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Top 5 Reasons to Spend a Family Weekend in Pittsburgh

From museums to festivals, here's our top 5 kid-friendly picks for visiting Pittsburgh.

5 Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh - Main Line Parent

For a moment, put all sports rivalries aside. Pittsburgh is just about a 4.5-hour drive from the Philadelphia area and in addition to its booming tech, food, and arts scenes, it has a few major events and hotspots that are perfect reasons to take your family to the other side of the state for a long weekend!

Picklesburgh

July 20–22
Roberto Clemente Bridge, Downtown Pittsburgh

Perfect for the expectant mother, each year Pittsburgh shuts down one of its iconic bridges to celebrate all things pickle! Complete with a 35’ Heinz Pickle, Picklesburgh features over 40 vendors showcasing everything from pickle flavored cocktails to bacon-wrapped cheese-filled fried pickles to pickle-themed apparel! And little ones can visit the Lil Gherkins Activity Area for kid friendly crafts and activities. Picklesburgh is produced annually by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and this year’s festival is July 20-22.

Pittsburgh Irish Festival

September 7–9
Riverplex at Sandcastle, 1000 Sandcastle Dr., West Homestead

The largest in the Northeast, the Pittsburgh Irish Festival is known for being one of the region’s longest running cultural celebrations, and features live music and dance on four stages, traditional Celtic cuisine and beverages, children’s crafts and games, an Irish marketplace, dogs native to Ireland, Ancient Celtic Axe Throwing, and so much more! Kids 12 and under are free, and the Main Line Parent and Philly Family Communities can use code “FFM2018” to get an extra $3 off already discounted advanced tickets! This year’s Pittsburgh Irish Festival will be held on September 7–9 at the Riverplex at Sandcastle. More information, including a special hotel rate, is available at pghirishfest.org.

 

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh

Won’t you be my neighbor? Pittsburgh is where Mr. Rogers called home, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is the birthplace of Daniel Tiger! Current exhibits include “Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails,” “The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit,” MAKESHOP, “Fred Rogers and Us,” and so many more that your family is sure to enjoy!

 

Kennywood

4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin

Kennywood, created in 1898, is one of the country’s best traditional amusement parks! The park features many classic thrills like the Thunderbolt, ranked consistently as one of the country’s top wooden rollercoaster; the Potato Patch, whose fries were previously named the best in the U.S.; and the Pittsburg Plunge, sure to rival any log flume you have ever been on! Plus, beginning July 27, Thomas Town will bring five new rides, a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine, and more, making Kennywood a must-do for the little Thomas fan in your life.

National Aviary

700 Arch St, Pittsburgh

Have a little bird lover in the family? The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the United States. Over 500 birds from around the world are featured, and guests can get up close and personal with many of them! And yes, there are penguins (don’t worry, they aren’t the hockey playing kind!).

 

Bonus Family Activities in Pittsburgh

If the top five reasons above aren’t enough to convince you to visit Pittsburgh for the weekend, these fun family events might just do the trick!

Annual Community Mutt Strut in Pittsburgh

Annual Community Mutt Strut

September 15
7227 Reynolds St, Pittsburgh

Come out for the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs annual dog parade with food, veteran-related vendors, and activities for the whole family. The parade raises money to fund training of medical service dogs for veterans with PTSD and combat-related injuries. They have raised over $500,000 from the annual parades!

 

Pittsburgh Earth Day Celebrations at Frick Park

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Earth Day Celebration

Held annually in April
2005 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh

Start the Earth Day festivities off with a community campfire filled with hot dogs and s’mores on Friday night. Take a family-friendly hike or nature walk the following day throughout Frick Park and learn about conservation and the environment. The best part? The event is free for families!

 

Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh

Three Rivers Arts Festival

June 7-16, 2019
Downtown Pittsburgh

Whether you’re heading to Pittsburgh for a long weekend or stopping in mid-week, be sure to schedule your plans around the Three Rivers Arts Festival. This 10-day, family-friendly arts and music festival is held throughout downtown Pittsburgh and features activities for the whole family. It’s a cultural extravaganza!

 

Lead photograph from VisitPittsburgh. Article photographs by David Heath, National Aviary / VisitPittsburgh, James Barker, Alex Holt, and Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

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