6 Things Every Design Lover Should Do In Pittsburgh

Andy Warhol’s hometown packs quite the pop with art offerings of every style.

Opening of Andy Warhol Museum In Pittsburgh, United States On May 13, 1994
Getty ImagesRemi BENALI

The Steel City has an almost incomprehensible number of bridges. The same goes for its number of world-class museums. While it’s tempting to think of the birthplace of Andy Warhol as a hotspot rising from the ashes, the city has long had a thriving arts and design scene. Here are six places where design lovers can see that history for themselves.

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1 Tour The Andy Warhol Museum

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Andy couldn’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh, but the smoggy city he found hellish remembers him fondly. Homages to Warhol’s flowers are painted onto boarded-up windows throughout city, and the is seven floors of thoughtful exhibits mapping his many eras, influences, and impacts. Don’t leave the museum without picking up souvenirs in the gift shop or slinking down to the basement to the vintage photo booth—just like the ones Warhol used to shoot his famous portrait series.

2 See a show at Heinz Hall

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The Grand Lobby of the 1920s-era concert hall shines in 24-karat gold leaf, crystal chandeliers, and silk draping in a French Court style. With style atypical to the Rust Belt, is the home of the . The group is big on talent and less so on stuffiness. Catch them for shows with nouveau themes, like the Zelda soundtrack or “Brahms in Da Haus.”

3 Visit the Mattress Factory

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Founded by Barbara Luderowski as an artist community in a mattress warehouse in Pittsburgh’s North Side, the grew into a contemporary art museum spread out over three buildings. Its experimental lab features site-specific installations created by international artists in residence, such as “” by Dennis Maher that “cleaves, intermingles, and collages a house's physical and metaphysical counterparts” on three floors of row house owned by the museum.

4 Shop on Butler Street

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Take your business to Butler Street in up-and-coming Lawrenceville to weave in and out of the city’s vintage furniture stores, artisan shops, and gastropubs. Two highlights include retro mod finds at And the mid-century goods at .

5 Party at Carnegie Museum of Art

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Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, is the oldest North American exhibition of contemporary art from around the globe. It also throws a pretty darn good party. Visit during one of its and sip on local brews while dancing in the sculpture court or browsing the massive decorative arts collection. Or, hold your poses until morning and visit for a yoga and live classical music pairing.

6 Stay and eat at Ace Hotel

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Housed in a former YMCA, this outpost of the is the first designed entirely by the company’s in-house creative team Atelier Ace. The firm sourced textiles, furniture, and more from local artisans, and the hotel restaurant serves up the reigning pasta of the Eastern European city: cheesy, fluffy pierogies.

Photographs by , who chronicled Pittsburgh’s African-American population from the 1930s to the ’70s, line the hotel’s main stairwell. The hotel is part of a wave of development (or gentrification) in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood, which was once one of America’s most thriving black business sectors.

Stay on a weekend when the hotel’s events serve up local flavor via the area’s drag darlings or a pop-up of vintage and craft vendors in the restored gymnasium. Just please don’t leave comparing Pittsburgh to Brooklyn. It’s not true, and the locals really hate when yinz say that.

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