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Pittsburgh Fall Bucket List

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~Albert Camus

Our business operates in seasons, but there’s something wonderful to find in each one of them. Fall is a beautiful season in Western Pennsylvania fabulous time for family fun, and some of Pittsburgh’s world-class attractions offer fall themed events. Why not create your own family fall bucket list and see how many activities you can mark off before the seasons change again? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Out of the Ordinary Fall Attractions

For example, did you know you can watch and learn as trainers feed Malayan Flying Foxes – large fruit bats! – at the National Aviary? We can’t think of an animal attraction that says “fall” more than bats! The National Avery also hosts Holiday Lights & Late Nights on several dates during November and December. These events include music, a holiday light display, festive cocktails, and getting close to their feathered friends in their free-flying rooms!

If flora rather than fauna is more your thing, check out the long-running tradition of the Fall Flower Show: Japanese Inspirations at Phipps Conservatory. It’s a Japanese-inspired display featuring colorful chrysanthemums. Since 1894, Phipps has been creating chrysanthemum-themed botanical displays, making their Fall Flower Show the longest-running exhibit of its type! The event includes hand painted calligraphy, awe-inspiring floating lanterns, giant origami cranes and kusudama (“medicine ball”) flowers, and a colorful, 117-foot-long dragon, as featured in Japanese parades.

Under the category of “unique,” consider the Pittsburgh Freaky Fair, which is a shopping experience for people who like odd and unusual art, handmade items, or vintage goods. It’s the place to find all things geeky, weird, and creepy, including items related to horror movies and paranormal concepts. 

Traditional and Local Fall Activities

For anyone who’s more traditional than freaky, head over to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium for Zoo Boo, a zoo-wide Halloween party! Come dressed as your favorite character and hop on the Trick-or-Treat Trail, or pop in to the Pumpkin Patch Pavilion and get in on the Monster Mash Dance Off. There are also magic shows, a Gymkhana Haunted Hideaway, character meet and greets, and the opportunity for photos with the elephants!

Many families have a pumpkin patch visit among their annual family traditions. Pick the perfect pumpkin (for carving or cooking!), and pick up some fall décor, apple cider, and caramel apples at Schramm’s Farms in Harrison City, PA. Or visit the fall festival at Mallisee Farm in Plum, PA to enjoy a corn maze, a petting zoo, and a cow milking experience! 

For a simple and free activity, pile in the car and drive to the mountains while the fall foliage is on full display. The drive to Ligonier is gorgeous in the fall. If you’d like to have some fun while you’re there, visit the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce website to find out more about local events, such as Pumpkin Spice Ligonier and a scarecrow contest, featuring over 25 spooky, handmade creations!

Fall Fun Closer to Home

What are your family’s favorite things to do in the fall? Here’s a list of simple and fun things to do, as a family, at or close to home.

  1. Jump in a pile of leaves. (Make the kids help rake!)
  2. Make and drink hot apple cider. (For adults only, try this local recipe from the Buhl Mansion!)
  3. Paint pumpkins.
  4. Roast pumpkin seeds. 
  5. Build a fire and make s’mores.
  6. Go on a nature scavenger hunt or hike somewhere like the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
  7. Host a Steelers football party.
  8. Go on a hayride.
  9. Tailgate at a local college football game.
  10. Play a game of touch football. 
  11. Pick apples at Triple B Farms in Monongahela or Simon’s Orchard in Mount Pleasant.
  12. Bob for apples.
  13. Cook some comfort food like soup or chili together. 
  14. Bake cookies shaped like leaves. 
  15. Burn an apple or pumpkin scented candle to make the whole house smell like fall. 
  16. Have a family photo shoot among the falling leaves.
  17. Gather leaves to make a fall craft like framed leaf art.

Living in Western Pennsylvania, we are blessed to get to experience all four seasons, and we think we should make the best of each. What are your favorite activities for having fun and staying cozy in the fall?

We hope you have a wonderful autumn chock-full of exciting adventures and heartwarming family moments. But while you’re having fun, don’t forget to also prepare for the seasonal changes! Keep up with your home maintenance, too, with our fall list.

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