While many folks hit the beach or head hundreds of miles away for Spring Break, my family is the opposite. Personally, I’d rather stay local and, for my family, Pittsburgh is local. There’s so many fun activities for families this time of year, making it a great city for visiting. Here’s three Pittsburgh staycation ideas that will give you themed options for a fun vacation at home.
Pittsburgh Staycation: Culture
For families that want to take in local Pittsburgh sights and iconic spots, a culture staycation is ideal. Ride an incline to Mt. Washington and check out the view of the Golden Triangle through old-school pay binoculars. Then ride it back down to see the Bessemer Converter in Station Square at Bessemer Court. The 10-ton piece of Pittsburgh history was used in a molten blast furnace and burned carbon and other impurities out of iron, making steel. Point State Park is where you’ll need to visit to learn about Pittsburgh’s pivotal role in the French and Indian War. The Strip District is always a good choice for foodies to learn about the cultures that came to the area to make a new life – and fill our stomachs with delicious food including the famous Primanti Bros. sandwich and Wholey’s Market.
After a full belly, check out Heinz History Center where it’s a love of what makes Pittsburgh so appealing told through its ears with fun, interactive displays. The North Shore is perfect for taking in a ball game (the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers both have stadiums here!) and what better way to learn about Pittsburgh sports teams than with the roar of a crowd. Then there’s my favorite hometown hero, Mr. Fred Rogers. His tribute sits on the North Shore and is a perfect way to show kids that kindness will always prevail in The ‘Burgh. If the kids love to watch live shows, it’s to the Cultural District you’ll need to go. There’s always plenty of family-friendly (and affordable) shows running.
Pittsburgh Staycation: Educational
I know, that last thing kids want to do is learn while they’re on a school break, right? But if they’re having fun they’ll never know! Pittsburgh is famous for its family-friendly museums and educational hot spots and even now, when I ask my teen daughter where she wants to visit in the city, they’re her go-to destinations. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is open year-round Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland are connected so an admission to one gets you free admission to the other. If you’re trying to save some cash, pack a lunch and head to the lunchroom.
Only a couple streets away is Phipps Conservatory, filled with thousands of gorgeous plants and separately-themed rooms. Next, it’s over to the North Shore to Carnegie Science Center for four floors of learning. All with a science aspect, kids love the salute to Pittsburgh robotics (the city is one of the leading spots for it!) and the Miniature Railroad & Village is a classic. Only a few blocks away is Children’s Museum Pittsburgh. Catering to younger children (although my teen still loves to visit), it offers a giant art room, water play area, and the Foucault Pendulum – a remnant of the original Buhl Planetarium.
Pittsburgh Staycation: Active
If your family is the adventurous type, then it’s an active staycation you’re looking for. Happily, Pittsburgh has miles plenty of ways to keep the kids active and entertained! Two fun options are the 37-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail System and Rachel Carson Trail. No bikes? No problem. Golden Triangle Bikes offers rentals and maps for exploring the city. Did you know Pittsburgh is connected to Washington, DC, with a 335-mile long trail, the Great Allegheny Passage? Ambitious families can do day trips or longer adventures that include quaint pit stops.
If it’s a closer look at the three rivers that you want to check out, there’s plenty of options. If you really want a unique experience, Three Rivers Rowing Association offers Dragon Boating! Want a more leisurely way to learn about the water? Venture Outdoors has the fun option of lunchtime fishing at Point state Park and North Shore Riverfront Park. Kayak Pittsburgh offers both affordable solo and tandem kayak rentals as well.
Which one of these Pittsburgh staycation ideas is your favorite? Please let me know in the comment section below!
Check out Visit Pittsburgh for more awesome family activity ideas!