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Pennsylvania

Signature City Pittsburgh

Program No. 19287RJ
Learn how Pittsburgh grew from its humble origins to the great city of today, discovering neoclassical architecture, renowned museums, unique cuisine and the stunning Duquesne Incline.
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,599

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,599
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Jun 4 - Jun 9, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Sep 17 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
Starting at
1,799
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Jun 2 - Jun 7, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Sep 15 - Sep 20, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
Starting at
1,849
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,879
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,979
Jun 4 - Jun 9, 2023
Starting at
1,979
Sep 17 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
1,979
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,979
Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
Starting at
2,199
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
2,249
Jun 2 - Jun 7, 2024
Starting at
2,249
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
2,249
Sep 15 - Sep 20, 2024
Starting at
2,249
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
Starting at
2,249

At a Glance

Experience Pittsburgh’s revitalized urban landscape and bustling local economy and find out what makes it “America’s Most Livable City.” A city once known for its rough edges is now revered for its world-class museums, rich historical narrative and spirited cultural scene. Follow the paths of history as you stroll through the Botanical Gardens and examine brushstrokes from Italian Renaissance Masterpieces.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking 1-2 miles a day and 60-90 minutes of standing for museum visits; stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Take an uphill ride on the storied Duquesne Incline and discover Pittsburgh from atop Mount Washington.
  • Absorb the history of the Steel City by studying noblemen like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and John Heinz.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the city’s vibrant past and promising future with experts at the Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Museum of Art, Frick Art and Historical Center and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Center.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Alan Irvine
Alan Irvine is a well-known storyteller in Pittsburgh. He is an outreach performer for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. For libraries, he creates Summer Reading Club programs for kids, ghost stories for teens, and tales of Pennsylvania history and current events for adults. In addition to performing, Alan teaches workshops and classes on storytelling. In 1988, he helped found the storytelling group StorySwap. He has produced numerous storytelling shows, and was the chair of the 2006 National Storytellers Conference, held in Pittsburgh.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Alan Irvine
Alan Irvine View biography
Alan Irvine is a well-known storyteller in Pittsburgh. He is an outreach performer for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. For libraries, he creates Summer Reading Club programs for kids, ghost stories for teens, and tales of Pennsylvania history and current events for adults. In addition to performing, Alan teaches workshops and classes on storytelling. In 1988, he helped found the storytelling group StorySwap. He has produced numerous storytelling shows, and was the chair of the 2006 National Storytellers Conference, held in Pittsburgh.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America
by Les Standiford
Two founding fathers of American industry. One desire to dominate business at any price. The author of Last Train to Paradise tells the riveting story of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the bloody steelworkers’ strike that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, Meet You in Hell captures the majesty and danger of steel manufacturing, the rough-and-tumble of the business world, and the fraught relationship between “the world’s richest man” and the ruthless coke magnate to whom he entrusted his companies. The result is an extraordinary work of popular history.
Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City
by Stefan Lorant
Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City follows Pittsburgh from its frontier beginnings through its evolution into the most heavily industrialized city in the world, to the city's renewal of itself as "America's Most Livable City." This beautiful volume though, is much more than the story of a single city; it is the history of the United States. This book is based on years of research and includes contributions by such noted American historians as Henry Steele Commager and Oscar Handlin. More than 1100 pictures recreate the city's dramatic 200+year history. Featured are photographs by W. Eugene Smith, Margaret Bourke-White, Norman W. Schumm, Lorant himself and others. A chronology of events from 1717 offers historical snapshots in the day to day life of the archetypical American city.
And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline and Fall of the American Steel Industry (Pittsburgh Series in Social and Labor History)
by John P. Hoerr
A veteran reporter of American labor analyzes the spectacular and tragic collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. John Hoerr’s account of these events stretches from the industrywide barganing failures of 1982 to the crippling work stoppage at USX (U.S. Steel) in 1986-87. He interviewed scores of steelworkers, company managers at all levels, and union officials, and was present at many of the crucial events he describes. Using historical flashbacks to the origins of the steel industry, particularly in the Monongahela Valley of southwestern Pennsylvania, he shows how an obsolete and adversarial relationship between management and labor made it impossible for the industry to adapt to shattering changes in the global economy.
Steel: Diary of a Furnace Worker
by Charles Rumford Walker
"In the summer of 1919, a few weeks before the Great Steel Strike, I bought some second-hand clothes and went to work on an open-hearth furnace near Pittsburgh to learn the steel business. I was a graduate of Yale, and a few weeks before had resigned a commission as first-lieutenant in the regular army...In these chapters I have put down what I saw, felt, and thought as a steel-worker in 1919." --from the Foreword
H. J. Heinz: A Biography
by Quentin R Skrabec
Though Heinz Ketchup is one of the most recognized corporate symbols in the world, few people know anything at all about H. J. Heinz. Industrial giants Rockefeller, Carnegie, Westinghouse, and Mellon became household names, and Heinz slipped into obscurity. Yet during a time of great transfers of wealth brought about in part by these famous robber barons, Heinz was well known for his humane treatment of his employees, customers, and suppliers. At the same time Heinz built a commercial empire by his use of industrialized food processing before Henry Ford. This book includes 45 photographs many of which are being published for the first time.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Pittsburgh, PA
D
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to meet the Group Leader and confirm orientation time and place. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a Pittsburgh-themed welcome buffet dinner with coffee, tea (hot/iced) and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Relax and get a good nights sleep for a full day tomorrow.

DAY
2
Phipps Conservatory, Duquesne Incline, River Cruise
Pittsburgh, PA
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place

Activity note: Getting on/off the motorcoach; driving about 1 hour, about 14 miles total. Getting on/off riverboat, with short rides under 15 minutes at a time. Walking up to 3 miles total, no longer than 1 hour at a time. Standing up to 1 hour at a time; comfortable walking shoes recommended; climbing some steps at the Duquesne Incline.

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for a self-guided exploration. Group Leader will provide brief overview of the garden highlights. Learn about the history of the conservatory while observing the beautiful plant collection. The gardens were a gift to the city of Pittsburgh by mogul Henry Phipps and are now recognized as a National Landmark and part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Containing both formal and exotic gardens, the center features rotating displays of plants from around the world such as bonsai, palms, desert plants, and orchids, and permanent collections including flora native to the Ohio Valley. Afterwards, we’ll board the motorcoach for transfer to lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Reboarding our motorcoach, we’ll have an introduction to downtown Pittsburgh from our Group Leader as we make our way to the Duquesne Incline cable car. Built to transport cargo up and down Mt. Washington in the late 1800s, the incline soon began to carry passengers who were too tired to use the footpaths. Offering spectacular views of downtown Pittsburgh, the funicular has been completely refurbished and operates year-round. Next, we will transfer to the dock and board a boat for our study cruise down the Allegheny River. With the boat’s staff, we’ll discuss the ongoing success of the Three Rivers Park—an urban waterfront park along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers in downtown Pittsburgh. Once off the boat, we’ll return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We’ll then return to the hotel for the remainder of the evening at leisure.

DAY
3
Heinz Regional Historic Center, Frick Art, Local Tales
Pittsburgh, PA
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place

Activity note: Getting on/off the motorcoach; driving up to 2 hours, about 20 miles. Walking up to 3 miles and standing up to 2 hours at a time.

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: We’ll ride to the Senator John Heinz Regional Historical Center for an expert-led exploration. The Center is a family of museums and an educational affiliate of The Smithsonian Institution. It links past, present, and future, preserving regional history and presenting the American experience in Western Pennsylvania. The Center partners with organizations and scholars engaged in archaeology, archives, artifact collections, broadcast media and the Internet, conservation, educational programs, exhibitions, library, museums, performance, publications, and research. There will also be some time on your own to explore some of the museums within the museum independently, including the History Center and Sports Museum on your own.

Lunch: At the museum café, we’ll choose from a variety of soups, sandwiches, and salads. Bottled water included.

Afternoon: Next, we will take a field trip to the Frick Art & Historical Center in the former Pittsburgh mansion of Henry Clay Frick, a wealthy industrialist and chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company. Upon our arrival, we will explore the grounds of the mansion with the expert commentary of an instructor where we will learn about the evolution of the site, the neighborhood and Frick family history. Afterwards we will explore the historic mansion and hear about diverse stories of the Gilded Age, and make connections with social justice issues of today. We will also have free time at the Car and Carriage Museum where we will learn about learn about Pittsburgh’s role in the developing automobile industry.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: A local storyteller will join us at the hotel to reveal some of Pittsburgh's lesser-known tales.

DAY
4
U. Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning, Carnegie Museums
Pittsburgh, PA
B,L
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, about 6 hours. Standing up to 1 hour at a time. Some Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral may not be available depending on schedules at the time of the program.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today, we’ll walk with our Group Leader through more of the Oakland neighborhood to the University of Pittsburgh’s “Cathedral of Learning,” dedicated in 1937. On the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere, standing at 535 feet. Its 42 stories house classrooms, a 4-story tall Commons Room, and 29 Nationality Rooms celebrating the cultures of ethnic groups who settled in the area. The rooms are also used for classes during the school year. We’ll learn a local expert about the cathedral’s development and see some of the Nationality Rooms. Next, we’ll walk across the street to the Carnegie Museums complex featuring museums of art, natural history, science, and the Andy Warhol Museum. Led by an expert, we'll explore the internationally renowned Carnegie Museum of Art. Its exhibits cover various forms of media from fine arts to photography, fulfilling Andrew Carnegie’s goal of recording America’s progress through pictorial art.

Lunch: At the museum café, we’ll have a light lunch with choice of soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue exploring with an expert at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, established in 1896. It has grown to hold more than 20 million specimens with about 10,000 viewable in 20 galleries. Highlights include the first “Tyrannosaurus rex” specimen ever discovered and one of the largest collections of Jurassic dinosaurs in the world. Afterwards, the remainder of the afternoon is on your own to enjoy the city or return to the hotel for an opportunity to freshen up and relax.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Rivers of Steel Heritage Museum, Carrie Furnace, Free Time
Pittsburgh, PA
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving under 1 hour, about 15 miles. Walking up to 2 miles all day, sometimes on uneven ground and climbing steps with dim lighting. Please wear closed-toed shoes. Carrie Furnace not handicap-accessible.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we’ll head to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Museum via motorcoach for an in-depth, docent-led examination of Pittsburgh's industrial and immigrant foundation. We’ll learn about the infamous Homestead Steel Strike, then visit the ruins of the Carrie Furnace, an extremely rare pre-World War I blast furnace that is part of the museum’s heritage area along the Monongahela River.

Lunch: In a historic building, we'll have an array of catered dishes for lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll meet at the hotel lobby before departing for dinner by motorcoach.

Dinner: At a local restaurant with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Pittsburgh’s Future, Program Concludes
Pittsburgh, PA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our final lecture with the Group Leader will address the current state of Pittsburgh and the future of the city. As the steel and mill industries declined, Pittsburgh was at a crossroads and in need of revitalization. How has the city recreated itself? How has the city shed its steel and coal history? What’s next for Pittsburgh? This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.