Travel & Culture

Randyland Just Makes You Smile

Annie,

One of the happiest places I’ve ever been to must be Randyland in Pittsburgh. It’s super vibrant, colorful, and quirky – just my style! Without realizing it, a smile just crept across my face once I walked in.

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Randyland is created by Randy Gilson. His story is posted on the outside walls. He had a rough childhood, and wanted to make a place that brought people happiness. Randyland came about when Randy bought a piece of land in a not-so-great place. It took a long time to clean up Randyland and the neighborhood, but now it’s a must-visit destination in Pittsburgh.

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Almost all the materials are items Randy finds on the streets. Like they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” He’s really got an eye for repurposing things, to be able to look at something worn down and think, “I think you have potential.” It’s kind of beautiful to think about.

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My favorite things about Randyland were areas that caused a physical reaction from me. I first saw things all facing the top of a hill, and then when I saw shapes of rats, I jumped and screeched immediately because I thought they were real. I don’t like rats – they are dirty and fat and you never know if they want to bite you. And then white rats?! I freaked the fork out. I couldn’t get too close to that area because I was worried they would suddenly turn around and be like, “HAHAHA CHICKA, WE’RE ACTUALLY REAL” and then chase me.

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I also gasped a little when I saw the gargoyle-like creature. I’ve never seen a gargoyle that smiled. This thing feels like a gargoyle, but is a smiley one, so I felt very confused looking at it. I feel suspicious when I look at the picture, like I think it’s trying to pull something on me.

If you ever get a chance to visit Pittsburgh, definitely hit this place up! It’s got so much love and life in it – I think you’d enjoy it.

Randyland: website, Insta @randyland.pgh

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