Pittsburgh, also known as the “City of Bridges”, is an exciting city of neighborhoods with a small town feel. It is bordered by three rivers and has 90 neighborhoods, with delicious restaurants, plenty of outdoor adventure, and a vibrant historical and cultural scene.
The 26th International Sculpture Conference will take place in Pittsburgh, a city with a ton to see and do. Conference programming and activities will be held Downtown (the Cultural District), Oakland, and North Side, among other neighborhoods. Continue reading below for more information and highlights of the many neighborhoods Pittsburgh has to offer.
Don't forget to save time for optional trips! Pre- and post-conference tours, activities, and hands-on workshops will be held on Friday, October 14th and Wednesday, October 19th. Additional fees apply. More information coming soon.
Above: Image by Chris Connelly via flickr.com
Downtown (Cultural District)
At the heart of Pittsburgh’s arts and culture scene, Downtown’s 14 square blocks buzz with excitement and activity each and every night. Downtown, also known as the Cultural District, is the fastest-growing neighborhood in Pittsburgh. There are a number of galleries downtown to check out like 707-709 Galleries, Future Tenant: A Space for Art, SPACE, The Toonseum, and Wood Street Gallery, among others.
As center of Pittsburgh’s cultural scene, one would be amiss to forget about the exciting dining options in the district. Some of the most popular restaurants in town such as Täko, Habitat, Grit & Grace, and Bluebird Kitchen are located in the Cultural District. Don’t miss them!
Optional conference tours, activities, and hands-on workshops in the Downtown Cultural District coming soon.
If food is what you’re after, look no further than the Strip District. Nestled between Lawrenceville and the Downtown Cultural District, the Strip District is a foodie haven, with numerous restaurants, markets, and cafés in its half-mile span. The Strip (as locals call it) is easy to get to by car, bus, bike, or on foot. Adjacent to the Strip District is the Greyhound Bus terminal and Penn Station, Pittsburgh’s Amtrak passenger train station, and is one block away from the MegaBus stop at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The 54, 86, 87, 88, and 91 Buses travel through The Strip with stops on Liberty and/or Penn Ave (above 26th Street). You can plan your trip online here.
Since its founding, Pittsburgh’s Strip District has been a distinctive and vital part of the community and continues to be so today. In its early days, The Strip was an industrial hub and the heart of the wholesale produce business in Pittsburgh. Since the growth of grocery store chains, many wholesale produce markets have left the Strip District; however, over the past 20 years international businesses have opened from countries like Italy, Greece, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, to name a few. The Strip District is also increasingly home to businesses selling goods made in the greater Pittsburgh area. Some restaurants to visit include:
Located 3 miles from Downtown and next door to the Strip District and Bloomfield, Lawrenceville is walkable and welcoming. Though one of Pittsburgh’s largest districts, locals describe Lawrenceville as having a quaint, village-like atmosphere.
Oakland is home to prestigious universities and museums, world class hospitals, and grand architecture. A notable activity in this district is the Oakland Walking Tour, a comprehensive historical expedition through the town to see and experience the mesmerizing architecture and thoughtful public art displays.
Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh also are located in Oakland. Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art provides a renowned studio program as well as the resources and facilities of a top-tier university. Miller Gallery is Carnegie Mellon University’s contemporary art museum. The gallery showcases exhibitions, projects, events and publications with a focus on social issues, and is free and open to the public.
University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Studio Arts is connected to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, allowing students to choose between 50 majors to cater to their future. University of Pittsburgh’s University Art Gallery has a collection of 3,000 objects from around the world and is a unique space that has served as a laboratory for pedagogical and scholarly initiatives across departments.
If you go seeking food and a learning experience, check out Conflict Kitchen - a restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. Conflict Kitchen is located in Schenley Plaza, by the Carnegie Museums.
Optional conference tours and hands-on workshops in Oakland coming soon.
As the name implies, the North Side districts lie to the North of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, with great views of Downtown. Here, you can visit some of the most historic and exciting museums in Pittsburgh, such as the Mattress Factory, which, since its founding, has supported artists working in residence to create site-specific installations, and the Andy Warhol Museum, which hosts a Warhol collection that includes over 8,000 works in all media, and holds special exhibitions.
If you’re looking to visit a place for free, stop by RandyLand, a colorful wonderland of psychedelic painting and sculpture, and while you're there be sure to take a look at the Mexican War Streets, a historic neighborhood filled with beautiful Victorian homes. In this neighborhood, you can also find City of Asylum, a grassroots organization committed to providing sanctuary to literary writers who are exiled and under threat of persecution. Here, you can also find House Poem by Huang Xiang, the first exiled writer in the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh residency program. Mr. Huang lived in the house for almost three years, and the house is now used by other writers in City of Asylum/Pittsburgh programs. Other museums of interest include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center, and the National Aviary. North Side is also where you can find iconic sports venues Heinz Field and PNC Park.
Optional conference tours and activities in North Side coming soon.
East Liberty is a culturally diverse neighborhood on the rise. Commercial developments and green efforts have transformed this neighborhood into a commercial center, with plenty of shops, hip eateries, and cultural experiences. Google established offices here in Bakery Square, a community and shopping center. TechShop, also located in Bakery Square, is a community-based workshop and prototyping studio. TechShop offers the Pittsburgh maker community 16,000 square feet of workshops equipped with world class tools and equipment, computers loaded with design software featuring the Autodesk Design Suite, hundreds of classes each month, and the support and camaraderie of a community of like-minded makers.
Pittsburgh Glass Center is another wonderful resource in the community, bringing in local artists for residencies, teaching classes, and holding gallery exhibitions. Their facilities boast a state of the art hot shop, cold shop, flame shop, and kiln shop.
Don’t forget to check out the Center for Postnatural History. This museum is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature, and biotechnology and features displays and exhibitions that focus on living, preserved, and documented organisms of postnatural origin.
Swissvale and Braddock, PA
Swissvale is a borough 9 miles east of Downtown Pittsburgh. Named for a farmstead owned by James Swisshelm during the industrial age, it was the site of the Union Switch and Signal Company of George Westinghouse. It is also home to Carrie Furnaces, part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Built in 1907, the furnaces produced iron for the Homestead Works from 1907 to 1978. Currently, it houses creative projects like the Carrie Deer and Iron Garden Walk. Optional trips coming soon.
Braddock Redux, a local nonprofit, has worked hard with the local community to create arts programs, employment, training, and mentoring for local youth. Local buildings have been repurposed, like UnSmoke Systems Artspace, which provides studio and gallery space in what used to be a Catholic school building. Braddock Redux has also assisted in the start of Braddock Farms (part of Grow Pittsburgh), which produces a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to both local community members and restaurants.
Above: Carrie Deer by Industrial Arts Co-op. Photo courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.
If you would like to extend your stay and explore Pittsburgh and the surrounding area on your own, there are plenty of things to see and do. The Bayernhof Museum, which houses a large collection of music boxes and other automatic musical instruments is located just 20 minutes outside of Downtown Pittsburgh. The building itself provides guests with a most interesting experience as they pass from room to room, at times through hidden doors and secret passages. Optional trips coming soon.
If you’d like to extend your trip further, you can travel a few hours to some wonderful major cities, rich in culture. To the west, you can check out Detroit, MI, which is approximately 4 hours from Pittsburgh. To the east, there is Niagara Falls, NY (approximately 3.5 hours away), Baltimore, MD (approximately 4 hours away), Washington, D.C. (approximately 4 hours away), Philadelphia, PA (approximately 4.5 hours away), Toronto, ON, Canada (approximately 5 hours away), and New York City (approximately 5.5 hours away).
If you choose to extend your stay, be sure to reserve tours or activities ahead of time. For information on visiting Pittsburgh and planning your trip, visit www.visitpittsburgh.com.
Above: Arch, 2008 by Glenn Kaino at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Photo courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.
Please indicate if you require any accessibility accommodations by contacting the events department at 609.689.1051 x302 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The International Sculpture Center is committed to ensuring that all events are accessible to all of our patrons.