25 fun and frugal things to do in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, the city of bridges, clad in black and gold, hosting a marvelous view of steel and water. Just like most big cities, there is more than meets the eye here in the steel city. There’s zoo, a dozen or so museums and then of course the sports leagues. There is a lot to do in Pittsburgh!

It can come with a big price tag. The budget minded have to know their stuff if they really want to find low cost things to do in Pittsburgh. But fear not! The city does offer a lot of fun and frugal things to do! Things for couples, families and seniors alike. I’ve compiled a list of 25 Fun and Frugal Things To Do in Pittsburgh. Everything on this list costs no more than $10 per person, with most items being free. Yes, free! There are a lot of free things to do in Pittsburgh.

If you have a down moment this summer in the city, you should keep this list handy to reference. There’s always something to do and it’s especially handy to always have things to do when the budget gets tight.

So without much further ado, 25 Fun and Frugal Things To Do In Pittsburgh:

  1. Take a walking tour of Pittsburgh. Robert Morris University offers a free walking tour narrated in several different languages. Just choose which language you’d like and save the MP3 to your smartphone.
  2. Window shop parking is free downtown on Sundays. Some of my favorite areas for window shopping are the cultural district and the strip districts. Of course I do usually end up buying some fresh produce from Market Outlet, but it’s so cheap!
  3. See one of the top 10 most beautiful views in the country (USA weekend) from Mount Washington & Mcardle Roadway.
  4. Take a train ride. The T is free for the following stops: First Avenue Station, Steel Plaza, Wood Street Station, Gateway, North Side Station and Allegheny Station.
  5. Carnegie Science Center has an unadvertised last hour discount for only $3 per person. Just check what time they close, arrive a few minutes after the hour (when closing at 5, arrive at 4:05) and get the rate. You’ll have about an hour to take in some exhibits and play with the kids.
  6. Splash around at the Water Steps by PNC Park. Basically it’s a large fountain that you can walk through. It’s free! Just bring extra clothes or towels.
  7. Round Hill Park Exhibit Farm a county park and real working farm. There is a spray playground, farm animals to pet, walking trails and even movies at dusk in the summer.
  8. Be a King or Queen at Pleasant Kingdom playground – a public playground built from wood and made to look like a castle. Located at: 410 East Bruceton Pittsburgh, PA 15236
  9. Cool off at a sprinkler park – there are several in the city. Why pay for a trip to a water park when you can spend an hour or two at a water playground?
  10. Create a master piece with the Roving Art Cart. For children ages 15-12. Check the schedule to see what they’re making and where or to book a group reservation.
  11. South Park Game Preserve bring bread or crackers for the ducks. Play on a black and gold playground. See peacocks, buffalo, turtles, etc. South Park itself has a lot to offer too, like dog parks, wave pool and a BMX track.
  12. Fun Fore All $5 per person for all day admission to BalloCity. Get lost in a sea of balls 😉
  13. Ride one  of the inclines for $2.50 each way for both the Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline.
  14. Soergel Orchards Not just an orchard or farm. There are several different stores, shops, and play areas, but also tractor rides, greenhouse, pick your own farm, petting zoo, gift shop. You can go and not spend a dime and still have fun or bring a little cash for a scoop of ice cream.
  15. Take in a play at South Park Children’s Theater for only $3 per person. Worth every cent to invest in the local arts scene.
  16. Triple B Farms monster truck slide, play areas, livestock and pick your ownKids bowl free in summer. $6 for all you can play.
  17. Celebrate comics and cartoons at the Toonseum. $8 for adults and $6 for children. Great to see right before re-watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Because let’s admit it, that movie was the best!
  18. Speaking of movies, go to a drive in movie. There are several to choose from in the area and will run you about $8 per person, but you get two movies! Theaters near Pittsburgh: Twin Hi Way Drive In of McKees Rocks, Dependable Drive In of Moon Township, Riverside Theatre of Vandergrift, Evergreen Drive In of Mount Pleasant and Comet Drive In of Connellsville.
  19. Catch a train on the Kiski Junction Railroad. Check the calendar and the weather before heading over. Adults are $9 and children are $7. They even has special Christmas time tours for $10.
  20. Visit the world’s largest invention factory, Inventionland. This is place is simply amazing. You can take a virtual tour online for free, but if you can get a private tour, oh man… it’s like Walt Disney has been hiding out in Pittsburgh all these years.
  21. Take in the stars. Either use an app to identify the stars or look through high grade telescopes at star party at Wegmans or Mingo Observatory. Want to stay in town? Then go to Allegheny Observatory (must be scheduled tour) or Sky Watch at Carnegie Science Center ($2 per person).
  22. Gaze at photos of yesteryear at Photo Antiquities. $10 for adults and children are free.
  23. Take an audio tour of the Nationality Rooms at University of Pittsburgh. Go on a weekend or when school is out so that you can see all the rooms. Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children.
  24. Take the downtown Public Art Walking Tour
  25. See over 5,000 relics at St Anthony’s Chapel. Visit for a tour. The outside of the building alone is worth a gander!

The list could go on! And I just might make a second edition to share with you in the future. So sign up for the email newsletter to never miss a beat.

What are your favorite fun and frugal things to do in Pittsburgh?

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  • Leah
    August 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    These are all great! I will keep them in mind for the (eventual) day we will get there!

  • Christine Goulbourne
    August 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I have never been to Pittsburgh, but have always wanted to go. I love your tips, if I ever do make my way to the steel city, I’ll be sure to refer to your list! Thanks.

    • Jenn
      August 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks, Christine. I’m a transplant to Pittsburgh. So I try to discover all I can about the city. But we love taking road trips. Anything that we can get to in a day’s drive (less than 15 hours) we’ll try!

  • Jonathan Colter
    July 30, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I’ll bet the average person couldn’t come up with 10 free or frugal ideas for fun entertainment. That is one of the problems. We need to stimulate creative thinking to be happier and healthier in life. Your list of 25 ideas is a great starting point.

    Excellent article with great ideas.

    • Jenn
      July 30, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, Jonathan. You are very right. I remember being that type of person. “What do you want to do today?” Option A movie, B shopping, C major attraction etc. there’s so much more to every city.