Pittsburgh has so many hidden gemsthat often get overlooked. From the abundance of man-made places to the more naturally occurring ones, there is certainly no shortage of surreal locations and things around the city to be wowed by. But don't just take my word for it, check out this list and decide for yourself.
Bayernhof Music Museum
Where: 225 St Charles Pl
You've never seen a museum quite like this before. The Bayernhof Music Museum is an extremely unique 19,000 square foot museum, once the home of Charles B. Brown III — the Museum's founder. It is now used to display a world-class collection of musical items. The river views and spectacular pool room are just an added bonus. Don't you just want to relax here all day?
St. Anthony's Chapel
Where: 1704 Harpster St.
What makes St. Anthony's Chapel so surreal is the extensive collection of religious relics here. In fact, the chapel holds the largest amount of relics outside of the Vatican including a thorn from The Crown of Thorns of Christ, personal items of saints, and thousands of other rare Christian artifacts.
Where: 1501 Arch St
Randyland is often featured on unique places lists, and rightfully so. This vividly colorful home belongs to the inspirational folk artist, Randy Gilson, who has turned it into a whimsical landmark of the city that is totally free to visit. Isn't it beautiful?
The Caves of Allegheny Cemetery
Where: 4715 Penn Ave
Catacombs are expected in cemeteries, but caves — not so much. From the shark headstone to the ornate Egyptian Styled Tomb, the Allegheny Cemetery is, in general, a really cool and scenic park to visit. However, what makes the cemetery so surreal is the seemingly misplaced large caves, hidden only a short hike away.
Abandoned Graffiti Train Tracks
Where: 990 Saw Mill Run Blvd, Mt. Washington
Located off of a quiet pathway, this small section of abandoned train tracks has become a hotspot for graffiti artists, street art admirers, and adventurers. Do note, it's a bit of an uphill trek to reach the tracks, but well worth the effort — and a great place to take some edgy Instagram pics.
Where: 461 McKinney Rd, Wexford
A lot of people don't realize that a short drive north of Pittsburgh is one of the infamous Gravity Hills — a naturally occurring optical illusion anomaly making it appear that objects defy gravity and move in the direction of uphill.
The Fountain of Youth
Where: 10127 Kummer Rd, Wexford
While you're visiting Gravity Hill you should pop over to the Fountain of Youth, also in Wexford's North Park. This structure was built over a natural spring back in the 1930's. There is still some mystery surrounding the original purpose of it other than to be a replica of the original Fountain of Youth in Greece, but it continues to remain open for public enjoyment and speculation.
Mellon Institute Columns
Where: 4400 Fifth Ave
If your first thought was, "wow those are unsightly," then that's good (kind of). These filthy columns remain uncleaned to serve as a reminder of Pittsburgh's polluted past. The flourishing coal and steel industry of the mid-1900s left the city coated in layers of soot, and while clean up efforts took place over the following decades, some buildings, like the Mellon Institute, left a few areas untouched to remind society about the effects of pollution.
The Color Park
Where: 1 S 6th St
The Color Park is a funky community space located on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in South Side. While it offers brilliant views of the city from across the river, what makes it truly amazing is the colorful artwork all around. Take a walk down this path and it will surely brighten up your day.
Frick Park Clay Courts
Where: 800 S Braddock Ave
While this might look like any other tennis court, the Frick Park clay courts are anything but usual. This unique court was first built in the 1930s out of natural red clay, making it one of the first of its kind in the entire United States and remaining one of the few still left in existence.
Where: Canton Avenue, Beechview
This signpost kind of did my job for me by telling you what's so special about this hill. Canton Avenue is so steep that cars are only allowed to go up it, not down, and there are occasional competitions between cyclists who attempt to conquer it. If you feel like doing something active, take a walk up it and see how tired you are by the time you get to the top.
The Butterfly Forest
Where: One Schenley Park
One room to rule them all. The seasonal Butterfly Forest room in Phipps Conservatory is probably one of the most surreal places in the city. I mean, where else are you going to be surrounded by dozens of free-flying majestic butterflies in one location?
Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden
Where: 4905 Fifth Ave
While we're on the topic of botanical gardens ... this charming botanical garden is dedicated to featuring biblical plants and plants with biblical names. Whether you're religious or not, it's a great place to meditate and admire the flowers — and it is certainly not as busy as Phipps.
Duquesne Brewery Clock
Where: 184 South 21st Street
If you think Big Ben in London is impressive, then you have overlooked the Duquesne Brewery Clock. That's right, the largest clock face in the United States, and once in the world, is right here in Pittsburgh! Measuring in at an impressive 60-foot diameter, with a 28-foot long minute hand weighing a literal ton, this seemingly plain clock built in 1933 is way cooler than you ever knew.
The Weeping Glass
Where: 817 E Warrington Ave
This macabre oddity shop and gallery opened only a year ago but has quickly become a local sensation. Slightly different than Trundle Manor, The Weeping Glass is not only a museum but also an alternative store and cafe, making it a pretty cool all-in-one place for anyone into the darker side of life.
Where: Roslyn Place
You know how they say things just aren't made like they used to be? This is the perfect example. Roslyn Place is a historic landmark because it's one of the very few wooden block paved roads still left in existence in the United States, and is the last wooden street in Pittsburgh. It was built in 1914 as an alternative to the typical cobblestone roadway and has managed to survive with minimal reconstruction for over a century.
Where: 5109 Margaret Morrison St
From a distance, this looks like just a normal fence, but if you get up a little closer you will see it's covered in layers of paint. Year after year for over 70 years the students of Carnegie Mellon University have painted the fence.
After being named the "most painted object in the world" by the Guinness Book of World Records, by 1993 it had so much paint on it (six inches of layered paint to be precise) that it finally collapsed under its own weight. Since then the fence has been replaced with sturdy concrete and is well on its way to again being the most painted object in the world.
Where: 10 Children's Way
Weird, but interesting. This roadside sculptural ball is nine feet in diameter and was created by artist Keny Marshal using parts from a 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Does this count as recycling?
Robot Hall of Fame
Where: One Allegheny Ave
This Carnegie Science Center exhibit is the world's largest permanent exhibition on robotics — honoring some of the most beloved and groundbreaking robots known to us mere humans.
Where: 3315 Penn Avenue
Magneto isn't that bad of a guy, after all, his job here is to protect the wall of the AAA Scrap Yard from graffiti. Before Magneto, the wall would constantly get covered in graffiti no matter how many times it was repainted. Local street artist Jeremy Raymer stepped in and decided to paint the X-men supervillain in an attempt to deter further vandalism. Now the mural is a well-respected work of art in the community.
Where: 231 Perry Hwy
Come one, come all, to the nations largest pinball collection museum and arcade. With over 270 machines ranging in age from the beginning of pinball machine history to the modern, there are certainly plenty of machines to entertain the whole crew for hours.
Our Lady of Lourdes Replica
Where: 600 Forbes Ave
There are many Lady of Lourdes replicas around the world, including one right here in the 'Burgh. Ours is located at the southwestern tip of the Duquesne campus. It was erected in a private and peaceful spot with a great view of the surrounding horizon, making it the perfect place for meditation and sunset watching.
Center for PostNatural History
Where: 4913 Penn Ave
I bet this guy is pretty fun at the parties. Anyways, the Center of PostNatural History is full of, well, postnatural organisms that humans have genetically modified for one reason or another, but always in the name of science.