Forgo the humdrum dinner-and-movie date night for something a little more enlightening, engaging and, yes, even educational. Ditch the bar, grab your iPhone (for jotting down interesting tidbits to impress at your next social event) and head out to five of the best museums the Steel City has to offer.
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
10 Children's Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
You might be thinking that this is an odd option for an adult date-night locale, but trust just how amusing it is to be a kid again. Get loose, roll your sleeves up and dive in for a night of fun, and great food to boot. The Red Room Cafe at the Children's Museum offers delicious, organic choices, such as a feta and spinach falafel, three-bean chili and homemade mac 'n cheese. Do some painting, explore the museum's fabulous garden (and get your hands dirty) and even try your hand at some robotics, or check out the museum's monthly rotating installation. You'll leave with a sense of wonder and will verifiably learn at least one new thing.
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
The best part about the Mattress Factory is if you are feeling a little nonplussed with your date, you can sneak into one of its huge exhibitions and hide. The Mattress Factory, located on Pittsburgh's culturally rich Mexican War streets, houses a host of contemporary art - much of which is dreamed up and constructed on-site. Visit the uber-cool sensory deprivation chamber, where sight, sound and smell are locked away; challenge your date to see how long you can last. Be sure to also visit the Factory's permanent exhibitions, where form and vision collide into a dazzling (and sometimes baffling) array of aesthetically pleasing pieces.
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Voted by Pittsburgh Magazine readers as "Best Museum," this award speaks volumes for this loving tribute to the Steel City. From long-term exhibitions, like 'Clash of Empires,' to new exhibits opening monthly, a kid's zone, historical archives and so much more, the Heinz History Center will entertain and delight you and your company for hours on end. Don't worry about first-date jitters as you browse the museum's galleries and gorgeous art installations, sculptures and repurposed/replicated artifacts. Be sure to check out the popular Mr. Roger's Trolley and also the Center's delightful collections.
Related: Unique Nights Out In Pittsburgh
August Wilson Center for African American Culture
980 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Your date will be enlightened to learn about the AWC's activism to preserve, present and celebrate the history and culture of African Americans of Western Pennsylvania. Visit the Center in its new home in Pittsburgh's rich Cultural District, and make a day of your visit by heading to the award-winning Meat & Potatoes afterwards. Enjoy the August Wilson Center's dazzling and varied galleries, a 486-seat theater for performances (which are accessible on the Center's online event calendar) and a dedicated education center for classes and lectures.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
The most expansive exhibit collection on this list belongs to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. With 14 permanent exhibits in four distinct categories and an ever-revolving temporary exhibition gallery (currently on view through October 27 - RACE: Are We So Different?), the museum has something to excite and entice even the most particular museum aficionado. Check out the gems and be sure not to miss the expansive dinosaur exhibit - one of the country's largest.
Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn't studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she's out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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