Want to get off campus and relax with friends?

When given respite from Carnegie Mellon’s typical 25-hour work day, we have a wealth of things to do in the city we study in. Pittsburgh, once dominated by dreary steel mills and heavy industry, has long moved on to establish itself as the major cultural nerve center of the region. From museums and art to sports and concerts, Pittsburgh has something for you no matter what your inclinations. Things are especially interesting this coming Fall semester, with such a wealth of things to do that you’d actually feel sorry you didn’t have more time.

Watch a Game

Pittsburgh happens to be one of the most sports-crazy cities in the U.S., and for good reason. In the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins we have world class football, baseball, and hockey teams, respectively.

What’s more, their respective home venues — Heinz Field, PNC Park & the CONSOL Energy Center — are landmarks of their own. PNC Park, for example, offers some of the best views of downtown Pittsburgh. Even if you don’t particularly understand sports, the sheer enthusiasm of thousands of fanatical Pittsburgh fans all around you is so infectious that you’ll find yourself jumping up in your seat and cheering along with everyone else.

Catch a Concert

Pittsburgh is a regular stop for most artists on tour. Most play at Stage AE, Mr. Smalls Theater, or the First Niagara Pavilion, with a few of the largest acts taking over the CONSOL Energy Center. The third week of September, for example, is jam packed with concerts. Of Monsters and Men is coming to Stage AE on Sept. 16, Death Cab For Cutie is coming to Stage AE on the 17th, and Lady Antebellum is coming to First Niagara on the 18th. So if you’re a fan of folksy, introspective rock, you might want to pick up tickets as soon as possible.

Later in the semester we have Mac Miller, Pentagram, Seether, Mark Knopfler, Stevie Wonder, Jason Aldean, Janet Jackson — you name it. There’s some concert or another on nearly every weekend; tickets, for most part, can be found on Ticketmaster. You might want to book reasonably early though, as concerts do fill up pretty quickly.

Fright Nights @ Kennywood

Kennywood is a local amusement park around a 20 minute drive outside of the city. For most of the year, Kennywood is best known for its timeless wooden roller coasters, several of which were conceived in the early 1900s and have won numerous accolades in the decades since. Every weekend leading up to Halloween, however, the park hosts Fright nights.

Open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday for Fright Night, Kennywood undergoes an extensive Halloween-themed Makeover. Fog blankets the park, spooky music fills the air, costumed actors scare unsuspecting park guests, and up to thirteen haunted houses are set up for guests to explore. Added to this is the thrill of some of Kennywood’s regular attractions in the dark. The Black Widow offers some of the most amazing views of nighttime Pittsburgh to distract you as you hurtle to the ground face first, held in place by a simple shoulder harness. The Phantom’s Revenge, the park’s biggest roller coaster, is so much scarier when you can’t see the fog covered ground. Fright Night is a great thing for those October nights when you want to have a little adventure.

Go To A Museum

Pittsburgh happens to be home to a plethora of museums ranging from massive to niche establishments, most of give Carnegie Mellon students free admission. The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Phipp’s Conservatory, are within walking distance of campus.

The Carnegie Museum of Art especially is a nice place to spend a free afternoon, featuring tons of thought provoking contemporary art.The Carnegie Cafe within the museum also happens to serve some of the best food in Oakland. Another noteworthy visit is the Andy Warhol museum downtown. The Andy Warhol is the largest museum worldwide to be dedicated to a single artist, and yet manages to be surprisingly accessible to people not well versed in Warhol’s work. Pay the Warhol a visit for an introduction to Pop Art, and to learn about the life of one of Carnegie Mellon’s most illustrious alumni.

My personal favorite, however, has to be the Mattress Factory, a small independent establishment in North Pittsburgh. Although it is a little difficult to get to without a car, the Mattress Factory is well worth a visit at some point. Its exhibits are room sized installations, created by on-site artists. Each exhibit ends up being less a discrete work of art and more an entire space that inspires you to think about the world around you in a new way.