On average, the city of Seattle, well-known as one of the wettest in the United States, sees a little more than 34 inches of rain each year. And Pittsburgh? Try approximately 37. That’s right: You’ve come to a seriously rainy place. But not to worry—there’s more than enough going on here underneath the protection of a solid roof.
In Oakland, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History (4400 Forbes Ave., 412/622-3131, www.cmoa.org , www.carnegiemnh.org , $10 adult, $6 child, $7 senior) both lie within the same building. What’s more, the entrance fee includes admission to both. It’s an interesting juxtaposition: If you grow tired of the Monets or Jackson Pollacks, for instance, there’s always the Hall of African Wildlife next door. And there’s no need to hunt outside for lunch, either—the Museum of Art Café and the Fossil Fuels Café both have you covered.
When the museums get old, take a pit stop at the main branch of the Carnegie Library (www.clpgh.org ), which is also under the same roof. It can be accessed through a door located in Sculpture Hall. (Both museums are closed on Monday.) Also, don’t forget the Nationality Rooms (www.pitt.edu/~natrooms ) at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning (Corner of 5th Ave. and Bigelow Blvd., 412/624-4141, www.pitt.edu ), which is about a two-minute walk away.
Should you find yourself on the North Side, the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., 412/237-8300, www.warhol.org , $10 adult, $6 child, $7 senior), offers not just a stunning collection of the artist’s work, but also various temporary exhibitions, a movie theater screening Warhol films daily, a café, a vintage, black-and-white photo booth, and a fantastic gift shop. There is also the Weekend Factory, where visitors can create their own Warhol-esque art on Saturdays and Sundays.
A bit further north and in the heart of the Mexican War Streets is the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way, 412/231-3169, www.mattress.org , $9 adult, $6 student, $7 senior), a stunning installation art museum featuring a number of permanent exhibitions by James Turrell.
Pittsburgh has a surprisingly vibrant theater scene; independent productions and mainstream fare can be found throughout the city. The ever-popular City Theatre (1300 Bingham St., 412/431-2489, www.citytheatrecompany.org ) on the South Side offers everything from one-person shows to Broadway productions; the CMU drama department consistently produces quality work at the Purnell Center for the Arts (412/268-2407); the Pittsburgh Public Theater (621 Penn Ave., 412/316-1600, www.pgharts.org/venues/oreilly.aspx ) in the city’s Cultural District presents Broadway-style plays in an intimate setting; and the Pittsburgh Playhouse (22 Craft Ave., 412/621-4445, www.pointpark.edu ) is home to three acclaimed theater companies.
Not a fan of the boards? Check out one of Pittsburgh’s independent film houses: Local favorites include the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., 412/682-4111, www.pghfilmmakers.org/melwood.html ) in North Oakland, Downtown’s Harris Theater (809 Liberty Ave., 412/471-9700, www.pghfilmmakers.org/harris.html ), the Oaks Theater (310 Allegheny River Blvd., 412/828-6311, www.theoakstheater.com ) in Oakmont, and the Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Ave., 412/682-4811, www.pghfilmmakers.org/regent.html ) in Edgewood.
Assuming you’re at least somewhat literarily inclined, you’ve probably passed more than your fair share of rainy days sunken deep in a comfy couch with a stack of good books and a cup of hot chocolate by your side. Conveniently enough, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (2705 E. Carson St., 412/381-3600, www.josephbeth.com ) at SouthSide Works, the city’s largest bookstore, has a super-secret door in the far corner of its music department that leads directly to Caribou Coffee (www.cariboucoffee.com ). Caribou offers all manner of snacks and caffeinated beverages. Joseph-Beth’s magazine selection alone will make your jaw drop, and some of the chairs and couches are comfortable enough to pass out in. Author readings take place quite often, so grab a schedule at the checkout counter to see what’s going on.