As its name suggests, the building that houses Lawrenceville’s Church Brew Works began life as a house of worship—St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church. Now, like many of the church buildings that left empty around Pittsburgh, St. John the Baptist has found new life after transformation, open seven days a week to any congregants who want to sit at a repurposed pew and sample one of the brewery’s offerings.
Pittsburgh International Airport Interfaith Reflection Room
Stepping into the Interfaith Reflection Room at the Pittsburgh International Airport is like leaving the busy airport behind entirely. The large and quiet space is located on the mezzanine level of the airside terminal, next to some bathrooms and a private lounge. On the inside of the room are a few dozen plastic chairs facing two pulpits and a removable wooden crucifix on the front wall. The room is clean and bright. One wall is painted red with a long window at the top and a few multicolored stained glass squares in the corner that let in lots of light.
Mr. Smalls Theatre
In 2002, Mike Speranzo and Liz Berlin transformed a church Mr. Smalls Theatre. The venue includes a concert hall that can hold 800 people for concerts or other events, a smaller stage, and a restaurant. In the basement there is a small café. Mr. Smalls Theatre has hosted performances by both local and national artists. President Bill Clinton even visited once for a political rally. The building itself was also once a Catholic Church called St. Ann’s.
The Hocus Pocus Occult Emporium, located on Meyran Avenue in Oakland, calls itself the oldest Occult shop in Pittsburgh. The store itself is tiny, dimly lit, and very welcoming. Once you step through the threshold at Hocus Pocus, as stated on their website, they aim to make “you feel as though you’ve stepped into a magical realm between worlds.” Inside you will find anything you might need to take part in the magical arts, from Tarot decks and crystals to sage for Native American smudging rituals. The store is for “mystics, poets, witches, shamans, dreamers, healers, seekers, & visionaries of all paths,” from novices to experts.
Ukrainian Nationality Room
Like the rest of the University of Pittsburgh’s 31 Nationality Rooms, the Ukrainian room on the third floor of the university’s Cathedral of Learning is part active classroom and part museum. The room, one of the smaller nationality rooms, is largely modeled after a 17th-century svitlytsia, a living room where a Ukrainian nobleman would receive his guests. The svitlytsia emphasizes hospitality and faith, key concepts in Ukrainian culture; signage inside the room cites an Eastern European proverb: “When a guest enters the home, God enters the home.”
At 60 feet in diameter, the twisting, circular stone pathway at Chatham University’s Shadyside campus is the largest outdoor labyrinth in Pittsburgh.
McKees Rocks Native American Burial Mound
The mound was built by the Adena people, who are well known for mound building, and later used by the Hopewell people. It is thought to have accumulated over a period spanning 500 BCE- 1000 CE.
Lawrenceville’s Brick Shop restaurant pays homage to neighborhood history, the chef’s personal heritage, and the greater tradition of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. Headed by Executive Chef Brandon Blumenfeld, the restaurant markets itself as “a seasonal contemporary restaurant, with flavors rooted in Central and Eastern Europe, layered with simple, delicious preparations, and sourced with local goodness.”
Chinmaya Sanjeevani is a religious center for the teaching of Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Graveyard
At Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s a small graveyard connecting the cathedral to First Presbyterian Church. This graveyard is home to some of the earliest Pittsburgh settlers, with one of the oldest marked graves dating back to 1779. The land was originally used as a burial ground for Native Americans as well as French and British settlers before being given to the trustees of the Episcopalian church in 1787. The first Trinity Cathedral was built in 1805, rebuilt and expanded in 1872, and then modernized in 1967 after a fire destroyed parts of the church.