Every summer, Pittsburghers step outside to find that warm weather and sun do still exist! After winters that seem to stretch on forever because we don’t get enough snow to actually have fun, the warm weather breathes so much energy into the air that it is unbelievable. People get friendlier. Streets become sidewalks. Bridges become fairgrounds. Parking lots become concert venues. The river almost becomes an appealing place for a swim (almost). These are five of my favorite summer events here in the ‘burgh. They’re cheap or free and not to be missed.
City of Asylum has hosted outdoor summer events for years but this summer their programming options are exploding. Annual favorite Cave Canem is on the calendar for June 16. Plus there are 12 other events schedule just for June in their outdoor tent! Every week there will be Jazz Wednesdays and Silenced Films. Jazz Wednesdays will feature Pittsburgh legend Roger Humphries and RH Factor. The Silenced Films series will screen films that have been censored around the world, giving voice to art that has been silenced elsewhere. And that’s just the beginning.
Two events on the calendar for July cost less than $10 and the rest of the events (a total of 41) are completely free.
I’m seriously jealous of everyone who lives on the Northside and can just stumble over to these free events nearly every night of the week all summer.
Head out to Mellon Park every Sunday morning at 10:30 from June 19 – August 16 to hear free classical music concerts. Get there early to get a good spot on the lawn. Bring a blanket or chairs. Each week the Bagel Factory sells bagels, pastries, and coffee or you can bring your own brunch. Some people keep it simple while others go all out and participate in the weekly Best Brunch Competition. Featured performers this summer include Tom Roberts and the Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra, Allegheny Brass Band, Pittsburgh Philharmonic, and others.
For the second year in a row, Pittsburgh is hosting a pickle festival! Expect to eat every pickled food you can imagine from a classic kosher dill to kimchi to dill pickle ice cream. If you can pickle it, you’ll find it at Picklesburgh. Go hungry because the main event is eating pickles made by local vendors. There’s also shopping you could do and great music throughout the day. But this festival is truly just about celebrating eating pickled foods. If you’re really brave, you could even participate in a pickle juice drinking contest.
For 3 Sundays this summer, Open Streets Pittsburgh is closing down a few miles of streets for play. Walk, run, bike, skip, or dance your way down the streets of Pittsburgh. The first Open Streets has already passed and it was a blast. My husband and I boogied down the street to Beatles music, drank Pittsburgh Nitro coffee, ate some classic Pittsburgh pepperoni rolls, played hopscotch (which is really hard with a cup of coffee in hand), and enjoyed watching all the people and fun happening around us. Next time we might stop for brunch, rent a bike, check out a museum, or draw with sidewalk chalk.
This is the only even on this list that I’ve never personally attended and I think I’m really missing out. For one weekend every summer bands take over the Deutschtown district of the Northside with concerts playing from mid-morning until middle of the night. Last year 128 bands came out plus food trucks, family friendly activities, and beer gardens popped up throughout the two days. This year it takes places on July 8th and 9th. The list of bands for the event continues to grow.
What are you most looking forward to in Pittsburgh this summer?