In the 9 years I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, I feel like I’ve searched under every rock and stone to scope out some pretty amazing places. When I had my son in 2008, we set sail on all kinds of new adventures. We’ve ventured high and low to to parks, festivals and pools. My skills were put to good use when I was asked to help coordinate summer camp field trips for a large group of children in a non profit organization. Our main goal was to find fun, entertaining places near the area for a super low price. So, through years of research (haha) this is the list I’ve compiled of inexpensive things to do in Pittsburgh.
1. Watersteps (FREE)
If you’re heading down to Heinz Field, the Science Center or PNC park plan on going early or staying late (and bring an extra change of clothes)
2. Round Hill Park and Exhibit Farm (FREE)
1,101 acres of beautiful land, an array of animals, awesome playgrounds and sprinkler parks. Pack a picnic and a change of clothes! We had a blast here.
3. Pleasant Kingdom (FREE)
I feel like this park is a well kept secret. It’s a completely wooden park with basketball, tennis courts and picnic areas. It also has a small fountain/sprinkler feature. We would frequent this park before we went to the YMCA Cloverleaf pool. It’s always well kept and plus it’s completely shaded!
4. Troy Hill Sprinkler Park (FREE)
What a blast! There were tons of water features and a small playground attached. Great, fun way to stay cool.
5. Roving Art Cart (FREE)
This is a great program that travels to different locations around Pittsburgh with unique, fun, creative art projects for children.
6. South Park Game Preserve (FREE)
Bring some bread! Located next to the “Bumblebee/ Black & Gold” playground, the game reserve is tucked up the hill and is home to peacocks, buffalo, fish, turtles and ducks (and tons of other wildlife). I would suggest making a day of it with the South Park Children’s Theater.
7. Water Feature at PPG Place (FREE)
Check for times when the fountain is turned on, but I believe it’s on during the weekdays around 12:30 PM and again later in the afternoon. It’s a blast to watch the kids run through and listen to the belly laughs!
8. Movies in the park (FREE)
This is on our bucket list for this summer! The one pictured below is from the Cinema of Grandview Park on Mt. Washington but there are multiple locations throughout Pittsburgh.
9. Blue Slide Playground at Frick Park (FREE)
I keep hearing about this park so we MUST visit soon!
10. Robinson Clever Park (FREE) and Pool ($5/person)
We’re suckers for wooden playgrounds! We easily spent many days walking back and forth from pool to playground. It’s super close to Montour Trail and the Mall at Robinson.
11. Fun Fore All ($5/person for Ballocity)
It’s like Chuck E Cheese on steroids (with better prices). There are different deals for on different days so it’s friendly for all budgets. Mondays are 5 cent video games! We LOVE Ballocity… it’s like a three-story hamster maze with ball cannons, slides, secret passageways, a “ball-cano” and crawl spaces (it’s big enough for parents, too).
Be warned, though: there are a lot of other attractions that can add to the cost (but are definitely worth it). There’s a huge arcade, kiddies rides, a rock climbing wall, go-karts, batting cages, mini golf and a food court. You can easily spend an entire afternoon there!
12. The Incline (about $1.50/ride if I remember correctly) and Station Square (FREE)
We’ve enjoyed riding the incline up to Mt.Washington and taking in the amazing view. You can look for events in station square, but it’s always fun to walk over and enjoy the fountain shows and the view of the river.
13. Soergel Orchards (FREE admission, cost varies for other items)
We love going there ANY time of year, but this week we enjoyed picking our own strawberries at Soergel’s! There are multiple play areas, tractor rides, a greenhouse, a petting “zoo,” and multiple stores. We love the “Naturally Soergel’s” store with natural, organic and gluten free products.
14. North Park Boat House (FREE to visit park / rates for rentals vary)
Kayak Pittsburgh in North Park adds really fun options to your trip to the park. Plus, we love the playgrounds located right next to the boat house.
Kayaks: $16 / hour
Bikes: $8 / hour
They also have canoes and pedal boats!
15. Western PA Miniature Railroad Museum ($6/adult or $4/child)
This little treasure is something I happen to stumble across in my travels. It’s a HUGE indoor miniature railroad museum that blows the exhibit at the Science Center away. What’s really cool is that it’s based upon places in Pittsburgh!
16. South Park Children’s Theater ($2/ person)
This was a great way to introduce my son to “live theater.” It’s an outside stage with on the ground seating. The shows are for children, put on by children. Snacks are available for super cheap (or you can bring your own). It’s within walking distance of some pretty cool parks, including the “Bumblebee” Park and South Park Game Preserve.
17. $1 Movies at Cinemark in Robinson
On Tuesdays at 10:00am the Cinemark in Robinson is offering $1 family movies. If you’ve ever been to this theater, you know it’s amazing! The theater is not too far from Clever Park (if you want to make an afternoon out of it).
18. Jump Zone ($9/child for Open Play)
The most awesome, huge, inflatable bouncy houses that any energetic little boy (or girl) could ever dream of. When we went to the Allison Park location, they had a huge Sponge Bob attraction and inflatable Batman that was a huge hit. Check listings for “open play” dates and times.
19. Games N’ At (game prices vary)
This is another location on our bucket list this summer! Can’t beat an old school arcade!
They have “unlimited play on pool tables, ping-pong, basketball, pinball, video games, air hockey, foosball, X360” and tons of other games! And something called “Duckpin Bowling” that looks really fun!
20. Triple B Farms (FREE)
We went last year to pick pumpkins but they’re open all year round. We loved the monster truck slide, the play areas and the different livestock. We’re planning on returning to see the “Bee Barn” to see bees working behind glass. How cool!