Dome life [The Pennsylvanian], a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Ben Beard’s photostream

Have you ever walked by one of Pittsburgh’s iconic buildings and wondered what’s behind those closed doors? This weekend, you’ll have a chance to take a peak inside 39 of them — including the Office of the Mayor in the City-County Building — via Doors Open Pittsburgh. The concept of “Doors Open Days,” or simply “open days,” originated in Europe 25 years ago and has spread around the world. How did it come here? From Next Pittsburgh:

Doors Open Pittsburgh was started by Bonnie Baxter who experienced the event when she and her partner were living in Chicago. Baxter was so struck by spending two days in buildings she otherwise would not have had access to that she vowed to bring the event to Pittsburgh.

“I made a commitment that I would bring this back to our city. So I reached out to people and organizations and before you know it we had this wonderful group of partners,” says Baxter. Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, AIA Pittsburgh, Design Center, Green Buildng Alliance and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership all signed on to help with the initial planning.

During this free, two-day event, you’re encouraged to “Browse. Explore. Experience.” Doors Open Pittsburgh will provide exploration of these buildings in a way that is not typically available to the general public. You’ll be given access to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look or have a new experience in a building with which you may be already familiar. Sites will either offer a semi/fully guided tour or will allow for self-exploration.

No advance reservations or tickets are required. Simply go to the Doors Open Pittsburgh website, find the sites you want to see, and show up during the open hours!

Here are just a handful of the buildings you can visit on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd:


Bring on the gingerbread… [Arrott Building], a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from R.A. Killmer’s photostream


Omni William Penn Hotel Lobby, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Matthew Paulson’s photostream


David L. Lawrence Convention Center, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Nick Foust’s photostream


Inside of Heinz Hall, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Brook Ward’s photostream

Pittsburgh City County Building

Pittsburgh City-County Building, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Ronald Woan’s photostream