Next Up

20 of Pittsburgh’s Architectural Gems

Pittsburgh boasts three rivers (the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio), nearly 450 bridges and one of the oldest documented structures west of the Allegheny Mountains (the Fort Pitt Block House)and as of this fall, it plays host to HGTV's Restored by the Fords and DIY Network's Vintage Rehab. Tour some of the sites and sights that have made history in and around the 'Burgh with us!

1 / 20

The Duquesne Incline

One would do well to begin an appreciation of Pittsburgh’s scenery with a ride on the restored wooden cable cars that began climbing the Duquesne Incline to the summit of Coal Hill, later known as Mount Washington, in 1877. The Incline is now operated by a preservation society, but it’s part of Pittsburgh’s transportation grid and uses the same fares as buses and trolleys—and offers an incomparable downtown view.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 20

Smithfield Street Bridge

Pittsburgh’s oldest surviving river bridge—it was built between 1881 and 1883 to connect the northern and southern shores of the Monongahela River—is now the third version of a structure at the same spot (a covered wooden bridge was erected there between 1816 and 1818). Today’s Smithfield Street Bridge carries cars, trains and pedestrians between the Station Square complex and the Golden Triangle.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 20

Pennsylvania (Union) Station

Constructed between 1898 and 1903 by Daniel Burnham, Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)’s downtown station was designed to impress: Burnham had recently wowed visitors at the World’s Fair in Chicago, and for Pittsburgh’s Penn Station he created what was to become one of America’s great examples of Beaux-Arts architecture. The soaring rotunda at the end of Liberty Avenue downtown is no longer in service as an entry for train passengers—Amtrak’s working station is now located in another facility at the back of the building complex—but visitors can still feast their eyes on its massive glass dome.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 20

Phipps Conservatory

The spirit of the World’s Fair also made its way to Pittsburgh via the philanthropist Henry J. Phipps, who wanted to “erect something that [would] prove a source of instruction as well as pleasure to the people.” Upon completion in 1893, Phipps Conservatory’s nine rooms contained plants that had been displayed in Chicago. 120 years later, it also plays host to art collections, parties, classes and even a greenmarket, and is open to visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (with a few exceptions).

More photos after this Ad