Where to go: Pittsburgh's 4 best museums

Where to go: Pittsburgh's 4 best museums
Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History/Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on August 08, 2018.

Looking to check out the top museums around?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top museums in Pittsburgh, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture when you'd like to spend a day learning something new and perusing rare artifacts.

1. Bicycle Heaven

Photo: Richard L./Yelp

Topping the list is Bicycle Heaven. Located at 1800 Preble Ave. in RJ Casey Industrial Park, it's the highest rated museum in Pittsburgh, boasting five stars out of 131 reviews on Yelp.

Starting out as a bike repair shop, Bicycle Heaven slowly evolved over the years to become a museum of rare, vintage and famous bikes. With nearly 4,000 bicycles under its roof, you'll see bikes like the Bowden Spacelander, the first fiberglass bike ever made. Of 30 extant Bowden Spacelanders, Bicycle Heaven has 17. Also on display are theme bikes from The Beatles, Elvis Presley and more. And if your own bike is giving you trouble, Bicycle Heaven still operates as a bike repair and accessory shop.

Yelper Ellie E. said, "This place is totally rad. There are many rooms and hundreds of bicycles, some of which are extremely rare! The whole place is cheeky and whimsical and the owner and staff couldn't be more kind! We loved it here! This place charges no admission and simply asks for a donation."

2. Senator John Heinz History Center

Photo: Terald H./Yelp

Next up is the Strip District's Senator John Heinz History Center, situated at 1212 Smallman St. With 4.5 stars out of 125 reviews on Yelp, the museum has proven to be a local favorite.

The museum, which is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, has an extensive collection of historical exhibits and artifacts. Exhibits include "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" with set pieces from the famous children's show; "Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation," which celebrates 250 years of Pittsburgh innovations; "From Slavery to Freedom," a history of slavery, from 18th century Africa to 21st century Pennsylvania and more. (See current and upcoming exhibits here.)

Jessica T., who visited on Aug. 6, wrote, "I was blown away by how much this museum has to offer. I've been here a few times in the past for events, but, up until now, I hadn't explored the entire museum. I loved the variety of local exhibits, especially the Heinz and Mr. Rogers sections. By far my favorite section was the housing examples through the centuries."

3. Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History/Yelp

Carnegie Museum of Natural History, located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the museum 4.5 stars out of 118 reviews.

This natural history museum possesses a large collection of artifacts, objects and scientific specimens that it uses to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation and biodiversity. You'll see dinosaur fossil specimens, a mineral and gem exhibit, a North American wildlife hall, an African wildlife hall, an exhibit on ancient Egypt and much more. (See current exhibits here to learn more.)

Jenny H. said, "I visit here frequently when we are in need of a rainy day activity or have not attended in some time. The museum has rotating exhibits throughout the year, as well as permanent exhibits. My favorites tend to be the dinosaur exhibits and the minerals and gems exhibit. Each time we go, I learn something new that I had missed previously."

4. Carnegie Science Center

Photo: Jason Z./Yelp

Over in Chateau, check out theĀ Carnegie Science Center, which has earned four stars out of 134 reviews on Yelp. You can find the museum at 1 Allegheny Ave.

It's part of the same group of museums as the above natural history museum, but dwells on more contemporary topics and has many interactive and hands-on opportunities. Exhibits include "The Art of the Brick," which features original Lego sculptures as well as re-imagined versions of world famous art; "BodyWorks" on the internal workings of the human body; and the Miniature Railroad & Village with a replica of western Pennsylvania. Don't forget to check out the dry-docked USS Requin outside, an exhibit on life inside a submarine. (See all the exhibits here.)

Jenny H., who reviewed it on Feb. 14 wrote, "I love the Science Center, even as an adult! They have so much to offer and frequently rotate their exhibits to keep people coming back! Each floor is designated to a different area of science, and there are countless things to explore."