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Top 5 Reasons to Spend a Family Weekend in Pittsburgh

From museums to festivals, here's our top 5 kid-friendly picks for visiting Pittsburgh.

For a moment, put all sports rivalries aside. Pittsburgh is just about a 4.5-hour drive from the Philadelphia area and in addition to its booming tech, food, and arts scenes, it has a few major events and hotspots that are perfect reasons to take your family to the other side of the state for a long weekend!


July 20–22

Roberto Clemente Bridge, Downtown Pittsburgh


Perfect for the expectant mother, each year Pittsburgh shuts down one of its iconic bridges to celebrate all things pickle! Complete with a 35’ Heinz Pickle, Picklesburgh features over 40 vendors showcasing everything from pickle flavored cocktails to bacon-wrapped cheese-filled fried pickles to pickle-themed apparel! And little ones can visit the Lil Gherkins Activity Area for kid friendly crafts and activities. Picklesburgh is produced annually by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and this year’s festival is July 20-22.

Pittsburgh Irish Festival

September 7–9

Riverplex at Sandcastle, 1000 Sandcastle Dr., West Homestead


The largest in the Northeast, the Pittsburgh Irish Festival is known for being one of the region’s longest running cultural celebrations, and features live music and dance on four stages, traditional Celtic cuisine and beverages, children’s crafts and games, an Irish marketplace, dogs native to Ireland, Ancient Celtic Axe Throwing, and so much more! Kids 12 and under are free, and the Main Line Parent and Philly Family Communities can use code “FFM2018” to get an extra $3 off already discounted advanced tickets! This year’s Pittsburgh Irish Festival will be held on September 7–9 at the Riverplex at Sandcastle. More information, including a special hotel rate, is available at pghirishfest.org.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh


Won’t you be my neighbor? Pittsburgh is where Mr. Rogers called home, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is the birthplace of Daniel Tiger! Current exhibits include “Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails,” “The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit,” MAKESHOP, “Fred Rogers and Us,” and so many more that your family is sure to enjoy!


4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin


Kennywood, created in 1898, is one of the country’s best traditional amusement parks! The park features many classic thrills like the Thunderbolt, ranked consistently as one of the country’s top wooden rollercoaster; the Potato Patch, whose fries were previously named the best in the U.S.; and the Pittsburg Plunge, sure to rival any log flume you have ever been on! Plus, beginning July 27, Thomas Town will bring five new rides, a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine, and more, making Kennywood a must-do for the little Thomas fan in your life.

National Aviary

700 Arch St, Pittsburgh


Have a little bird lover in the family? The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the United States. Over 500 birds from around the world are featured, and guests can get up close and personal with many of them! And yes, there are penguins (don’t worry, they aren’t the hockey playing kind!).


Lead photograph courtesy of Festival Fun Parks. Article photographs by David Heath, Mairin Petrone, and National Aviary / VisitPittsburgh.


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