Pittsburgh has a reputation as a hard-working, blue-collar town, and though those labels still apply, it’s also experienced renaissances recently in the areas of food, beer, wine, and the arts.
Of course, there are few cities as fanatical about their football teams as Pittsburgh is about its Steelers, but there are plenty of cultural, historic and natural sights to see in the area as well.
Western Pennsylvania is a rural portion of the state and is crisscrossed by the Allegheny Mountains, many large swaths of uninterrupted forest, and an array of rivers and streams.
If you’re a sports fan, nature-lover, or an artist looking for some natural inspiration, Pittsburgh would be a great place to spend some time.
Below are 10 of the best tours in Pittsburgh.
1. Fallingwater Tour
For those of you who may be architecturally challenged, Fallingwater is one of the crowning achievements of Frank Lloyd Wright, a man considered by many to be the most iconic architect and designer in American history.
The stunning home was built in rural Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh in the ‘30s. It’s nestled among the surrounding trees and hills, straddles a natural waterfall, and was made for the wealthy owners of a local retail store chain.
Wright’s aim was to perfectly meld the natural and manmade worlds, and the consensus is that he did just that.
Located in the scenic Allegheny Mountains not far off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, it’s relatively easy to get to and is best enjoyed with a knowledgeable guide.
This tour typically lasts about six hours and is all-inclusive, except for food and drink.
2. Pittsburgh, North Shore, and Oakland Guided Tour
Pittsburgh is known as ‘Steel City,’ a name which hearkens back to its economic glory-days when it was one of the country’s largest steel producing cities.
This multi-stop value tour includes a guided intro to the city’s downtown and a ride up the famous Duquesne Incline, which conveys guests to the top of Mount Washington for an unobstructed view of the city and surrounding area.
The North Shore is another tour highlight; it is the city’s sports and entertainment district and one of its most lively areas.
This tour is customizable based on the guest’s interests, so let them know your preferences when you book.
3. Pittsburgh Private Tours
Private tours are great ways to get in-depth glimpses into the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.
They also give guests a more intimate experience than they’re likely to get on larger tours, and this private tour of Pittsburgh’s most visited attractions is a great way to do just that.
You can decide when you’d like to start, how long you’d like the tour to be, and which sites you’re most interested in.
Door-to-door transportation to and from your hotel is included. A few of the tour’s highlights include the Duquesne Incline and Mount Washington, the Allegheny River, a thriving steel mill, and one of the city’s most trendy and artsy neighborhoods.
Everything is included but food, so bring a few extra bucks just in case.
4. Pittsburgh Brewery Tour with Lunch or Dinner
With the tough, blue-collar reputation that Pittsburgh is famous for, it’s no wonder that beer is such a hit here.
Pittsburgh used to be home to more than a few big, regional breweries, but these days the beer scene is largely centered around the micro-breweries and brewpubs that have sprouted up around the city in the past few years.
This five-hour group tour includes samplings of nearly 20 of Pittsburgh’s favorites. It also conveniently includes round-trip transportation so you can have a good time and not worry about getting home safely.
The tour is available in the afternoon and evening; each is paired with some tasty food that goes particularly well with what you’re drinking.
5. Pittsburgh Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are great ways to familiarize yourself with a new city, see some amazing sights, and have a few hours of fun and friendly competition.
This self-guided scavenger hunt includes 15 head-scratching clues that’ll lead you around the city, and you’ll see some hidden gems of Pittsburgh’s past along the way.
The tour generally lasts a few hours and requires a moderate amount of walking; it’s even open to those confined to wheelchairs.
It’s a flexible, fun and inexpensive way to get your bearings and an especially great activity for moms and dads who struggle to keep their kids active and engaged.
6. Middle Yough River Guided Tour
Pittsburgh is famous for the three rivers that merge near the city’s downtown area. For those looking to get outdoors, burn a few calories, and see the area’s natural beauty, this paddling tour of the Middle Yough River would be a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.
The two-hour tour starts in nearby Ohiopyle and takes participants on a scenic tour through some gentle rapids that are okay for nearly everyone.
The rafts hold between four and six people, and you’ll get all the safety training and equipment you need.
A light lunch is included, and along the way, you’ll likely see some of the animals that live in and around the river.
7. Zombie Scavengers Game
I’m not sure why, but America has been gripped by an unexplained zombie mania that’s swept from coast to coast at an alarming pace.
Perhaps it’s subconscious, and due to an impending zombie-related apocalypse, but whatever it is, this Pittsburgh zombie scavenger hunt is fun for the whole family.
Using your smartphone, you and your teammates will strive to outwit the hordes of living-dead that threaten your existence. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the caches of food, weapons, and supplies that are hidden around the city.
Of course, it’s all fun and games, but you just might feel noticeable rises in your heart rate and blood pressure until the last zombie has been defeated.
8. Crazy Dash Walking Adventure
Crazy Dash is a fun, on-foot adventure that leads guests on a tour around the city while seeing the sights, finding clues, and performing ridiculous tasks.
You’ll need a smartphone, a pair of comfy walking shoes, and an unfaltering resolve to have fun.
During the game, you’ll see plenty of the city’s landmarks, sites, and memorials, and you’ll learn about what makes Pittsburgh such a unique place.
Although you’ll be guided through the game, your guide will be in a remote location. After checking in with him or her, you’ll need to check-in at various points throughout the area.
Depending on your performance, your guide may choose to assign you and your team additional tasks and activities.
9. Holly Jolly Holiday Hunt
Pittsburgh is one of those places that comes alive during the Christmas and New Year season, and if you’re lucky enough to find yourself there during that time of the year, consider participating in the Holly Jolly holiday scavenger hunt.
Your goal will be to use your phone to figure out clues which will lead you to items that have been stashed around the area.
Some are traditional holiday items and some aren’t.
The winning team will be the one that’s collected the most items. Whether you win or not, it’s a great way to spend a few hours getting into the holiday spirit.
Dress appropriately because Pittsburgh is notorious for its harsh winter weather.
10. Clue-Gathering Adventure Game
Teams competing against one another in 3 Quest Challenge will start out at a central location, then using their smartphones, will attempt to outwit and outmaneuver the competition by deciphering clues and completing activities or quests.
These quests will test your brainpower. This adventure game is great for birthday parties and corporate team-building activities.
Of course, it always feels good to win, but the real goal is fun and camaraderie.
During the game, you’ll meander through some of the city’s most unique neighborhoods; many participants see places they’d like to revisit later.
The game is great value and an awesome way to get an overview of the city’s layout before heading out on your own self-guided adventures.