Everything You Absolutely Must Do in Pittsburgh This Fall
There's more to fall in Pittsburgh than transforming into a human blanket burrito hybrid and consuming pumpkin-flavored versions of every conceivable treat. Prepare for a season full of live music, whiskey, larger-than-life film screenings, and more Halloween-themed fun than you’re physically able to cope with. We've gathered the very best that the 'Burgh has to offer this autumn, so you won't have to.
Thrival is a two-day festival that explores music, culture, community, and technology. This year you can partake in the vast list of activities Thrival will be offering that explore the intersection of art and technology, community partnerships, and cultural innovation. The celebration will end with a completely free music festival in Schenley Plaza featuring Buku, Title Town, and Beauty Slap.
2019's RADical Days will span 25 days to celebrate 25 years of providing free admission to performances, museums, tours, and much more. This year, RAD will be offering free admission to dozens of venues including the Heinz History Center, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Mattress Factory. For a full list of events, take a look at the RAD calendar.
Kick off your October festivities before the month even begins with two weekends of Oktoberfest! Penn Brewery's mid-19th century architecture and ambience are the perfect spot for celebrating everyone's favorite excuse for drinking excessive amounts of bier. With the promise of traditional Bavarian music, German cuisine, and "Gemutlichkeit", Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest is the place to be. Other than, you know, Munich.
Cost: Free, with VIP options available for $45-$65 per day
If you still haven’t gotten your fill of quaint fall activities, be sure to check out Soergel Orchards’ Fall Festival. Every Saturday and Sunday until the end of October, you’ll find tons of bbq at the Food Barn, goodies at the Sweet Saloon, apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, and so much more. While you’re there, be sure to load up on samples of Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, selections from Arsenal Cider, and beers on draft from Aurochs Brewing Company.
Cost: Free to attend
Come down to the Strip District for an afternoon celebrating Pittsburgh's Latinx culture. The festival will feature activities for all ages, music by DJ Sonido Azteca, and a lineup of Pittsburgh food trucks serving Latinx cuisine including Cilantro & Ajo, La Palapa, Vagabond Taco Truck, Cool Beans, and authentic Argentinian street food from Baires Grill.
Trax Farms Market
150 years strong, Trax Farms is bringing all us autumn aficionados a season-long celebration with six opportunities to enjoy Hops & Hayrides. Head south to Trax Farm for some beer sampling and then grab a six-pack of your own, take a hayride, fumble your way through the corn maze, or curl up beside the bonfire. Flannel isn’t required, but you should probably wear some all the same.
Cost: $10 for an adult hayride ticket or $8 for children; general admission free
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum
Get a look into the world of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling at this eerie event that's sure to shake up your usual Friday night dinner and a movie routine. This holiday season, step into the cage scene from The Silence of the Lambs in the very room in which it was shot in 1991. A cash bar will be available for liquid courage. Halloween costumes are encouraged and you get extra points if you don a Buffalo Bill ensemble.
Cost: General admission $10
The ninth annual DogtoberFEST has arrived! Make your way to the Waterfront for an afternoon of dog-themed festivities and a dog costume contest parade. Come down to visit with our region’s many shelter animals in need of a home or use the opportunity to find a companion animal of your own.
Enter an immersive carnival at Bricolage's annual Bazaar, an event for the adventurous with magical surprises around every corner. Attendees will encounter fire-eaters, acrobats, carnival games with fantastical prizes, stilt walkers, and an elevated selection of festival foods from Gaucho and Onion Maiden. Carnival attire and comfortable shoes are encouraged for this elusive night of wonder.
For the ninth year running, Boo & Brew Bash is back for another night of Halloween-themed bar crawling. This year's lineup will include Seven, Stuff'd, Howl at the Moon, August Henry's City Saloon, and Social House 7. Have a Halloween-themed cocktail at some of Downtown's best bars and, when your tired zombie limbs start to rot off, head to the event's official afterparty where you can enjoy a round of appetizers and more festivities. Dress to impress, since the night will end with rewards for "Best Costume" and "Best Group Costume."
The Andy Warhol Museum
The Warhol has been bringing the world's finest contemporary art exhibits to Pittsburgh for 25 years, and is celebrating this milestone with a black tie gala. A seated dinner at the museum will be accompanied by surprise entertainers, a contemporary art auction, and a VIP preview of Andy Warhol: Revelation. But if ball gowns aren't quite your speed, be sure to come to the after-hours dance party which will feature access to the museum's new exhibit, a cash bar, and entertainment by RJD2 and Operation Sappho.
Cost: $750-$10,000 (late night dance party tickets TBD)
Rivers Casino Event Center
Whether you like it dry or on the rocks, The Pittsburgh Whiskey Festival will have exactly what you need to satiate your refined palette with more than 200 varieties of whiskey. But before you take your personalized snifter glass off the shelf, be sure to take a break from Halloween festivities and put on your finest cocktail attire for chit chat with industry professionals and dinner at the Grandview Buffet.
The Rangos Giant Cinema
Throughout the entire month of October, the Carnegie Science Center will be presenting scary movies for Pittsburgh horror fans with Rangos x Scarehouse. But the biggest standout in this year's lineup is Dawn of the Dead 3D, a version of the 1970s sequel that can be hard to track down and provides scares almost as terrifying as the film's commentary on American capitalism.
Cost: General admission $9.95 ($7.95 for members)
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Continue those mysterious post-Halloween vibes at Party in the Tropics: Masquerade. This 21+ event transforms one of Pittsburgh's most beautiful destinations into a lush nightlife spot complete with signature cocktails, moody DJ sets, and waterfalls. Be sure to don a mask (and a cape, if you're feeling particularly enigmatic.)
Cost: Free with admission
If you haven't quite gotten your fill of carnival fun from Bricolage's Bazaar, join the Pittsburgh Circus Arts Collaborative and 4th River Music Collective for a night of the macabre. The 4th River Carnival is the perfect event for satiating all your curiosities with music from Colin and the Crows, circus acts, performances from String and Shadow Puppet Theater, and plenty of fire.
Cathedral of Learning
Come to Pittsburgh’s Slovak Heritage Festival for its 29th year of celebration! This free event (America's largest) will feature cultural displays, regional food, and musical performances from the Pittsburgh Area Slovaks, The Singing Revilak Family, and internationally renowned singer Jozef Ivaška. While you're there, get a head start on your holiday shopping with Slovak and Eastern Europeon import vendors.
Monroeville Convention Center
Pittsburgh's largest and longest-running vegan event is back! This year's Pittsburgh Vegan Expo & Convention is the biggest yet and will feature guest speakers, local vendors, film screenings, a wellness room, and children’s activities for a full day of vegan-friendly fun.
The Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer returns for its 14th season with more than 30 local and regional merchants. The mixer will feature an eclectic assortment of wares including home goods, vinyl, vintage fashion, artwork, collectibles and much more. Check out Rick Sebak's WQED "Nebby" special to learn more about this uniquely Pittsburgh event.
As we near the end of this list, we come to one of Pittsburgh's most cherished and longest-running events: Light Up Night. To bring fall to an end (we know, it didn't last nearly long enough), join your fellow Pittsburghers and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership for the city's official welcoming of winter and the holiday season as they light up all of downtown. Let the twinkling lights help you forget the bitter cold that December will bring. Now you're allowed to become that blanket burrito we mentioned before.
Carnegie Science Center
In case you're not feeling too keen on breaking out the thermal underwear for Pittsburgh's holiday fireworks display, the Light Up Night Sleepover welcomes you to enjoy the fireworks in your pajamas. This overnight event is kid-friendly and includes a festive laser show, a movie in The Rangos Giant Cinema, late-night snacks, and a continental breakfast.
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