Who said you have to spend money to have a good time? Not us! There are plenty of free activities in Pittsburgh and its countryside, from gallery crawls to movies in the park to free Wi-Fi. Check out our list of free things to do anytime or seasonally.
If you wonder what the New York Times meant by calling Pittsburgh the “only city with an entrance,” simply drive from the Parkway West (I-376) into Downtown via the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Bridge (the main route from the airport). Watch for it: You won’t want to miss a detail of the spectacular skyline and sparkling rivers as they appear suddenly before you.
Go underground in Pittsburgh’s subway, called the “T,” which you can ride for free within the Golden Triangle. Downtown stops include Wood Street Station, US Steel Tower, First Avenue and Gateway.
Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, conceived in the 1890s as a cultural center with grand buildings and broad avenues, remains a hub for culture as well as education and medicine. Explore 26 works of public art in this historic neighborhood, which features interesting architecture as well.
Pittsburgh Glass Center
Experience contemporary glass art as well as other extravagant and unique exhibitions at this center. Exhibitions change to include a number of different experiences.
Society for Contemporary Craft
Drop in for exhibitions and family friendly, hands-on art activities that are free to the public, and don’t miss browsing in the tantalizing store. Located in the Strip District, the SCC offers cutting-edge exhibitions and has presented contemporary art in craft media by international, national and regional artists since 1971.
Wood Street Galleries and SPACE
Take some time to muse about the fresh artistic offerings you’ll find in these galleries, where rotating exhibitions feature art from all over.
Turn your attention to the sky during a free tour at the historic observatory. Enjoy a short slide or film presentation followed by a walking tour of the building, which ends at the Fitz-Clark refractor. On clear nights, view celestial objects within the telescope’s range. Reservations required.
Fort Pitt Block House, Point State Park
Built in 1764 it is the only surviving structure of the original Fort Pitt and is the oldest building in Pittsburgh. It tells the story of western Pennsylvania’s role during the French & Indian War and the American Revolution. Musket balls and rifle locks are two of the featured artifacts on display.
The Frick Art & Historical Center
You get free admission to the Frick Art Museum, Car and Carriage Museum, and the lovely grounds surrounding them. Take in the Frick family’s art collection and traveling exhibits, or transport yourself back through time while admiring the extensive vehicle collection.
JazzLive at Katz Plaza
Relax and enjoy smooth jazz music played year-round at The Cabaret at Theater Square, Backstage Bar and Agnes R. Katz Plaza. Open to the public, this popular Pittsburgh Cultural Trust music series showcases some of the region’s finest jazz musicians on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Pittsburgh Banjo Club at the Allegheny Elks Club
You’ll receive a friendly welcome from the loyal crowd that gathers on Wednesday nights to sing along during the club’s polished practice sessions, which typically include 40 or more banjo players with a little brass backing from a tuba and horns. The mood is lively, the beer is cheap and the entry at the door is free (just ring the buzzer).
Pittsburgh Opera’s Brown Bag Opera Concerts
Tune your ears to lunchtime concerts on the second Saturday of the month, September through April, from noon to 1 p.m. Bring a lunch to the free concerts or buy food on site. No reservations required.
This itinerary is compliments of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau.