99+ 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 27, 2023

Looking for free things to do with kids or 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?

We've come up with over 99 ideas, things to do or places to visit for completely FREE summer fun in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Click on the links for more details!

πŸ› 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

πŸ’¦ 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

🐾 Explore Town Center at the Waterfront

Head to Town Center at the Waterfront to play some games on the lawn, relax on the swings, and even take your pup out to the Pays & Play dog park. The Waterfront is frequently hosting free family-friendly events so make sure you check out their site to see what's hapening before you head down!

πŸ₯³ Celebrate Pittsburgh at Family Day

Come to Schenley Plaza for free activities for children (and children at heart) including balloon artist, craft activities, special guests and performers, and free rides on the PNC Carousel! This program is best for families with younger children (under 8) and is happening Sundays: June 11th, July 9th, & August 13th from noon - 4pm. 

 Getty Images via Canva

πŸ“– 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 at Bethel Park Library or Classic Movie Matinee at Whitehall Public Library

🎑 Festivals, Fairs, and Community Days

Nothing screams summer time quite like a Pittsburgh festival or a local township community day. While you can find the most up-to-date information on local festivals and community days listed on our event calendar, you can also download your free printable of Pittsburgh's best Summer Fair's & Festivals and view them all in our Summer Fairs, Festivals and Community Day's guide. Is your local community day missing from our calendar? You can submit the info here and we'll get it on there!

🎸 Enjoy live music in Pittsburgh

Summer time in the 'Burgh means lots of live music on a warm, breezy night! Check out these local Free Summer Concerts or look for the 🎸 emoji on our event calendar to see what summer concerts are happening each day!

πŸ₯Ύ 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 and I can see why with benefits like improved mental and physical health. 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! Some places we know that our readers love include hiking at Mingo Creek Park or even driving out to Laurel Highlands. 

πŸ¦• 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! Want to REALLY get a rise out of your kids? Use Google's AR feature and put a REAL dinosaur next to them as you take photos on your hunt. You will be sure to deliver squeals of delight when they see themselves standing under a giant T-Rex!

 Getty Images Pro via Canva

🚲 Pull out the Bikes

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, or participate in an OpenStreets PGH ride to experience Pittsburgh roads like you never have before. If you'd rather be an observer, take your kids to Bicycle Heaven, the worlds largest bicycle museum and bike shop located right here in Pittsburgh. 

🩱 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.

🎨 Mural Hunt

Have you ever driven down Washington road and gawked of the beautiful work of art on the side of Pamela's Diner? We have! That mural is one of dozens you will find tucked away in Pittsburgh. Find Pittsburgh's must see murals here or create your own walking tour of local art

πŸŽ₯ See a Movie Under the Stars

So many movies this summer! Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park is back along with free movies almost every day of the week! You can search for movies on our event calendar by using the πŸŽ₯ emoji or browse our Free or Cheap Summer Family Movie Guide to find ALL the free and cheap movies in local South Hill's parks!

🦜 Pittsburgh Neighbor Nights at the National Aviary

Every third Thursday of the month, the Pittsburgh National Aviary hosts Pittsburgh Neighbor Nights 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.

β™Ÿ 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. 

🏊🏽‍♀️ Learn to Swim

Allegheny County offers FREE learn to swim classes at all the county swimming facilities taught by the Allegheny County Lifeguards! Ages 6 and up! These free swim lessons will provide instruction based on the American Red Cross guidelines. Children will be grouped according to skill level on the first day of class. 100% attendance is recommended. No certificate is obtained upon completion.

πŸ– Brighten Up Your Day with some Color

Let's be honest, summer days in Pittsburgh aren't always bright and cheery. One way to bring some instant color and cheer to your day is to visit Randyland in the North Side or The Color Park in the South Side. 

🧢 Teach Your Teen How to Knit 

Teen's ages 10-18 are invited to join Brookline Teen Outreach on Thursday afternoons from 5:30-8pm for a weekly teen knitting/crochet group. Time to learn a new hobby or hone in on those knitting skills!

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Dance and Be Fit

Every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm, you can get your body moving and grooving in Schenley Plaza with Roland Ford.

πŸͺ΄ 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 go on a Nature Play Date @ Frick Environmental Center to learn how to identify different plants. Need some starter plants? Head to your local Farmers Market and make a day out of it!

⚾️ FREE Baseball! FREE Food! Free Fun!

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 homegame through September 3rd. Baseball not your jam? You can still take a night off of cooking and let the kids eat free at over a dozen other locations in the South Hils. Check out other nights that kids eat free. 

πŸ– Educators get in FREE at Sandcastle for 2023!

The educators get in free Sandcastle deal is definitely one of the hottest deals of the season! Did you know that teachers and educators enjoy FREE ADMISSION to Sandcastle all summer long?! All you need to do is present a valid work ID at Guest Relations. You can also purchase up to four discounted tickets for family and friends for only $24.99/guest each visit! So grab your fellow teacher friends and their kids and enjoy summer on the slides at Sandcastle Water Park

🍿 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 πŸŽ₯ emoji or browse our Free or Cheap Summer Family Movie Guide to find ALL the free movies we could find in the South Hills!

🎨 Explore Local Art & Music 

Every year the Three Rivers Arts Fest delivers some of the best fun of the season. This year, enjoy 10 days of free music and art in Pittsburgh's Cultural District.

😎 Enjoy the Views

One of the best sites in Pittsburgh that never gets old, is the view from Mt. Washington at one of the Mt. Washington overlooks. Head up the Mount for some sightseeing adventures day or night. For only a few bucks, hop on the incline and see the views from top to bottom!

🎳 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

🎣 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. Check out our list of Stocked Trout Waters here

πŸ’­ Museums on Us

For the past 25 years, Bank of America has offered our cardholders free general admission - during the first full weekend of every month - to more than 225 cultural institutions in cities across the United States and in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art and The Andy Warhol Museum. Museums on Us is available to Bank of America, Merrill or Bank of America Private Bank (U.S. Trust) credit or debit cardholders. Please review eligibility and terms prior to your visit.

πŸ“š 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!

🦬 Visit Animals at the 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.

🧠 Brain Busters

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

πŸͺ¨ 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. 

πŸ’° 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.

β˜”οΈ Mud Masterpiece

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

🏴‍☠️ 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

🐷 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. 

πŸ‘©πŸ»‍🌾 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!

πŸ– Pull out the Sidewalk Chalk

My kids love to play with sidewalk chalk. So much that they would color all the brick on the house and mailbox if I let them. 

🚳 Play in the Streets

Not just any street - Open Streets is a free community event hosted by BikePGH that temporarily closes streets to car traffic and invites Pittsburghers to reimagine their streets as places for people, not just cars. Play in the Streets has adventures scheduled for May 28, June 27th, and July 30th.

🧺 Pack a Picnic

Craft your favorite portable lunch, throw it in a bag, be the coolest mom ever by using this hack to pack the freeze pops, fluff your favorite blanket and head to your favorite picnic spot in the South Hills. Enjoy!

πŸ“š Bring & Borrow a Boook From a Free Little Library

Halfway through summer and you don't want to find yourself catching your kids off the summer slide. Keep reading fun and exciting by recycling well loved books to your nearest Free Little Library and bringing something new back with you. 

🍦 Cool Off Indoors

Too hot to be outside? We hear you! Take your kiddos and head to the Chick-fil-a near the Galleria to play on the indoor playground. If they've been super good, splurge on a $1.65 Icedream Cone!

🩱 Pull Out the Slip and Slide

This activity will bring the entire neighborhood to your house. No slip and slide? No problem! Use an old tarp and just let the hose run from the top. Want to make it a little more fancy? Make an easy pool noodle sprinkler and let it run wild at the top so the extra water runs down the tarp.  

🍜 Oodles of Noodles!

Speaking of pool noodles... I bet you had NO idea how versitile pool noodles were. You can use pool noodles for painting, making Lightsabers and Jousting, Car tracks and Marble Run, a Noodle Obstacle Course (our favorite) and more! Check out the how to for all of these noodle ideas HERE

πŸ—“ 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!

What is your favorite FREE thing to do with kids in the South Hills of Pittsburgh? We'd love to hear it and add it to our list!

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!