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“Simply incredible”

The Nationality Rooms
Ranked #16 of 173 things to do in Pittsburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Westerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
40 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Simply incredible”
Reviewed July 16, 2013

The Nationality Rooms are located inside of the beautiful Cathedral of Learning tower that belongs to the University of Pittsburgh (it's also one of the tallest university buildings in the world). There are 27 rooms in total, with more in the making. Each room embodies an individual culture and is filled with unique artwork and artifacts honoring local customs and important historical figures. The stunning handcrafted woodwork and paintings, much of which were imported or created by individuals from that room's culture, left quite a strong impression on me.

Visiting: It is easier to visit in the summer, and admission is $4 per person for the first floor rooms; the third floor rooms are free to all visitors, however. You can buy admission at the gift shop which is located through the main entrance way and to the left.

You will receive an audio player and a key to unlock the first floor rooms (you have to lock the doors when you leave as well). There is no actual guide for the tour (unless you schedule for a large group tour)--you get to explore at your own pace, take as many pictures as you like, and you can even interact with the room. I liked to stand in front of the room and imagine myself as a professor.There are no ropes to prevent you from sitting in the chairs or touching the woodwork, but of course you should always be respectful of the property. The third floor is free to all visitors, and you don't need a key to access those rooms (I'm not sure why). They have overhead audio systems for those rooms, but all 27 rooms contain wall plaques with detailed information about the room that contain essentially the same information as the audio recordings.

We easily spent over two hours exploring the rooms and look forward to visiting again once more rooms are added.

Parking: Soldiers and Sailors Garage (4141 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) - yes, it costs money

Bonus sight-seeing: The first floor of the building is beautiful, but you can get an astounding view of the surrounding area on the 35th and 36th floors, which house the University Honors department. They don't mind you going up there, but the elevator system can be confusing to navigate. Also, stop by the chapel across the lawn (the Heinz Memorial Chapel) for more beautiful architecture; the doors were open and no one else was there when we went.

Visited July 2013
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1 Thank cotidiano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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418 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tacoma, WA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Historic Favorite!”
Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

I grew up visiting the VA hospital a lot. Because I got bored, I would walk down the hill to the Cathedral. This place is amazing! The Nationality rooms are so interesting. If you can, take a tour. The guides provide wonderful description and history of each room. Highly recommend it!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank pltslp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Luis Obispo, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Amazing”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Not to be missed--an experience like no other in the country! That a university would put the resources behind this project shows a unique vision. It gives a whole new meaning to "multi-cultural"!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank NancyAV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upper Montclair, New Jersey
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“something for all ages”
Reviewed June 22, 2013

We stopped in to the Cathedral after our college tour at Carnegie Mellon. It was a quick 5 minute walk. To see the Nationality rooms on the main floor, with audio, you pay $4 each plus a few dollars for the audio tour. There are additional rooms on the third floor which doesn't have an audio section. The third floor rooms were by far the more "ornate" or decorated. If you are rushed for time (we had about 30-40 minutes), head to the third floor first. We went thru the first floor quickly (you are given a key that let's you into each room) -- very nice, but not overly designed -- but wished we had gone to the third floor first. Each room, which represents a country, was distinct and my teen boys, who were a bit un-wowed by the first floor definitely pepped up when peeking into the third floor rooms. Austria and Armenia and Japan were among our faves.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Workdtraveler32163
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh
Level Contributor
105 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Out of town and country guests really enjoy this!”
Reviewed June 20, 2013

I went to the University of Pittsburgh (CAS 1990) and like to bring my out of town guests and those from other countries visiting me to the Nationality Rooms on the Pitt campus. This a TREASURE and worth taking a tour or wandering around by yourself.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Marsha C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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