34 Ideas for FREE Fun In the South Hills of Pittsburgh This Summer

There are lots of ways to have fun in Pittsburgh this summer, without spending a penny!

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID South Hills Publisher June 13, 2022

Looking for cheap summer fun in Baldwin, Bethel Park, Brentwood, Bridgeville, Castle Shannon, Dormont, Jefferson Hills, Mt. Lebanon, Mt. Oliver, Mt. Washington, Pleasant Hills, Pittsburgh, South Park, South Side, Upper St. Clair, West Mifflin, Whitehall and the cities in between?

Check out our 33 ideas for completely FREE summer fun in the South Hills of Pittsburgh:

1. Visit a playground in the South Hills

Follow us on Instagram this summer as we take our kids to as many local parks we can and hear directly from them what they have to say about them - their likes/dislikes, what makes a great park and more! Our Playgrounds & Parks Guide is a great place to get started on helping you find your next outdoor adventure!

 Jordan Whitt via Unsplash

2. Splash at Your Favorite South Hills Creek

Kid's of all ages love to splash and explore the wonders a creek can hold. Grab your water shoes and head to any of these 7 Creeks in the South Hills for Your Kids to Splash In

3. Celebrate Pittsburgh at Family Day

Visit Allegheny Commons (East Ohio St. & Cedar Ave.) every third Sunday of the month from June through October from 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. for free activities for children (and children at heart) including balloon artist, craft activities, with special guests and performers! Registration is not required. Family Day

 Getty Images via Canva

4. Go to one of the many libraries in the South Hills!

Our local South Hills libraries host a wealth of resources, with the majority of them being FREE. In addition to the walls of books and weekly story times, you might find things like Paws for a Cause with Animal Friends, learn how to cook and bake at the Baldwin Borough Public Library, catch a 🎥 New Movie Release Tuesdays at Bethel Park Library or Classic Movie Matinee at Whitehall Public Library

5. Enjoy live music in Pittsburgh

Summer time in the 'Burgh means lots of live music on a warm, breezy night! Check out our event calendar to see what summer concerts are happening each day!

6. Take a hike in the South Hills

I'm not gonna lie. I am not a hiker, but I know a lot of mama's who are! Walking around Canonsburg Lake is about the extent of my hiking experience. Let us know where your favorite hiking trails are and we'll add them to this list!

7. Go on a Dinosaur Hunt in Pittsburgh

In the summer of 2003, Carnegie Museum of Natural History released 100 dinosaur statues during DinoMite Days . Some of these dinosaurs have roamed far away, but others remain within the Pittsburgh area. Designed by local artists and imaginative students, these  colorful and creative dinosaurs are representative of the vibrant spirit of Pittsburgh and some of the ‘Burgh’s amazing local legends. Set some time aside this summer to go on a Dino Statue Driving Tour and see if you can spot them all!

 Getty Images Pro via Canva

8. Take a bike ride in the South Hills

I have very fond, sweaty memories of riding bikes with my family growing up. My parents would pack a lunch, and we would set out for the day on the Montour Trail or the bike path on Corrigan Drive. Not into trail riding? Check out the South Park BMX track to hit some jumps and 3 B's Action Parks with any boards/bikes/blades. If you're in the market for a new bike, our friends over at Pro Bike + Run have tons of bikes in stock. 

9. Get Wet at Spray Parks and Splash Pads in the South Hills

Who doesn't love a good sprinkler in the summer? Probably a fully clothed mother, but her kids, def want to play in the water. Our guide to Spray Parks and Splash Pads in the South Hills will cover you for fun in the sun any day of the week and help you navigate with our new handy-dandy map for Spray Parks in Pittsburgh.

10. See a Movie Under the Stars

So many movies this summer! Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park is back along with Movie Nights at South Park. You can search for movies on our event calendar by using the 🎥 emoji or browse our Free or Cheap Summer Family Movie Guide to find ALL the movies in local South Hill's parks!

11. Pittsburgh Neighbor Nights at the National Aviary

Every third Thursday of the month, the Pittsburgh National Aviary hosts 🦜 Pittsburgh Neighbor Nights at the National Aviary where they will remain open for free from 5-7pm. Check out our article on 6 Things You Need to Know Before You Go to the Aviary.

12. Play Your Favorite Board Game

Every Tuesday from 11am-2pm, Schenley Plaza hosts TableTop Tuesday's where you can enjoy a selection of free and classic table-top games for the entire family to enjoy. 

13. Try Volleyball for Free

Printscape Arena at Southpointe will be hosting a free open house event for the community. Free volleyball instruction will be provided by the Learn to Play Volleyball program instructors. If you have your own volleyball please feel free to bring it. This open house if geared for boys and girls between the ages of 8-14. Pre-register today to secure your spot!

14. Enjoy a Summer Celebration with a Free Tinkergarten Class

Gather and delight in nature and this special season with sweet, family-friendly activities, nature art projects, songs, and more! If you have never taken a Tinkergarten class, this is a great way to see what it's all about! Free Tinkergarten Summer Celebration

15. Teach Your Teen How to Cook 

Teen's ages 10-18 are invited to join Brookline Teen Outreach on Friday afternoons from 4-5pm for a weekly teen cooking class and explore how to choose healthy alternatives for their favorite foods, learn the value of cooking skills, and bravely taste test new things! Let's Eat!

16. Dance and Be Fit

Every Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm, you can get your body moving and grooving in Schenley Plaza.  🕺🏻 Dance & Be Fit in Schenley Plaza

17. Grow Something in Your Garden, or Someone Else's!

My kids love the wonder of watching a plant grow. Start your own garden at home, connect with a community garden like Anchor Green Garden Care Day or take a Plant Walk to learn how to identify different plants. Need some starter plants? Head to your local Farmers Market and make a day out of it!

18. Feed Your Kids for FREE

Kid's Eat Free (and get to enjoy the perks of watching a ball game in a stadium) at the Washington Wild Things Stadium every Sunday night through September 4th. Baseball not your jam? Check out other nights that kids eat free. 

19. FREE Summer Movies at the Movie Theater

Another one of my summer memories I am making with my kids are all the free summer movies (at the theater). This is the perfect activity to break up a high impact, super hot, or rainy week. The kids love it and I can even relax myself for the most part for an hour and a half! You can search for movies on our event calendar by using the 🎥 emoji or browse our Free or Cheap Summer Family Movie Guide to find ALL the free movies we could find in the South Hills!

20. Learn to Box 

Teen's aged 10-18 can practice becoming a boxing champ at Brookline Teen Outreach on Thursday afternoons from 1-3pm. Boxing at Brookline Teen Outreach

21. Play Basketball

Printscape Arena at Southpointe will be hosting a free open house event for the community on June 20th from 6-7pm. Free basketball instruction will be provided by the Learn to Play Basketball program instructors. Already know how to play? Head to your nearest park and hold court on your own. 

22. Family Bowling

Kid's bowl free all summer long, up to 2 games of free play each day! Find your nearest participating bowling alley in the Kids Bowl Free Summer Program along with additional details here

23. Go Fishing

If you have a fishing license, you can fish in many places in the South Hills. If you don't have a fishing license, you can still fish for free this summer on PA Fish-for-Free Days: Sunday, May 29th and Monday, July 4th. Check out our list of Stocked Trout Waters here

24. Visit a Historical Site

This summer, libraries in Allegheny, Washington, Fayette, and Jefferson Counties will offer their cardholders free admission (up to 4 people) to nine historical sites:  Senator John Heinz History Center, Duncan & Miller Glass Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, Historic Fort Steuben, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Merrick Art Gallery, Old Economy Village, Somerset Historical Center, and West Overton Village & Museum. Learn more here.

25. Participate in a Summer Reading Program

Summer reading programs might be one of my favorite things for kids to do. Not only does it help prevent summer slide by keeping them reading, they can earn really cool incentives for doing it! AND, you can stack your rewards by participating in multiple reading programs at the same time. Check out these local Summer Reading Programs and sign up for one or all of them!

26. South Park Game Preserve

It's time to find where the buffalo roam. Yes, I said buffalo. The South Park Game Preserve was a frequently visited attraction while growing up in Bethel Park. We would head over to feed the ducks and the geese, swoon over the gorgeous peacock (hoping to be lucky enough for a quill to fall our way) and just walk the trails taking it all in. When you're done at the Game Preserve, head over to one of South Park's many playgrounds, including one of our favorites - the black and yellow playground.

27. Brain Busters

Let's keep those summer brains sharp! Check out these 5 Brain Busters that will challenge everyone in the house!

28. Enjoy the Cascades at South Park

The South Park Cascades are a manmade water feature located in South Park where kids can dip in their toes and enjoy the cascading waterfalls, sights and sounds of the park's natural heritage. 

29. Start a Fun Fund

Ok, this one might cost you a little in the long run, but what you and your kids will gain for it will be far more than the dollar amount you put in. It costs nothing to start other than a goal and desire! Read about our Fun Fund here.

30. Mud Masterpiece

Rainy day? No problem! Use what Mother Nature gives you to inspire a rainy day Mud Masterpiece!

31. Go on a Treasure Hunt

Have you heard of Geocaching? It's all the rage these days. It's like a digital scavenger hunt with the world and there are TONS of caches waiting to be found right here in the South Hills! Learn more about geocahing here

32. Spend a Day at Round Hill Park

This working farm has all the fun animals you sing about with Old MacDonald, along with a spray park and multiple playgrounds. 

33. Head to your nearest Farmers Market

It doesn't cost a thing to walk around most of our local Farmers Markets. In fact, many of the vendors will offer free samples of items and free family-friendly entertainemnt. Use our Farmer's Market & PYO Guide to help you find a different farmers market every day of the week!

34. Check out the Macaroni KID South Hills calendar!

We have all the FREE summer events we can find on our Macaroni KID South Hills events calendar, which is always free to see!

Our goal is to build this list up to 100 Free things for you to do with kids this summer in and around Baldwin, Bethel Park, Brentwood, Bridgeville, Castle Shannon, Dormont, Jefferson Hills, Mt. Lebanon, Mt. Oliver, Mt. Washington, Pleasant Hills, Pittsburgh, South Park, South Side, Upper St. Clair, West Mifflin, Whitehall and the cities in between so bookmark this page so you can enjoy free fun all summer long!