6 ways Pittsburgh kids can tour around town like a tourist
This story was first published on Oct. 27, 2017, and has been updated.
Sometimes, it’s fun to act like a tourist in your own town. Kids find it even more exciting when that means touring in style – on bikes, boats, Segways, or double-decker buses. These mobile tours all include history and landmarks, peppered with a bit of entertainment.
Here are six of the many forms of transportation available for kids to explore Pittsburgh like a tourist:
The Segway never changes the transportation industry the way its inventors promised. It did, however, completely change the guided-tour industry—it’s easier than learning to ride a bike and faster than walking.
For ages 14 and older, Segway Pittsburgh offers year-round tours of the Golden Triangle, exploring the city’s most iconic sights—Point Park’s fountain, PPG Place, and Market Square. Among the offerings are sunset tours, plus tours that include specific destinations, like the Fort Pitt Museum and the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center, with stops for snacking along the way.
Bike the Burgh
In the past 10 years, Pittsburgh has gone from one of the most unfriendly bike places—aided by its eccentric topography—to one of the best bike-commuting cities in America.
Bike the Burgh takes advantage of all those new bike paths and routes with tours that engage rides through most of the major inner-city neighborhoods: Downtown, the Strip District, North Side, South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Friendship, and East Liberty.
Despite the hills, you can cover a lot of ground in three hours on a bike, and these tours can accommodate kids as young as 8. There are rental bikes available, or you can bring your own. Tours run daily through the end of November, then by request with 24-hour notice.
Double-Decker Bus Tours
There’s something thrilling about viewing a city from the top of a double-decker bus. The Pittsburgh Tour Company offers a range of tours, including a 21-stop, hop-on, hop-off ride for a complete day of staycation exploration. Guides point out highlights along the way. Combo tour tickets can include entry to places like the National Aviary, Carnegie Science Center, and a tour of Heinz Field. Or buy a pass for “just the tour” and settle in for a narrated tour of Pittsburgh history and landmarks brimming with personality and humor.
The Gateway Clipper Fleet
A riverboat tour is easily one of the most pleasant ways to see the city. Where there used to be railyards and the backs of factories, there are now lush, green riverfront parks, bike trails busy with families, and newly-built marinas packed with pleasure boats. The Gateway Clipper Fleet lets you take it all in at the languorous pace and comfort of a 19th-century riverboat.
Most of the sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises on the Majestic, the Princess or the rest of the six-ship fleet are kid-friendly. But there are a quite a few that are specifically for kids, like the 2-hour Princess Cruise, an Under the Sea Cruise, and a Star Wars-themed Galactic Battle Cruise, with its own Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Older kids might be more inclined to appreciate the daily 1-hour sightseeing cruises.
Every football game, every TV show, and (almost) every movie set in Pittsburgh needs to have that shot—the Monongahela or Duquesne incline, preferably at sunrise or sunset.
Though the 100-year-old cable cars moving up and down the side of Mt. Washington may seem like the world’s slowest rollercoaster to kids raised on Kennywood Park, taking a ride on the incline is still a big deal. At the bottom, there’s Station Square and its dancing fountains, shops and restaurants. Then at the top, there’s a terrific ice cream shop (DeFiore’s Ice Cream Delite) and bakery (Grandview Bakery) with freshly made cookies, donuts, and pastries. In between is the best urban vista in America.
If you want to see Pittsburgh up close, this is a good way to do it. Molly’s Trolleys ferries families around in the 1920s, vintage-styled trolleys. The 90-minute “All About The Burgh: The Culture to Ketchup Tour” hits all the hot spots, and the guides give a pretty good description of just what exactly you’re viewing. Kids love investigating new neighborhoods, and the behind-the-scenes peek at the workings of the historic Duquesne Incline adds to the thrill of the included ride.