Disclaimer: I don’t leave campus much. Because CS consume my life. I also don’t do sporty adventure things. Nor am I really a foodie to the great disappointment of my friends. So this is probably a super basic take on aesthetic photo places nearby Carnegie Mellon, but I’m also using this post as an excuse to share some photos on the blog.
For your convenience I’ve ranked these in the order of how much effort you would need to get to these places because optimization is everything 😉
1. Pausch Bridge
Named in honor of the late Professor Randy Pausch, this bridge connects the Gates Computer Science building with the Drama building on campus. During the day, it’s nothing too spectacular, but in the evenings, the bridge lights up in a myriad of mesmerizing bright colors.
Fun fact: There’s also a hidden penguin disguised in the pattern of each panel on the bridge (more here).
2. Number Garden
Once upon a time a regular stop on the Carnegie Mellon campus tour, the number garden is tucked away between Posner Hall and the CFA building and you’ll have to get through a bit of a maze of bushes to get there. There’s also a mysterious quote against the backdrop of the number garden which I have yet to make sense, if someone knows, please let me know. Anyways, this place will always hold special memories as one of the places I first visited on my CMU tour and uhh… a required destination for our group selfie in our SCS Freshman Immigration Course.
3. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Phipps is a great spot for profile pictures with plants and nature as my friends who current have profile pictures I’ve taken of them at Phipps can attest to. Phipps tends to have many different exhibits throughout the year where they change out different types of flowers and decoration so it’s definitely a spot that you could frequent often for photos.
4. Schenley Park
If Phipps doesn’t meet your standard of a walk through nature, then consider venturing into Schenley Park and walking along muddy trails with tiny streams of water and grand underside of bridges. There’s also an outdoor figure skating rink in Schenley Park that I also of course have to shout out as a place to visit in the winter months.
5. Carnegie Museum of Art
If you’re more of an indoor photo kind of person, well you’re in luck because your Carnegie Mellon ID card gets you in to many a museum, one of which being the Carnegie Museum of Art, which is a mere 5 min walk from campus. My personal favorite artworks are the neon lights displays!
6. Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems
While you’re at the Carnegie Museum of Art, you might as well make your way next door to the National History Museum. Personally, I haven’t found much to photograph here except for the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. It’s a relatively small room, but it has mirrored walls that give the illusion of you being in a massive tunnel that’s filled all the way with beautiful minerals and gems.
7. Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum is another great museum to stop by and quite easy to get on any bus headed downtown. From downtown, it’s a short walk across the Andy Warhol bridge, painted a beautiful bright shade of yellow. The exhibits inside the museum aren’t the most visually stunning, but there are still many interactive things to do inside. You’ll also likely find hidden Carnegie Mellon easter eggs in some of the descriptions of Warhol’s background and history.
8. The Mattress Factory
Hands down the coolest collection of art exhibits in any museum I’ve gone to thus far, the Mattress Factory is kind of an Instagram dream with their super bright and colorful installations and their two infinity mirror rooms. 10 out of 10 would recommend making a trip here.
If you weren’t already overwhelmed by the color in the Mattress Factory, a couple of blocks away is Randyland, an outdoor collection of colorful signs, mirrors, artwork, and trinkets to gaze upon.
10. Duquesne Incline
Last but not least, if you’ve spent too much time on campus or trapped inside Gates and you want a reminder that you go to school in an actual city, consider a trip to the Duquesne Incline and the Grandview Overlook in Mount Washington. Transportation up and down the incline is counted as free public transportation via your Carnegie Mellon ID and when you get to the top, you’ll be blessed with a beautiful view of the city, especially if you time it right and go at golden hour or sunset.