On your own in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

PSA offers 13 organized tours for conference attendees (see left side of this page for a link to Conference Tours) but they barely scratch the surface of what you can do while in Pittsburgh. Here are a few activities you can do on your own or with friends.

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    On Sunday, October 8th, the museum will have a special reception for conference attendees. Transportation will be on your own. The museum will also be open daily during the conference.

    Your PSA conference committee has arranged private access for conference attendees to the Photo Antiquities Museum, arguably, “the largest public display of 19th century photographs in the United States”, located on the North Side of Pittsburgh.

    The museum is dedicated to the preservation, presentation and education of the history of photography, offering the region's finest display of vintage photographs, photographic viewing devices, and antique cameras. Designed in the Victorian style, the Photo Antiquities museum preserves and exhibits the history of photography from 1839 to 1939.

    Owner Bruce Klein and curator Frank Walters have traveled the world and collected a half million images of tintypes, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, albumen prints, slides, and more than 1,000 old cameras and pieces of photographic equipment.  All of these items are well preserved on the second floor in humidity and temperature controlled display cabinets with archival glass, all for your viewing and enjoyment.
    On the recently renovated first floor is a spectacular exhibit of images of Lincoln and the Civil War - not to be missed while in Pittsburgh.
    Conference attendees will be given a reduced admission fee of $8 to the museum. 

  • DOORS OPEN PITTSBURGH - Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8

    Doors Open Pittsburgh is a FREE, 2-day event that will provide behind-the-scenes access, or some unique experience, to a collection of iconic buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh.

    Doors Open Pittsburgh takes place the weekend of October 7-8, from 9am-4pm.

    Open buildings will include private clubs, theaters, adaptive re-use, residential, heritage sites, government offices, hotels, sacred places, artists and office spaces.

    Price: $8 for one day, $12 for two days, under 18 is FREE and Seniors over 65 are FREE 
    Note - tickets are required for entry:

    Simply go to the Doors Open Pittsburgh website:
    Decide on the sites you want to visit
    Create your own itinerary and go!
    At each building, you will be greeted by a Doors Open Pittsburgh volunteer, and then be allowed to explore (some sites will provide guided experiences).

  • PSA PHOTOWALKS - October 10-13
    There will be six Photowalks in Pittsburgh for members to get together for a fun few hours of shooting. There are six scheduled. There are no rules, no fees, and the only thing you need to do is have a good time. As in the past, there will be a leader to suggest a route and help with technical questions. In the past these leaders have sometimes included some of our featured speakers. It is a chance to work one on one with a real professional! Come join us!

    Photowalks leave from the Marriott lobby on the following days and times:

    Photowalk A - Tuesday, October 10, 9:30pm - 11:30pm 

    Photowalk B - Wednesday, October 11, 6:00am - 8:00am

    Photowalk C - Wednesday, October 11, 9:30pm - 11:30pm 

    Photowalk D - Thursday, October 12, 6:00am - 8:00am

    Photowalk E - Thursday, October 12, 9:30pm - 11:30pm 

    Photowalk F - Friday, October 13, 6:00am - 8:00am

    During the conference, 6 photowalks through the downtown area will be offered. Each photowalk will be guided by local PSA members familiar with Pittsburgh and may be accompanied by a professional photographer for mentoring and guidance for “getting the shot!" The photowalks will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights form 9:30 to 11, and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 6 to 8. We will meet in the hotel lobby and walk to the locations. The Pittsburgh downtown is very walkable.

    Tuesday evening we will walk to the Pennsylvanian Rotunda, another Pittsburgh historic treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the portico of the prior Pennsylvania Train station now residential apartments. Completed in 1904, the station was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. In 1978, The New Yorker art critic Brendan Gill, and biographer of America beaux-arts architecture, proclaimed that Pittsburgh's Penn Station is "one of the great pieces of Beaux-Arts architecture in America…[one of the] symbols of the nation”. We have special permission to take photos of the lighted rotunda with limitations.

    On the way to the rotunda, will will pass through the Steel Plaza, a small city park with a fountain, trees, and flowers, surrounded by city skyscrapers. Among the buildings we pass are, (1) the 64 story US Steel Tower with 18 exterior columns of steel and exposed frame of Cor-Ten weathering steel, the state-of-the-art when built in 1971, and is the second tallest building between Chicago and New York, (2), Koppers Building crown by a green copper chateau roof, (3), The Omni William Penn Hotel , a beautiful historic big-city hotel, financed by Henry Clay Frick(one of the steel industrial giants) in the 1920s, (This was the only convention facility in Pittsburgh at the time and I believe the first 2 PSA conventions were held in this building), (4) First Lutheran Church built in 1888, (5) Gulf Tower, that serves as Pittsburgh’s 44 story weather beacon and built in 1932, and others.

    Wednesday morning we will walk about 1 block to the Steel Plaza and continue south along Grant Street for old and modern architecture. Grant Street the address for some of the tallest buildings in Pittsburgh and very busy. Those interested in street photography and architecture will enjoy.

    The most prominent is the tall, 64 story US Steel Tower which was described above.

    Along Grant Street and “front and center” to the Steel Plaza Park is the Omni William Penn Hotel. It is a classic, big-city hotel completed in 1929. The hotel was financed by Henry Clay Frick(one of the steel industrial giants) in the 1920s, (This was the only convention facility in Pittsburgh at the time and I believe the first 2 PSA conventions were held in this building). The outside and inside are beautiful.

    Bordering the park on the south side is the 55 story BNY Mellon Center which was completed in 1983. This modern skyscraper was featured prominently in the 1983 film Flashdance (while still under construction). One of the subway stations of the “T” is located underneath.

    Looking up from the park you also can see the ornate Union Trust Building, built in the Flemish-Gothic Renaissance style, and topped by 2 cathedral appearing structures, was completed in 1916.

    As we walk south down Grant Street we pass the Allegheny County Courthouse. This was designed by H.H.Richardson and completed in 1888. It is a complex of buildings considered among the finest examples of the Romanesque Revival style for which Richardson is well known. A prison is connected to the courthouse via the "Bridge of Sighs" based on the infamous bridge in Venice.

    And we complete our walk at the 46 story One Oxford Center which was finished in 1983. At night, this building is illuminated by forty-three 1,500-watt spotlights for a total of 54,500 watts that create a glowing effect that is said to be greater than any other highrise in the USA.

    Wednesday night and Thursday morning we will walk to the Market Square area and the PPG Place courtyard. Market Square originated in 1784 as the public market space and market stalls. Most of the historic buildings of the Market Square area were constructed between 1870s and 1930s and reflect a variety of architectural styles. The Original Oyster House restaurant dates back to 1870 and is a historic landmark. The Skinny building, located on Forbes avenue, was built in 1926, is the skinniest building in the USA and arguably in the world. There are several restaurants and a coffee shop located on the square. The area is very busy with commuters during the week. Neon signage light up the square at night.
    The “crown jewel“ of Pittsburgh’s skyline is PPG Place and courtyard. This is a complex of 6 office buildings surfaced with matching reflective insulating glass and peaked by 231 Gothic appearing glass spires. The buildings are of various heights, the tallest at 46 stories. The design mixes historical Gothic forms with modern design and materials, and is truly unique. The courtyard is gorgeous in any season, day or night. In the winter, the courtyard holds the an ice skating rink that is larger than the rink in New York’s Rockefeller Center. The sheer size of the building complex and unusual detailing make this a very worthwhile photographic experience. We have special permission from management to photograph the complex of buildings with tripods.

    Friday morning we will walk to one of my favorite places to take photos- the Allegheny River north shore for sunrise pictures of the city and of the 3 “sister bridges”. We will walk about 15 minutes to this location. We will pass through the Cultural district theatres, city street art and sculptures and cross the Allegheny River. Once across, you can walk along the river shore across from the modern convention center or downriver under each of the sister bridges, past the glass and aluminum Alcoa Headquarters building, to the Allegheny Riverfront Park and PNC Park, or further. Hopefully we will reach our location before sunrise so we can capture the building’s lights reflecting off the river between the bridges, a uniquely Pittsburgh image. As the sun rises through the city buildings, we will cross the river again and take pictures of the buildings on the other side. Then as we make our way back to the hotel, you will have opportunities to take shots of the waking city streets, the city art and sculptures in the morning “golden hour”.

    All of us at your PSA hope you will be able to make the conference this year to this unique American City.

  • SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOURS - can be done any time!
    There are six free self-guided walking tours that you can do at any time. Click the links for a downloadable pdf describing the tour:
    For more information, see: