Things to do in Pittsburgh with Kids
When planning a family vacation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania may not be a destination you would normally consider, but it definitely should be! This charming metropolis has successfully reinvented itself to have plenty of awesome attractions. From must see sports teams, to art, to museums, there is no shortage of sites to see and fun things to do in Pittsburgh with your kids!
Compared to other large cities in the U.S, Pittsburgh is a more down-to-earth location with a lovely combination of city and nature that will entertain you with Pittsburgh family fun for the duration of your stay. As many bustling restaurants and cafes there are to visit, there are an equal amount of parks and outdoor activities to experience as well.
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So while you’re deciding where to head to next as a family, definitely consider Pittsburgh, this city is sure to steel your heart!
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WHAT YOU WILL LOVE ABOUT things to do in Pittsburgh with kids
- Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: This expansive museum comes complete with numerous hands-on interactive activities that your kids are going to love! It has been voted one of the best places to take children in the country and with exhibits like the Garage, the Nursery, and the Garden, that comes as no surprise. I visited this museum in 2018 when I was invited by the Tourism Pittsburgh for their Kidsburgh media trip. I enjoyed seeing all that they had to offer and highly recommend bringing your children here especially those 12 & under.
- Tour the city on Molly’s Trolley: This vintage trolley will take you all over the city on a fully narrated sightseeing tour. It’s a perfect way to see the most popular spots in the city and get informed on the history of them without tiring yourself and your kids out with a ton of walking.
LEGO Nefertiti at the Carnegie Science Center
- The National Aviary: Get as close as possible to over 500 birds and 150 species by strolling the humid and tropical habitats of the National Aviary’s numerous intimate bird sanctuaries. Come nose to beak with penguins, owls, flamingos, parrots, and other rare or endangered species!
Check out this quick video for a glimpse of some of the LEGO art at Carnegie Science Center. Apologies in advance for the slightly shaky video etc..
- Carnegie Science Center: Chock-full with really cool science and technology exhibits, it makes the Carnegie Science Center the perfect place to take your children to explore! There are hundreds of immersive exhibits that are interesting to kids of all ages, like Roboworld and SpacePlace. I visited the Carnegie Science Center in 2018 and was very impressed with all the displays, activities and more.
LEGO Dinosaur Carnegie Science Center
There were tons of families there. I was there with a media group some who had their children with me (mine was not) and I saw up close how much they enjoyed themselves. Check out the "Robot" photos from the Carnegie Science Center, there's a few in this article, I think almost everyone will recognize the famous pair below.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IN Pittsburgh
- Catch a pro sporting event: No matter if you decide to catch a Steelers game (football), a Penguins game (hockey), or a Pirates game (baseball), you are bound to have a great time. The city is very passionate about their sports teams, so if they win, you can definitely expect there to be fireworks! Plus, one of the best views of the city is the skyline view from PNC Park, where the Pirates play.
- Senator John Heinz History Center: This museum revolves around all things Western Pennsylvania! Get an immersive understanding of the area, the culture, and the history at this Smithsonian associated institution. There are a ton of interesting artifacts to check out, and the best part? There’s a kid’s only play place that the parents can safely monitor while sipping coffee via a TV screen inside the café.
- Ride the Duquesne Incline: Take a ride in this hundred-year-old cable car that goes straight up to an observation deck that provides you with one of the best views of the city’s skylines and it’s three rivers.
- Kennywood Park: A beloved historic landmark just minutes away from Downtown that has old wooden roller coasters, new, fast ones, tons of unique foods, and entertaining games! I also had the pleasure of going to Kennywood Park. Families enjoyed this one, especially the kids and that water ride wowza. You don't get off that ride with a dry spot on you. The photo below the water "splash" is only half the size, it got even bigger than that. A fun one on a hot day.
A FEW CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PLANNING A Family Fun TRIP TO Pittsburgh
- How and when you’re entering the city: If you’re taking a weekend trip and driving in, understand that you may hit some pretty severe traffic. Rush hour mixed with Friday night can definitely make the Downtown streets pretty congested!
- Pack layers: Being a Northern state bordering between the East and West, weather tends to be a little all over the place. Really hot summers and super cold winters are in store. So whenever you’re visiting, make sure to pack layers because even hot summer days can lead into cooler nights!
- Bring some black and gold clothing: This city bleeds black and gold, the official colors of every sports team that represents Pittsburgh. If you plan on catching a football, hockey, or baseball game, come prepared with the proper clothing colors so you can fully immerse yourself in the culture!
The photo below I took from an outdoor stairwell at PNC Park during the Pirates game I attended. It was too pretty of a scene not to stop and take a photo.
How many days do I need to visit Pittsburgh?
I would recommend at least 2-3 full days in the city, which will be enough time to cover all the tourist must-do’s in the area. There are hundreds of things to do and see in Pittsburgh, especially with children, and you don’t want to be rushing them from one attraction to the next!
Can I visit Pittsburgh without a car?
It is generally recommended for visitors to bring cars! For tourism purposes you can most likely get away with not having access to your own transportation. Downtown and North Shore, where a lot of tourist attractions are, have no shortage of public transportation and you can also see a lot of spots on foot! If you are staying a little bit outside of these areas, you may fare better with a car, especially when traveling with children.
One of many dinosaur displays at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Is Pittsburgh known for its food?
Absolutely! Pittsburgh was actually ranked as the third-best city in the country for foodies! Food is such an integral part of any city’s culture, so it’s pertinent that you try some of their most well known bites. Between the famous Primanti sandwich, potato patch fries, and pierogies, you definitely don’t want to be on a strict diet when visiting!
A Primanti Sandwich that I personally tried.
Check out our article Kid Friendly Restaurants in Pittsburgh where I ate at the above mentioned Primanti's and had one of their famous sandwiches along with some other great restaurants that had some tasty food from breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert, we covered them all.