2 Days of Fun Things to do in Pittsburgh with Kids
Pittsburgh is a lovely city. When you drive from the suburbs into the downtown area, you will likely enter through a tunnel in the mountains and then emerge onto a huge bridge to the sight of water — plenty of water — and bridges, many bridges. We spent two fun days exploring the many things to do in Pittsburgh with kids and are excited to share our itinerary with you.
Day 1: Downtown Pittsburgh and the North Side
Start your day by parking in downtown Pittsburgh near the Visitors Center at 120 Fifth Avenue. Stop in to get maps and advice from one of the very helpful employees, who directed us to walk about five minutes to The Point State Park.
Point State Park
Point State Park (commonly known as “The Point”) is quintessential Pittsburgh; it’s the place where the three rivers meet as the Allegheny and Monongahela flow into the Ohio River. There is a lovely fountain there, perfect for family photo opps and a marking of where Fort Pitt used to stand.
You can learn a lot more about Fort Pitt and its role in the French and Indian War and American Revolution at the Fort Pitt Museum. We spent about 30 minutes here and recommend this mostly for families that have a deep interest in colonial history.
At The Point, you will also have nice views of the Carnegie Science Center and Heinz field across the water, which is where you’re headed next.
Carnegie Science Center
From The Point, walk across the Fort Duquesne Bridge, then along the water on the North Side to the Carnegie Science Center. My family had a blast here!
Our first stop was the Highmark SportsWorks building. My competitive, sports-loving kids enjoyed all of the physical and hands-on activities here. They sprinted for Olympian records, measured their baseball pitching speeds, climbed the rock wall, bounced like human yoyos, and lastly, rode a balanced unicycle on a high wire 15 feet in the air while I held my breath.
There are also simulator machines, a life-sized Operation game and plenty of places for parents to sit, rest and talk while kids are running around.
Then we went into the main Carnegie Science Center building and the kids tackled more science and engineering challenges. They learned what it’s like to work in space by performing activities on a 21-foot zero-gravity climbing wall.
Then in Roboworld, they were able to program robots to speak and create designs that they made. We also played (and lost) a game of air hockey against a very quick robot.
Another part of the Carnegie Science Center includes the USS Requin submarine, a World War II vessel that kids can explore. (Note all of the Heinz canned products throughout the ship.)
Lastly, check the schedule for the fun, free shows available in the museum’s various theaters. We went to one called The Science of Taste on the BodyStage where the kids could better understand how their sense of taste works with practical applications to invoke various taste buds.
The Andy Warhol Museum
If your family has time or energy, walk to The Andy Warhol Museum. On the way, you’ll pass two important Pittsburgh stadiums, Heinz Field where the Steelers and Pitt Panthers play and PNC Park, home of the Pirates.
Warhol was born and grew up in Pittsburgh and thus the city houses an extensive amount of his work and is largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single artist. Start at the bottom of the museum with a short film that gives a nice background on Warhol and then walk up into the museum through a history of Warhol’s works. You’ll see a few portraits of expected subjects: Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s soup can prints, as well as his early work and later video work. It was also interesting to see the room where his Time Capsules are kept and the artifacts that were in some of them.
My husband and I found the museum to be very interesting and we enjoyed learning more about Warhol, his life and ideals. This museum may be better for older teens rather than younger children. There are a few interactive areas where you can star in one of Warhol’s famous Screen Tests and play in a room with his Silver Clouds.
Day 2: The Strip District and the South Side
Heinz History Center
In the morning, head to the Heinz History Center, and plan on spending a couple of hours in this interesting museum, which is affiliated with The Smithsonian.
I personally loved seeing the large set, costumes and puppets from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood in the Special Collections Gallery and reliving my own youth. Mr. Rogers got his start by writing and performing on local Pittsburgh TV shows.
As a marketer and consumer, I also enjoyed learning about the history of the Heinz Company itself. Seeing the brand name everywhere in Pittsburgh (from the football stadium to the museum itself), you can’t help but be fascinated by the company that started in a young boy’s garden.
The Western Pennsylvania Sports History Museum lies within the same building as the History Center and is a mecca of Pittsburgh sports memorabilia. My boys enjoyed examining the large display of Pittsburgh Steelers football cards. Some of the fun interactive areas in this museum-within-a-museum include putting on Oakmont Country Club’s sand bunkers, designing an Olympic medal, or measuring your child’s long jump.
Lastly, let the kids explore Kidsburgh and slide down the 12-foot spiral slide, called The Liberty Tube. Then end your visit by taking a seat on the 1940s street car in the museum lobby to learn even more about Pittsburgh’s history.
Lunch at Primanti Bros.
After you’ve finished exploring the museum, have lunch at one of the famous Primanti Bros. sandwich shops. The original location is in the Strip district about a 10-minute walk from the Heinz History Center.
One of our friends who is a local said that we HAD to have a sandwich from there and we were glad we did. You can choose from a variety of meat fillings, but every sandwich comes with tomato, homemade cole slaw, fries – all piled on Italian sandwich bread. It was designed as the ultimate grab and go meal for truckers in 1933.
Head back to your car and drive over to the South Side to visit the Duquesne Incline. There is ample parking in a gravel lot at the lower station. The Duquesne Incline is a century-old cable car, which was originally used to transport coal up the hill of Mount Washington. It was restored in 1963 and now transports tourists and locals alike from the areas on top of the hill to the city below and vice versa.
At the top, you’ll experience the beautiful sights of Pittsburgh. Make sure to walk east on Grandview Avenue to the various lookout spots for different views of The Point and the city below.
Tip: Only cash fares and Port Authority bus passes and tickets are accepted as payment to ride the Duquesne Incline. You need exact change to pay at the ticket window.
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Ellen B is the editor of Hilton Mom Voyage. Her family’s travel adventures began with annual trips to Disney parks and have graduated to vacations in South America and Europe, as well as road trips throughout the U.S. She received press passes from Visit Pittsburgh that provided her family with admission to all of the attractions listed above, all of which they enjoyed. All opinions are her own.
Hilton Worldwide Team Members are enthusiastic travelers and enjoy showing their families the world from the comfort of Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties around the world. They…