Planning on packing up the family and bringing them to this year’s conference? Pittsburgh has plenty of exciting attractions to keep them interested while you’re busy attending conference events, or things to see and do during down time. While most of these places are easily accessible from Downtown, some may require additional transportation, so plan ahead.
If there’s one thing Pittsburgh has in spades, its museums, most of which are kid-friendly even to younger children. On the North Shore you’ll find both the Children’s Museum and the Carnegie Science Center, both of which feature many interactive exhibits that allow kids a hands-on museum experience unique from the normally staid, look-and-learn environment typically associated with museums. Both are also situated near other kid-friendly sites (Allegheny Commons Park and the National Aviary for the former, the North Shore river walk, Heinz Field and PNC Park for the latter) making them easy to plan an all-day agenda around.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Downtown houses Toonseum, an art museum dedicated to cartoons and comic books. Take a short trip out of Downtown into the Strip District and you’ll find the Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, must-see spots for aficionados of either topic (and history buffs might furthermore find interest in the Fort Pitt Museum located in Downtown’s Point State Park). And a quick jaunt to Oakland brings you to both the Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History and Phipps Conservatory. The Carnegie – one enormous space that houses both museums, incidentally – features enough dinosaurs and science fun to please any youngster, while the Phipps is home to a stunning and diverse collection of beautiful flowers and plants from all over the globe.
For animal lovers, Pittsburgh is home to both the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium and the National Aviary. The Zoo, located in the Highland Park neighborhood, is an all-day affair that will probably require some form of transportation beyond what is publicly offered, but the Aviary is conveniently located on the North Side, near the Children’s Museum and Allegheny Commons Park.
Speaking of parks, take your family on a quick walk through Downtown on your way to Point State Park, located at the very tip of the Golden Triangle. There you will find some open fields to play in as well as the magnificent fountain that sits at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, where they merge to form the Ohio River. Across the Mon River sits the North Shore Riverfront Park, a great spot for a leisurely stroll, or, weather permitting, kayaking in the river or biking along the shore. Rentals can be found under the Roberto Clemente Bridge (adjacent to PNC Park); visit Venture Outdoors for more details. Outside of Downtown you can find Schenley and Frick Parks, home to lush greenery, hikes both short and long, as well as numerous playgrounds sure to keep the kiddos happy.
If sports are more your family’s cup of tea, the City of Champions has a lot to offer, from our big three professional teams, to the aforementioned Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, to Highmark Sports Works at the Carnegie Science Center. There are bowling alleys in both Squirrel Hill (Forward Lanes) and Lawrenceville (Arsenal Lanes), and a golf course in Schenley Park between Squirrel Hill and Oakland, just around the corner from Pitt’s main campus and Carnegie Mellon University.
Another way to get the family around town is to take one of our many tour options. By river or by land, Just Ducky Tours are a great way to experience Pittsburgh from multiple perspectives. The Gateway Clipper Fleet is another way to get out on the water, this time in beautiful, old-fashioned river boats with a variety of themes and tours. If solid ground is more your thing, try a trolley or segway. Like a few scares along the way? Try Haunted Pittsburgh Tours. History buffs can try Historic Pittsburgh Tours or get a glimpse of our blue collar past with Rivers of Steel historical tours.
Again, this is just a sampling of things available for families visiting Pittsburgh, with an emphasis on geographical convenience. There are usually numerous activities and events geared toward kids that have yet to be scheduled, including plays and musicals at one of our many theaters, Halloween-themed events (if you can get out of town, there’s numerous haunted hayrides and houses, including Phantom Fright Nights at our very own Kennywood Park), and a slew of other possibilities.