Accessible by crossing the Andy Warhol or Roberto Clemente Bridge, traveling the T (light rail transit system) underground or floating the three rivers, Pittsburgh’s North Shore boasts spectacular spots for sports, science, art and entertainment. From breathtaking views to adventure on foot, the Steel City is worth exploring. Here’s the 411 on what to do in eight family friendly places in the 412.
1. PNC Park 115 Federal St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 https://www.mlb.com/pirates/ballpark No place does “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” better for families than PNC Park. Enjoy an affordable major league baseball outing with spectacular skyline views from any seat in the house. Special event evenings like Pup Night, Fireworks Night and Dollar Dog Night are a hit, as well as Sunday Kids Days at PNC Park, featuring Pittsburgh Pirates pregame activities at the Family Fun Zone on Federal Street. With paid admission kids 14 and under receive a special gift at the gates and can round the bases and run the real field following the game. Cheaper seats are available for children in certain sections. Lap sitting little ones under 32 inches get in free. Families hungry for endless ballpark food will enjoy All-You-Can-Eat tickets. If the thought of unlimited eats get’s your eyes glazed, check out Bucaroo’s located near the left field gate, providing smaller-size, lower-priced portions. PNC Park also caters to infants, offering breastfeeding mothers quiet indoor nursing stations located at Guest Relations near the Trib Total Media Home Plate rotunda.
Once inside, head on over to the miniature PNC Park baseball diamond area and playground located at the Kids Zone near the right field gate. After they’re pooped out at the playground, get to your seats and raise the Jolly Roger, cheering Let’s Go Bucs with the Pittsburgh Parrot. During inning breaks catch the Bucco Brigade T-Shirt Toss and Hot Dog Shoot, and following the 5th inning cheer on your favorite character flavor running the 280-yard Great Pierogi Race—Jalapeño Hannah is our family favorite. To make a child’s first visit to the ballpark memorable, stop by Guest Relations and ask for a free PNC Park first game souvenir certificate.
2. Heinz Field 100 Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 https://heinzfield.com/ When our teams play at home, Steelers and Pitt Panther tailgate parties are a staple. With time to spare before game start, football families find surface lot parking spaces, set up a spread, grill, throw football, toss cornhole bags and tailgate together. A blood type of black and gold, or memorization of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” lyrics are not required. If in from outta tahn and sporting opposing team apparel…let the banter begin. Pack a cooler with your favorite snacks and drinks, ignore the obnoxious and buddy up with a group of friendly yinzers. Who knows, you might end up coming home speaking some Pittsburghese, n’at.
Families who opt for garage parking, hoof it over pedestrian-friendly bridge walkways or choose to sail Pittsburgh’s three rivers via water shuttle can check out tailgate options available for all ages. Three hours prior to Steelers kickoff fans can purchase food and drinks, meet-and-greet Steely McBeam, participate in free activities inside the Gameday Live Tents along Art Rooney Avenue and enter to win prizes. During college football Saturdays, fans are invited to enjoy the Pittsburgh Panthers Pregame Tailgate Party, located along Art Rooney Avenue between Gates A and B. The tailgate features a live pre-game radio broadcast, inflatable bounce play for kids, food, drinks and family fun. Stage AE offers free admission for all ages during Steelers home games and features live performances by national and regional bands. Fans can catch a live broadcast of the Steelers Radio Network Pregame Show and food and drink specials and prize giveaways are available during the tailgate party. For those not heading into Heinz Field, stick around and watch the game on Stage AE’s giant screens.
Football fans in Pittsburgh are best known for their enthusiasm—swinging Terrible Towels overhead in support of the Steelers or swaying together serenading the Pitt Panthers singing “Good Times Never Seemed So Good.” All that action can work up an appetite. Good thing Primanti Bros. is located inside Heinz Field. Stuffed with french fries and coleslaw, a Primanti sandwich is a football fan’s comfort food.
Note to Parents: Both Stage AE and Heinz Field have strict bag size policies—sorry, no diaper bags momma’s—so check their websites for more details. At Heinz Field all children regardless of age must have a ticket to enter a Pittsburgh Steelers game. During Pitt Panther games, children over the age of one must have paid admission.
3. Carnegie Science Center 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/ Who knew science could be so cool? Kids of all ages can flex their mind and body muscles by getting hands-on learning through interactive exhibits, engaging live demonstrations and science focused shows. There’s also early learning opportunities available through special camps, classes and workshops and they focus on the future, offering STEM Education and Career Development programs to prepare a new generation of scientists.
Climb, splash, crawl and explore four floors. Journey through space and time into the solar system, compete against robots, explore the human body and encounter a massive miniature railroad and village displaying countless landmarks famous to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Skywatch celestial wonders and travel through our universe’s outer limits in the Buhl Planetarium, offering shows geared toward astronomy and space exploration. Even toddlers and kids as young as Pre-K can enjoy an introduction to the sun, moon and stars with their favorite Sesame Street® characters. Kids can also submerge themselves into submarine life by exploring the living quarters of the USS Requin submarine, docked in the Ohio River behind the Carnegie Science Center.
Included with admission is access to the Highmark SportsWorks Center. Focused on the physics of sports it provides kids 48 inches and taller opportunities to navigate obstacles, test their balance, climb rock walls, zoom down a zipline and challenge their parents to a foot race. SkyTykes is available for guests under 48 inches to enjoy adventurous play closer to the ground. Closed-toe shoes with backs are required for participation.
For an additional fee visitors can check out popular movies and special educational screenings at The Rangos Giant Cinema or experience the world’s largest exhibition of LEGO® art in the PPG Science Pavilion. Created by artist Nathan Sawaya, “THE ART OF THE BRICK” collection features original brick art, reconstructed masterpieces, a Steel City-inspired sculpture and a multimedia gallery showcasing LEGO brick-infused photography, produced in tandem with award-winning photographer Dean West. LEGO® enthusiasts of all ages will love the Science of the Brick hands-on, free-play block building area, where visitors are encouraged to get creative and release their inner architect. The exhibit is on display through January 7, 2019.
4. The Warhol: 117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 https://www.warhol.org/ Explore Andy Warhol’s life as a Pittsburgh native transplanted into New York City, his art collection, pop-art paintings and early archived materials showcased on seven floors of Andy Warhol’s acclaimed art museum. Interact with reproductions of his iconic artwork, installations like the floating, metallic Silver Clouds sculptures, even star in your very own short film with the screen test machine and share it on social media. Children can immerse themselves in the museum’s underground play area designed to let kids be kids—featuring a colorful library, imagination driven toys and puzzle games—while adults sit and relax on comfortable furnishings inspired by Warhol’s life and art. Adjacent to the play area is The Factory underground art studio, perfect for getting hands-on with Warhol-inspired activities and creating one-of-a-kind artwork with watercolor painting, blotted-line drawing and acetate collage. Shape their love and appreciation of art at a young age by participating in free Half-Pint Prints days, designed for children ages 1-4 years old to partner up with parents and create silkscreen prints. Tiny artists choose from a variety of ink colors and images to create their very own masterpieces on paper. Fabric materials like T-shirts and tote bags are available to purchase. Admission prices to the museum vary based on age, but children two and under are free.
5. Riverfront Park Water Steps 100 Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 http://www.pgh-sea.com/northshoreriverfrontpark.htm Put on the kids swim suits, pack the water shoes, an extra set of dry clothes and a picnic lunch. Situated along the Allegheny River and just a short walk from PNC Park via the riverfront walkways near Fort Duquesne Bridge are the North Shore Riverfront Park Water Steps, a hidden gem locals love. Kids of all ages can enjoy an ankle to knee deep splish-splashing soak, while the adults sit nearby dipping their feet and enjoying the ambiance of passers by jogging, walking dogs and biking the North Shore Trail. Boats float and kayaks glide just beyond the walkway on the Three Rivers, while Point State Park’s 36 acres of greenery sit across town in the distance, featuring a 150-foot tall fountain at the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle.” Ya gotta get out on the Great Lawn next to the water steps, offering the best seats in the area to watch fireworks, 5Ks, festivals and special events like the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta. The water steps operate seasonally, so be sure to let the kids catch a splash soon before they close.
6. Three Rivers Heritage Trail 100 Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 https://friendsoftheriverfront.org/trails/three-rivers-heritage-trail/ Bike, jog or stroll the North Shore section of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, a beautiful pedestrian and bike friendly waterfront stretch along the Allegheny River providing a fresh air escape for active families in an urban setting. Cruise through the North Shore business and entertainment district speckled with sports venues, restaurants, office buildings, natural green space and native wildlife. Managed by Friends of the Riverfront, the North Shore segment of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail offers a 7-mile trek. Bring along your own wheels or rent through the Healthy Ride Bike Sharing Station located near the North Shore Trail & Fort Duquesne Bridge. If renting for young cyclists, Golden Triangle Bike Rental—located on First Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh—offers options for adults and kids, and they even have child trailers—canopied buggy’s parents pull along.
7. The Three Rivers 350 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 https://www.gatewayclipper.com/ Whether your looking for a relaxing ride, an informative float or a self-guided glide, Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers offer excursions for all. In addition to providing water shuttles to and from The North Shore, The Gateway Clipper Fleet offers kid friendly cruise options like Ice-Cream Sunday, Princess Cruise, Pirate Dinner Feast and the Three Rivers Sightseeing Tour aboard their multi-level riverboats. Docked at Station Square, the Gateway Clipper Fleet provides the best option for crossing the three rivers into The North Shore, and are the most relaxing spot to sightsee and enjoy the city skyline.
Just off in the distance you may hear the “Quack, Quack Quack” chants and cheers coming from passengers aboard World War II amphibious vehicles on Just Ducky Tours. Guests catch a ride from Station Square, cruise through the heart of downtown Pittsburgh to learn fun facts then cross the three rivers and creep up through The North Shore. For families interested in a hands-on river experience, visit Kayak Pittsburgh for rentals. Located next to PNC Park on the North Shore families can paddle and glide through the water of the three rivers while enjoying the sights and feeling the sunshine on their face. Kids must be over three years of age and over 35 lbs to participate, and all children up to the age of twelve must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in a tandem kayak. Teens age 13-15 may go solo, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on the water. Older, more experienced teens may participate in a solo kayak on their own. Parents and guardians of all children under the age of 18 must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form prior to participating.
Pittsburgh’s North Shore offers plenty of family friendly adventures parents will approve. With art, science, culture and entertainment woven into the DNA of our city, there are so many unique play spaces and spectacular events to see. Whether in from outta town or locals looking to liven up the day, come visit The North Shore and celebrate your family in the City of Champions.