10 Things to See & Do in Oakland, Pittsburgh

10 Things to See & Do in Oakland, Pittsburgh
The home of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, Oakland is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It is the location of the city’s most popular museums, in addition to some of the most beautiful works of architecture that the city has to offer.

Carnegie Museum of Art

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Built in 1896, the Carnegie Museum of Art is considered to be the first museum of contemporary art and still emphasizes the works of many modern artists. The museum holds over 30,000 works ranging from paintings to photos to sculptures and architectural representations. Throughout the year there are over 15 changing exhibits that showcase different artists or art styles, so each trip promises something new or a visit to see old favorites.
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Carnegie Museum of Natural History

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Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh | Courtesy of the Heard Museum
Dedicated to increasing scientific and public understanding of the natural world and human cultures, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History features many anthropological and biological exhibits. This museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of Jurassic dinosaurs, as well as the world’s first Tyrannosaurus Rex specimens. Believed to be among the top five natural history museums in the United States, on par with the Smithsonian, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History promises to be an exciting excursion for visitors of any age.
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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Located in Schenley Park, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is in the perfect spot to show off the beauty of nature. The gardens feature a series of changing exhibits, each highlighting a different region and plant type, in addition to their permanent collections. A self-guided tour takes approximately 90 minutes, making this a nice place for a quick visit between museum trips. On Wednesdays, they host a farmers market with produce from local farms.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412) 622-6914

Stephen Foster Museum

This gothic-style building, full of stained glass windows that cast colorful lights around the room, is located at the University of Pittsburgh and celebrates the life of musician Stephen Foster. The small museum takes about 30 minutes to walk through and holds several small exhibits about the life of Stephen Foster, and includes several original copies of his work. Visitors can hear renditions of songs like ‘Camptown Races,’ ‘Oh Susanna’ and ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ playing overhead as they peruse each section.

Stephen Foster Museum, 4301 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

The Soldier and Sailor's Memorial and Museum

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Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh | ©Brandon Shea/flickr
Designed by Henry Hornbostel, the Soldier and Sailor’s Memorial and Museum showcases various artifacts from every branch in the United States Military. The goal of the museum is to tell the stories of individuals who have served the country and share their experiences with the public. There are several exhibits for each branch, each of which is full of old equipment, mementos and uniforms.
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Conflict Kitchen

A small window service restaurant with picnic tables set-up along the sidewalk, the Conflict Kitchen is an interesting place to visit during a lunch break between visits to the Carnegie Museums. The kitchen only serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict and has had six different versions since its conception, featuring countries such as Venezuela, North Korea and Palestine. Their goal is to expand the public’s engagement and knowledge about the countries, through food and wrappers covered with interview transcripts. The current rendition features Cuba, and patrons can try dishes like yucca, plantains and Cuban-style beef.

Conflict Kitchen, 221 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412) 802-8417

Schenley Park

The largest park in Pittsburgh, Schenley Park is the place to go to get away from the bustling crowds and noise of the city. Visitors can bike or jog along the paved trails that wind through the greenery, or take their children to one of the many playgrounds. There are also several tennis courts and a soccer field, in addition to the year-round skate rink, where anyone can spend an eventful afternoon with friends.

Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Cathedral of Learning

A centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh, the Cathedral of Learning is open to the public for tours of its many intricately decorated rooms and staircases. The building resembles a late gothic revival cathedral (hence the name) and was completed in 1934. Within its 42 floors, there are over 2,000 rooms where students meet for class or events, in addition to the various Nationality Rooms that each represent a different country through their choice of furniture and decor.

Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Pittsburgh Playhouse

A large theatre complex with three individual theatres for multiple performances at the same time, the Pittsburgh Playhouse is the home of one professional troupe and three student ones. The playhouse holds over 18 major productions each year, many of the shows are independent, while some, such as Into the Woods, are widely known.

Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213(412) 392-8000

Heinz Memorial Chapel

Dedicated in 1938, the Heinz Memorial Chapel is a non-denominational church situated right next to Cathedral of Learning at the the University of Pittsburgh. It was built by Charles Z Klauder in the Neo-Gothic Style, and holds numerous tours throughout the day. This is a great stop for lovers of architecture or old churches, as the decor is very detailed and beautifully crafted.

Heinz Memorial Chapel, 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (412) 624-4157