My family recently went on a road trip to Pittsburgh and found out exactly why Pittsburgh is kidsBURGH – the ultimate destination for family fun! We had never visited before so naturally we were excited to explore some place new. It was a fairly quick drive from D.C.; we made it in a little under 4 hours which included 2 stops. It felt like an easier trip than driving to the beach since traffic was not an issue. Once we arrived in the city, it was non-stop fun and so easy to keep the kids happy and entertained. The team at Visit Pittsburgh put together an amazing itinerary for us. Read on to see why you should start planning your family’s next summer getaway to Pittsburgh!
We left D.C. at 7:30am and arrived at our hotel by 11:30am. After we checked in and unpacked we headed off to lunch at Primanti Bros. – a Pittsburgh classic. Founded in 1933, the chain is known for its signature sandwiches of grilled meat, an Italian dressing-based coleslaw, tomato slices, and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread. It was delicious and definitely a must! We visited the original location in the historic Strip District neighborhood.
After touring the awe-inspiring exhibit, kids get to discover their inner architect in the free-play and hands-on activity area, Science of the Brick!
There are so many other areas in the museum to explore too. We could have easily spent most of the day here but we only had 2 hours so we just scratched the surface. After the LEGO exhibit, my girls choose to tour the USS Requin Submarine and also check out the fantastic H2Oh! Why Our Rivers Matter exhibit.
We ended the first day of our tour with a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park. It is located along the shore of the Allegheny River and from the park you can enjoy amazing views of the downtown skyline and riverfront. Inside the park there is a playground area where you can take your little ones if they get restless in their seats.
We started Day 2 with Breakfast at Kelly O’s in the Strip District. This diner has been featured on the Food Network and is known as a one-of-a-kind greasy spoon that is a classic Pittsburgh spot for breakfast. Everyone in my family loved the food! My girls devoured their pancakes and bacon, my husband enjoyed his breakfast sandwich on Italian bread, and I had excellent eggs and home fries. We also tried their famous grilled cinnamon roll and that was incredible! You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here – it was all delicious!
After breakfast we headed to Pittsburgh’s North Side and visited the Children’s Museum. This is one of the best that we have been to and I can definitely see why it was named one of the nation’s top 15 children’s museums by Parents magazine in 2015. There are three floors of innovative experiences where kids can play and inspire joy, creativity, and curiosity. Also, this summer there are two other fantastic exhibits on view: Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails and The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit.
The day just kept getting better! After the Children’s Museum we were off to Kennywood – known as America’s finest traditional amusement park. This was the stop on the tour that my girls were most excited about. Rides and games, plus fried food and sugary jumbo treats is a dream come true for them! Kennywood opened in 1898 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It has a mix of the old-school favorites and the new thrill rides like Black Widow.
Kennywood was so much fun, it was really hard to leave but we needed to head back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner at Hofbrauhaus in the South Side neighborhood. The restaurant is modeled after the legendary 400+ year-old Hofbräuhaus in Munich and it really felt like we were in Germany. When we walked into the bier hall there was a musician playing the accordion and it had such a unique ambiance. The food was delicious and the kids menu offered up plenty of the popular dishes like cheese pizza, hot dogs, and chicken tenders. The restaurant is located on the bank of the river so after dinner we walked along the South Side Riverfront Trail and took in the amazing city views during sunset.
After dinner we stopped at The Milk Shake Factory for treats. At this premier dessert destination you can create your own milkshake from the extensive list of flavors or choose one of the classic or signature milkshakes on the menu. This was a sweet ending to fun-filled day!
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at Waffles Incaffeinated in the South Side. My girls were super excited to build their own waffles from the large list of signature ingredients. We all left happy with full bellies!
Our next stop was Mount Washington where we took in the panoramic skyline views of the city. USA Today named the view from Mt. Washington one of the 10 most beautiful views in America. And we agree – it’s simply stunning!
The original plan for the next destination was a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium but with rain in the forecast we played it safe and instead went with an indoor option – the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. This is a great museum for kids with an incredible dinosaur exhibit including T.rex and other towering fossils. Our time here was short but we also made sure to see the Hall of African Wildlife, Hall of North Amerian Wildlife and the Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt where my girls were fascinated with the mummies!
Our last stop on the tour was brunch at The Porch at Schenley Plaza. The menu features local and fresh ingredients used in new recipes as well as the classics with a twist. The food was amazing and the location was perfect too! After dining you can take your kiddos over to the nearby PNC Carousel for a spin or enjoy the beautiful green space.
My family had the best time in Pittsburgh and didn’t even get to see everything on our first visit. We will most definitely make a return trip to spend more time at the places we loved and also check out the places we didn’t have time for like the zoo, the National Aviary, and the Duquesne Incline. We were pleasantly surprised with all the family friendly and affordable attractions Pittsburgh has to offer!
Disclosure: My family was hosted by Visit Pittsburgh for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.