Frugal Foodie Mama: 10 Must-Do's in Pittsburgh Before Summer's End

Friday, August 21, 2015

10 Must-Do's in Pittsburgh Before Summer's End

My family & I traveled to Pittsburgh as part of a Kidsburgh press tour with Visit Pittsburgh. All opinions and thoughts-as always- are 100% my own.
Looking to plan a little end of summer getaway to the Steel City soon? Then you definitely need to check out my 10 Must-Do's in Pittsburgh Before Summer's End. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I had the pleasure of joining five other travel bloggers and their families for three fun filled days in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Any of you all that have been following me now for a while probably already know of my family and I's love for the Steel City. We make the 2 hour drive to the city several times throughout the year, so when I received the invitation to attend the Pittsburgh is Kidsburgh press tour I knew that we would all be there with bells on. :) The wonderful thing about Pittsburgh is that no matter how many times my family and I have visited there we always seem to discover something new and exciting to do there, and our most recent trip there was definitely no exception. 

For many of us, the summer is winding down and the first day of school is just around the corner or maybe it has already arrived for you and your kiddos. But that doesn't mean we should throw in the towel and declare summer over! Not when there are plenty of warm weekends left until the chill of fall arrives. 
Looking to plan a little end of summer getaway to the Steel City soon? Then you definitely need to check out my 10 Must-Do's in Pittsburgh Before Summer's End...

First, let's talk about family friendly things to do in Pittsburgh. Starting with what to do indoors because let's face it- some end of summer days are just hot or are dampened by a thunderstorm or two. 

Things to Do (Indoors).
If you are planning a trip to Pittsburgh, then a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a definite must for your itinerary. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

#1. If you are planning a trip to Pittsburgh, then a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a definite must for your itinerary. Especially if you and your kiddos happen to be dinosaur lovers. There is so much more to the museum (3 floors of exhibits to be exact), but we ended up spending most of our time in the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit. This exhibit also happens to be the first permanent exhibit in the world to feature scientifically accurate environments from the age of the dinosaurs!
The Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is the first permanent exhibit in the world to feature scientifically accurate environments from the age of the dinosaurs! #kidsburgh #lovepgh

To say that Little Miss was completely fascinated would be an understatement. And trust me- she wasn't the only one. ;) If dinosaurs do not happen to be your thing, then no worries. The Museum of Natural History also offers many more exhibits from North American animals to minerals & gems to ancient Egypt and everything in between.

#2. Another indoor must-do in the Steel City is the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, even though part of the museum is also outdoors weather permitting. This wasn't our first time to the museum. You all may remember our first visit there last fall. But what I love about the Children's Museum is that there is also something new to discover there. Like the Very Eric Carle exhibit on display at the museum until September 20th...
he Very Eric Carle exhibit on display at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh until September 20, 2015. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

Folks, this Eric Carle exhibit was amazing! I have been a fan of Eric Carle's books since my oldest (who is now 17) was an itty bitty. I have to admit that I just may have been a little more excited to walk through this exhibit than my 3 year old daughter was. ;) Even if you have time to do nothing else while visiting the Children's Museum, this exhibit would be worth the price of admission alone. All your favorite Eric Carle books literally come to life with hands-on, interactive displays.
The Studio at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers lots of hands-on art activities for the kiddos. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

There is so much for the kids (and the grown-up kids) to do and see at the Children's Museum, but we always seem to end up spending quite a bit of time in the museum's Studio whenever we visit there. Little Miss loves the hands-on art activities. Before painting her masterpiece above, she was hands deep in clay creating sculptures. :)

Things to Do (Outdoors).
By land and then by water, Just Ducky Tours is the best way to tour the city of Pittsburgh. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

#3. Okay, so I am about to tell you all about one of my favorite things that we did while on the Kidsburgh trip- the Just Ducky Tours of Pittsburgh! This was my first time taking a tour with Just Ducky, and let me tell you all this is the best way to see Pittsburgh. The tour starts with a drive through downtown where your entertaining (ahem, borderline comedian) guide gives you the history and quirky bits about each important building and historic site as you pass by them. And if you happen to be a fan of architecture, this tour is definitely a must for you. But that's not all, folks. Once the tour of the city by land is over, then it is time for a tour of the city by water. No need to disembark the vehicle to board a boat! The vehicles becomes the boat in a matter of minutes...
By land and then by water, Just Ducky Tours is the best way to tour the city of Pittsburgh. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

There is no other way to see so much of the city of Pittsburgh from so many different angles and viewpoints in just 1 hour than a Just Ducky tour. ;)
By land and then by water, Just Ducky Tours is the best way to tour the city of Pittsburgh. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

#4. Another first for us during this trip to Pittsburgh was a visit to Sandcastle Waterpark. We are a water-loving family, so this was right up our alley. My husband and daughter spent a lot of their time in the Lazy River and the Tad Pool, while my son went the adventurous route and tried out all of their water slides including the The Monster- an 85 foot tall free fall slide that reaches speeds of 25 miles per hour. He went down that slide five times! (Crazy man.)
Inspired by a beach boardwalk, Sandcastle Waterpark in Pittsburgh offers tons of fun in the water for the entire family. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

I elected to take it easy and lounged around in our cabana enjoying the view. ;)
Inspired by a beach boardwalk, Sandcastle Waterpark in Pittsburgh offers tons of fun in the water for the entire family. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

I especially loved the beach boardwalk set-up of Sandcastle. The boardwalk was lined with little shops, places to grab a bite to eat, and an arcade. If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine that you were visiting a New Jersey or Maryland boardwalk. 

#5. If you happen to be in Pittsburgh during baseball season and the Pirates are playing the home field, you must go to a game. Even if you don't happen to be a Buccos fan. ;) 
If you happen to be in Pittsburgh during baseball season and the Pirates are playing the home field, you must go to a game. #kidsburgh #lovepgh
Photo credit- Visit Pittsburgh
One view of the city's breathtaking skyline from your seats, and you will understand immediately why PNC Park was voted the best ballpark in America by Ballpark Digest. Pittsburgh also happens to be the second best city for baseball fans according to WalletHub. We have attended many a Pirates game in my 4 year marriage to my husband, and PNC Park has never disappointed.
Photo credit to my son
#6. One of the best ways to get from the city to Mount Washington is by way of the inclines. A ride up either incline will take you to quaint neighborhoods, a slew of tasty local restaurants, and hands down some of the best views of Pittsburgh. During our visit to Pittsburgh last fall, we took a ride up to Mount Washington by way of the Monongahela Incline, so I was thrilled that we were going to hitch a ride with the Duquesne Incline this time around...
One of the best ways to get from Pittsburgh up to Mount Washington is by way of the Duquesne Incline. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

One of the best ways to get from Pittsburgh up to Mount Washington is by way of the Duquesne Incline. #kidsburgh #lovepgh
Photo credit- Visit Pittsburgh
Little Miss was tickled pink to be riding up the Duquesne Incline. Mainly because she thought that the cable cars looked just like the trolley in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood that was inspired by the childhood classic, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood which happened to be produced in Pittsburgh. (A little fun fact for you all there.)
One of the best ways to get from Pittsburgh up to Mount Washington is by way of the Duquesne Incline. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

The Duquesne Incline started operating in 1877 during the city's reign as the king of steel. It was a quick way for the steel mill workers to travel down the mountain into the city and then back home again. The Incline was rescued and restored by local citizens in 1963 and has been operating seven days a week since then.
 The Duquesne Incline was rescued and restored by local citizens in 1963 and has been operating seven days a week since then. #kidsburgh #lovepgh
Photo credit- Visit Pittsburgh
Where to Eat.
Expect a line out the door and down the street if you visit Pamela's Diner in the Strip District on the weekends. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

#7. What is an end of summer trip to Pittsburgh without the food? And I bet you didn't know that Pittsburgh ranked third in the Top 10 Best Foodie Cities according to Livability.com. ;) I have to admit that when I saw Pamela's Diner on our agenda for a breakfast stop I just may have done a few cartwheels in my head. Mainly because I have been wanting to eat at Pamela's for years now! But we almost always visit the 'Burgh on a weekend, and the line to get into Pamela's Diner for breakfast is always out the door and down the street. Tip- Visit on a weekday morning if you can swing it. It stills gets busy, but your wait time will be much shorter. 
The crepe hotcakes from Pamela's Diner in Pittsburgh are a favorite of President Obama. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

After hearing the story about how President Obama always stops at Pamela's Diner when he is in Pittsburgh just to get their crepe hotcakes and that he had even invited the owners to make these hotcakes for the White House staff not just once but twice, I was sold. And these hotcakes, folks? They lived up to the hype and then some. I totally get why people wait in a line down the street just to get inside Pamela's.

#8. With a great kids' menu and bright & eclectic garage inspired decor, Double Wide Grill is a must-stop for lunch when visiting Pittsburgh...
With a great kids' menu and bright & eclectic garage inspired decor, Double Wide Grill is a must-stop for lunch when visiting Pittsburgh. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

Featuring barbecue, full vegetarian and vegan menus, and 36 beers on tap as well as a full cocktail menu, Double Wide Grill offers a little something for the adults and kiddos alike. 
Featuring barbecue, full vegetarian and vegan menus, and 36 beers on tap as well as a full cocktail menu, Double Wide Grill offers a little something for the adults and kiddos alike. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

Not only can you enjoy house specialties like the BBQ Pulled Porky sandwich and the Frozen Mojito, but the restaurant itself is definitely worth taking a quick walk-through of. From beer bottle light fixtures to a hub cab ceiling, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. :)

#9. If you have never visited a Hofbrauhaus, then you need to make plans to have dinner at the one in Pittsburgh. Not only is the German food and beer there amazing, but you can't beat the waterside views from the restaurant's deck...
If you have never visited a Hofbrauhaus, then you need to make plans to have dinner at the one in Pittsburgh. Not only is the German food and beer there amazing, but you can't beat the waterside views from the restaurant's deck. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

In addition to the four freshly brewed biers that Hofbrauhaus offers year round, they also produce just one seasonal beer each month. If you hurry, you can grab a mug of the Sommer Weizen before it is gone at the end of August!
If you have never visited a Hofbrauhaus, then you need to make plans to have dinner at the one in Pittsburgh. Not only is the German food and beer there amazing, but you can't beat the waterside views from the restaurant's deck. #kidsburgh #lovepgh

I just loved the general vibe of the Hofbrauhaus. From the large communal tables inside to the lively bier garten with live music outside, there was just a feeling of togetherness and community. I mean, even the appetizers were made for sharing! Like the Giant Pretzel Combo above. They also have a fabulous children's menu that includes a Kinder Schnitzel- perfect for easing the kiddos away from the chicken fingers and fries towards some more traditional German food. ;)
The Grilled Cheese Cheeseburger from Bigham Tavern. And it is exactly what it sounds like, my friends. I mean, who needs hamburger buns when you can use two grilled cheeses instead? #kidsburgh #lovepgh

#10. If you happen to take the Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington, then be sure to plan to have lunch or dinner at the Bigham Tavern. Though only in its fourth year of operation, Bigham Tavern has succeeded in their goal of becoming a "friendly, neighborhood pub with good food". Our recommendations? Start with the Tickled Pickles. I mean, you just can't go wrong with deep fried bacon battered pickle chips. You also can't go wrong with any of the Mac 'N Cheeses. In fact, the tavern is famous for their BYOM (Build Your Own Mac). And if you really want to go ALL out, order what my husband had- the Grilled Cheese Cheeseburger (pictured above). And it is exactly what it sounds like, my friends. I mean, who needs hamburger buns when you can use two grilled cheeses instead? ;)

I want to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to Visit Pittsburgh for making this incredible and fun end of summer trip to Pittsburgh possible! :) 

What would be on your must-do list for end of summer fun in Pittsburgh? 

Planning a trip to Pittsburgh soon? Click on over to Visit Pittsburgh to make planning your visit easy and fun! :)
Be sure to follow Visit Pittsburgh on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with all the latest deals and things to do in the 'Burgh!
And look for the #lovepgh and #kidsburgh hashtags!

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