Compared to New York City, Washington DC, or Philadelphia, Pittsburgh has rather sparse cultural entertainment. The architecture is all a little bit newer, the smaller population provides less support, and the actual physical area is surprisingly limited. Still, Pittsburgh does have a reasonable amount of cultural entertainment and makes for a good substitute if you are unable to travel to a more impressive cultural location. If you are looking for cultural entertainment in Pittsburgh, the following are some of the best places to look.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History – Located in the Oakland district of Pittsburgh, this museum is just a few blocks from Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh. The proximity to these two universities makes the museum a great place to visit for college students. In addition, the proximity of these universities means that there is a lot of parking in the area as well as many good places to eat. The museum itself is actually a combination of a history museum and an art museum, featuring exhibits of both types. The museum rarely has classical artistic masterpieces, but tends to have good historical exhibits, occasionally with rare items.
Phipps Conservatory – About three blocks from the Carnegie Museum, the Phipps Conservatory has one of the best exhibits of plants and flowers in the country. Every season the exhibit is re-themed so that the experience constantly changes. A tour is relatively cheap and lasts about an hour and a half. Between this and the Carnegie Museum, it is easy to make a day of nothing but cultural beauty in the Oakland district.
Performances – There are two major locations for live performances in Pittsburgh. The first is a small strip of theaters in downtown Pittsburgh, which generally show B-class plays and musicals using a mix of A-class and B-class actors. The other location is Carnegie Mellon University. The performance arts program at the university is stellar and the university has theatrical and musical performances nearly every week of the school year. These performances are relatively cheap given that they are being performed by some of the best young actors in the country.
National Aviary – Located in the North Side, this is one of the premiere aviaries in the country. It is actually rather small compared to most aviaries, but uses the space available very well and has a remarkable assortment of birds from across the world. Entry is less than $10 and a tour can easily last 2-3 hours. Parking is reasonably convenient, though there is little other of interest in the nearby area.