10 Things to Do Up, Down, and Around Pittsburgh

Author: Curt Wagner       

The weather may be chilly when PCMA Convening Leaders 2019 heads to Pittsburgh Jan. 6–9, but no attendee will be left out in the cold. When it comes to activities outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center — whether you’re interested in baseball, scenery, or even the macabre — the ‘Burgh has something for you. Got a few spare hours? Here are 10 places to check out.

Duquesne Incline

1197 W. Carson St., (412) 381-1665, duquesneincline.org
Take a ride up the Duquesne Incline to Mount Washington (shown in photo above) for a spectacular view of Pittsburgh and its three rivers. It’s worth the effort even in January, an incline representative assured Convene — just dress for cold weather. Opened on May 20, 1877, the Duquesne Incline was rescued and restored by a group of local residents in 1963 and has been operating ever since. The upper station houses a museum of the city’s history.

Randyland

1501 Arch St., (412) 342-8152, randy.land
Artist Randy Gibson bought his house with a credit card in 1995, eventually turning it into a cathedral of curb art. Now Randy lives and works at the bedazzled home, welcoming visitors seven days a week, who marvel at the outdoor murals, house-sized map, mirror wall, and psychedelic staircase he has created with paint and found objects. No need to make an appointment, just come on by and snap the most spectacular selfies ever.

Pittsburgh activities

Artist Randy Gilson wanted to bring happiness to his Northside neighborhood, so he turned his house into Randyland. (Photo: Phil Scalia)

Pittsburgh activities

Snow might be falling in the back yard of Randyland in January, but it will still be bright as ever. (Photo: Adam Isovitsch)

Bob’s Garage

372 Freeport Road, (412) 963-9552, Bob’s on Facebook
The spirit of Christmas extends from November to March at Bob’s Garage, a bar that goes all out on holiday lighting — think “Deck the Halls,” the 2006 film in which Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick square off to create the best Christmas light display. It’s all for a good cause at Bob’s, which raises money to supply holiday meals and gifts for underprivileged kids and senior citizens. We hear they serve strong mixed drinks, beer, sandwiches, burgers, and more. If you’ve arrived early for Convening Leaders, come for karaoke Saturday night.

Trundle Manor

7724 Juniata St., (412) 916-5544, trundlemanor.com
This one’s not for the faint of heart, but fans of the “Addams Family” are going to love it. Built in 1910, Trundle Manor houses “the most bizarre private collection on public display” of things floating in jars, antique taxidermy, scary weapons, old electro-shock therapy machines, coffins, and “any other thing your twisted mind will want to look at,” according to its website. Let your freak flag fly, people! Tours (of up to 15 people at a time) last 45 minutes and will either delight or traumatize. Contact proprietors Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx for an appointment.

Pittsburgh activities

Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx have amassed a large collection of the bizarre at Trundle Manor in Pittsburgh. (Photo: Trundle Manor)

PNC Park

115 Federal St., (412) 325-4700, pncparktours@pirates.com
Even in the off-season, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates offers group tours on Mondays and Fridays. The tour includes a look inside the Legacy Theater and Museum, where visitors learn some Pirates history and view memorabilia. Although the tour changes, other highlights have included the players’ clubhouse, training room, batting cages, dugout, and press box. Groups must make a reservation 10 days prior to the tour.

Pittsburgh activities

PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, sits along the Allegheny River on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. (Photo: VisitPittsburgh)

Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive

4016 Butler St., (412) 687-2555, belvederesultradive.com
A dance club with a message to patrons — You are beautiful — painted right on a wall, Belvedere’s welcomes everyone with its zero-tolerance harassment policy. Patrons can enjoy cheap drinks, a large beer selection, pool, darts, pinball, karaoke, and even yoga. The bar schedules a variety of themed dance parties and rock shows.

Bayernhof Museum

225 St. Charles Place, (412) 782-4231, bayernhofmuseum.com
When Charles B. Brown III completed his “castle” in 1982, he wanted a house that gave him a great view of Pittsburgh and the surrounding countryside. Now a museum, Brown’s mansion displays his collection of music boxes and other antique automatic music machines. It also gives winter visitors an incredible (and warm) view of the Allegheny River from its glass-walled south side. Check out the gambling hall, billiard room, and an office reached via a hidden door and secret passageway. Another hidden door takes visitors to the Secret Cave, complete with stalactites, stalagmites, and small waterfalls, before opening to the swimming pool room. Pittsburgh’s “best kept secret” offers guided tours by appointment.

Pittsburgh activities

The Bayernhof Museum houses a world-class collection of music boxes and other antique automatic music machines, as well as other big surprises. (Photo: Adam Isovitsch)

St. Anthony Chapel

1704 Harpster St., (412) 998-4401, saintanthonyschapel.org
Visitors to St. Anthony Chapel might be stunned to find more than 5,000 holy relics — some dating back to before 500 AD — housed here. In the 1800s, Catholic priest Suitbert Godfrey Mollinger bought the relics from churches and monasteries in politically chaotic Europe. Among his acquisitions, it is believed, were remains and possessions of Jesus and Mary, as well as those of apostles, martyrs, and saints — including a tooth from the chapel’s namesake, Saint Anthony of Padua. The relics are displayed in more than 800 gold and jewel-encrusted reliquaries.

Clemente Museum

3339 Penn Ave., (412) 621-1268, clementemuseum.com
Housed in historic Engine House 25, the museum is dedicated to baseball legend and noted humanitarian Roberto Clemente. Sure, it has the world’s largest exhibited collection of baseball artifacts and memorabilia related to Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy your visit. You’ll also find art, literature, photographs, and exhibits that help explain the racial and cultural prejudices Clemente and others faced in the 1950s. And if that’s not enough reason to visit, there’s Arriba — the museum’s owner Duane Rieder has turned his winemaking passion into an on-site wine bar. The museum is open by appointment and offers group tours.

Pittsburgh activities

The Clemente Museum exhibits baseball artifacts and memorabilia related to Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo: Duane Rieder Gallery)

Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning

4200 Fifth Ave., (412) 624-6000, nationalityrooms.pitt.edu
Housed in the Cathedral of Learning, a national historic landmark, the Nationality Rooms are a group of 30 classrooms that were designed to represent the cultures of various ethnic groups that helped build the city of Pittsburgh. The first classrooms — the Scottish, Russian, German, and Swedish rooms — were dedicated in 1938, while the most recent room, representing Korea, was dedicated in 2015.

Pittsburgh activities

The Ukranian Room, part of the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, represents a reception room of an 18th Century Ukranian noble family. (Photo: Nationality Rooms)

Find more things to do and see in Pittsburgh during your Convening Leaders stay at visitpittsburgh.com/pcma2019.

Convening Leaders 2019

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