Pittsburgh and its surrounding neighborhoods have provided the scene for dozens of major box office movies of varying success. A handful of those movies did amazing, becoming some of the most watched movies of all time. The list below provides the highest grossing movies ever filmed in the Pittsburgh region.
1. The Avengers
Overall Ranking: #7 @ $1,518.8 million
The Pittsburgh region contributed only one scene to this blockbuster hit. The mines of Creekside Mushroom Farm in Worthington, PA served as the underground chase scene in the beginning of the film. In the movie, Loki raced through the underground tunnels to escape from the Joint Dark Energy Mission Laboratory with the powerful hypercube tesseract.
Creekside Mushroom Farm consists of more than 150 miles of limestone tunnels. Until recently, the facility was used for underground mushroom farming. It was the largest underground mushroom farm in the world.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
Overall Ranking: #27 @ $1,084.9 million
The third movie in this epic Batman trilogy was filmed extensively throughout the Pittsburgh region. One of the more memorable scenes occurred on the steps of the Carnegie Mellon Institute. The building was used to portray Gotham’s City Hall which had been overtaken by the villain Bane. Batman engaged in an extensive, back and forth fist fight with Bane alongside hundreds of their followers.
The Carnegie Mellon Institute is a national historic landmark building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. It opened in 1937 as the Mellon Institute for Industrial Research, a major, independent research corporation dedicated to promoting applied research for industry.
3. Pretty Woman
Overall Ranking: #235 @ $463.4 million
This 1990 film classic was shot primarily around Los Angeles, but Pittsburgh did make an appearance in the famous opera scene. When Edward takes Vivian to see the opera, it’s the Carnegie Music Hall that's used for the opera house exterior. It’s a popular location for filming, blockbusters like Flashdance and Silence of the Lambs had scenes here as well.
The Carnegie Music Hall is an architecturally detailed event space built in 1895. It’s affiliated with the Carnegie Museum network in Pittsburgh and still operates as a functioning concert and lecture hall.
4. The Fault in Our Stars
Overall Ranking: #451 @ $307.2 million
Pittsburgh was the primary filming location for this best selling novel adaptation. Sites from all over the city were used during filming. One readily identifiable location is the site of Hazel’s cancer support group where she meets Gus. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon provided the backdrop. The facility was called St. Paul’s in the movie as well.
5. Silence of the Lambs
Overall Ranking: #532 @ $272.7 million
It’s hard to imagine 531 better movies than this classic featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Sites in and around Pittsburgh can be seen throughout the movie. Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall was the unforgettable scene of Hannibal Lector’s escape from a solitary confinement cage. In the scene, the mastermind cannibal outwitted and savagely slaughtered two guards to free himself.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum is a national historic landmark constructed in 1908 on what is now the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The memorial was constructed to honor the region’s civil war veterans. It was built on the Army mustering grounds during the time of the Civil War.
6. Super 8
Overall Ranking: #561 @ $260.1 million
This popular Spielberg Sci-Fi thriller was filmed in Weirton, West Virginia; a small town about 35 miles west of Pittsburgh. More than 20 locations were used during filming, but the town’s Main Street stood out as the principle setting for the majority of memorable scenes including the climatic water tower scene where the alien assembles its spacecraft for escape.
7. Jack Reacher
Overall Ranking: #697 @ $218.3 million
This Tom Cruise action movie was filmed entirely on-site in Pittsburgh. The movie is filled with sites from all over the downtown area. The plot is centered around a mass murder, carried out by a sniper targeting victims along the Riverwalk near PNC Park. The sniper himself was situated across the Allegheny River in the Stanwix Tower Apartment parking garage.
There’s nothing like spending a beautiful evening outside in the open air with family or friends. Whether it’s for dinner or just drinks, socializing always seems better with a slight breeze under a clear sky. Not all outdoor spaces are created equal though. It takes the right combination of lighting, ambiance, and clientele to justify leaving the backyard and grill for $10 drinks. In no particular order, here are some nice options that each bring something a little different.
By 1910, the Industrial Revolution had made Pittsburgh home to some of the wealthiest people in the world. Names like Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, and Henry Clay Frick had amassed fortunes from the rise of steel and manufacturing. Shadyside and the East End had emerged as Pittsburgh’s most affluent suburb, and home to many of these industrialists. Spectacular mansions were built for these families. Mansions that have withstood the test of time and are still in use today. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite historic Shadyside homes.
1. Moreland-Hoffstot House
Year Built: 1914
Architect: Paul Irwin
Last Sold: $2,400,000 (2016)
Description: Originally built for the family of Andrew Moreland, president of the GT&T Company, treasurer of Iron Trade Products Company, and officer of A.M. Moreland & Company. Andrew was married to a member of the New York, Oelrichs family who built "Rosecliff" in Newport, Rhode Island. This house is in the same tradition as "Rosecliff."
The home was sold to Henry Phipps Hoffstot in 1929. He was the vice-president in charge of operations of the Pressed Steel Car Company and president of its subsidiary, the Koppel Industrial Car and Equipment Company. The home is still owned by the Hoffstot family today.
2. Sellers-Carnahan House
Year Built: 1858
Last Sold: $1,050.00 (2002)
Description: One of the first mansions built in Shadyside, this home was constructed as part of a 10 acre estate for Priscilla and Francis Sellers when the area was still considered a rural escape from the city. In addition to this home, the estate consisted of another 2 story tenant house and several other smaller structures. Today only the carriage house remains (now 6220 Sellers Way) which has been converted into a single family home.
The house was purchased by Jay W. Carnahan in 1888, and remained in his possession until it was donated to the Calvary Episcopal Church in 1947. The home was later converted back into a single-family residence, and it is currently occupied today.
3. Andrew W Mellon House
Year Built: 1887
Last Sold: N/A
Description: Prominent banker and US Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon purchased the home from George McCully Laughlin in 1917. Mr. Mellon made major renovations and additions to the property including the addition of a swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis courts, breakfast room, and gardens. The home was donated to Chatham University by Paul and Mary Mellon in 1940. It currently serves as the school’s student center and administrative office space.
4. Harvey Childs House
Year Built: 1896
Architect: Peabody & Sterns
Last Sold: N/A
Description: The home was built for Harvey Childs, a Western University of Pennsylvania (now University of Pittsburgh) trustee and one of three Pittsburgh citizens that played a role in the origins of the Allegheny Observatory. The home was given to the University to serve as a residence for its chancellor in 1966 by then owner Leon Falk, Jr. who served as vice chairman of the university's Board of Trustees. University of Pittsburgh Chancellors still calls this mansion home today.
5. Negley-Gwinner-Harter House
Year Built: 1871
Last Sold: $800,000 (1995)
Description: The home was built for William B. Negley, a Princeton educated lawyer who lived there until the death of his wife in 1910. It was purchased by Edward Gwinner, a stone and railroad contractor who had it remodeled and expanded by renown Pittsburgh architect Fredrick J. Osterling. The home was sold to Dr. Leo Harter in 1963, and in 1987, a fire caused by a paint-stripping gun during renovation burned much of the third floor and damaged the roof. Dr. Harter died in 1988, and the house sat vacant for eight years, was boarded up, and had even been considered for demolition. In 1995, restoration contractor Joedda Sampson and her husband Ben, a builder and developer, purchased the property and restored it.
I've been fortunate enough to live in and visit many interesting places around the globe. My time in the US Navy, coupled with my love of travel has taken me to dozens of unforgettable destinations. When visiting a new city, I always try to do and see things that can only be done there. I eat at local restaurants instead of national chains, shop at stores that I don't have at home, and spend time in places and destinations unique to that place. From conversations with our guests over the years, I've learned that a lot of travelers have this mindset. I'm often asked for recommendations on what I would do in Pittsburgh if I were only here for a few days. Although my answer could change depending on the day and my mood, you can't go wrong with these suggestions for a great fall weekend in Pittsburgh. You could also checkout this site for some other great Pittsburgh destinations.
Morning: Breakfast at Pamela's Diner in Shadyside.
Early Afternoon: Hang out on Walnut Street for shopping or have a walk around Shadyside to check out the unique houses.
Afternoon: Take a quick drive down 5th Avenue to Oakland, the home of CMU and Pitt (be sure to tour the Cathedral of Learning, the tallest university building in the US…it’s pretty amazing).
Early Evening: Park the car and take a short walk or Uber over to Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside for some pre-dinner drinks (happy hour is from 5 to 7 at Soba).
Evening: Take a 5 minute Uber to Lawrenceville for dinner on Butler Street. Lots of great options there.
Late Evening: Cap the night off with a bar crawl on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Day 1 Recap – Neighborhoods visited: Shadyside, Oakland, Lawrenceville
Morning: Breakfast at Pointe Brugge in Point Breeze (be sure to make reservations ahead of time)
Early Afternoon: Stick around Point Breeze and tour The Frick. It’s Henry Clay Frick’s estate and there's a lot to see including the Frick garage, a large collection of antique cars and carriages.
Afternoon: Head over to the Strip District for a very unique shopping experience (parking can be tough in the Strip. It may be worth an Uber).
Early Evening: Continue to Market Square downtown for some sight seeing. It might also be worth having a walk through Point State Park if the weather permits.
Evening: Make your way to Penn Avenue downtown for dinner. Plenty of amazing restaurants in that area (reservations are recommended).
Late Evening: Stick around Penn Avenue for a live show, dancing, or drinks.
Day 2 Recap – Neighborhoods visited: Point Breeze, Strip District, Downtown
Morning: Enjoy a nice brunch at Grand Concourse restaurant in Station Square.
Early Afternoon: Take a Gateway Clipper ride along the three rivers over to the North Shore (call in advance to reserve your ticket).
Afternoon: Check out a Steelers game or just hang out at one of the many restaurants and bars the North Shore has to offer.
Early Evening: Catch the return Gateway Clipper boat back to Station Square and ride the Monogohela Incline up to Grand View Avenue in Mount Washington. Both a must when visiting Pittsburgh.
Evening: Have dinner at one of the many fine restaurants along the Grand View Avenue cliffside and enjoy the amazing city views at sunset (reservations are a must).
Late Evening: Ride the incline back down to Station Square and wind down the night in Bessemer Court.
Recap – Neighborhoods visited: Station Square, North Shore, Mount Washington