The North Shore is loved for its tailgates, concerts, and tasty grub so it can be easy to overlook some of its other cool cultural parts. From the Science Center to the Andy Warhol Bridge Pittsburgh has shoved a lot of culture into the obvious spaces but also into nooks and crannies. We found 38.
Some are instagramable. Some are informative. And some are just plain weird. But all are pretty Pittsburgh. The next time you’re on the #NorthShorePGH take a walk and explore the memorials, statues, historical markers, and just plain old random things.
1. Three Rivers Heritage Trail
You’ve probably walked on this a million times and not realized that it is “something”. Not only can you bike, run, and walk on a nice non-hilly path but many of the heritage points are marked as you travel along it.
2. Mr. Rogers Statue “Tribute to Children”
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood every day at the Mr. Rogers statue and always a beautiful day to get a pic of the Point and downtown skyline. You’re not make believing you hear songs from the TV show; beloved “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” songs play and provide a soundtrack to your visit.
3. Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial
The memorial designated to the Greatest Generation includes 52 panels of glass and granite that describe the war, the region’s role in the conflict, and the sacrifices of local veterans. The interior is devoted to the local history while the exterior describes the story of the war around the world.
4. Lewis & Clark Memorial Tree
This is not the spot marking their departure point; that is located up the river towards the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. We’re just as uncertain as to why this is a thing as you probably are. But, hey, it’s culture — just in plaque/tree-form.
5. Pittsburgh Law Enforcement Memorial
Marked with seven flags, the memorial honors all Law Enforcement Officers who have made the “Supreme Sacrifice”.
6. Langley Observatory Clock + Carnegie Science Center
We first thought someone forgot to remove a piece of steel from the sidewalk, but turns out this is art.
While weird to look at it, its purpose is to recall some pretty cool Pittsburgh history. It is a “clock” to remind us that in 1870, Langley, Director of the Allegheny Observatory, created the Allegheny System – a standardized system of measuring and disseminating the accurate time – which the railroads desperately needed. That’s right, Pittsburgh gave the world standardized time! Bam!
7. USS Requin
Because it’s a submarine in a river.
8. Pitt Panther Statue
A wild cat in the heart of the city, the panther appears to be on the prowl and we swear we’ve heard it even growl out a “P-I-T-T Let’s Go Pitt!”.
9. Art Rooney Statue
We wouldn’t have the Steelers without him so take a moment and pretend to smoke a cigar with “The Chief”.
10. Heinz Field
Fittingly the home of the Steelers is very black-and-gold and ready all over for 68,000 die-hard fans.
11. Three Rivers Stadium Marker
Many great moments in Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates history occurred in Three Rivers. Including a time we remember when kids could stay to run the Bucco bases after ballgames.
12. First Professional Football Game Marker
Pittsburgh is the birthplace of professional football. In 1892 the first game was played at Recreation Park, which was home to both baseball and football until the city built the ever-doomed Exposition Park (more on that soon!).
13. Manchester Bridge Sculpture
For 50 years the 12-foot tall sculptures of Gist and Guyasuta adorned a Manchester Bridge portal and welcomed people to the North Side and then for awhile (and for reasons unclear to us) they welcomed people into the North Side Post Office. Now they stand tall in their rectangular stone plaza home to welcome people to Heinz Field.
14. Immaculate Reception Memorial
A moment in sports history memorialized as a pun and you can step right into Franco’s footprint.
15. Stage AE Sign
Stage AE is the second-ever indoor/outdoor concert venue in America (we were so close to being #1!). We like the instagramable AE sign tucked on one side of the building. Strike a pose!
16. Jazz Players Mural
Pittsburgh is the birthplace of jazz. And these funky images painted onto the side of the North Shore Place building reflect the shadows of real Pittsburgh jazz icons.
17. First World Series Historical Marker
Pittsburgh is the birthplace of the World Series. The First World Series in October 1903 at Exposition Park and was played between Pittsburgh and Boston. (This event predated Pittsburgh’s status as City of Champions as Beantown won the series 5-to-3. / Pittsburgh was the first to lose a World Series!)
18. Exposition Park Historical Marker & Home Plate + First Base (painted on the ground)
Lots of flooding and fires mark the history of the various iterations of Exposition Park. And now all that’s left are a historical marker along the sidewalk and some painted-on-asphalt markings in the adjacent parking lot. For the longest time we just thought some enthusiastic tailgaters had painted a mini-half-ballfield whilst awaiting entrance into a Pirates game, but it turns out it actually marks the spot of Home Plate.
19. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
“Grant us peace” is the translation of the Vietnamese words inscribed on this monument. The memorial is to serve as a reminder of the physical and emotional trauma our veterans suffered.
20. Market Street Pier
It’s kind of like San Fran’s Pier 39 except there is nothing interesting about it other than a few benches and river gunk that gets caught on it. But hey it’s kind of like you get to be in the river without having to actually be in the river. Breathe it in or try not to.
21. Water Steps and Canal Square
The Water Steps are constructed of from blocks of sandstone cut from a Butler County quarry. Many children and families gather there to relax and enjoy the views of the City. Step in and walk in water!
22. Korean War Memorial
The centerpiece of the monument is visible from the trail, but there’s so much more to the memorial. A long wall is filled with the names of local veterans of this conflict and several plaques outline events of the war.
23. Bill Mazeroski Statue
It’s the greatest home run of all time from a “champion’s champion”. Maz hit a walk off home run to win the 1960 World Series.
24. PNC Park & Honus Wagner Statue
Reminiscent of the classic ballparks of the past the home of the Pirates provides a sweeping view of the downtown skyline and at its beautiful blue lights and occasionally fireworks light it up at night. The “Flying Dutchman” statue now marks the home plate entrance having previously soared at Three Rivers Stadium.
25. 2004 Hurricane Ivan Flood Historical Plaque
In 1936 Pittsburgh suffered “The Great St. Patrick’s Day Flood” and the downtown was under 46 feet of water. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan also left its mark on the city – dumping 5.95″ of rain in one day – the greatest daily precipitation on record in the city. This plaque, located on the right-field steps down towards the river, marks how high the water rose right here along the North Shore.
26. View of the “Adjutant” Mural
During your walk along the riverfront you’ll be surrounded by history and living history and what looks like a wall full of graffiti across the river. But it is an intentional graffiti art project which replaced old graffiti tags. But we feeeel like it may still be just plain ol’ graffiti?
27. Roberto Clemente Statue
In 1960 “The Great One” became the first Latino player to win a World Series as a starter. Glass boxes around the base of the statue contain a bit of soil from the important stadiums in Roberto’s life – Santurce Field (Puerto Rico), Forbes Field, and Three Rivers Stadium.
28. Willie Stargell Statue
A statue of No. 8 Pittsburgh Pirates stands tall at the left-field entrance to PNC Park. Stargell’s quote on first impression of Pittsburgh is engraved on it: “Last night, coming in from the airport, we came through the tunnel and the city opened up its arms and I felt at home.” Oh we couldn’t agree with you more, Pops!
29. “The Builders” Statue
No they aren’t very good street performers holding a perfect pose. This 1984 bronze sculpture serves as a tribute to Pittsburgh’s two renaissances.
30. “The Forks” Statue
Unfortunately not a food utensil reference instead it’s a reference to the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio) as well as the city’s “molten metal steel mill” history.
31. & 32. “Piazza Lavaro” and “Mythic Source” Art Installation
Half of it is art to recognize the city’s “contributions to American labor, labor’s role in our nation’s development”. The other half is symbolizes man’s origins in water. It contains X-rated elements so either shield your eyes or get ready to Instagram it!
33. “Pittsburgh Variations” Art Installation
To us it looks like a group of funky colorful metal, but its 4 parts represent various Pittsburgh things (the paddlewheel for the rivers, a crucible for industry, a Golden Triangle for business/finance, and Penn’s Woods for natural resources). Behind it note the Alcoa Building which some say is architecturally interesting.
34. Allegheny Cotton Mill Strikes Marker
Fighting against terrible working conditions, 12-hour days, and child labor, women left their jobs. Eventually some even picked up axes and stormed the doors of the local cotton factories to drive away the “scab girls” and the guards. The strike itself failed but child labor laws ensued 3 years later.
35. Allegheny City Marker (Three Rivers Heritage Trail Marker)
In the early 1700s, the Allegheny River formed a boundary: lands claimed by European nations were to the east, and lands claimed by Native Americans were to the west. While Pittsburgh was the “Smoky City,” Allegheny was the “City of Parks”. The Allegheny Commons became one of the first public parks west of the Allegheny Mountains. Pittsburgh and Allegheny City were twin cities until 1907 when Pittsburgh became the nation’s eighth largest city by annexing Allegheny.
36. Weird Fishing “Pier”
We assume it is something because it is straight-up odd. We have seen fishermen fishing from there, but never stuck around long enough to see the results. Carp-e diem!
37. Kayak Pittsburgh Launch Point + Pittsburgh River Rescue Hub
Usually there are many geese. Plus Trolls? We like that if you happen to tip your kayak or fall overboard while partying on your best friend’s boat the River Rescue is just a hop, skip, and a lifejacket away.
38. Andy Warhol Museum
Andy Warhol brought pop-art to pop-culture. Snag a pic in front or go up one block to visit the parking lot to get a pic next to a Brillo Box parking booth.
We toured all 38 spots on the North Shore. Check out our pics. (Photo Cred for all photos: Mo Macel)