt campus, features thousands of pieces spanning hundreds of years in its permanent collection as well as thematically linked new exhibits. After touring the Carnegie, make a point to head over to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a stunning and spacious indoor and outdoor garden with plants from all over the world.
Of course, there are plenty more small galleries, and if you make it to Lawrenceville (home of BE Gallery and Revision Space), Bloomfield/Garfield (where Penn Avenue features Boxheart, ModernFormations and the Pittsburgh Glass Center), Shadyside (The Gallery 4, Mendelson Gallery, Gallerie Chiz), or Squirrel Hill (Christine Frechard Gallery) be sure to check out these diverse offerings.
Pittsburgh is also blessed with an abundance of theaters, making it easy to catch a play or musical or art film nearly any night of the week. A lot of these venues are located Downtown in the Cultural District, and a great place to start planning your visit is to take a look at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website. Here you can get tickets for shows at the Benedum Center, Byham Theater, Cabaret at Theater Square, the O’Reilly Theater (home of the Pittsburgh Public Theater), Heinz Hall, and the Arcade Comedy Theater. Also in the area is 937 Liberty Avenue, home to both Bricolage and the Pittsburgh Playwrights production companies.
Unfortunately, a lot of local production companies aren’t staging events during the time you’ll be visiting Pittsburgh, but there are a couple outside of the Cultural District that may be worth looking into for some off-the-beaten-path live theater. The New Hazlett Theater on the North Side, PICT Classic Theatre in Oakland (actually located on Pitt’s campus) and the City Theatre in the South Side are all in season in mid-October, so be sure to look into their offerings as well.
Finally, we also have a handful of art-house cinemas to entertain the cineastes in the CCUMC family. The Harris Theater – operated by Pittsburgh Filmmakers - is located in the Cultural District Downtown and always has some new independent, foreign, or remastered classic film showing. The recently opened Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville is a charmingly renovated space that runs week-by-week retrospectives of repertory films centered on a thematic link, be it director, star, or subject matter. And lastly The Manor in Squirrel Hill – also recently renovated, with full bar service – consistently shows interesting wide-release films mixed with new releases that fly under the mainstream radar.