Has spring fever already hit your house but you’ve gone a little over budget this past holiday season and really need to start tightening the proverbial purse strings? Or maybe you’re simply saving your dough for the next family vacation? Here’s seven fun and absolutely free things to do in Pittsburgh that won’t require you to open your wallet once!
My daughter loves riding the subway system in any large city. We learn so much about a city and how to properly navigate it that way and I feel like I’m a native after a few trips on it. Not only is the Pittsburgh Light Rail System super clean and safe, but as long as you stay within the Golden Triangle area it’s free to ride! You can head from the North Shore to Steel Plaza and can hop on and off as much as you like. Head across one of the rivers, though, and you’ll have to pay.
Fort Pitt Block House and Point State Park
What better way to learn about a city’s history than to understand its role in an American war? Fort Pitt Block House is a remnant of the French and Indian War and still stands strong at 250 years old. Admission is free and there’s plenty to see inside including war artifacts, history about the war and early Pittsburgh and is a quick in and out for families that want to learn a little bit about the city and its pivotal role.
Point State Park is home to the Fort Pitt Block House and it’s one of my family’s favorite spots in the city. We grab some lunch and head over to the giant fountain on pretty days to catch a glimpse of where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to make the Ohio River. The Point is also a spot where you can check out free entertainment often and is THE spot on the Fourth of July to watch fireworks.
Take a drive up to Mount Washington and you’ll be able to check out one of the best views in America. I might be biased but it is true: the Pittsburgh skyline was named one of the Most Stunning Views by USA Today in 2014. Kids will love looking at the Inclines going up and down the hill, the boats and barges that frequently travel on all three rivers, and man, what a backdrop for a gorgeous family photo. We really like to visit at sunset and after dark especially on hot summer days because of cooler temps and seeing all of the bridges lit up is just stunning.
If you do feel like spending a few extra dollars, taking a ride up and down the Duquesne Incline is an experience the kiddos won’t forget. There’s a free museum at the top, a fenced-in viewing area with pay binoculars, and a tour that lets them see the inner workings and how the inclines travel up and down the hill so safely.
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum and Cathedral of Learning
The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum pays tribute to American heroes with a museum filled with artifacts and exhibits and it’s perfect for kids that have families with a military background or even older children that are maybe thinking of entering military service. If you’re a military family with an immediate member serving overseas or a veteran, admission is free.
While you’re in the Oakland area of town, take a walk over to the Cathedral of Learning. The Pitt University campus offers classes in the skyscraper and each of its Nationality Rooms on the first and third floors are free to visit as long as a class is not being held. All 30 rooms represent countries from China to Scotland and my family loves visiting during the winter holidays for many are highly decorated in that country’s traditions.
The Strip District
One of my family’s top spots to visit when we’re in town is The Strip District. Originally the spot for vendors selling produce, The Strip is filled with eclectic shops, amazing restaurants, and tons of outdoor vendors on warm days. I love taking my teen for the blast of culture from all over the world- and window shopping is absolutely free. We walk Smallman St. and Penn Ave., head in and out of the shops and stores, and get some exercise without ever having to spend a cent.
There’s so much more to see and do in Pittsburgh no matter what time of year, but these seven things are free and well worth the trip. Need a few more ideas on what to see and do when you’re in The ‘Burgh? Here’s a fun list of great tips.