Pittsburgh isn’t called “Kidsburgh” for nothing. It is a fun, educational, and affordable family travel destination with a host of attractions including museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquarium, and amusement parks to name just a few. Restaurants and hotels are around every corner too, which is convenient especially when traveling with kids. If you’re planning a vacation to Pittsburgh, PA, do not miss visiting this list of things do in Pittburgh with kids.
When To Go To Pittsburgh With Kids
Aiden and I traveled to Pittsburgh in June. The weather was warm and just perfect. It did drizzle a few times, but nothing too heavy that could ruin our trip. It can get very cold in the winter, so if you plan to do lots of outdoor activities, then summer is the best time for you to visit. We spent 3 days there and to our surprise we were able to do so many things.
How To Get To Pittsburgh With Kids
We flew to Pittsburgh (PIT) from Los Angeles (LAX) on United Airlines. I found our tickets on Skyscanner. Make sure to download the Skyscanner App also so that you can have access to set price alerts and more.
Planning a trip and wondering how to get affordable flights? Then click the links below to read exactly how I am able to get flight deals, save on flights and more.
How To Get Around Pittsburgh With Kids
We didn’t rent a car while in PIT because we stayed downtown. We got around by using Lyft. The Lyft ride from the airport to downtown Pittsburgh was about 30 minutes and about $40 which was price in my opinion. However once downtown, getting from one place to another wasn’t expensive at all. Make sure to pack a booster seat or car seat for your child.
Where To Stay In Pittsburgh With Kids
There are lots of places to stay in Pittsburgh with kids. We stayed at the newly built Homewood Suites by Hilton in downtown Pittsburgh. Our room was very spacious with a king size bed and a pull out couch as well as full kitchen. If you don’t want to eat out your whole stay, then this hotel is perfect for you. They also offer free breakfast which is a plus! You can see our hotel room tour video below.
Other Family Friendly Pittsburgh Hotels are:
- Omni William Penn Hotel
- Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh
- Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Things To Do In Pittsburgh With Kids
Pittsburgh Children’s Museum – Children of all ages will love the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. It has create-and-build exhibits, art workshops, climbing mazes, and waterplay areas. The waterplay especially is a favorite among kids so it’s a good idea to bring along a change of clothes because the kids will definitely have fun and get wet. Located in a charming, old Victorian Post Office, the museum has human-powered elevators where kids can raise themselves using pulleys.
Sandcastle Waterpark – The greatest slide shows can only be found at the Sandcastle Waterpark. Adventurous kiddos can take a plunge at any of the waterpark’s 15 of the wettest and wildest waterslides, or enjoy a gentle ride on the “lazy river.” The Tad Pool or Moonlight Bay pool also has mini slides for the younger ones and moms can shop on the boardwalk, a major plus!
Gateway Clipper Riverboat Cruise – Did you know that Pittsburgh has the most bridges in the world? That is one of the things that Aiden was excited to learn about on this cruise. We cruised on the three rivers found in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio. The views were beautiful and we had fun. Absolutely recommend it as one of the things to do in Pittsburgh with kids.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – The Phipps Conservatory is an intricate Beaux Arts city building that is a gem exhibiting flora from across the globe. It has gigantuous tropical plants (the 1890 Exposition’s original seedlings), a show of mini orchids, and a wonderful collection of bonsais. Seasonal exhibits shift from summer plants and butterfly gardens to spring and winter (Christmas) flower shows. Throughout the facility, you can find educational stations for children of all ages. At the Children’s Garden, kids can play and run the paths if not interactively exercising their green thumbs at the Discovery Garden.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History/ Science Center and Highmark SportsWorks – Science is made fun at the Carnegie Science Center. This Pittsburgh treasure is filled with interactive exhibits, educational films, diorama, and activities for kids. Kids can operate a robot arm, explore a submarine, or tour the Miniature Railroad and Village. Next door, you can find the Highmark SportsWorks Center where kids can have fun just running around or climbing a rock wall. The Carnegie Science Center holds one of the world’s most technologically advanced planetarium while the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of country’s largest, most contemporary exhibits on the US’ American Indians.
National Aviary – The Zoo may not be enough for true-blue animal lovers so good thing there is also the Pittsburgh’s National Aviary fit for every family. Kids can crawl through windowed tunnels into the penguin sanctuary, or help feed the birds at the Wetlands. The aviary’s birds, including many endangered species, fly everywhere; it is definitely worth visiting. Located north side of Pittsburgh, the National Aviary is one among the few free-standing aviaries of the world.
Duquesne Incline – Go up and down on a tram-on-incline, the Duquesne Incline. Enjoy the ride with its breath-taking views and intriguing historical facts. The Incline (or “funicular”), now a fun historical landmark, was the first incline ever built in Pittsburgh which originally opened way, way back in 1877. They were the most convenient means for Pittsburgh people to climb up the town’s hills even before automobiles were invented. Today, it helps transport visitors to the top of Washington Mountain for amazing views of the city. At the top, a visit to the mini museum will complete your tour after the ride.
Heinz History Center and Heinz Field Stadium Tours – The (Senator John) Heinz History Center is another must-visit in Pittsburgh for its fascinating local history. Its numerous exhibits let you know about the city (its immigrant history specifically) and its surroundings. While there, make sure to check out the Sports section as well to learn about the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, or the city’s most famous local athletes. The place is definitely a dream come true for every sports history buff. At the Heinz Field Stadium Tour on the other hand you’ll get your fix on anything football. It’s a good way to introduce your children into the sports. Make sure to check out schedules of the tour and pre-book as they are not always available.
Kennywood Amusement Park – Kennywood Park, according to the New York Times is the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” It’s over a hundred years old with some of the oldest working amusement rides you can find in the country. Some rides even date back to year 1918, providing all fun and excitement along with the park’s fancy newer rides. (They have an indoor roller coaster.) But what sets this park apart from many others is that it has the added charm of beautiful gardens and large old trees perfect for relaxation. You can also sample the best snacks around (funnel cakes and curly fries, anyone?) especially in the fun summer months. Then, get wet on the “Pittsburgh Plunge,” a favorite among many kids. Beautiful, fun, and historic, Kennywood Park is an easy family tradition for anyone looking for things to do with kids in Pittsburgh. If you have kids who love Thomas The Tank Engine as much as mine does, then they’ll love Thomas Town in Kennywood. We’ve been to Thomas Town / Thomas Land in Boston, London, Malaysia and Japan.
Just Ducky Tours – You cannot help but love the Pittsburgh Just Ducky Tours. You get to ride the DUKW boat, combining travel on both the streets of Pittsburgh and the city’s three rivers. The DUKW is an amphibious vehicle or truck-slash-boat used in World War II, equipped with wheels that turn so it can transform into a boat for navigating the waters. Your child might even fancy a chance to steer the wheel once you’re on the water. Make sure to make reservations early though as the tours can get fully booked.
PNC Stadium – If you love baseball, then make sure to schedule your trip when there is a baseball game happening. Aiden and I watched a baseball game at PNC Stadium for the first time and we loved it! We watched the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Detroit Tigers and Yay – the Pittsburgh Pirates won! Aiden was lucky enough to be shown on the big screen twice.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium – A myriad of animals await you at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. You can get up close and personal with the wild at the Kids Kingdom or slide downhill as the zoo and aquarium is on a hillside. It can be a challenging uphill trip, but don’t fret; there is a tram that can carry you around. At just about 20 minutes travel from downtown Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo homes over 4,000 animals in their natural habitat. The Zoo’s $16 million-worth Aquarium opened in June 2000 to the public and holds America’s biggest coral propagation facility.
Where To Eat In Pittsburgh With Kids
There are so many yummy places to eat in Pittsburgh and we enjoyed every single meal we had here. I’m sure you can tell we are foodies!
- Waffles, INCaffeinated
- Kennywood Amusement Park
- Pamela’s Diner
- Primanti’s Bros
Homeschooling and Worldschooling As We Travel
Aiden is homeschooled, and when we travel, I make sure to pack some homeschool work that he can do on the plane or at the hotel. This method of learning on the go is considered worldschooling. He learns from his books and also learns by exploring the world around him. We also homeschool year round with plenty of breaks in between which I think works perfect for our travel schedule.
Looking for more information on homeschooling and worldschooling? Check out my other articles below:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an amazing family- and kid-friendly tourist destination that’s great to visit any time of the year. Reader’s Digest didn’t name it America’s “5th Best Place to Raise a Family” for nothing. There are always plenty of fun, educational things to do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the kids and family.
Thanks to Visit Pittsburgh for hosting us on this trip and showing us that “Pittsburgh is Kidsburgh”! As always, all opinions are mine.
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