City Cast

Tips and Tricks for a Fun (and Affordable) Summer Outing

Meg St-Esprit
Posted on June 6   |   Updated on June 7
The view from the Allegheny T Station.

The view from the Allegheny T Station. (Francesca Dabecco / City Cast Pittsburgh)

This segment is written by City Cast Pittsburgh contributor Meg St-Esprit.

While fun, all of the summer merrymaking can be both overwhelming and expensive. We’ve come up with a few tips to make the most out of your time — and your wallet.

💵 Save Some Cash

There are a surprising number of discounts for most of Pittsburgh’s top attractions that make them really, truly accessible for families. After all, Andrew Carnegie wanted things to be “free to the people,” right? For families who receive public assistance or have Medicaid, there are steeply discounted admissions for the Carnegies, Heinz History Center, Phipps, and the Children’s Museum.

A Carnegie membership also gets you a discount at the new Moonshot Museum, which is a great shorter museum trip on a rainy day or when you need to escape into the AC. Tons of discounts are listed on the Museums For All website. Before you buy tickets, check with local community centers. They often have discounted tickets to places like Sandcastle and Kennywood.

To avoid pricey Downtown lots, park near the Science Center and take the T to Downtown for free. Kids love to ride a train under the river.

📝 Plan Your Day Well

Kids love a fun-filled day, but it can also be overwhelming. Just a bit of planning can make outings (mostly) meltdown-free.

Do what you can, and don’t overplan. Two good hours at a festival with a few fun activities is much more enjoyable than six hours of battling tantrums — you don’t need to do everything at every event.

Honestly, overpack. Bring more snacks than seems reasonable and refillable bottles. Stick a few mini-playdohs, a travel game like Quirkle or Uno, and coloring supplies in your bag for when kids need a break from busyness. It helps with waiting for food at restaurants, too.

Find more summer tips from our friends at Kidsburgh.

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