First Night in Pittsburgh: something for everyone

Young and old are sure to love a trip to Pittsburgh’s Cultural District for First Night. With tons of indoor and outdoor events book-ended by fireworks, Steel City will celebrate the slide from 2014 into 2015 with non-stop fun.

With so much to do, it’s important to plan ahead.For starters, if you’re planning on going, buy your buttons ahead of time for $8 instead of $10 at the door. Your buttons give you access to all the festivities, so you don’t want to forget that detail.

Got your buttons? Great! Now it’s time to check out the schedule of events from visual art to music and dance and even crafts workshops. There are 18 visual art exhibits, all of them open 6 p.m.-11 p.m. so leave time to check those out between attending shows.

Happy anniversary!
Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration features not one, but two fireworks displays, plus so much more.

Can’t decide what shows to attend? River City Brass really is “a blast.” Last year’s show included singing, dancing, silly costumes, and audience participation in a rendition of The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. Their only show this year is at 7 p.m., so add that to your agenda first, and then consider the acts offering multiple showings throughout the night, like Cello Fury and Texture Contemporary Ballet or Arcade Comedy Theater. Want to squeeze in a third show? Consider any one of the 3 featured magicians, they all have 10 p.m. shows. Once you’ve decided which show to attend, you need to reserve seat vouchers. If they’re all gone for the show you really wanted to see, don’t fret, there’s still plenty of other stuff to do.

As you walk around the Cultural District, definitely stop by Steel Town Fire & Ice Creations in the Fire & Ice Plaza. Last year, half of the stage was devoted to fire dancing/eating while on the other half, an ice sculpture of a motorcycle was carved. With a chainsaw.

Curious about the year to come? Get a palm and angel card reading between 6:30 and 10:30 at Urban Pathways Charter School. But be warned, the line last year was very long.

If you have little ones that need to be in bed well before midnight, be sure to arrive on time for the opening children’s fireworks display at 6 p.m. so they don’t have to miss out on the pyrotechnics.

On top of all these shows and sights to see, there are also interactive activities for all ages. There’s giant jenga, chess, and checkers, a pinball lounge, and a kazoo making workshop hosted by Carnegie Science Center. Plus, don’t forget about face painting, caricatures, balloon animals, and meeting the local sports mascots.

Finally: Do you love ice skating? The Massmutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place will be open 11 a.m.-midnight.

As always with big events like this, it’s best to take public transportation into the city instead of giving yourself a headache trying to find parking. Wood Street, the “T” stop in the heart of the Cultural District will be bustling all night, so consider heading into the city early and be prepared for a crush at the end of the celebration.

Rainy day activity: museums in Pittsburgh

There are plenty of reasons why Pittsburgh is a great city (the food, for example), and one of the best things about Steel City is that it’s got museums galore. Because this summer hasn’t been the hottest or the driest for the area, consider spending your next rainy day at a museum.

Carnegie, Carnegie, Carnegie

Pittsburgh: a city for all weather
The skies over Pittsburgh aren’t always this sunny, so it’s good that the city boasts some of the best museums around.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is open every day of the week in summer. The current special exhibit is RACE: Are we so Different. The museum even hosts birthday parties. So if you have a child who loves dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, animals, or minerals, consider taking them to see some natural history.

If you have a hardcore science buff on your hands, the Carnegie Science Center is the place to go. Little shark lovers will get especially excited at the film Great White Shark, currently playing at the Rangos Omnimax Theater.

For artists and art lovers, the Carnegie Museum of Art is one of several art museums in Pittsburgh well worth a visit. The current exhibit, Faked {Forgotten} Found: Five Renaissance Paintings Investigated runs until Sept. 5.

The Andy Warhol Museum is perhaps the best Carnegie museum in the city. Why? Because most major cities have art museums and natural history museums, but only Pittsburgh has The Warhol, dedicated to the art of one of the city’s most famous natives. Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede will be on display until Aug. 24th, so consider heading to the North Shore sometime soon.

Something a little different

The Mattress Factory Art Museum is one of the most unique museums of modern art in the country. While this might not be the best place to visit with small children (some of the permanent installations are a bit creepy), art buffs will be amazed at the contemporary work on display.

The ToonSeum is another unique Pittsburgh museum. If your kids love superheroes, consider taking them to the current exhibit, When Universes Collide: The Ultimate Superhero Smackdown, running through Sept. 20.


Fun events for kids in the Pittsburgh area

Pittsburgh is a great city for entertaining young and old, so if you’re looking for some kid-friendly fun, no worries. Here’s a sampling of affordable events compiled last year, and below we’ve compiled our own list for this summer.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is always a great place to take your kids, and in the afternoon on August 9th they’re offering Super Science Series: Genetics Exploration for free with museum admission. This event lets visitors of all ages get a closer look at the traveling exhibit RACE: Are We So Different?

fun for kids in Pittsburgh
It’s easy to find fun things to do with your kids in the Pittsburgh area.

If you have a budding gear-head in your household, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix starts today and runs through July 20th in Schenley Park. Alongside the race itself, there will be car shows as well as other events.

The Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Dept. is hosting its annual carnival July 28-August 2 in the VFD parking lot on Library Rd. All the classic carnival rides and games will be set up, there will be food aplenty, and there will be a drawing for some serious prizes. Tickets for the drawing are $1 each. The first prize winner gets to choose either a Chevrolet vehicle of their choice or $19,000. The second prize winner gets $7,000.

Castle Shannon Community Library Events

The Castle Shannon Community Library is hosting all sorts of events for kids this summer.

By mid-July, some kids are already looking forward to winter. If your child is itching for a snowball fight, take them to the library at 6 p.m. on July 15th for a Summer Snowball.

For children aged birth to pre-kindergarten, the Castle Shannon Library is hosting a special Summer Story Time in Hamilton Park. Weather permitting, this event will take place at 10 a.m. on July 16th, July 23rd, July 30th, August 6th, August 13th. Sign up is required.

Young scientists (grades 3 and up) may register for Science in a Tube, featuring experiments with dry ice. This event, hosted by the Carnegie Science Center, will take place at 6 p.m. on July 22nd in the Castle Shannon Library Community Room.

Matinee at the Library will take place at 2 p.m. on July 25th. The movie to be shown is Heaven is for Real. Refreshments will be served. Sign up is required.

Sign up for the Library’s Water Party, to be held at 6 p.m. on August 5th for fun with water balloons, water games, and more.

If your kids are begging for a trip to the beach, consider taking them to Beach Story Time at 6 p.m. on August 12th. This event promises to be as close to a trip to the beach as you can get without actually going on a trip to the beach.

Story teller Alan Irvine is visiting the library at 7:30 p.m. on August 20th. He’ll be telling stories from all over the world. All ages are welcome to register.

Looking to move to this city full of fun for kids? Contact Prudential Realty Company for the availability at a variety of communities, including Alvern Gardens Apartments ( or 412-561-4663) and Place Seville Apartments in Castle Shannon.