3 Day Pittsburgh Weekend Trip Itinerary: Perfect Mix of Museums, Dining, and Attractions

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has big city attractions with a small city vibe. We enjoyed a 3 day weekend in Pittsburgh and today I am sharing a guide for you to plan an awesome Pittsburgh weekend trip.

Pittsburgh, PA is located in Western Pennsylvania and is home to professional sports teams, unique dining, and museums for families of all ages.

There truly is something in Pittsburgh for everyone to enjoy! I love that it is an affordable weekend getaway that offers a lot of options for things to do for a girls’ trip, couples trip or a family weekend in Pittsburgh.

We have visited Pittsburgh since my kids were small. As a family of five who has visited with toddlers, school aged kids, and now teens I can confidently say Pittsburgh is a great place for your next weekend trip.

phipps botancial gardens in pittsburgh pa
Under the Sea at Phipps Botanical Garden. Exhibits change seasonally.

Basics for a Pittsburgh Weekend Trip

Before you start your trip there are a few things you need to do in the planning process. After you decide what to do you will need to plan your transportation and accommodations.


We had a car for our visit to Pittsburgh. If you fly into Pittsburgh I suggest renting a car as well. Most museums and attractions are not walkable from your hotel.

There may be some places you can walk to but to see everything on this itinerary you will want a car. You can also uber around but for a family a car will most likely be more affordable.

I checked into pricing for a Lyft from Pittsburgh International Airport to PNC Park (downtown) and on a Monday morning the coast was around $42.00. You can compare prices for rental cars against Lyft/Uber to see what is the best value for you.

Also be aware that driving around Pittsburgh can be a bit confusing. It is not as bad as New York City and is manageable but the signs and hills can make it a bit chaotic at times.

bridge view in pittsburgh
Driving around Pittsburgh can feel a bit complicated but the city is really beautiful and worth exploring.


When recommending accommodations in Pittsburgh I suggest planning your itinerary and then staying nearby where you will be most.

For the Pittsburgh itinerary below we stayed in Oakland area at the Hotel Indigo. This was close to most attractions from our day 1, had parking, and was easily accessible to other attractions in the city.

If you are planning on attending a Pittsburgh Pirates or Pittsburgh Steelers game you may want to stay at a hotel within walking distance to the stadiums. If you are not attending games you may want to avoid staying downtown.

There are two Hotel Indigo locations in Pittsburgh, we stayed at the University-Oakland location. The rooms was very nice and fit our family of 5. It was within 15 minutes to all attractions we planned to visit.

The only con to this hotel was the noise at night. The cars outside we very loud in the middle of the night, this seemed to be something the hotel is aware of because ear plugs were on our night stand at check-in.

I would stay again but would request a higher floor for our stay, we were on floor 2. I would hope this would lessen the noise. My family slept fine but keep this in mind when traveling with babies or light sleepers. Check latest price for Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh, University-Oakland.

hotel indigo room
Room looks traditional but also had another space with a pull-out sofa bed and small fridge.

Is Pittsburgh Worth Visiting

This is our 3rd time visiting Pittsburgh as a family and we keep going back because there is something different to experience each time. It is worth visiting Pittsburgh at least once!

We spent time living in Pittsburgh when we first got married and each time we return we find familiar favorites and something fun to experience.

The views of the city are breathtaking and the museums and attractions are impressive. I am always recommending Pittsburgh as a great weekend getaway for families.

With multiple trips we can’t always include everything there is to do, but I keep a running list of things to do in Pittsburgh that I think visitors will enjoy. This list is updated annually.

Now let’s get into what we did on our most recent trip to Pittsburgh.

3 Day Weekend in Pittsburgh Itinerary

  • Day 1
    • Lunch: Primati Bros.
    • Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Art
    • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
    • The Warhol Museum
    • Dinner: Raising Cane’s
  • Day 2
    • Breakfast: The Pretzel Shop
    • Carnegie Science Center and SportsWorks
    • Randyland
    • Lunch: Peppi’s
    • Museum of Illusion
    • Pittsburgh Pirates Game
    • Dinner: Antoon’s Pizza
  • Day 3
    • Breakfast: Big Daddy’s Donuts
    • Senator John Heinz History Center
    • Brunch: Pamela’s Diner
    • The Strip District (Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop)
    • Duquesne Incline (If Time)

Day 1

We arrived outside of Pittsburgh around noon and stopped for lunch. We stopped at the Primanti Bros. location in Carnberry Township. This is about 25 minutes from downtown and a great place to stop if you are traveling from the North.

After lunch we headed to our hotel to check-in before going to our first museum of the day. We parked at Panther Hollow Parking Lot.

This did not have an attendant and we took a chance and parked anyways. Park at your own risk! I think because University was not in session it was free but I do not know the rules as they were not posted.

If you park at this parking lot be prepared to walk up over 100 stairs. This spot was easy to access the 3 attractions we were visiting but do not park here if you have mobility issues.

We visited the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Art first. I highly suggest the architecture room, Gem Hall, and Dinosaur area.

After we walked to Phipps Botanical Gardens. Phipps is one of my favorite places to visit but I didn’t think about how the summer heat would impact the visit.

Temperatures were in the 90s during our visit and then we were walking around a greenhouse. It was a bit hot! Before we started touring I got all of us a glass of ice water from the cafe. This was helpful to keep us hydrated during our visit.

For the summer Phipps has a special “Under the Sea” exhibit that features sea creatures throughout the regular plant life. It is a peaceful and beautiful place to visit. They also have a children’s garden if you are traveling with young kids.

phipps under the sea exhibit
When we entered Phipps we were welcomed by this Octopus.

After visiting 3 places we were exhausted but we had seen a billboard on our way into the city for the artist KAWS at The Andy Warhol museum and decided to include it in our day.

It meant driving downtown but the traffic was better than expected and we parked right across the street. It is also half off admission on Fridays after 5:00pm, so we saved on admission as well.

The Andy Warhol museum is best for teens and adults. There are a few art pieces that are some families might not find appropriate with kids.

Most of the art is fine but there are a few naked drawings, much like you would find at any art museum. This is a personal preference and use your best judgement for your family.

The KAWS exhibit was so cool and the kids really liked that it was an artist that they were familiar with. Now that the kids are in their teens traveling has been so much fun and interesting. I love being able to seek out their interests on our trips.

kaws at the warhol museum
The Andy Warhol museum is great for teens and adults.

After The Warhol we drove over to Raising Cane’s. This location was located about a 7 minute (or less) drive from our hotel. If you have never been to a Raising Cane’s before it is a fast food chicken eatery that is famous for their Cane’s sauce.

We don’t have a location nearby our home so we like to visit them when we can.

Day 2

We wanted to arrive at the Carnegie Science Center when they opened at 10:00am so we left our hotel room around 9:00am to pick up breakfast at The Pretzel Shop.

This was perfect for us. They had pretzel breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon sugar pretzels, and regular pretzels. We purchased all of them!

I was told to try the pepperoni roll but found out too late! If you are there and try it, let me know how it is! Everyone liked breakfast and we were ready to continue on our day.

A quick note: This itinerary is not walkable. We had to drive to and from all the places on our list for the day. Keep this in mind and be prepared to pay for parking.

We arrived at Carnegie Science Center and parked at the on-site lot. The Science Center has many hands-on exhibits, especially for the younger kids. It also has an interactive building, Highmark SportsWorks.

This has different exhibits where kids can test their agility, strength, and speed. It can get busy so if it is a priority consider visiting early.

The main reason for our visit was to check out the visiting exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar. This is actually the reason behind planning this trip. When I first heard about it I knew we should plan a visit.

My family loves visiting the Disney Parks and watching the Disney movies so I knew we would love this area.

Guests need to purchase an additional ticket to explore this exhibit. We booked the first time slot and ended up walking up immediately after the museum open.

Luckily we had the entire area to ourselves because we were the only people at the first pre-show. It was awesome to explore the area basically on our own and is why I always recommend arriving early to places.

science of pixar at the carnegie science center
Learning the process of a Pixar film.

The exhibit is all about the process of making a Pixar movie from start to finish. There are photo-ops, hands-on exhibits, and engaging areas to explore.

I really loved the artwork from the Pixar films and the kids liked making stop-motion movies with the Luxo Lamp.

The Science of Pixar runs from now through January 5, 2025.

wall-e selfie at the science of pixar
Selfie with Wall-E

After the Pixar area we spent time at SportsWorks and then went to see the model railroad room. I do think the Science Center is geared towards the 11 and under crowd but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Before we left we wanted to tour the submarine that is outside along the river but they are timed sign-ups and we couldn’t fit it in our schedule. If this is something you want to do be sure to make time to sign-up.

We have done it a dozen times and it is a cool experience to walk through a real submarine.

After the museum we had a little time before we wanted to do lunch so we drove over to Randyland.

Randyland is considered an art museum and is a Pittsburgh famous place to see. It is outdoors and admission is a donation.

Randyland is colorful and something you have to see for yourself. It doesn’t take much out of your day. We spent about 10 minutes walking through.

randyland in pittsburgh
Randyland is a fun and colorful stop on your Pittsburgh Itinerary.

After Randyland we drove over to Peppi’s for lunch. Food was good, sandwiches were big. I wish I would have shared!

Then we parked our car for the Pirates baseball game. We had tickets for the 4:05pm game and walked to the Museum of Illusions before the game.

This museum is very close to PNC park and it was easiest to park first and walk. We parked in a lot close to Acrisure Stadium (Steelers).

The Museum of Illusions was a fun, but small, museum to explore. The staff was incredibly helpful in showing us how the illusions work.

I wish we could have visited at open because it was busy during our visit. This made a few of the exhibits and interactive elements feel rushed. Overall it is a fun places to visit for an hour or so.

museum of illusions pittsburgh
The Museum of Illusions had interesting exhibits and it was fun for everyone.

Did I mention the real feel temps were in the high 90s! It was a very hot day for our visit to the ballpark, so after the museum we walked back to the car to grab our backpack and waters for the game.

I had packed a cooler in our car filled with waters for our days because I knew we would be busy and not have a lot of time to stop for drinks, plus it saves money.

PNC Park allows unopened water bottles to be brought into the park and we took full advantage of it. There are also water fountains to refill your water bottle once inside.

I am not a huge baseball fan but this ballpark is one of the most beautiful parks in the nation, and I love going to the games.

It overlooks the city and every seat is great. We made sure to reserve seats that would be in the shade for most of the day and I was happy we did!

pnc park in pittsburgh
The view at PNC Park.

The game ended around 7:00pm and we drove back to the hotel for the night. My husband ran out to get pizza for the room. It ended up being a great day exploring Pittsburgh.

Day 3

Our last day in Pittsburgh included 2 stops. First my husband snuck out early for donuts in the room. He went to Big Daddy’s Donuts in Crafton.

This is not very convenient to where we were staying, but they were tasty! We had planned a brunch for our meal and wanted a little something to start the day.

Then we headed over to Senator John Heinz History Center. This was actually bigger than I expected and we ended up spending 1.5 hours. You could have stayed longer if you wanted to stop and explore everything.

I think families of all ages will like this museum. They also have a large exhibit about the Sports History in Pittsburgh.

On each floor they have a stamp that kids can do. Once they get all 6 floors they receive a special gift from the gift shop.

heinz history center

After the History Center we made our last stop at The Strip District. This is a shopping area with a mix of new and old shops.

First we went to Pamela’s Diner for brunch. There was about a 30 minute wait, expect it to be busy, especially on the weekends. Pamela’s is delicious and everyone loved their meal.

brunch at pamelas diner
Pamela’s Diner is always worth the wait.

After Pamela’s we walked around the area and stopped at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. Here you can fill a box for $5 from the candy buffet, this made a great road trip home treat.

At this point it was around 1:00pm and we had a 5 hour drive ahead of us. We had planned to do the Duquesne Incline but decided to start the drive home.

If we had to do it again I would do the Incline early in the morning before the History Center opened. It is 100% worth visiting, especially for a first visit to Pittsburgh. We had done it on previous trips and just couldn’t make it work this time.

I can’t believe we fit 8 museums, a baseball game, and 3 unique to Pittsburgh dining locations into our weekend! It was an ambitious itinerary and I was impressed with how easy it was to get around the city.

Overall I would recommend a weekend trip to Pittsburgh for families of all ages. It was a perfect mix of attractions and we really enjoyed the trip.

Check out this Post: 20+ Unique Family Vacation Ideas and Itineraries

Special thanks to Visit Pittsburgh for assisting us with media passes for portions of this itinerary.

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