Things to do in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa – the city of bridges, champions, and fun things to do. Whether you are looking for things to do in Pittsburgh with kids or just looking for something fun to do in Pittsburgh, there are tons of options. Throughout the summer, fun events are held all across the different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. If you don’t feel like waiting for these events, there are always the classic Pittsburgh attractions that you can go and enjoy. Now that the sun is (finally) shining in Pittsburgh and the weather is warm, go try out one of these 50 things to do in Pittsburgh this summer.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium make for a fun day with the kids. As of recently, the Pittsburgh Zoo has partnered with KultureCity to accommodate visitors with sensory needs with sensory bags and weighted lap pads. You can visit the zoo and aquarium during the day to see all of the animals, or you can check out all of the different events they host during the summer.
Pittsburgh’s Strip District is one of the most exciting neighborhoods to visit during the summer. It’s home to multiple specialty grocery stores and some of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh. Once you are done filling up on food, you can visit one of the many wineries, distilleries, and breweries in the Strip District. If alcohol isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of coffee and tea shops up the main drag. Finish the day by shopping at all of the stands and stores lining Penn Avenue.
Pittsburgh Pirates Game
PNC Park has one of the best views of the city, and tickets are incredibly reasonable for an MLB team. The Pittsburgh Pirates are always hosting fun themed nights like Pup Night, Wine Night, and Stranger Things Night. If you’re a fan of fireworks, make sure to go on Zambelli Fireworks nights.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are Pittsburgh’s very own professional soccer team. Head over to Highmark Stadium in Station Square to see them play. Make sure to check out their schedule for different promotional nights like Scout Night and Science at the Stadium.
Walnut St (Jam on Walnut)
Walnut Street in Shadyside is home to lots of great shops and restaurants. This street is home to shops like Gap, Lululemon, Patagonia, and Banana Republic. If you’re in the mood for food, you can visit restaurants like Pamela’s Diner, Steel Cactus, Shady Grove, or Acorn.
During the summer, Walnut Street also hosts Jam on Walnut. Six Saturdays each summer, the city closes down Walnut Street to host an outdoor concert with proceeds benefitting Humane Animal Rescue. Jam on Walnut runs from May to October.
Pittsburgh is home to tons of music venues, including Stage AE, PPG Paints Arena, Mr. Small’s Fun House, Rex Theater, Roboto, and many others. Some big names coming to Pittsburgh this summer are Ariana Grande, Queen and Adam Lambert, the Jonas Brother, The Who, and many others.
Named one of “America’s Coolest City Parks,” Schenley Park is one of the largest parks in Pittsburgh. The park is home to several miles of hiking trails, a public swimming pool, an 18-hole disc golf course, tennis courts, and an ice skating rink. The park hosts several events over the summer, most notably the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and free movies in the park located on Flagstaff Hill.
Located just across the river from Downtown Pittsburgh, Station Square is a must-see destination this summer. As if the view of Pittsburgh wasn’t already enough of a selling point, Station Square also has a fountain show April through November. The Fountain at Bessemer Court features hundreds of multi-colored water jets that have 10 different shows all choreographed to music.
If you are looking for food, Station Square is home to plenty of restaurants. Their most notable restaurants include Buca di Beppo, Grand Concourse, Hard Rock Café, Joe’s Crab Shack, The Melting Pot, and Texas de Brazil.
If you plan to do any tours of Pittsburgh, Station Square is the place to go. Here you can board the Gateway Clipper, take a Just Ducky Tour boat, or ride around the city on a Segway tour. Station Square is also at the bottom of the Pittsburgh inclines, which will take you up Mount Washington for the best view of the Pittsburgh skyline.
Movies in the Park
From June 2 to August 30, Pittsburgh hosts Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park. There are 10 different parks that host free movies during the summer, including Arsenal Park, Schenley Park, and Highland Park. Grab a blanket and some snacks and bring the family to a free night of cinema.
Hop in a cable car and take the Duquesne Incline up to the top of Mt. Washington to experience “one of the top ten sites in the world for viewing a cityscape.” (USA Today) At the top of the Duquesne Incline is the Duquesne Incline Observation Deck, where you can get a full view of the Pittsburgh Skyline. It’s only $5 round trip to ride the incline, and children cost just $2.50 round trip.
The National Aviary
Located in the North Side, the National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo that is dedicated exclusively to birds. Here, you can see over 500 birds from more than 150 species around the world. The National Aviary has a walk-through habitat, which allows you to get up-close with the birds as they free-fly above you. There are even opportunities to hand-feed some of the birds. Opening May 25, the Aviary will also have an interactive exhibit called Living Dinosaurs, presented by Peoples Gas.
SouthSide Works, located in South Side, is home to great restaurants and shopping. Enjoy free, live music every Thursday and Friday from 6-9pm in Town Square all summer long. Or, visit the SouthSide Works Cinema to catch a movie.
Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s amusement park, is a great way to spend your day. The park is home to 6 rollercoasters, Kiddieland, walk-through rides, and shows. In 2018, Kennywood added Thomas Town. This summer, they will open up Steelers Country, a Steeler’s themed area of the park with their new roller coaster, The Steel Curtain. It doesn’t get more Pittsburgh than that.
The Mattress Factory
The Mattress Factory is a series of artist installations across three separate buildings in the Mexican War Streets in Pittsburgh’s North Side. The art in these buildings changes often, so if you haven’t gone in a while, it’s definitely worth a trip back.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Located in Oakland across from Schenley Park, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the most stunning places to visit in Pittsburgh. The gardens cover 15 acres, with a 14-room glasshouse and 23 different gardens. Phipps has many different exhibits and events over the summer, including Van Gogh in Bloom, Butterfly Forest, Jazz in the Garden, and Family Fun Days.
Point State Park
Point State Park, or The Point, is a park located where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River. This is where the iconic fountain is located. If you’re into history, you can also see the outline of Fort Duquesne and check out the Fort Pitt Museum.
Carnegie Science Center
The Carnegie Science Center is a great place to go with the kids on those rainy summer days. There’s plenty of interactive exhibits, a giant cinema, planetarium, live shows, and a submarine.
Located in the Northside, Randyland might just be the happiest place on earth. Randy Gilson, the artist who owns and maintains Randyland, opens his oasis to the public every day of the week, 10am-7pm, for free. If you’re lucky, you’ll visit on a day where Randy is outside, painting more bright colors onto the outdoor murals located in Randyland.
Located just east of Randyland and The Mattress Factory is Bicycle Heaven, the world’s largest bicycle museum and shop. The museum is completely free (but accepts donations) and is open from 10am-7pm every day of the week.
If the weather is nice, head down to Kayak Pittsburgh. There, you can rent a kayak to either paddle the three rivers or North Park Lake. No prior kayak experience is needed.
Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival
The Three Rivers Arts Festival is a 10-day art and music festival located in Downtown Pittsburgh. The festival is open from 12pm-8pm and is completely free to the public. The Three Rivers Arts Festival stretches all the way to The Point and has vendors, food stands, and live music daily.
Recently voted as the #1 Specialty Food Festival in America by the readers of USA Today, Picklesburgh is Pittsburgh’s own pickle food festival. The festival is located in Downtown Pittsburgh on the Roberto Clemente Bridge. For three whole days, you can enjoy pickled food, live music, and a giant inflatable Heinz pickle balloon.
Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival
For one day only, head over to Kennywood for the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival. This annual food festival features pierogies and pierogi-inspired dishes from over two dozen restaurants. The festival includes giveaways, live entertainment, activities, and an open beer garden.
Arcade Comedy Theater
Arcade Comedy Theater, Pittsburgh’s only non-profit comedy theater, is a great place for the whole family. The theater features improv, stand-up, and sketch shows every weekend. On the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month, they host Penny Arcade, a comedy show designed for kids aged 5-12 years old.
Sandcastle Water Park
Located in the Waterfront along the Monongahela River, Sandcastle Water Park offers 15 waterslides, a wave pool, lazy river, and two children’s areas.
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is the nation’s largest vintage street race. The event runs 11 days and includes racing, car shows, parades, and motorsport events. As a charity event, The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix raises funds for autistic and intellectually/developmentally disabled individuals in the Pittsburgh region. Since 1983, the event has donated $5.5 million.
Market Square, located in the center of Downtown Pittsburgh, is the place to be during the summer. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts activities in Market Square all summer long, including Yoga in the Square, PDP Night Markets, and Farmers Markets.
Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History
Head over to Oakland to spend a day getting lost in the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Located in the same building, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are two of the coolest museums in Pittsburgh. Make sure to check out their Third Thursday events.
Inspired by the open streets movement, Pittsburgh temporary closes streets for the day to create a safe place for people to walk, bike, and roll through 10 Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The events offer fitness workshops, kids activities, shopping, food, art, and special promotions from local businesses and organizations.
With 18 pools located across Pittsburgh, Citiparks pools are the most affordable way to cool off this summer. Daily admission is only $5 for adults, $3 for children, or you can buy a summer pass for $30 and under (depending on age).
Libraries all across Pittsburgh host free events throughout the summer for children. Check out your local library for a list of free events. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh also offers plenty of activities and events for children and teens.
Summer Fridays at The Frick
Check out Summer Fridays at The Frick every Friday from June 21 through August 23. This 10-week series features free outdoor performances, family-friendly activities, and a chance to tour Clayton, the Frick family home. You can grab a bite to eat at The Café, or bring your own food.
Heinz History Center
Located in the Strip District, the Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. You can expect to see exhibits on Pittsburgh innovations, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Heinz and much more.
Hofbrahaus Brewery & Restaurant is located in the Southside Works and is a fun homage to Germany. The restaurant sits on the riverfront, and in the summer you can sit outside and enjoy the view. Beer (or bier) is brewed on-site every day, with seasonal selections each month.
Church Brew Works
Looking for a cool new brewery? Check out the Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville. The brewery is a converted church and still has a ton of the old features, making it a very interesting atmosphere.
The Andy Warhol Museum
Located in the Northside, The Andy Warhol Museum has the largest collection of Andy Warhol’s artworks. The different floors of the museum explore the entire range of Warhol’s career, from his early works to his more well-known pieces.
Games N’ At
Located in South Side, Games N’ At is a little hidden gem of Pittsburgh. Unlike more modern arcades, Games N’ At is a pay-by-the-hour arcade, where you get access to pinball machines, air hockey, classic arcade games, etc. For an extra fee, you can BYOB. Duck-pin bowling is located upstairs but will cost extra. If you’re looking for things to do in Pittsburgh on a rainy summer day, Games N’ At is definitely a great option.
Take the family on a sightseeing cruise of Pittsburgh on the Gateway Clipper. The cruise sets sail on the Monongahela River and continue onto the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. Throughout the cruise, you will hear interesting facts and stories about Pittsburgh.
I Made It! Markets
I Made It! Market connects local businesses with the Pittsburgh community by hosting various marketplace events. Check out the list of summer markets to browse local artists and vendors.
First Fridays on Penn
On the first Friday of each month, the 4800 to 5500 blocks of Penn Avenue in Bloomfield open their doors to the community. Meet with artists and local business owners, grab a slice at Spak Brothers, and see a show at Roboto.
Highland Park is a great place for more than just the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. They also accommodate biking, walking, and hiking. Go swimming in the Highland Park Pool or hit up the volleyball courts. There’s also a playground for the kids.
Yard Sales & Church Sales
Carve out a Saturday or Sunday morning and go hunting for treasures at local yard sales and church sales. Listings of yard sales can be found in your local newspaper, or you can download the Yard Sale Treasure Map to find listings and map out your route.
Arsenal Cider House
Originally created across from the historic Allegheny Arsenal, Arsenal Cider House now has three locations in Pittsburgh. They specialize in small-batch, handcrafted hard apple cider, “cider style” wines, and mead. Stop by the Arsenal Cider Garden in Lawrenceville on Fridays to enjoy grilled food from guest chefs.
Allegheny Wine Mixer
Want to get your wine on? Check out the Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville. They offer an eclectic, hand-picked list of over 40 wines by the glass. They also offer beer and cocktails. Pair your beverage with their variety of cheese, meat, and “toasties.”
Mellon Park Walled Garden
Located behind the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts building and the Phipps Garden Center, the Mellon Park Walled Garden is a hidden oasis you have to check out. Make sure to stick around until dark to see the hidden memorial to Ann Katharine Seamans. Once the sun goes down, 150 light diodes installed in the ground light up, displaying the stars in the night sky at the moment of Ann’s birth in 1979.
Located in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Jerry’s Records is truly a Pittsburgh gem. Jerry’s has been selling records for over 37 years and was named one of Rolling Stone’s Best Record Stores in the USA. Jerry’s Records is home to nearly 1 million albums in LPs, 45s and 12” singles. The prices are all super reasonable, and you can even bring in your old vinyl to sell or trade.
4th of July Fireworks
Pittsburgh’s Flashes of Freedom Fireworks are recognized as one of the top 10 fireworks displays in the country and are an absolute must-see. At 9:35 pm on the Fourth of July, the fireworks are fired from a barge right off of The Point. People gather at Point State Park and the North Shore Great Lawn to listen to the fireworks soundtrack and get the best view of the show. The view from Mt. Washington is also pretty stellar. When looking for fun things to do in Pittsburgh this summer, this should absolutely be on your list.
Falling Water & Ohiopyle
Falling Water and Ohiopyle State Park are technically about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, but they are still a great summer activity. First, take a tour of Falling Water, the famous home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Then, take the family to Ohiopyle State Park. Check out the natural waterfalls, go camping, white water rafting, fishing, or try out one of the nature-made waterslides in Meadow Run.
While the Rivers Casino is a year-round attraction for anyone who wants to try their luck and win big, it’s also a fun place to visit during the summer. The Rivers Casino Amphitheater hosts free summer concerts that are open for all to attend.
Healthy Ride PGH
You’ve most likely seen the bike stations that have been installed all over the city, and now that the weather is nice, why not try it out? For a very small fee, you can rent a Healthy Ride bike and ride it around Pittsburgh. When you’re done, find another Healthy Ride station and return the bike. It’s a healthy, eco-friendly way to get around the city during beautiful summer days.
That’s it! That is 50 different things to do in Pittsburgh this summer. There’s plenty more going on all around the city, but this should be enough to get you started. Do you have something fun to do in Pittsburgh that we missed? Let us know in the comments!