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.
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