Places to photograph in Pittsburgh

So what’s the first thing that you do when you decide to take a trip to a new city?  Places to stay?  That’s obviously first.  Places to eat?  Places to go?  Things to see?  As photographers I’m sure that Google has saved the phrase “places to take photos in …” insert city name in our internet history.  And why not?  I know for me, that is a big part of the fun of traveling.  Capturing the memory how I saw it is the exciting part.  All of that being said, I wanted to give my recommendations for some of the best places to photograph in Pittsburgh, from up high on Mt. Washington to down low on the North Shore.  I’ll also give some insight as to the parking situation and the best time of day and which day works best.  These won’t be in a particular order, except for the first one, which is a must.

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicelloplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicelloplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello

1.  Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington, located just above the south shore of the Monongahela River is consistently mentioned by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful scenes in the world.  Originally named Coal Hill and a staple of the Pittsburgh coal mining industry, it now boasts some of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants and certainly its best view.  Along Grandview Avenue, which runs parallel to the river, there are four overlooks on which you can admire the city.  If one of them is too crowded, just head on to the next one.  You can also make your down to both sides.  One provides a straight on view of the city, one has a bit of an angle.  The one of the fountain was taken a bit farther down.

Location: Mt. Washington

Days:  Any day will give you a great view, but it is the most crowded on Friday and Saturday

Times:  Early morning, before 7:00 and any time after 6:00.  Night time is a must.

Parking: Plenty of metered parking along Grandview Ave. and free side street parking

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh piratesplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook

2.  West End Overlook

Similar to Mt. Washington, the West End Overlook provides an exceptional view of the city.  The slight difference is that it is located farther down the river and actually is situated above the Ohio River, which is formed by the Allegheny and aforementioned Monongahela.  You can get a great view of all three rivers from here and a straight on shot of the city from the view of Point State Park.  Unfortunately, the rubber duck you see in the second image is no longer at the Point!

Location:  Elliott, a suburb of Pittsburgh

Days:  Same as Mt. Washington

Times:  Same as Mt. Washington

Parking:  Free street parking around the park area

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello

 

3.  Cathedral of Learning

Located on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh is the iconic Cathedral of Learning, 42 stories tall with a wealth of photographic opportunities.  Whether you want to roam the first three floors and check out some of the country themed classrooms (only these rooms permit photography) like Austria and India or choose to head up to the 36th floor to the Honor’s College to capture the Pittsburgh and Oakland skyline, there is something for everyone.  Of course you shouldn’t leave without making sure to capture the towering structure from outside as well.

Location: Oakland, on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus

Days:  Since it is used for studying and classes it is open most days, with morning being the least busy

Times: Early morning, late evening

Parking: Metered parking around the campus, some free parking on side streets

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburghplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates
PNC Park

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello


Heinz Field

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello

Reflections of the Roberto Clemente Bridge at nightplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello

The sun rise on the North Shore

4.  North Shore

The North Shore, located just over the Roberto Clemente Bridge from downtown Pittsburgh is one of my favorite places to shoot.  First off, it houses two of the city’s three professional sports stadiums in PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers).  Both are new, unique stadiums that look good from any angle.  As a bonus, there are statues all around the stadiums.  At PNC Park you have statues of Pirates legends Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski.  At Heinz Field you have the Chief, Art Rooney.  Down along the Riverwalk also affords some outstanding views of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Location:  Over either the Ft. Duquesne Bridge or the Roberto Clemente Bridge

Days:  All year round

Times:  Anytime is a great time

Parking:  Plenty of street parking, both metered and free, as well as free parking in the casino

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh
The Pennsylvanian

5.  The Pennsylvanian

The Pennsylvanian is a collection of high end apartments, offices and event hosting facilities located at the beginning of the Strip District, just outside the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.  While you can’t get inside to photograph anything, the gem of the building is the dome right by the entrance.  With intricate stone work and carvings, make sure you grab your wide angle lens to capture this space in all of its beauty.

Location:  Intersection of Liberty Avenue and Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh

Days: Any day

Times:  Definitely best at night

Parking:  Parking garage across the street.  Best bet is to park your car somewhere cheaper and walk

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello
CONSOL Energy Center

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh

Civic Arena

6.  CONSOL Energy Center

This state of the art arena accounts for the third professional sports venue in Pittsburgh, home of the hockey team the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Only a few years young, it offers a unique construction with waves of glass along the front and the side of the structure, offering great reflections of the downtown area.  Across the street once stood the former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Civic Arena (or Igloo as it was affectionately known as in the ‘Burgh!), but it was demolished in the spring of 2012.  I documented the demolition in my gallery “The Razing of the Igloo”.

Location:  Between Centre Avenue, Washington Place and 5th Avenue in Pittsburgh

Days:  Any day

Times:  Early morning or after dark when it’s all lit up

Parking: Plenty of street parking as well as lots that are free on non event days


Heinz Chapel

7.  Heinz Chapel

Like the Cathedral of Learning, Heinz Chapel is located in the heart of the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  Built in 1938, the Chapel’s spires cut through the skyline and the ornate detail and intricate stonework, both inside and out, are a photographer’s dream.  Make sure you head up to the balcony once you are inside as well, as the view is just incredible.

Location:  University of Pittsburgh’s campus

Days:  Monday through Saturday, as masses are held some Sundays

Times:  Between 8:00 and 5:30

Parking: Metered parking around the campus, some free parking on side streets

 

8.  Pittsburgh Zoo

Combining fun and photography you can never really go wrong, and the Pittsburgh Zoo offers just that.  From the tiger cage right when you enter with several great viewing angles to the tunnel beneath the polar bears and the sharks, the Pittsburgh Zoo has something for everyone.  It’s hard to not fill up a memory card on a trip to the zoo!

Location:  7340 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Days:  Every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

Times:  Changes for the season, but generally 9:00 to 5:00

Parking:  Plenty of lots available

 

places to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, fountain in pittsburgh, giant rubber duck pittsburgh, giant rubber duck, rubber duck pittsburghplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, fountain in pittsburgh, giant rubber duck pittsburgh, giant rubber duck, rubber duck pittsburghplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlookplaces to photograph in pittsburgh, pittsburgh skyline, city if pittsburgh, pnc park, west end overlook, heinz field, consol energy center, civic arena, university of pittsburgh, cathedral of learning, fountain at point state park, point state park fountain, fountain in pittsburgh, roberto clemente state, roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh pirates, west end overlook, mt. washington, views of pittsburgh, dave dicello

9.  The Fountain at Point State Park

After four years of renovation, the Fountain, located at Point State Park, there the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio, was reopened in June of 2013.  The fountain, which tops out at 150 feet high when at its top most point, is a draw for Pittsburghers of all ages.  Some take pictures, some dip their feet in and some, mostly little kids, use it as a swimming pool.  At night the lighting on it is stunning (as you can see from earlier in this post in the view from Mt. Washington), and it’s just as beautiful during the day.  Even when the fountain is off, the pool provides beautiful reflections of the Pittsburgh skyline, which you can see above.  It is only operational, however, from spring until the end of autumn.

Location: Point State Park, Pittsburgh

Days: Daily

Times: Fountain turns on at about 7:00 a.m. and stays on until 11:00

Parking:  Street parking around the Point


Station Square at night

 


South Side Works at Christmas

10.  South Side Works / Station Square

I’ve grouped these two together because, while they are separated by about 30 blocks, they both lie in the South Side of Pittsburgh.  The South Side, which is located all along East Carson is a collection of bars and restaurants with something for everyone, from kids to adults.  Ice creams shops, upscale bars and restaurants provide a very colorful backdrop for the nightlife in Pittsburgh.  Neon lights up the night, especially in South Side works, home to the Cheesecake Factory, Hofbräuhaus as well as the South Side Cinemas, complete with an old style neon sign out front.  Right next to the South Side Works is also the Hot Metal Bridge, named as such for its purpose of being the bridge that carried the molten steel of J&L Steel to the different banks of the Monongahela River, which it spans.

Station Square, located at the very end of the South Side right next to the Smithfield Street Bridge gives a unique view of the Pittsburgh skyline from beside the train tracks.  Couple that with the courtyard complete with fountains and you’ve got yourself a great photo op.  Make sure to grab a shot of all the intricate details on the Smithfield Street Bridge while you are there!

Location:  East Carson Street

Days:  Any day

Times:  After dark

Parking: Tons of free street parking as well as a few garages

Well, I hope that helped you to get an idea the best places to shoot the Pittsburgh cityscape and surrounding areas!  I will more than likely update this list periodically but if you happen to be coming into town and have a question about anything, feel free to send me an e-mail!

Happy shooting!

  • Zach Frailey - November 30, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    Awesome guide to the ‘burgh! Makes me homesick and look forward to coming back for Christmas even more!ReplyCancel

    • Stacey - December 1, 2011 - 6:23 am

      Your images are fantastic Dave! I’m not too far from Pittsburgh, a few hours at the most and am excited to take a visit there to see everything. I’m so excited that I found your link through Zach’s post. Great job!ReplyCancel

      • Dave DiCello - December 1, 2011 - 12:08 pm

        Thanks Stacy I appreciate that! Big thanks to Zach as well for posting it!ReplyCancel

  • LensScaper - December 1, 2011 - 7:57 am

    Well, if those pics don’t sell Pittsburgh, nothing will! A tremendous selection and a huge amount of work I guess to process this set. I particularly like the two of PNC Park and the Heinz Chapel – the fisheye really does something special to those views. This is stunning work, Dave.ReplyCancel

    • Dave DiCello - December 1, 2011 - 12:10 pm

      Thanks a lot Andy!ReplyCancel

  • Jim Denham - December 1, 2011 - 12:26 pm

    Wow, great collection of spots Dave! I’ve been to a couple of these, but it’s been a while! Nice work!ReplyCancel

  • Edith Levy - December 1, 2011 - 5:14 pm

    This is an awesome guide Dave. Really, really well done. Now I have to get my self down there and make use of the guide.ReplyCancel

  • Curt Fleenor - December 1, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    Terrific set Dave, I really like the first shot of the stadium looking over home plate.ReplyCancel

  • rachel - May 11, 2012 - 9:25 pm

    where would the best place to capture the cathedral of learning? i am making a pittsburgh collage and i dont know where there is a good spot to take a picture of itReplyCancel

  • Faith @ Photography Central - July 30, 2012 - 12:10 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I am a photographer from Greensburg. I don’t photograph many session in the city. Currently, I have a senior portrait client and business client who would both like Pittsburgh skyline shots in the back of their photos. I was looking for places to shoot from and your post was very helpful. Love your photography; beautiful work!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Oliver - May 5, 2013 - 7:44 pm

    Your photos are fantastic. Beautiful work.ReplyCancel

  • […] Posted by Smoke … I'm running out of ideas of things to shoot. To the Googles! Places to Photograph in Pittsburgh Originally Posted by Smoke I feel I am limited with my lens. Trust me when I tell you […]ReplyCancel

  • Victor M. Lopez - December 23, 2013 - 10:27 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your pictures. They are Amazing!!
    I live in DC and I’m visiting Pittsburgh for Christmas, since I’m working on becoming a professional photographer I was looking online for ideas of places to photograph and rant into your work. It’s really and inspiration. Thanks again Dave.
    Merry Christmas!!ReplyCancel

  • ronald evans - June 15, 2014 - 8:42 am

    JUST WONDERFOLL MY HEART LONGS TO BE THIER.ReplyCancel

  • fast chip anderson - November 18, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    I have looked at my home my city I was born in as a man leaving Pittsburgh to find himself and riches. I found one but the other eludes me like trying to catch air in your hand. the only riches I have are my memories I am a middle aged man now… sitting at a computer looking at pictures of my Pittsburgh how pretty she looks like the very woman I loved with all my heart I think of her a lot and wonder what if…I love her I will always love tears flowed from my eyes as I looked upon her you see its been a while I left her in 1984 I was 26 young strong and ambitious I wanted to do just as Pittsburgh taught me to go win but as I said the riches eluded me I live in Atlanta a beautiful city I also love we have three children together I have one from the steel city today just sitting here at the computer I got a chance to see her again and she look so good a tear flowed from my eye she is and will always be my first love if you rolled up my right sleeve tattooed on my right bicep is a couple buildings oxford center pp and g building and her name the one I will love forever and forever PITTSBURGH…ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

F a c e b o o k
S u b s c r i b e !
C o n t a c t   m e !