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Ann is a mom, realtor and horse-back riding instructor. She and her husband, Matt, live 15 minutes north of Pittsburgh in Franklin Park with their son Robert (age 4), two German Shepherds and a few horses. We asked her to share some of her favorite things to do in and around Pittsburgh.
If you’re heading to Steelers Nation we advise you avoid the tunnels on game day – take the turnpike instead. A fellow city on the rebound, there’s lots to do and discover in Pittsburgh and you can see it all from the Duquesne Incline. The cable car is also bound to be a big hit with little train lovers.
The easiest family-friendly place to eat is Eat’N’Park. They have a great buffet and kid-friendly menu and atmosphere. Kids receive a free smiley cookie after their meal.
The absolute best place to eat breakfast in Pittsburgh is Pamela’s Diner, located in the historic Strip District. It is the go-to spot for presidents and Yinzers (slang for Pittsburghers) alike (Barack, Biden & Hilary have all had photo-ops there on campaign visits). The diner itself is family-friendly, but there is always a long line, so only the most patient kids are recommended at peak weekend breakfast times. The crowd favorite is the banana chocolate chip crepe with a side of their famous Lyonaise potatoes. They only take cash!
There is a big park and fountain where the 3 rivers meet called Point State Park, and city dwellers hang there on sunny days. Three Rivers Heritage Trail is also a great bike path along the river that tours the North Shore and is fun for families.
Children’s Museum on the North Side is four floors of games, crafts, experiments and a water attraction (bring bathing suit, towel and wet shoes) that encourages learning and imagination. It also features seasonal exhibits (Eric Carle/Very Hungry Caterpillar was last year). Check their Facebook page during the school year because they have a high volume of class field trips and the crowds can be overwhelming. Their Facebook page lets you know if any field trips are scheduled and if so, how may kids are expected.
Light Up Night
Holidays are a fun time to travel to Pittsburgh. Light Up Night draws a big crowd, usually the weekend following Thanksgiving. The city builds an outdoor skating rink by the PPG building downtown and a holiday market draws a big crowd. It is fun to stay at the Fairmont Hotel and ask for a room that overlooks the skating rink at night. There is a lot to do in the Cultural District for families around the holidays.
- Phipps Conservatory
- Carnegie Science Center (North Shore)
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Oakland)
- PPG Paints Arena for Penguin game
- PNC Park for Pirate game in the summer, the stadium overlooks the river and is so beautiful
- Living Treasures is a hands-on zoo that the kids can interact with the animals and much more pleasant than the actual Pittsburgh Zoo
- National Aviary
- Kennywood Amusement park is one of the oldest amusement parks and has lots of charm
- Ride the Incline for the best view of the city
- Parent’s Night Out: Rivers Casino, the Andy Warhol Museum and Mattress Factory
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