Known as the Steel City or the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh is a major center of industry and is bordered by the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. Pittsburgh has been and continues to be a major center of American industry, particularly in the areas of steel, aluminum, glass, petroleum, computing and electronics.
Pittsburgh has been named America's Most Livable City by The Economist, Forbes, and Places Rated Almanac. It has also received distinctions as a top world destination by numerous outlets. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, Pittsburgh contains 446 bridges. Its "Golden Triangle" is the center of the city's downtown district and stands out beautifully amid the flowing river waters.
The city is also a center for higher education, with more than 60 colleges and universities in the metropolitan area. Most notable are the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duquesne University. The city receives an excellent rating in our accessibility metric due its moderate to excellent scores in all 5 areas of assessment. Disabled travelers and those with wheelchairs can travel to Pittsburgh without worry of difficulty or obstacles to a positive experience.
Accessibility Score: Excellent (22/25)
The wheelchair accessibility score is calculated based on five critical factors. Further information is provided below in the each section of this travel guide. This score is based upon our own conservative assessment of the city's accessibility.
The public transportation system in Pittsburgh is operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny and is largely accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. Every "T" light rail train and city bus is accessible to wheelchairs. While the light rail cars themselves are accessible, not all stations are adapted for wheelchairs. Additional information about riding public transportation with a disability in Pittsburgh is available below.
PAT Light Rail
The Port Authority T light rail system, or PAT, is composed of four separate lines. Every train on the Pittsburgh PAT is accessible, with designated spaces for wheelchair users and persons with disabilities. The trains operate above ground throughout most of the network. Several stations along the downtown corridor are below ground and must be accessed by stairs or elevators. Boarding is level and the gap between train and platform will not pose a problem for manual or powered wheelchairs. A list of the accessible stations on each line is provided below. If a station is not listed, it is not wheelchair accessible.
- Blue Line to Library: Allegheny, Boggs, Bon Air, Denise, First Avenue, Gateway, Killarney, Library, Lytle, McNeilly, Memorial Hall, North Side, Southbank, South Hills Junction, Station Square, Steel Plaza, Washington Junction, West Library, Willow, Wood Street
- Blue Line to South Hills Village: Allegheny, Boggs, Bon Air, Denise, First Avenue, Gateway, Killarney, McNeilly, Memorial Hall, North Side, Southbank, South Hills Junction, South Hills Village, Station Square, Steel Plaza, Washington Junction, Willow, Wood Street
- Red Line to Castle Shannon: Allegheny, Castle Shannon, Dormont Junction, Fallowfield, First Avenue, Gateway, Mt. Lebanon, North Side, Overbrook Junction, Potomac, South Hills Junction, Station Square, Steel Plaza, Washington Junction, Wood Street
- Red Line to South Hills Village: Allegheny, Castle Shannon, Dormont Junction, Fallowfield, First Avenue, Gateway, Mt. Lebanon, North Side, Overbrook Junction, Potomac, South Hills Junction, South Hills Village, Station Square, Steel Plaza, Washington Junction, Wood Street
Pittsburgh's primary downtown district is served by, and is a transfer point for, all four lines of the PAT light rail. This downtown PAT corridor consists of the following seven stations, all of which are fully accessible to wheelchairs:
Stations marked with an asterisk (*) are part of the downtown free fare zone. Travel along this portion of the T light rail network bears no cost. Travel beyond First Avenue, across the Monongahela River, requires a paid transit fare. Additional information on tickets, fares and passes is available below.
The Port Authority operates more than 800 city buses across a vast network spanning the City of Pittsburgh and the rest of Allegheny County. All city buses are wheelchair accessible either by a mechanical lift or a lowered floor and fold out wheelchair ramp. All buses are fitted with space for two wheelchairs as well as priority seating for passengers with disabilities. Each wheelchair securement area offers straps and tie downs to prevent the wheelchair from movement during transit. Bus operators are trained to secure the tie downs and assist passengers with disabilities with boarding and alighting from the bus.
The following is a detailed list of the accessibility accommodations on each bus:
- All buses kneel or lower and are equipped with lowered floor ramps or lifts.
- Two wheelchair securement areas with tie-downs are located on each bus.
- Audio stop and intersection announcements are made on each bus.
- Lowered yellow accessible stop/alert buttons are positioned at each wheelchair securement area.
Three express bus routes are operated through the city on streets dedicated of use by buses. This allows express buses to keep a regular schedule without the difficulty of excess traffic or street congestion. These are the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway, South Busway and West Busway.
The Airport Flyer, city bus route 28X, offers service between Pittsburgh International Airport and multiple points downtown, including a connection to the PAT light rail at Gateway Station. The bus ride between the airport and Gateway PAT station takes 40 minutes. The distance by car is roughly 20 miles.
Fares, route maps and schedules
Fares on the Pittsburgh public transit system are based on a distance-based zone structure. There are three primary zones: 1, 2 and a free fare area. Fares within a single zone are $2.50. Fares crossing from one zone to another are $3.75. The city's primary downtown area is within Zone 1 or the Free Fare Zone.
There is no charge on the PAT light rail at any time between the Allegheny and First Avenue stations. The city bus is free in the downtown Free Fare Zone from the daily start of service until 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., the fare is $2.50. More information on fares and zones is available at portauthority.org.
Half-price discounted fares are available to persons with disabilities who complete an application. Seniors (age 65+) are entitled to ride for free, also via an application. Additional information on the eligibility for reduced fares is available at portauthority.org.
Additional information on the public transportation system is available via the links below:
- For a route map of the PAT light rail system, CLICK HERE.
- For maps of bus routes and other services, CLICK HERE.
- For a route planner to map a journey, CLICK HERE.
- For additional information on accessing public transit with a disability, CLICK HERE.
- For information on the city’s ADA Paratransit service and to see if you qualify, CLICK HERE.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of accessibility of the world’s public transit systems, please use the comments section at the bottom of this page to share your experiences and any changes you may have noticed in San Francisco.
Amtrak rail service is available to/from Union Station in downtown Pittsburgh at 1100 Liberty Avenue. The station is served by two Amtrak lines: the Pennsylvanian and Capitol Limited. Via these routes, travelers can reach Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. without the need to change trains.
Union Station, often called Penn Station by locals, can be accessed via the PAT light rail or city bus service. Steel Plaza station, served by all four PAT lines, is a 0.4 mile walk from Union Station. Union Station is served directly by the city bus at the East Busway at Penn Station B stop. City bus lines 1, 6, 11, 15, 39, 40, 44, P1, P2, P7, P10, P12, P13, P16, P17, P67, P68, P69, P71, P76, P78
For more information on riding Amtrak in Pittsburgh, visit www.amtrak.com. A 15-percent discount is available to the disabled and users of wheelchairs and the majority of Amtrak trains in the United States are wheelchair accessible.
Accessible Taxi Services
Wheelchair accessible, ADA compliant taxi vehicles with side entry wheelchair ramps are available within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and are charged at the same meter rates as a normal taxi. Wheelchair taxis can be ordered on demand within the city and at Pittsburgh International Airport, with wait times of less than 20 minutes on average. These accessible cabs number more than 30, with service available 24 hours per day. The contact information for the accessible taxi/transportation companies in Pittsburgh is below:
City approved taxi meter rates can be found below:
Flag Drop & first 1/7 mile — $2.25
Each additional mile (up to 20) — $1.75
Each additional mile (over 20) — $3.50
Waiting time (per minute) — $0.25
Fuel surcharge — $1.25
There is no additional fee for baggage or trunk usage. There is no surcharge or convenience fee for paying by credit card.
The City of Pittsburgh is served by Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). The airport is fully accessible to disabled passengers and wheelchairs may be taken to both the gate and aircraft boarding door. All airlines provide services for the disabled at each airport in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Air Carrier Access Act.
Each terminal and concourse offers ADA compliant restrooms both pre- and post-security.
The Airport Flyer, city bus route 28X, provides transportation from the airport to multiple points in downtown Pittsburgh. These buses are fully accessible to persons with disabilities and wheelchair users. More information on the Airport Flyer and the city's public transit system is available in the Public Transportation section above.
Accessible taxis can be requested on demand at the Pittsburgh Airport, with average wait times of 20 minutes or less.
For more information on accessibility and accommodations for the disabled at Pittsburgh International Airport, visit pitairport.com.
Accessibility of Sidewalks/Streets
Pittsburgh is an extremely walkable and roll-able city. It is often noted that the city has some steep streets and hills, but these are mostly confined to residential areas and parts of the city not frequented by tourists. The large hills in the city's South side are easily accessed by the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, two funiculars or inclined railways which are fully accessible to wheelchairs.
The majority of Pittsburgh's sidewalks are well cared for, with pavements that are even and smooth. While there are certainly outliers and problems with sidewalks littered throughout the city, all of the city's sidewalks are passable. Curb cuts are present at all intersections.
Streets within the Golden Triangle, the city's most central downtown area, are easy to roll and largely level. All of the attractions and sights reviewed here are accessible to wheelchair users and those with other mobility challenges via public transportation and walking or rolling.
Attractions & Sights
The City of Pittsburgh is filled with attractive tourist attractions and sights, the majority of which are fully accessible to wheelchair users. Many of the city's top attractions are free, while others require paid admission. Descriptions of the city's major attractions and their level of accessibility is provided below.
Note: Please share any experiences you have accessing these sights in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning is both a landmark in Pittsburgh and on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The building is home to the university's Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the University Honors College. The building first held classes in 1931 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Standing at 535 feet and 42 stories, it is the tallest university building in the Western Hemisphere and second tallest in the world. The building was designed in a Gothic Revival style and is the world's tallest using Gothic style architecture. The Cathedral of Learning houses university classrooms, administrative offices, libraries, a theatre and more. Perhaps most celebrated is the building's four-story Commons Room, which welcomes students and guests alike. The building and pathways leading to it are accessible to wheelchair users. More information on the Cathedral of Learning is available by visiting tour.pitt.edu.
Duquesne & Monongahela Inclines
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Pittsburgh had 17 funiculars or cliff railways designed to transport people up the sides of the many hills surrounding the city's downtown. Of those 17, two are still operational, the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines. Both are located within walking distance of the Station Square light rail station. The Duquesne Incline, first opened in 1877, scales Mt. Washington to a height of 400 feet via a 794 foot long track. The Duquesne Incline is fully accessible to wheelchairs and features a viewing deck at its upper terminus. This viewing deck provides the best aerial view of the city because it directly faces the tip of the city's Golden Triangle. The each way fare is $2.50. More information can be found at duquesneincline.org.
The Monongahela Incline, opened in 1870, is the oldest continuously operating funicular in the United States. It also scales Mt. Washington to a height of 369 feet via a track of 635 feet. It is less visited than the nearby Duquesne Incline because the view of the city is not as picturesque. Like its sister incline, it is fully wheelchair accessible and bears a cost of $2.50 each way. More information is available via the Port Authority of Allegheny County website at portauthority.org.
Nearest PAT station to Monongahela Incline: 1 block from Station Square
Point State Park
Opened in 1974, Point State Park sits on the tip of the Golden Triangle at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. The park was designation a National Historic Landmark shortly after its opening. The Fort Pitt Museum, located on the park grounds, preserves and shares the history of the French and Indian War, which took place in the area that would later become the Steel City. The park features a number of walking trails and fishing docks on each of the two rivers. The pathways, restrooms, fishing docks and museum are all accessible to wheelchairs and are fully ADA compliant. For more information on the park features, visit www.dncr.state.pa.us.
Andy Warhol Museum
Showcasing the works of pop artist Andy Warhol, the Andy Warhol Museum spans 88,000 square feet of display space. With 17 galleries, it is the largest museum dedicated to a single artist. The museum collection includes 900 paintings, 1,000 prints, 4,000 photographs, 77 sculptures, films and numerous works on paper. The art on display spans Warhol's life, from his works as a student in the 1940s through the 1980s. The Archives Collection includes pieces from the Warhol estate, including books, clothing, correspondence, diaries, scripts, tapes and other collectibles. All galleries throughout the building's seven floors are wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. Benches and seating areas are readily available. Admission is available to adults for $20. There are no discounts for seniors or persons with disabilities. For more information on the museum, the collections or accessible services, visit warhol.org.
Carnegie Science Center
Established in 1939 and opened at its current location in 1991, the Carnegie Science Center features a number of attractions that appeal to all. The center features the state-of-the-art Buhl Planetarium and a four-story Omnimax Theatre with a domed screen which sits above and around the audience in multiple directions. Other exhibits include a Cold War-era submarine, the USS Requin, and Roboworld, the world's largest permanent robotics display. Most of the museum's exhibits are accessible to wheelchairs. All four floors of the museum can be accessed by wheelchairs via elevator. The USS Requin can be seen from a distance by anyone, but requires full mobility for those who wish to board the vessel. More information on the museum, admission and accessibility features is available at carnegiesciencecenter.org.
Opened in 1952, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh is the largest aviary in the United States. It contains 40,000 square feet of indoor space. Afforded the honorary recognition as the "national" facility by Congress in 1993, it houses more than 600 animals representing some 200 species. The collection is one of the most diverse in North America, exceeding that of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The aviary features a number of exceptionally rare species including the green-backed trogon and blue-winged mountain tanager. Many of the birds held in the aviary represent a number of the world's endangered species. Most recently renovated in 2010, visitors are able to witness bird feedings of all but a few select animals. The National Aviary is fully accessible to wheelchairs and is compliant with all ADA requirements. General admission is available to adults for $14 and to seniors for $13. Additional information can be found by visiting aviary.org.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Located on 77 acres within the city's Highland Park, the Pittsburgh Zoo is one of the nation's few zoo and aquarium combinations. With more than 4,000 animals representing 475 species, it has much to offer the nature enthusiast. The park first opened in 1898 and has grown to include large natural habitats. This allows the zoo to safely and comfortably house large predatory species including the African Lion, Cheetah, North American Black Bear and Snow Leopard. The zoo and aquarium are fully accessible to wheelchair users and comply with the ADA. Admission is $15 for adults and $14 for seniors age 60+. Additional information on the park, its exhibits and accessibility can be found at pittsburghzoo.org.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Museum of Art is home to a significant collection of contemporary art. The collection includes pieces of Architecture, Decorative Art, Fine Art and Photography. The museum produces up to 15 exhibitions each year, chosen from more than 35,000 objects and 80,000 photographic negatives. Pieces on display include drawings, films, paintings, photographs, prints, and sculptures. The architectural collection features casts, models and renderings. The museum building, galleries, shops and restrooms are all fully accessible to wheelchair users. Admission is available to adults for $19.95 and to seniors age 65+ for $14.95. Additional information is available at cmoa.org.
Professional Sports Teams
Three major professional sports teams reside in the City of Pittsburgh. These are the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates and NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. All three sports teams have stadiums with accessible seating and wheelchair access. Links to the team-specific accessibility information and ticket office phone numbers are listed below.
NFL - Pittsburgh Steelers
Website - Disabled Access Info
MLB - Pittsburgh Pirates
Website - Disabled Access Info
NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins
CONSOL Energy Center
Website - Disabled Access Info
Due to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the vast majority of hotels in the United States are wheelchair accessible and have rooms with roll-in showers. For individuals requiring an accessible hotel room with roll-in shower, we recommend booking with a major hotel chain such as Hilton or Marriott for the best experience. The following is a list of hotels in Pittsburgh with handicap accessible rooms, roll-in showers and adaptations for those who have difficulty hearing:
|Hotel Name||PAT station||PAT or Bus lines||Walking distance|
|Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown||Wood Street||All 4 PAT lines||6 minutes|
|Crowne Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh South||South Hills Village||Blue & Red to South Hills Village||10 minutes|
|DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown||Steel Plaza||All 4 PAT lines||3 minutes|
|Fairmont Pittsburgh||Gateway||All 4 PAT lines||3 minutes|
|Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown||Wood Street||All 4 PAT lines||13 minutes|
|Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place||N/A||28X, 58, 61A-D, 67, 69, 81, 83||1 minute|
|Holiday Inn Express Pittsburgh South Side||Station Square||All 4 PAT lines||19 minutes|
|Hyatt House Pittsburgh South Side||N/A||75||3 minutes|
|Hyatt Place Pittsburgh North Shore||North Side||All 4 PAT lines||4 minutes|
|Omni William Penn Hotel||Steel Plaza||All 4 PAT lines||2 minutes|
|Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel||Gateway||All 4 PAT lines||4 minutes|
|Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square||Station Square||All 4 PAT lines||7 minutes|
|Springhill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore||North Side||All 4 PAT lines||6 minutes|
|Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown||Gateway||All 4 PAT lines||4 minutes|
|Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center||N/A||28X, 54, 58, 61A-D, 67, 69, 71A-D, 75, 93, P3||2 minutes|
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Wheelchair Repair / Accessible Van Rental
The following businesses offer wheelchair repair, wheelchair rental or accessible van rental. If you have done business with any of these companies, please share your experiences in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Mobility Works of Pittsburgh
1090 Mosside Blvd., Wilmerding, PA 15148
Services: Accessible van rental
Pittsburgh Wheelchair Exchange
729 Wood St., Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Services: Wheelchair rental & repair
Precision Repair Network
1601 Marys Ave., Ste. 2G5, Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Services: Wheelchair repair
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WheelchairTravel.org is committed to providing the information disabled travelers need to access the world. This website offers the detailed accessibility reports that travel guide books can't contain. Travel guides are sold primarily to people who do not worry about the height of curbs or the size of gaps between subway platforms. They dedicate little space to information for the disabled traveler and the information is often incorrect. Still, guide books can be useful because they provide the general tourist background information about attractions and sights that can be carried in your backpack. Guide books also include a large number of photographs and maps of the city. Pair this information with what you learned about accessibility on this website and you'll soon be making memories to last a lifetime.
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