Oakland is a district in Pittsburgh east of Downtown. In it are many of the hospitals that serve Pittsburgh and most of the colleges and universities.
From downtown one takes Forbes Avenue east which is a one-way street that leads directly to Oakland. There frequent PAT buses as well as this is a heavily travelled route.
Although Oakland is essentially a location for schools and hospitals, there are many things to see and do there. Perhaps the most interesting for visitors is The Carnegie Library and Museums. There are three major sections in a single large building along Forbes Avenue:
- The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This is the major Carnegie library in Pittsburgh. Andrew Carnegie funded 2,507 libraries all over the world between 1881 and 1917. Most (1,681) are in the United States, but there are Carnegie libraries from Fiji to United Kingdom. This library is very large with an entire floor for fiction, another for non-fiction and a third devoted to works on technology. http://www.clpgh.org/
- The Carnegie Museum of Natural History. This museum has a number of interesting collections from ancient armor, to gems and minerals, furniture and, especially dinosaurs which through funding by Carnegie were removed from tarpits in the western United States. http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmnh/
- The Carnegie Museum of Art. A world-class exhibit space with a permanent collection of paintings that include Rembrants, Van Goghs, Cezannes, Picassos and many more. In addition it hosts temporary exhibits from other museums all over the world and funds the Carnegie International, a biennial staging of "the most important and prestigious international survey of contemporary art in North America." http://www.cmoa.org/
- The Cathedral of Learning. A 42 story building of the University of Pittsburgh. It is gothic in style and the anchor of the university's campus. Construction was begun in 1926 and took ten years to complete. It is the tallest school building in the western hemisphere and is visible almost anywhere in Pittsburgh. Surrounding its immense commons room are the unique "nationality rooms" designed by 17 different architects and constructed and decorated in the characteristic style of the 17 different nations which at the time made up the diverse population of Pittsburgh. Above this level are classrooms accessed, of course, by elevators.
There is a concentration of different colleges and universities in Oakland that is perhaps only rivalled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These include, most notably, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, but there are many others, large and small, public and private.
Put some twenty thousand college students in a small urban area and you can be sure you won't go hungry. Or thirsty. If you've outgrown college food and college bars there are also a number of very good restaurants in the area.
Since this is a "college town", as well as a center of research and technology, there are numerous accomodations including most of the bigname chain hotels. In addition the area has very frequent bus connections to Downtown which is only a ten or fifteen minute ride to all the large downtown hotels.