7 great things to do with kids this week (most of them free!)

The Screaming Orphans. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Irish Festival.

Got plans this weekend? The weather forecast looks warm and sunny, and there are plenty of free and low-cost events happening in Pittsburgh. Here are a few family-friendly options:

Sept. 9-11: Lights On! A Three-Day Celebration in the Cultural District

Seven of the city’s major cultural institutions are collaborating with regional arts organizations to celebrate the reopening of live arts in the ‘burgh. This three-day celebration includes more than 50 free music, theater, dance and visual art events happening at three outdoor stages, five galleries, one theater and one arts truck. This performing arts party also kicks off the Allegheny Regional Asset District’s free RADical Days celebration, which runs through Oct. 10. Check out the events schedule here.

Image used by permission from A Fair in the Park.

Sept. 10-12: A Fair in the Park at Mellon Park

Enjoy the sunshine and check out all the beautiful art and crafts with your kids at the 52nd annual A Fair in the Park. You’ll find 100 local and national artists showing and selling their gorgeous works (with extra space between booths for COVID safety). Bring a picnic from home and spread out a blanket on the lawn or check out on-site food trucks. You’ll also find a free digital scavenger hunt to win a treasure from Artsmiths, so bring your phone and pick up a “clue card” when you arrive.

Sept. 10-12: Pittsburgh Irish Festival at The Lots at Sandcastle

Rock out to live music and soak up Irish culture at Pittsburgh’s 30th-anniversary Irish fest. International performers include Gaelic Storm, The Screaming Orphans, Colm Keegan, The Bow Tides and We Banjo 3, performing alongside local bands, dance troupes, comedians, storytellers and authors. You can also try ancient Celtic axe throwing, meet dogs native to Ireland, trace for Irish ancestry, and eat boxty pancakes, shepherd’s pie, colcannon, Guinness chocolate and soda bread. Admission for kids 12 and under is free. Tickets for grownups are $12 in advance, $15 at door. Find tickets and details here.

Sept 11: Lil’ Yoga for Families at Ellis School

Come to the Ellis School for a fun and free class with yoga instructor Amy Burleson for families with kids 5 and under. The class will use the teaching in Teresa Anne Power’s book “My First Yoga ABC” to help kids connect movement and mindfulness with learning. Move, learn and have fun wiggling with your little ones. No prior yoga experience is needed. Just bring a towel, blanket or yoga mat and a water bottle. Class begins at 10:15 a.m. (hopefully outside, but inside if the weather isn’t good) and everyone over age 2 is asked to wear a mask. Admission is free, and you can register here.

Image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Sept. 11: Baby Rave at Allegheny Overlook

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s free Baby Rave is an outdoor dance and music party designed for babies to 5-year-olds. Check out the live DJ set, grab some cool party favors and have fun on the dance floor beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Taco Festival.

Sept. 11: Original Pittsburgh Taco Festival at the Strip District Terminal

Support the Latin American Cultural Union and Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation by having lunch with the family at Taco Fest in the Strip District on Saturday. General admission is $10 each (kids under 5 are free), but you’ll find family entertainment (including games and free face painting) and more than 25 food trucks, street vendors and eateries, plus an artists’ market and live music. Taco makers will include La Palapa, El Rincon Oaxaqueño, Mi Empanada, Tocayo, Brisketburgh and many others. Get details and tickets here.

Sept. 12: Grandparents Day, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Sunday is Grandparents Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. On Grandparents Day, admission-paying kids can bring all their grands and great-grands for free and spend the day pointing out their favorite animals. Tickets for kids are $15.95.

And a bonus for the grownups in the family:

Beer label artwork courtesy of Barrel & Flow.

Sept. 10-12: Barrel & Flow at SouthSide Works

The country’s first Black beer festival is back with a new name this weekend at the SouthSide Works. Along with showcasing fabulous brewing, this community-focused event founded by Day Bracey is designed to uplift Black artists, musicians, chefs and brewers. You’ll find handcrafted beers including a Blue Peach Fruited Gose honoring Stacey Abrams and more than 50 collaborations, including Black Frog Brew x East End, Sankofa Beer x Allagash and Social Living x Leaning Cask. You’ll also find live music, food vendors, panel discussions and more. Get tickets and details here.

See more September events for kids and for Pittsburghers of all ages at NEXTpittsburgh.com.