Are you looking for the best things to do with toddlers in Pittsburgh? In this guide we will tell you all the best Pittsburgh attractions for families with toddlers, as well as our top tips for visiting the city including where to stay and where to eat in Pittsburgh with toddlers.
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Top Tips on Visiting Pittsburgh with toddlers
But before we get onto the best things to do with toddlers in Pittsburgh, we thought it would be worthwhile starting with our top tips for visiting the city with littles.
Best way to get around Pittsburgh with toddlers
While it’s possible to see Pittsburgh without a rental car it is not something we would recommend as it certainly isn’t the easiest way to see the city.
A combination of spread out neighborhoods that are outside of downtown and the limited public transportation options, a rental car is definitely recommended if you’re going to be there for more than a few days.
However it is worth factoring in the car parking fees into your Pittsburgh budget. Parking in the downtown Pittsburgh can be fairly expensive usually around approx $30 USD/night so don’t be caught out by this additional budget cost.
If you choose to rent a car to more easily access the surrounding areas, consider staying outside of the immediate downtown area if budget is a concern for you.
It is worth noting also though that Pittsburgh has a fairly extensive bus system and limited light rail service that operates for free in the downtown area. For more information on public transportation, see here.
Taxis, Ubers and Lyft are also readily available in the city.
Is Pittsburgh stroller friendly?
Whether I am traveling to Rome, San Diego or London with a toddler, on of my main concerns is always whether or not the city is stroller friendly.
So is Pittsburgh stroller friendly?
The good news is Pittsburgh is extremely stroller friendly, and both the downtown area and most of the surrounding neighborhoods are lined with sidewalks that make is easy to get around the city with a stroller.
However if you plan on heading out on hikes or to a sports stadium which Pittsburgh is famed for you may also want to bring a carrier with you.
Fun fact: Pittsburgh is lined with rivers and you will cross a bridge almost anywhere you go. Fun fact: As of 2016, Pittsburgh had 446 bridges and surpassed Venice, Italy as having the most bridges of any city in the world.
What is the best time to visit Pittsburgh with a toddler?
The best time to visit Pittsburgh is in the late Spring or early Fall whether you are visiting with a toddler or not.
The city experiences all four seasons, which means winters are cold and snowy and mid-summer (July/August) can be very humid and hot, although the summertime typically offers the most activities.
Is Pittsburgh busy?
Crowds typically aren’t bad in Pittsburgh unless you’re visiting on a day when the sports teams are playing a home game, which is particularly true for Steeler’s football games in the Fall.
Where to Stay with Toddlers in Pittsburgh
So now you know our tips for visiting Pittsburgh with toddlers, we will turn our attention to were to stay in Pittsburgh with toddlers and families.
Perhaps the most obvious place to stay in Pittsburgh with families the downtown area. This is because staying in the downtown will offer access to several great restaurants and things to do either by a quick car or bus ride to any of the things to do listed below.
The hotels below are all great options that offer suites for families:
The Westin Convention Center, Pittsburgh
Embassy Suites by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown
Homewood Suites by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown
However please note that many hotels in the downtown area will charge for parking usually at around 30USD night so be sure to factor this into your Pittsburgh budget.
However other areas you may wish to consider are:
The Strip District:
This are has an industrial feeling with several converted lofts available. Usually accommodation in this area offers free parking alongside being able to walk to things to do.
If you are considering staying outside of downtown in a hotel or AirBnB in one of the following neighborhoods, all of which are family friendly but have very different feelings:
- Shadyside: Established neighborhood with young professionals and families
- Lawrenceville: Up and coming with more of a “hipster” vibe
As with all cities, Pittsburgh has great and not so great neighborhoods. As a general rule of thumb, avoid any of the neighborhoods with “Hill” in the name when looking for a place to stay with kids (i.e. Hill District, Middle Hill, Upper Hill).
Pittsburgh, with it’s affordable, family-friendly dining and accommodations, as well as the variety of indoor and outdoor activities, is a US destination that shouldn’t be missed when traveling with a toddler.
Where to Eat with Toddlers in Pittsburgh
What surprised us about Pittsburgh is what an amazing foodie city Pittsburgh is. But it isn’t just fine dining, there are lots of amazing places to eat in Pittsburgh with kids including:
Where to eat breakfast in Pittsburgh for families
Pittsburghers love a good breakfast. Some kid-approved favorites are the chocolate chip hotcakes at one of several Pamela’s Diner locations or the banana split sundae pancakes at Deluca’s, a traditional old-school diner in the Strip District.
Where to eat brunch in Pittsburgh for families
If you’re looking for brunch on the weekend, Meat and Potatoes has innovative dishes with something for the whole family or the Grand Concourse offers a buffet in an beautiful old train station, complete with donuts made to order that the kids love.
Where to eat brunch in the Strip District Pittsburgh PA with kids
The Strip District has a lot on offer for families. We recommend browsing the many offerings at the vendors in the Strip District, an area bordering downtown with indoor/outdoor markets.
Some of our favorite experiences include choosing from several up and coming chefs at Smallman Galley or stop at the original Primantis Brothers to get the sandwich with coleslaw and french fries that Pittsburgh is known for.
Where to eat in downtown Pittsburgh PA with kids
While many restaurants downtown cater to more of an after work, happy hour crowd, Emporio, a Meatball Joint, tacos at Condado or Proper Brick Oven Pizza are all great option for dinner with kids downtown.
There are also several locally owned, kid-friendly restaurants including Burgatory, Mad Mex, and Atrias that are great options with locations across Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs.
Where to eat dessert in Pittsburgh with kids
For dessert, be sure to try the ice cream at Millie’s Homemade, the Milkshake Factory, or Klavon’s for a traditional soda fountain.
The burnt almond torte cake at Prantl’s Bakery should also be on your “must eat” list.
Best Things to do with Toddlers in Pittsburgh
So now you know our tips, where to stay and where to eat with toddlers we will turn our attention to the best things to do with toddlers in Pittsburgh.
It surprised us when we began researching Pittsburgh how little is written about the city in regards to toddlers.
While you can find out what to do with kids in Pittsburgh, any parent will tell you that traveling with a toddler is its own thing and requires it own planning which is why we are looking at the specific toddler friendliness of things to in Pittsburgh.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Everyone know that toddlers learn best through play, and one place in Pittsburgh that offers this through hands on exhibits is t the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
This museums has many exhibits which are aimed primarily at toddlers with activities and exhibits such as the water floor, the nursery area and art space, it’s especially great for toddlers.
If you’re there on a Thursday, be sure to check out Young Sprouts, a nature-themed story and discovery time for children under 5.
For a more in-depth guide to this museum check out this post.
The National Aviary
Did you know that Pittsburgh has the largest bird focused zoos of its type in the US? No me either but that is whereThe National Aviary comes in.
Both of my toddlers love birds, in particular penguins. So if you have littles like mine they will love the US. Penguin Point with the fun and interactive penguins.
On top of that toddlers will also ensure the Tropical Rainforest and the Butterfly Garden sections which are all must-sees for toddlers.
For a full guide on visiting the national aviary check out this post.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Zoos are always a hit with toddlers, and the Pittsburgh Zoo is no exception. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is a large zoo with many exhibits but there’s also a dedicated Children’s Zoo with playgrounds, a water ride and many areas to allow children to get up close to and pet the animals, making this Zoo great for little kids.
For more information on visiting the Pittsburgh zoo check out this post.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a must for families visiting Pittsburgh.
The Conservatory and botanical has some amazing rotating flower and plant exhibits, along with a seasonal train in the Fall and Winter each year.
There’s also a produce room dedicated to toddlers, with a fully stocked market complete with grocery carts and a full kitchen to promote learning through play.
The Duquesne Incline is located on SouthSide in Pittsburgh and is a really unique mode of transportation that children will love taking.
The Duquesne Incline dates back to the 1870s and will take passengers up the mountain side. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with unrivalled and beautiful views of the city from Mt. Washington.
It is certainly worth taking a camera with you as you certainly will want to get a picture at the observation deck.
The Gateway Clipper is a must for toddlers no matter the time of year you are visiting. The Gateway Clipper offers a scenic and informative ride around the city. They also offer many kids themed cruises, including sailings with Princess, superheroes and Santa for those visiting Pittsburgh in Winter.
Carnegie Science Center
The Carnegie Science Center offers several exhibits for active kids and science lovers, including things for toddlers.
There is an expansive model train setup and a recently added Little Learners Clubhouse designed for kids under 6 which toddlers are sure to love.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
For toddler dinosaur lovers, visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. This is one of the top 5 natural history museums in the United States with an extensive collection of dinosaurs.
Toddlers in particular will love the Discovery Basecamp, where kids of all ages are encouraged to touch everything they see. A toddlers dream!
Watch a game
Pittsburgh is a well known sports city so it should come as no surprise that we recommend watching a sports game while in the city.
Watching a Pittsburgh Pirate’s baseball game at PNC Park rewards you with a beautiful view of the city along the water and is a family friendly sports stadium.
Otherwise you could watch a Pittsburgh Steeler’s American football game or head to the Penguin’s ice hockey arena if you’re visiting in the Fall or Winter and are interested in those sports.
If you have a rental car and are willing to travel slightly outside of the city then a visit Kennywood is an absolute must! Kennywood is an amusement park that dates back to the 1800s and recently added a Thomas & Friends™ attraction that’s perfect for toddlers.
Kids under 2 are typically free at most attractions in Pittsburgh, while children 3 and up are charged a discounted rate.
So there you have it our ULTIMATE Guide to visiting Pittsburgh with toddlers – do you have any other recommendations for visiting Pittsburgh with toddlerS? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
And if you are looking for more US toddler friendly city guides? Be sure to check out our other guide listed below:
- Las Vegas with toddlers
- Palm Springs with toddlers
- Portland with toddlers
- San Diego with toddlers
- San Francisco with toddlers
This post is written by our friends over at Toddling Traveler! Thanks to Amanda for this amazing Guest Post!
Amanda lives north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Frank, son William (Will) and a huge dog named Sydney. She recently left the corporate world to spend more time with her son and created Toddling Traveler with the intention of inspiring families to travel with little kids; something they love to do as a family. The blog covers family-friendly destinations, tips for traveling with babies and toddlers, and fun things to do with kids in their hometown of Pittsburgh.