Pittsburgh! City of Steel, City of Bridges. That’s right, this place has two claims to fame, with 446 bridges, because it’s just that awesome.
You can relate, because Awesome is your middle name! You’re used to entertaining your own kids, right? You’ve even gotten really good at it, because you spend nap time (theirs, not yours – what are naps?) researching playgrounds and events in your hometown, to keep your kids from getting into trouble or, worse, bored.
Really, you’re on fire and feeling pretty good about yourself until you wake up on the morning of your flight and realize you don’t know anything about kid-friendly haunts in Pittsburgh. Whoops.
But you’re in luck! Pittsburgh is packed with family-friendly activities, with a surprising amount of history that’s so seamless, they won’t even know they’re learning!
Here are six totally rad things to see and do, when you’re looking for ways to keep the whole family entertained during your stay in Pittsburgh.
1. Ride the Duquesne and Monogahela Inclines
Monongahela Incline Parking:
5 Grandview Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Inclines were built to haul coal and commuters up the steep sloping hills, starting in the late 1800s. Throughout Pittsburgh’s history, there have been more than 20 different funicular rails. These days only the Duquesne and Monongahela are in operation, and commuters and tourists ride them.
It’s a slow, sloping ride and the kids will love it. Don’t forget to check out the scenic overlook, where you can catch a great view of the Golden Triangle, where these three rivers converge: Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela (Mo-non-ga-HEE-la – say that three times fast) in downtown Pittsburgh.
Now you can finally use that selfie stick to grab a shot of the whole family!
2. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
7340 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is one of only six zoo-aquarium combos offered in the United States. It originally opened in June of 1898 and is 117 years old – this probably makes it older than grandma and grandpa.
Zoos are a great place for the kids to learn about the lions and tigers and bears (…oh my!) in their natural habitat. Speaking of learning – Kiddo might even teach you some tidbits from that school report on orangutans.
3. Carnegie Science Center
One Allegheny Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
This place is four floors full of awesome, at any age.
One of the first things you’ll see when you walk in is a rock climbing wall, then a huge, winding ramp that leads to the second, third, and fourth floors.
On your journey, you’ll find robots, fish tanks, earthquake/weather simulators, and even a BLUE! play area where the kids from ages three to 93 can build forts with life-sized foam blocks. When you need a break from all the action (or just want to give your feet a rest) check out what’s playing in the IMAX, Planetarium, and Omnimax theaters.
Don’t miss out on the Miniature Railroad & Village! The model town was first built in 1920, and is now a massive wonder of miniature delight that depicts Pittsburgh’s industrial era, from 1880-1930.
If you check out the Science Center’s photos here, you’ll for sure want to see this in person.
4. Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky St
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
This is not your average art museum.
If it’s a dreary day in Pittsburgh (it happens to the best of cities) take the family to check out Warhol’s collection of art from the Pop Era. It’s jam-packed with pops of neon and heavily contrasted prints, which is exactly what babies’ brains crave in early development. It’s also a serious mood booster for the rest of the family.
Babies and toddlers alike will go gaga over the fluorescent cow wall paper. Your tween might even be inspired to use it in their own room! Don’t worry – you can compromise with a print from the gift shop.
Take a few minutes to lie down on the floor of the cloud room full of magical float-y pillows. The young’uns might have trouble sitting still, but if you can swing it, there’s an adorably Instagrammable opportunity here (back in my day, we called this a “Kodak moment”). Set the timer on your camera phone and get a worm’s eye view of the whole family.
5. Park it for a Picnic in Point State Park
601 Commonwealth Pl Bldg A
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1212
If you manage to make it downtown, grab some lunch in Point Park.
Now a historical landmark, Point Park went through some heavy cleanup and overhaul in the 1940s. It got a little slummy after the Industrial Age, but its connection with the French and Indian War in the mid-1700s helped breathe new life into it, with memorials, greenery, and a seriously gigantic fountain.
When the weather is nice, you can relax by the fountain, walk along the water, and watch the boats and barges go by. It’s kind of like the beach, without all that pesky sand.
6. National Aviary
700 Arch St
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Do you like birds? Of course you like birds. They come in all sorts of colors, have tiny brains, and can fly. What’s not to love?
The National Aviary is a great place to learn all about these feathery creatures, from parrots to penguins. Rumor has it, if you visit between 1:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon, you’ll catch them at their feeding times.
Whether you’re not up for the hilly hike to see lions and tigers and bears (…oh my) on a dreary day at the zoo, or if you really just want to skip on the mammals and reptiles altogether, the Aviary is worth a visit.
Phew! Now that you’ve got your days all mapped out and your kids will be talking about this trip for years to come, maybe you can finally check out that “nap” thing you’ve been hearing so much about.
But first, tell us – what are some kid-friendly spots you discovered during your stay?