Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PA)

Randyland: the outdoor art installation that’s often considered the happiest place in Pittsburg.

Discover Randyland

Randyland, in all its glory, is a beacon of joy and positivity tucked away in Pittsburgh’s once dilapidated Northside district. Owing to its unique visual vibrancy, Randyland is widely considered America’s most colourful public art landmarks.

In essence, Randyland is quite simply a house – Randy’s House. Local artist Randy Gilson created the rainbow art instalment to celebrate art and bring a little joy to his community. Given that it has become a beloved cultural landmark to the people of Pittsburgh, I would say he has done just that!

However, Randyland has not only received nationwide adoration but is also recognised on an international scale. Viral listicles have signposted tourists to this slice of sunburst heaven and it has since fallen into place among the most photographed places on Instagram.

Creating Randyland

In his early life, Randy suffered from homelessness and poverty. After moving to Pittsburgh’s Northside in 1982, he became a community activist; removing rubbish, planting flowers, and setting up community gardens. Using any means necessary, Randy was determined to clean up the neighbourhood.

In 1995, using a credit card, Randy purchased the formerly abandoned street-corner building. By upcycling items, the artistic Randyland creator filled his home with eclectic objects such as mannequins, plastic dinosaurs, and pink flamingos. Over the years, he transformed the building and its surrounding property into an outdoor art installation and free museum full of colour, wonder, and whimsy.

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Features of Randyland

So we have the promise of mannequins and plastic animals, but what else does Randyland have to offer? Well it turns out, a lot! And with no signs of slowing down, Randy is out there adding more pieces and splashes of colour as we speak!

When visiting this outdoor wonderland of colour and creativity, visitors are greeted by a brightly painted fence and a row of boldly coloured flower pots. In classic Randy fashion – being an avid gardener – the pots contain a variety of sweet-smelling plants and flowers. There’s also a cardboard cut-out of Randy himself, ready and waiting to welcome guests to his kingdom.

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The installation features a variety of outdoor spaces, including a courtyard filled with sculptures, a tiered garden, and a rooftop deck with views of the city. And Randy himself can often be spotted sitting at one of the many chairs dotted around (or adding another lick of paint here and there!). By being present in this manner Randy has fostered deep, meaningful connections with the visitors. In this sense, visiting Randyland now feels like being welcomed into a tight-knit community that's united by a love of art, creativity, and positivity.

Throughout the space, visitors will find a variety of sculptures, murals, and mosaics. Thanks to Randy’s knack for upcycling items in unusual ways, many of the pieces are made from recycled materials and found objects. This only adds to the unique and eclectic feel.

The Growing Popularity of Randyland

In 2016, Randy’s partner David Paul Francis "Mac" McDermott was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fans of the museum raised funds to send the couple on their first vacation after hearing the news. Since then the surrounding neighbourhood experienced significant growth, and Randyland’s popularity skyrocketed. It was at this moment that the museum came to embrace the term ‘selfie museum’, where visitors would pose against the vibrant backdrop for their next insta.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, in 2020, the outdoor nature of Randyland meant that it was one of the only art museums that remained open in Pennsylvania. Among other alterations, the courtyard was transformed into a socially distanced playground throughout quarantine. The ability to visit such a peaceful, happy, and beautiful place in such a bleak and desolate time firmly cemented Randyland as an iconic cultural landmark to the local residents.

Looking to the future, Randy has expressed plans to expand the art project and create a community centre that will provide programs and resources for the neighbourhood.


Visiting Randyland

A trip to Randyland is an experience that’s hard to put into words! The entire place is a sensory overload. You'll find yourself surrounded by everything from polka dots and stripes to grinning monsters and whimsical murals. Everywhere you turn, there's something new and exciting to discover. And so it's impossible not to smile as you wander through this quirky oasis.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Randyland is the sense of joy that permeates every inch of the place. With cheerful colours and decorations, everything about Randyland is designed to make you feel happy and uplifted. It's a place where you can forget your worries and revel in the simple pleasures of life – like taking a selfie with a giant rubber ducky, or admiring a host of other delightful curiosities.

Our Thoughts…

Despite its undeniable charm, Randyland is also a place with a deep sense of purpose. Randy Gilson has made it his life's work to bring joy and positivity to his community, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Visiting Randyland is not just a fun way to spend an afternoon - it's a way to support a local artist and show your appreciation for the power of art to bring people together. So next time you’re walking around town on a beautiful day, check out this free museum – you won’t be able to miss it, literally!

If you're looking for other ways to immerse yourself in Pittsburgh culture, why not check out our secret escapes and lose yourself in an urban adventure?!

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