An example of Pittsburgh culture

Photo Credit: VisitPittsburgh

Pittsburgh Culture: Cultivate Your Voice

There’s a philosophy that says work keeps us alive, but arts are why we stay alive. From the globally recognized Andy Warhol Museum to the August Wilson African American Cultural Center to classic Americana art at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Pittsburgh culture and arts scene illustrates the stories of creative expression across a spectrum of shared experiences.  

You can find a multitude of cultural institutions and experiences in the Western Pennsylvania area from art galleries and museums in Downtown Pittsburgh and the nearby Oakland neighborhood to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium in Highland Park. Read on to learn more about Pittsburgh’s many galleries, museums, performance venues, and more. 

“Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.”

August Wilson posing in front of artwork, Barry Chin, The Boston Globe
Photo Credit: Barry Chin, The Boston Globe via Getty Images
-AUGUST WILSON

Pittsburgh Arts & Culture at a Glance

$1 billion

Annually in Cultural District economic impact

19

Public libraries gifted by Andrew Carnegie, a Pittsburgh philanthropist

1,500

Performances annually in Cultural District

#1 city

Nationally in direct spending on the arts

32

World-class museums

3

Pro sports teams: Steelers, Penguins, Pirates

30

Concert venues

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol portrait in black and white
Photo Credit: Alamy
-ANDY WARHOL

Museums

Art lives here in venues as varied as traditional, stately museums built by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, including the Carnegie Art Museum in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood – home to expansive art collections and the central location of the Carnegie International – the longest-running North American exhibition of international art – an event that brings art lovers, worldwide, to Pittsburgh for this event which happens every three or four years.  

Visit the Andy Warhol Museum – the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist.  Indulge your passion for contemporary art at the Mattress Factory Museum or check out the Frick Art Museum, which displays work collected by Helen Clay Frick. 

woman standing in front of a large piece of artwork by Andy Warhol
THE Andy Warhol Museum

One of four Carnegie Museums of Art in Pittsburgh, The Andy Warhol Museum – often called “The Warhol” – is dedicated to the work of the Pittsburgh native known as the “king of pop art.” 

outdoor view of the carnegie museum of natural history
Carnegie Muesum of Natural History

Ranked among the five natural history museums in the country, 20 exhibit halls including Dinosaurs in Their Time, where visitors stand in awe gazing upon the colossal size of the dinosaurs that once roamed the Earth. 

outside night view of the carnegie science centre in pittsburgh
Carnegie Science Center

Featured exhibits include the USS Requin submarine exhibit, the giant cinema, the Miniature Railroad & Village, SportsWorks, the planetarium, and more rotating exhibits. 

hallway view of exhibit at the carnegie museum of art in pittsburgh
Carnegie Museum of Art

Showcases fine art, architecture, sculpture, and photography with more than 35,000 objects; it has been the place to experience some of the world’s greatest art for generations. 

“Trust your passion, identify your dreams, and find the courage to share them with others, no matter how many times they call you a fool.”

bill strickland, posing with ornate and antique artwork in a pittsburgh cultural center
Photo Credit: 90.5 WESA
-BILL STRICKLAND

colorful chairs surrounded by blooing plants in randyland during the summer
RandyLand

This outdoor art studio is widely regarded as one of America’s most colorful public art landmarks. 

mannequins covered in red dots at the mattress factory museum in pittsburgh pennsylvania
Mattress Factory Museum

Dedicated to contemporary art installations, located in three historic buildings, exhibits change often. 

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh
Photo Credit; August Wilson African American Cultural Center
August Wilson African American Cultural Center 

“Dedicated to the celebration of the African American journey”, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a nonprofit museum that offers gallery exhibits showcasing the work of talented artists and students. It was established over 20 years ago to honor the work of Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson. 

senator john heinz history center, pennsylvania's largest history museum
Senator John Heinz History CEnter

Visit Pennsylvania’s largest history museum in the Strip District. The Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, chronicles the past 250 years of Pittsburgh’s history. 

exterior photo of the old economy village, a landmark of pittsburgh culture
Photo Credit: SlipperyRock.com
Old Economy VIllage

Step back in time with a visit to this five-acre 1824 settlement of The Harmonists – a religious sect – that’s been preserved and designated as a National Historic Landmark District. 

exterior photo of westmoreland museum of american art in the daytime
Westmoreland Museum of American Art

A regional museum with a national presence, the Westmoreland Museum of Art serves up Americana art for all visitors of all ages.   

Art Crawls & Galleries

Spend a night discovering the ‘Burgh during events like the Unblurred Penn Avenue art crawl where you can experience a mix of photography, dance, painting, sculpture, music, and spoken word performances.  Or check out the quarterly Gallery Crawl in Downtown’s Cultural District overlooking the Allegheny River, which includes premieres of multimedia artists, live music, theater, dance performances, film screenings and hands-on activities.  

man looking at a light art installation in the cultural district of pittsburgh at night
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District (Downtown)

Free, quarterly, multi-venue showcase of diverse artistic offerings

Dozens of galleries, stages, storefronts and unique public spaces host premieres of multimedia artists, regional visual art exhibitions, live music, theater and dance performances, film screenings, hands-on activities, and special crawls after dark. 

artist holding a blowtorch to a piece of art at the unblurred penn ave art crawl in pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Bloomfield Garfield Corporation
UnBlurred Penn Ave Art Crawl (Bloomfield/Garfield)

Free, monthly art and entertainment crawl

Mix of photography, dance, painting, sculpture, music, and spoken word performances

Night Market in the summer

exterior photo of art gallery in pittsburgh pennsylvania

Galleries

  • Wood Street Galleries
  • SPACE
  • Silver Eye Center for Photography
  • Future Tenant
  • BoxHeart Gallery

Theater

Broadway & Musical Theater, Opera, Ballet, Dance, Poetry, Film, Comedy, and more!

house in pittsburgh covered with international language markings

City of Asylum offers a broad range of literary programs, and perhaps most importantly, it offers sanctuary to writers from around the world who have been targeted and threatened for raising their voices. 

neon sign at the kelly strayhorn theatre in pittsburg

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is named after 20th-century entertainment legends Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, both natives of Pittsburgh. KST celebrates bold and innovative artistry, diversity in voice, thought and expression.  It upholds a firm commitment to inclusion.

woman speaking at a steel city poetry slam event
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Poetry Collection

If you like to write poetry and you’re competitive by nature, you might have the chops for the Steel City Poetry Slam. Or if you need a little liquid encouragement to share your verse, check out Poetry & Pints.

A view of the Pittsburgh Opera
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Opera

Looking for more theater opportunities? The Pittsburgh Opera performs several classic and contemporary operas through the season, from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” to the modern “Denis & Katya”. If you’re a fan of dance, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre performs a variety of ballets each year, including the holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker”. 

Lowest ticket price point for Hamilton in 2019/2020: New York City vs. Pittsburgh

comparison chart of cost of theatre ticket in pittsburgh vs. new york city

Live Music

Your new favorite band just might be one of the 400 performing across more than 35 indoor and outdoor stages at the Deutschtown Music Festival. Or, if cheap beer and nontraditional music are more your style, check out the Live Bluegrass Jam at the Park House on the North Side. 

How do you like to kick up your heels? Early birds can still shake it at the In Bed by Ten dance party, and uber-traditionalists can explore their roots at the Tuesday Night International Folk Dance of Pittsburgh.  

orchestra performing at the pittsburgh symphony orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra

The Grammy Award-Winning (and nominated in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020) PSO fills the grand Heinz Hall, its downtown home, with a diverse season of music every year. 

street festival goers enjoy the performers at the deutschtown music festival in pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Jake Mysliwcsyk, Pittsburgh Current
Deutschtown Music Festival

Award-winning, free, three-day music and arts festival featuring over 400 bands and over 35 indoor/outdoor stages.

banjo night at elks lodge, bluegrass night at park house, woman performing a song with the banjo club
Photo Credit:90.5 WESA
Banjo Night (Elks Lodge) & BlueGrass Night (Park house)

Non-traditional, multi-generational scene. Free attendance and cheap beer every Wednesday night.

fans enjoying a concert at stage ae in pittsburgh
Stage AE

Indoor/outdoor concert venue that features everything from rock to metal to rap

fans enjoying a concert at the roxian theatre
Photo Credit: Mixonline
Roxian Theatre

Recently restored music venue that originally opened in 1929

fans enjoying a concert at mr. smalls concert venue in pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Independent Venue Week
Mr. Smalls

Multipurpose theater bringing an eclectic array of performers to Pittsburgh for the past 15 years. 

crowd dancing at spirit, restaurant in pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh City Paper
Spirit

One of the best restaurants for brunches, Spirit is also multi-purpose real estate with live music and great pizza in a unique atmosphere to watch local and regional talent. 

Band playing at Cattivo in Pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Cattivo
Cattivo

Wide range of live music in one of the most popular entertainment districts

Interested in making the move?