I admittedly hadn’t heard of Fallingwater until this year. My husband and I had a week of vacation and decided to do a road trip since we didn’t feel safe flying during the pandemic. Our ultimate goal was Mount Rushmore but we made a few stops along the way. My husband suggested Fallingwater, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 located about an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Pittsburgh. The house was built over a waterfall and blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. Here’s a complete guide to visiting Fallingwater.
Getting to Fallingwater
Fallingwater is located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Pittsburgh. To get there, you’re definitely going to need a car. While it’s a bit out of the way, it can be the perfect stop on a road trip. We were headed from Boston to Indianapolis so it was only about 45 minutes out of our way.
Where to Stay When Visiting Fallingwater
There are several options for where to stay when visiting Fallingwater. Since we were on a road trip, we wanted the closest hotel off the highway that was also somewhat near Fallingwater. The best option was the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Donegal. Our stay cost 15,000 IHG points worth $137.30. The hotel is less than 30 minutes from Fallingwater which allowed us to be among the first visitors of the morning!
Another option is to stay in Pittsburgh which has no shortage of hotel options that can be booked with points. You’ll find options from Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and more.
What to Do at Fallingwater
The highlight of visiting Fallingwater is of course seeing the house, but there are a few nature trails and viewpoints that are worth visiting as well.
The entire tour of the complex will take you in a counter-clockwise circle starting and ending at the Visitors Center. Here you’ll find an information desk, museum store, restrooms, and a cafe. The store and cafe were closed during our visit due to COVID-19.
Visiting the House
To the right of the Visitors Center is a path leading through the meadow to the house. Due to COVID-19, you are only allowed to see the exterior of the house. This pamphlet outlines the self-guided tour of the exterior of the property.
First is an excellent view of the house from the bridge.
While you can’t go inside right now, there are still some good views of the interior from the east terrace.
After seeing the main house, head up the driveway to the carport.
After the carport, check out the canopied walkway before heading to the guest house and swimming pool
Next, head to the famous viewpoint. This is where you’ll get the best shots of Fallingwater. It’s also the best place to hear the waterfall.
The last stop is the birds-eye view. It’s located down a short nature trail and gives another awesome view of the house.
If you have time, there are two short nature trails on the property:
- Lower Bear Run Trail: 1 mile in and out
- Paradise Overlook Trail: 1/2 mile in and out
Tips for Visiting Fallingwater
- Buy tickets online: In order to visit, you will need to buy tickets online in advance. Self-guided tours are available daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm except Wednesdays with staggered entry times. Click here to buy tickets.
- Buy tickets in advance: Tickets don’t get booked up too far in advance, but if you plan on visiting on a weekend, it’s unlikely you will get tickets the same day.
- Visit early: We booked tickets for the 9:00 am entry time but ended up arriving around 8:45 am. Not only did they let us in early, but we were the only ones at the house for about 20 minutes! This is the best option for touring the house in peace and for getting the best pictures.
- Wear sneakers: Fallingwater is more of a complex than a house so expect a fair amount of walking.
Fallingwater ended up being one of our favorite stops on our road trip! The house is unlike anything we’ve seen on our travels, though it did remind us a little bit of Japan. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go back to visit the interior once it’s reopened. If you are able to make the detour to Fallingwater, it’s certainly worth the stop.