Time for the annual round-up of free (or low-cost) things to do in Pittsburgh this summer. This is by no means comprehensive, just a sample of things we like to do or things that we’ve heard about from friends.
NEW this summer is Art City USA which is a pop-up, city-sized public arts festival at Century III Mall running from mid-June to mid-September. Lots of free family activities as well as public art to enjoy if you stroll the mall while getting cool.
“Movies in the Park” are a much-loved tradition in these parts. Both the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have summertime movie offerings.
The City “Spark! Film” series locations and offerings can be found at this link. It is a .pdf which you’ll have to download and open. But there are some great choices and many family friendly options.
- Arsenal Park (Lawrenceville)
- Brookline Memorial (Brookline)
- Schenley Park (Squirrel Hill)
- Grandview Park (Mt. Washington)
- Highland Park (Highland Park)
- Riverview Park (Observatory Hill)
- Overlook Park (West End)
Allegheny County Parks have more limited options but still some great fun if you aren’t able to get into the City proper. They also offer a chronological list of all events by park, by month which is very useful.
- Round Hill (Elizabeth)
- South Park (South Park)
- Deer Lakes (Tarentum)
- Boyce Park (Monroeville)
- White Oak Park (White Oak)
- North Park
- Harrison Hills (Natrona Heights)
- Settler’s Cabin
- Hartwood Acres (Hampton)
Music in the Park! Another time-honored tradition in this region.
- Schedule of music events in Allegheny County Parks
- Various schedules for Citiparks music events
- WYEP Summer Music Festival (June)
- McKeesport Summer Concerts in the Park
- Erie Pride – June and August
- Pittsburgh Latin@ LGBTQ Pride – June
- Pittsburgh Black Pride – July
- Pittsburgh Pride – June
- Youngstown Pride
Festivals and Fairs
- KidsPlay at Market Square, July through August
- Three Rivers Arts Festival , June
- Summer Reading Extravaganza, June
- The Three Rivers Regatta, July
- Stephen Foster “Doo Dah Days”, July
- Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Pix, July
- Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, August
- Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival, August
- Hay Day Festival for Kids, September
- List of Other Festivals (not all are free so read carefully)
- Citi Parks Roving Art Cart for children ages 5-12, Tues-Fri all summer. Check out the 2015 schedule.
- Three Rivers Arts Festival (see above)
- Shadyside Arts Festival
- Ellwood City Arts Festival, June.
- Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District, July
- UNBLURRED! Art Crawl on the Penn Avenue Arts Corridor, monthly
- Get Outside and Learn (GOAL) Day in North Park, June– learn to kayak, bike ride, even throw a spear
- Pittsburgh Citi Pools has a great program which is NOT free, but affordable for many. Riverview Park Pool is especially nice and usually not crowded.
- Citi Spray Parks are free and very popular. (This is something I would vote to prioritize for expansion especially to the North Side)
- Tour the Covered Bridges of Washington and Greene Counties for free.
- Summer Soul Line Dancing with CitiParks in June, July and August.
- Explore the Rails to Trails – explore hundreds of miles. Just lace up your shoes, take some water with you and you are all set to enjoy.
Use your search engine and your imagination to find other free things to do. Call your municipality, your local library and local houses of worship to see what they have offered. Ask the school district. Many summer events are free and don’t require residency or enrollment so if your grandkids visit for a few weeks, you might be able to keep them busy and engaged right in your neck of the woods.
- I was part of a 2013 Perfect Pittsburgh Summer Day Blog Round Up which has some interesting suggestions.
- RADical Days free admission to local RAD funded programs. Get on the email list or text alert list for the 2015 event.
- Pittsburgh Banjo Club every Wednesday at the Elks Lodge on the Northside. Yes, I’m serious. It is free.
- Be sure to check out your favorite blogs for giveaways – tickets, passes, etc.
- The Pittsburgh City Paper has an excellent list each week of all sorts of things to do. Some are free, some are not.
- Follow Allegheny County on Facebook for more information on events.
- Follow the hashtag #LovePgh for suggestions (and shares) by Visit Pittsburgh.
What did I miss? Let us know via email and we’ll update the list.