Pittsburgh, PA

Top Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA

Traveling with Alice


Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a big city known for having a small-town vibe.

With its mix of urban and suburban amenities, there are tons of free activities to put on your to-do list.

Downtown Walking Tours

There's nothing more exciting than exploring a city's rich history, and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation makes it easy for you with its self-guided tours. Each of these tours is free to download from their website, and six different tour options cover various locations around the city.

You can check out the Pittsburgh Gateway Center, Grant Street, Market Square, Penn-Liberty, Fourth Avenue, or the Bridges & River Shores tours. Better yet, try them all.

The tours provide a wealth of information on Pittsburgh's history and culture, and you won't want to miss out.

Gallery Crawl

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a vibrant art culture that's celebrated quarterly through an art open house called the Gallery Crawl.

Located in the Cultural District, the Gallery Crawl highlights the talents of local, national, and international artists both in the visual and performing arts.

The Gallery Crawl includes exhibitions, performances, and film screenings that take place in several locations throughout the Cultural District. And this year's Gallery Crawl is entirely virtual, so you can see everything these artists have to offer in the comfort of your own home.

Live Music

If you love live music, Pittsburgh is a great place to check out some new musical acts. Many outdoor spaces, bars, and restaurants in town feature weekly performers that you won't want to miss.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust also puts on a weekly jazz series called JazzLive, highlighting the amazing talents of jazz musicians in the Cultural District. JazzLive can also be accessed for free online.

And don't forget to check out the many festivals throughout the year that combine music and the arts, such as the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Art Festival, the EQT Children's Theater Festival, and the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival.


90.5 WESA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Washington Overlook

The Mount Washington Overlook sits on top of a 450-foot hill overlooking the city of Pittsburgh.

From this vantage point, you get an impressive view of downtown Pittsburgh's skyscrapers, bridges, parks, and incline trains. You can also see all three of Pittsburgh's rivers: The Allegheny, The Monongahela, and The Ohio.

There are plenty of observation areas to enjoy the stunning view of Pittsburgh's cityscape and take photos, so be sure to snap a few selfies while you're there.

Old Allegheny County Jail

The Old Allegheny County Jail is a Romanesque Revival-style complex that was designed by architect H.H. Richardson and built in the late 1800s by the Norcross Brothers.

Several infamous prisoners have been housed there, including anarchist Alexander Berkman and Jack and Eddie Biddle, whose escape from the jail was the premise of the 1984 movie Mrs. Soffel.

With its fascinating history, it's no wonder that so many people love to take the free self-guided tours offered on Mondays several months out of the year. And don't forget to speak with the docents who tell visitors fascinating stories about the jail's past.


Leepaxton at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Pittsburgh Opera Brown Bag Concerts

Packing a lunch will never be the same after attending one of The Pittsburgh Opera Brown Bag Concerts.

Put on once a month during the performance season, The Pittsburgh Opera hosts an entirely free concert for guests during lunch break. So pack a picnic and listen to their performances of popular arias, Broadway hits, and other pieces of musical theater.


When you're ready to get out and get your heart pumping, climb one of the many stairways located across the city of Pittsburgh. With over 700 sets of stairs in Pittsburgh and a total elevation change of nearly 25,000 feet, you can easily get your recommended steps in for the day.

Take your choice of stairways that run parallel to the streets, through wooded areas, up the mountainside, or right through neighborhoods.

The best part is that they're all scattered throughout the city, and no matter which one you choose, the views at the top are amazing.


Photo by Jordan Faux on Unsplash

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