If you had told me ten years ago I’d be spending a lot of time in Northside, there’s no way I’d believe you. It was a dangerous neighborhood with a couple cool museums and sporting events, but it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to hang out.
Fast forward a decade and here I am, taking my kids there regularly. While I still wouldn’t walk around most of the neighborhood alone at night, during the day it’s an urban wonderland full of amazing events and attractions.
When I talk about Northside, I’m admittedly including the North Shore and Allegheny Center. These three areas combined are host to Heinz Field, PNC Park, Carnegie Science Center, a 5k Color Run, The Mattress Factory, the Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, and so many other attractions and events. And then there’s my personal Pittsburgh favorite: the Children’s Museum.
Obviously it’s a really fun museum for kids. It’s part science, part art, part play, and all interactive. There’s a room that rotates between displays; the last time we went it was all about balls, but we’ve also been when they had Clifford, a huge bouncy tunnel, and a display themed around love just to name a few.
If you’re making a visit during business hours, I of course have a few frugal tips. When parking, try to find a spot to parallel park on street that approaches the museum. It’s metered parking, which means you’ll have to pay, but it’s never been as expensive for us as paying the $5 fee to park in one of the museum’s lots. And on Sundays, you don’t even have to feed the meter. Yay for free parking!
Admission discounts are available, too. If you are receiving some type of state assistance or have a disabled child who has Medicaid, be sure to bring your ACCESS card with you. That, along with proof of residence (like your drivers’ license) for all adults in your party, reduces your admission to $1/each, which is quite the savings.
Also, if you join their free Birthday Club your kiddo gets 50% off admission during their birthday month on top of some other fun freebies and discounts.
On top of being a fun place for kids everyday, they also host special events. Our writer, Katie, got married there on Pi Day. My friend Chaton went to their New Year’s Eve bash, which I’m seriously considering next year as it solves our dilemma over how to celebrate the holiday with young children. Their most recent upcoming event is to benefit Beverly’s Birthdays, an organization that provides birthday parties to homeless children in the Pittsburgh area.
As a young-ish adult, bars and art scenes may be popping, but a place that allows me to have an amazing time with my children while making it exciting and new each visit will always top my list.
If you’re trying to find fun, cool things to do in your area, be sure to check out Eventbrite. I’ve been to more than a few events they’ve ticketed, and they’ve all been a good time. Browsing their site is a great way to discover new things that are happening in your area, and find your own local hangout. Or, if you’re organizing an event, look into their ticketing services.