Those Pittsburghers who have called the Burgh home for the majority, if not all, of their lives might be tempted to claim they know just about everything that exists in our beautiful city. But, the city still holds a few secrets, maybe more than we even know. Here are 10 of the best kept secrets in Pittsburgh that may or may not be so secret to you:
1. Allegheny Observatory
Enjoy unrivaled views of the galaxy above from the telescopes at the Allegheny Observatory, a real world laboratory operated by the University of Pittsburgh. Star gazing is the grand finale to an insightful introductory film followed by a walking tour of the observatory. Reserve your space for the free tours, which are held April through October, in advance.
2. The Center for Post Natural History
Science fans will find an incredible gem in the Center for Post Natural History, a museum dedicated to the study of the relationship between biotechnology, culture, and nature. You'll discover a variety of exhibits focused on such topics as an introduction to post natural history, the domestication of dinosaurs, post natural nature, and atomic age rodents. The free museum on Penn Avenue welcomes visitors every Sunday between noon and four p.m. and the first Friday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
3. The Mattress Factory
Nah, you're not going to test out mattresses at the Mattress Factory. Instead, you'll get a fascinating glimpse into some of today's best artistic creations. The Mattress Factory, a self-described art museum and experimental lab, welcomes artists-in-residence who create on site art installations. Artists and those who just love art can also join one of the Mattress Factory's many educational programs.
4. USS Requin
Most people who spend time on the water have likely noticed the submarine docked near the Carnegie Science Center. The spectacular submarine, used by the Navy during World War II, housed an estimated 80 sailors in its small space and earned distinction as the first Radar Picket submarine in the Navy. The USS Requin invites visitors to tour its cramped quarters every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
5. Kentuck Knob
Most people in Western Pennsylvania know about – and have probably visited – Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece Fallingwater. But, lesser known is Wright's Kentuck Knob, only seven miles from Fallingwater. Wright designed Kentuck Kob when he was in his late 80s and, in fact, never even visited the site of the home. Like Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob welcomes visitors to tour the beautiful home and grounds. Advanced reservations are required.
6. Pinball Perfection
Okay, pinball players! Did you know that there's a pinball museum right in the Pittsburgh area? That's right. Pinball Perfection, a museum and players club in Westview, takes visitors back to the good old days of playing pinball for hours on end. The museum and player's club features pinball machines that date back to the 1930s.
7. Bicycle Heaven
Cicylists will think they've crossed through the pearly gates – and, in some ways, they have – when they visit Bicycle Heaven, a museum and a bike shop that beckons cyclists from all over with its unique collection and expansive stores that sells everything from antique bike parts and accessories to modern day must haves. Bicycle Heaven welcomes visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
8. The Fountain of Youth
Hidden in Allison Park lies the Fountain of Youth. Don't get too excited. The storied spot, which once claimed to restore youth, has been but a memory since the mid-1950s. But, prior to that, the North Park landmark drew countless visitors with its water pump that pumped pure water, which earned it the name the Fountain of Youth. You can still visit the Fountain of Youth Today but, alas, there's no water pump and no water.
9. Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village
Travel back thousands of years – through the course of 16,000 years, to be precise – to prehistoric times when you visit Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in Avella. The historic village gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like as the world evolved. From life as an American Indian to a prehistoric Indian Village, you'll live history when you visit this stunning museum, which is part of the Heinz History Center.
Defy gravity – yes, gravity! – on Gravity Hill on McKinney Road in Allison Park. Stop your vehicle (if there’s no traffic, of course) and put it in neutral then experience your car rolling uphill. Some swear that this phenomenon is a defiance of gravity while others vehemently claim it is simply an optical illusion. You’ll just have to decide for yourself.
Pittsburgh has so much to offer that it’s fairly easy to discover new places to add to your bucket list. These best kept secrets in Pittsburgh are truly among the many gems hiding in our city. While working on seeing these hidden gems in Pittsburgh, make sure to add these
10 incredible places around Pittsburgh that must be seen to be believed to your to-do list.