Things to Do
Places to Stay
Here in a world filled with natural wonder, you'll also find a world brimming with beautiful art. Inspired by Mother Nature. Crafted by exceptional talent. And comprised of an unexpected wealth and variety of work and cultural attractions - waiting to be discovered in a setting that would inspire any artist. Not to mention any guest.
Experience all that the Laurel Highlands has to offer, from our extraordinary architectural masterpieces to the performances of our theaters. Music fills the air at our many concert events and venues throughout the region and fine art fills our museums and galleries. You'll find charming folk art and meticulously handcrafted items and even some bigger than life sculptures along our roads.
The Laurel Highlands is home to three original and extraordinary Frank Lloyd Wright homes including Wright's most beautiful, breathtaking and inspiring design, Fallingwater, which was named "50 Places of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler. Kentuck Knob, one of his most successful designs of a building that integrates with a natural landscape and the Duncan House where you can experience what it's like to live in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
Fallingwater is not only an architectural masterpiece but also an impressive art museum, housing works by such 20th Century masters as Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera. Not to miss is a walk through the Sculpture Garden and meadow at Kentuck Knob which features works by contemporary artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, Sir Anthony Caro and Ray Smith. Learn more about the Frank Lloyd Wright Properties
Fallingwater is great for kids too! You can reserve an Architecture Activity Kit or book a Guided Family Tour online. Both allow kids 6 years or older to explore basic structural principals and to see how Wright was inspired by nature.
Frank Lloyd Wright also inspired other architects who have left their marks on the Laurel Highlands landscape. David Merritt, who studied at Wright's Taliesin and Taliesin West, designed Falling Rock, an AAA Five Diamond Hotel at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a tribute to the organic architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright.
An architectural tour isn't complete without visiting the town of Vandergrift in the Laurel Highland's northern tier. Its designer, Frederick L. Olmstead, was the world-renowned landscape architect who designed Manhattan's Central Park. His revolutionary concepts had a great impact on city planning in the 19th Century, and are most visible in Vandergrift. Take a walk through the neighborhoods-- none of the streets cross at right angles; they form arcs that gently curve with the natural contour of the landscape. The recently restored Casino Theater was central to the design of the town center. Once hosting vaudeville troupes and traveling shows, it is now a venue for musicals, concerts, and comedy.
Take a scenic drive along the historic Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30) and see firsthand site markers, wall plaques, interpretive waysides (some with audio components), and murals that tell the story of the nation's first coast-to-coast highway. Keep an eye out for the life-size vintage (1940-ish) gas pumps that have all been painted by Pennsylvania artists and the bigger-than-life iron sculptures crafted by students.
Embedded into our lush hillsides and valleys are a number of real gems for art lovers. These art museums and collections represent a broad sweep of eras, styles, schools and nationalities. Notable among them are the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art which includes a fine collection of works that celebrate Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Artists. And History buffs will not want to miss seeing the original paintings of well-known eighteenth-century leaders by such artists as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Allan Ramsay, David Morier, Edward Penny, Robert Edge Pine, Carl Van Loo, George Knapton and Rembrandt Peale in the French and Indian War Art Gallery at Fort Ligonier.
You can also take advantage of the daily tour of the Hardy Art Collection at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, where you'll see major works of art by artists such as Alexander Calder, Fernando Botero, and J.J. Audubon. The tour is free to visitors and runs every day at 3pm. If you want to continue your art experience at the resort, make reservations for dinner at the resort's Lautrec Restaurant, only one of 20 restaurants in the world to hold both a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond award simultaneously. Savor the artful delights on your plate as well as the walls where you will identify a few pieces of artwork by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the restaurant's namesake.
Just a few miles from Nemacolin along Route 40 West is the Historic Summit Inn and Resort, where the art of fine furniture is well represented. Stop in the lobby which is furnished entirely with original Stickley pieces.
Locally made handcrafted items always attract a lot of visitors to the Laurel Highlands. Why? Simple: their exceptional quality and wide variety.
Fine glasswork represents a very strong tradition of craftsmanship in the Laurel Highlands. If you love it as much as many of our visitors do, you can't miss La Boheme Import Glass (specializing in imported items from the Czech Republic) and the Mount Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival. Add to these our many commercial galleries, crafts shops and antique stores, and you get the picture. Or many pictures, depending on how much room you have for taking home one-of-a-kind treasures.
Develop your own skills as a craftsperson and enroll in the Touchstone Center for Crafts. Pennsylvania's only residential arts and crafts school, Touchstone's instructors come from all over the country and are some of North America's finest artists and artisans. Week-long workshops are offered throughout the year on specific skills and media, from blacksmithing to pottery.
Though many of our theaters have long, storied histories, they host top-notch contemporary plays, musicals, and well-known artists. We have several historical theaters, including the Arcadia Theater, the Casino Theater, the Palace Theater, the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, and the State Theatre. All these have been lovingly preserved artifacts of an earlier era of entertainment. The grandeur of these fine theaters is the perfect backdrop for the great performances on stage which are sure to entertain you.
Musically, you'll find many theaters, concerts and unique venues throughout our region showcasing a wide range of music including the jazz, folk, blues, rock, indigenous music and more. In the warmer months, check out our resorts, campgrounds, wineries and festivals.They all offer a variety of music and concert events to accompany the fun and food that draw visitors to the Laurel Highlands.
See our Calendar for a full list of musical and performing arts events.