weekend events Pittsburgh

10 Pittsburgh fall activities for family fun

The crisp, cool days of autumn are right around the corner, bringing with them nostalgic trolley trips, crime-solving chemistry and plenty of pumpkins to pick. Grab some Halloween costumes for the kids and a sweater for yourself, and frolic the day away with these Pittsburgh fall activities.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Image courtesy of PumpkinFest.

25th Annual Pumpkinfest, North Side

Considered the largest fall festival within Pittsburgh city limits, the North Side’s annual Pumpkinfest brings farm fields to the city streets on Oct. 8 in Park Commons. This children’s harvest festival has celebrated the beauty of autumn in historic Deutschtown for the past 25 years.

With games, pumpkin decorating, a petting zoo, hay rides and puppet shows, this festival focused on ages 12 and under offers a smoke-free, safe and child-focused atmosphere.


Pittsburgh fall activities
Trolley car 832 from the famed former Desire Line in New Orleans, La. Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum’s Pumpkin Patch Trolley, Washington County

Hop aboard the Pumpkin Patch Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum for a nostalgic trip to another era. The Washington County museum welcomes families to combine traditional trolley tours with a pumpkin patch every weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Oct. 14.

The Pumpkin Patch Trolley features the museum’s traditional trolley ride paired with pumpkin decorating, snacks, games and more. Tickets for the event are good for the entire day and include unlimited tours and rides on the trolley.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Kids interact with a display and professional from the science community at the 2015 ChemFest. Image courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

Carnegie Science Center’s ChemFest Celebration, North Side

Amateur sleuths and fledgling chemists can test their mystery-solving skills and learn some cool chemistry concepts at the Carnegie Science Center’s annual ChemFest Celebration on Oct. 22.

Themed “Solving Mysteries through Chemistry,” ChemFest includes forensics-focused activities that help kids solve mysteries and crimes as seen in the movies and on TV.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Image courtesy of Ligonier Highland Games

Highland Games, Westmoreland County

Experience the melodic bagpipes, the misty hills and tall pine forests of Scotland — without flying halfway across the world. On Sept. 24 starting at 8 a.m., Scotland comes to Western Pennsylvania in the Ligonier Highland Games at Idlewild Park.

Witness feats of strength and skill as men and women do their best to toss beams, fling hammers and chuck 20-pound stones in homage to the Scottish Games. Children can partake in miniature versions of the adult games and enjoy other activities like piping, drumming and dance competitions, Scottish breed dog exhibits and obedience and agility shows, and more.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Image courtesy of Bernadette Kazmarski

Cycling and hiking on the Panhandle Trail, Collier Township

For a relaxing way to enjoy fall foliage with the family, load up the bikes and head to the Panhandle Trail, a 29-mile trail that runs from Carnegie to Weirton, W. Va.

The Night Walk on the Panhandle Trail — scheduled this year for Oct. 22 — is an annual Halloween tradition, with glowing pumpkins lining a 0.6-mile section from the trailhead off Walkers Mill Road to Rennerdale Station in the town of the same name. There, children under 12 receive treat bags.

Bump in the Night, Frick Park

At the family-friendly Bump in the Night event at Frick Park Environmental Center, families (especially great for kids between 3 and 9) can take an interactive night hike, carve pumpkins, sit around a campfire and join a singalong. The date for this not-so-spooky, Halloween-themed event hasn’t been announced yet, so check with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy for details.

In the meantime, check out the organization’s Kids Days at Schenley Plaza on Forbes Avenue from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 11 and Oct. 9, when kids can enjoy free carousel rides, face painting, balloon artists and more.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Image courtesy of Triple B Farms

Triple B Farms, Monongahela

Characters from Disney movies, nursery rhymes and children’s TV shows celebrate the changing season at Triple B Farms‘ Pumpkinland. Over 300 pumpkins are propped up, decorated and painted to take on the likes of kids’ favorite characters for an unforgettable fall experience.

The Monongahela-area farm also features a hayride to the pumpkin patch, a three-acre corn maze, the spooky Big Blue Boo Barn, barnyard carnival play area, inflatables, rope maze, hill slides and a farm-themed board game that turns players into pawns. Pumpkin picking and the festival begin Sept. 24.

Pittsburgh Irish Festival, West Homestead

With a wee bit of luck, you’ll be in town for the 26th Annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival  from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 at the Riverplex at Sandcastle. Celebrate with traditional Irish dancing, music, dog breeds, food, drinks and more.

Kids can enjoy the arts and crafts area where they’ll make their own souvenir, listen to stories, take part in a singalong and learn an Irish jig.

AutumnFest at Seven Springs, Somerset County

The mountains are calling. And this time of year, that means savoring the season at Seven Spring’s AutumnFest.

Weekends from Oct. 1-23 are packed with activity at the Laurel Highlands resort, with kid-themed events perfect for family outings. Pumpkin Weekend on Oct. 8 and 9 features Seven Springs engineers using chucking contraptions to fling pumpkins for a high-flying show. And Kids’ Halloween & Big Trucks Weekend on Oct. 22 and 23 lets kids explore life-size versions of dump trucks, fire trucks and tractors.

Pittsburgh fall activities
Image courtesy of Upper St. Clair Township

Halloween-Themed Color Crawl, Upper St. Clair

Fall is known for its warm, golden colors. But what about blasts of purple, pink, blue — and sparkles? Experience all the colors of the rainbow plus a shower of sparkles in a festive fun-run at the Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center’s Halloween-themed Color Crawl: Sparkle Edition at 10 a.m. on Oct. 29.

Families run, jog or walk two miles while tossing and being doused with bursts of colored powder. Young runners can compete, and wagons and strollers are welcome. Each racer receives a color bag to toss in the air, and each finisher will get a final coat of glitter. The powders are safe for skin and biodegradable, says Fitness Coordinator Maura Marasco. This is the second year for the color run, and registration is ongoing through the day of the race at the recreation center.

Check out video footage from Kristine Sorensen’s KDKA story on fun fall activities for the family. And be sure to share your favorite ideas for family fall fun in the comments below!