10 Indoor Activities in Pittsburgh to Enjoy on a Rainy Day

Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Jeremy

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If you're reading this, the odds are good that the weather outside is not so great. We get it. The weather in Pittsburgh is, well, often not the best.

But you're in luck! There are several great indoor activities in Pittsburgh that are perfect to enjoy on a rainy day.

So whether you're in the mood to hit a new museum, take in a movie, play pinball, or more, we've got some ideas for you!

Visit a New-to-You Museum

Andy Warhol Museum

A rainy day is always a good excuse to do something new, and for us when the skies go dark, we love to check out a new-to-us museum.

Thankfully, there are dozens of great Pittsburgh museums to check out, including famous spots like the Heinz History Center, Carnegie Museums, Andy Warhol Museum, and many, many more.

For those who want to go to something a bit more unique, Pittsburgh is also home to more unusual museums and some of our favorites that you can visit without a reservation include Bicycle Heaven, the Moonshot Museum, the Pittsburgh Tattoo Art Museum, and more.

So you are looking to hit a new museum on the next rainy day, there are many stellar options to consider!

Play Pinball and Retro Arcade Games

Pins Mechanical

We have to admit, we are big fans of pinball and vintage arcade games, and in Pittsburgh, there are no shortage of great options to get out and play.

For those who love all-you-can-play options for a set price, the Pinball Dojo in Bellevue and Pinball PA in Aliquippa are two stellar options to get your fill of dozens of games for a flat fee.

If you’re more of a pay-as-you-go kind of player, spots like Four Points Brewing in the North Side, Helicon Brewing in Oakdale, Kickback Pinball Cafe in Lawrenceville, and Pins Mechanical in South Side Works all have a solid collections to help you get out of the bad weather with some games!

Take in a Movie at Row House Cinema

Row House Cinema

We love hitting a movie theater on a rainy day, and often do so to check out the latest release on the biggest screen possible.

But Lawrenceville's Row House Cinema is a bit different. This one has a cozy arthouse vibe while showing rotating classic movies throughout the year (we personally love when they do Miyazaki screenings!). As a bonus, this one is connected to the stellar beer store and bar, Bierport, where you can buy a beer to enjoy during your movie.

Beer and classic movies on a rainy day? Sign us up for Row House Cinema!

Row House Cinema is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

Take a Stroll Around Phipps

Phipps Conservatory

One of the things we dislike the most about rainy days is that it makes going out and enjoying nature rather difficult.

But for those who want to get their nature fix while remaining dry, a trip to Phipps Conservatory is a must. In fact, the ambiance of this botanical garden is quite unique, even in the rain, making for a perfect visit to see the conservatory in a different kind of lighting. As an added bonus, the gardens are also often a lot less busy at these times, too!

So while it may seem like an unconventional recommendation, give Phipps a try when the weather is not perfect!

Phipps Conservatory is located at 1 Schenley Drive in Oakland.

Find a Show at an Area Theater

Arcade Comedy Theater

Sometimes when rain is in the forecast for hours, we want a longer activity to keep us entertained. When this happens, especially in the evening, our thoughts shift to catching a show at an area theater.

We are rather fortunate that many great shows take place throughout the year, be it the Pittsburgh Symphony at Heinz Hall, local and touring shows at spots like the Benedum and Byham, magical acts at Liberty Magic, comedy at Arcade Comedy Theater, and of course the array of live music venues in Pittsburgh to name a few.

Suffice it to say, if you want to make a night of it for a show or live music, you have no shortage of options in Pittsburgh!

Indoor Mountain Biking at The Wheel Mill

The Wheel Mill

We are big bikers, and we always lament that a rainy day means that we can't some of our favorite Pittsburgh bike trails.

But for those who like more adventurous biking, particularly BMX or mountain biking, Pittsburgh is home to an indoor gem to help you get your fix- The Wheel Mill!

This massive facility in the East End has ample tracks for those who love adventure biking with ramps, hills, and more for those of all skill levels. Although we are primarily rail trail bikers ourselves, this one is a lot of fun- especially with a lesson or two!

The Wheel Mill is located at 6815 Hamilton Avenue in Homewood West.

Go Bowling at Arsenal Bowl

Arsenal Bowl

Want to try your hand at a perfect game or perhaps just a turkey on the next rainy day? Arsenal Bowl in Lawrenceville is always a treat.

But perhaps the best part is that Arsenal Bowl is more of a late-night bowling spot as it is open late most nights, has themed all-you-can-bowl pricing in the evening hours (typically after 9pm, with some daytime specials on weekends), and is 21+ from 9pm onward.

So if you are looking to hit a new record when the weather outside is not its best, give Arsenal Bowl a try!  

Arsenal Bowl is located at 212 44th Street in Lawrenceville.

Try a New Restaurant or Bar

Cocktails at Fat Cat

Sometimes rainy days bring us down and we don't want to cook or make our own drinks, so we use a poor forecast as an excuse to get out and try a new Pittsburgh restaurant, cocktail bar, distillery, or brewery!

Although some spots require advanced reservations, there are many great businesses in Pittsburgh that have spots available for walk-ins.

On the food side there are gems like Federal Galley, Salem's, Pittsburgh Sandwich Society at Strange Roots, an array of Pittsburgh food trucks (if you can handle briefly ordering outside), and many, many more. But if a libation is what you seek, there are other gems like Lorelei, Hidden Harbor (bar seating is first come, first served with the back section requiring reservations), Acacia, The Warren, and Allegheny Wine Mixer which are all personal favorites of ours, too!

Curl Up with a Great Pittsburgh Book

Reading Pittsburgh books

Until now, we've shared some great ideas for rainy-day activities in Pittsburgh that require going out. But what if you still want to enjoy Pittsburgh from the comfort of your own home?

Easy, read a book!

There are several great Pittsburgh books where you can learn more about the region's history, famous residents, and more. 

Pittsburgh: Story of an American City is a nearly 800-page tome that covers the history of Pittsburgh from the settlement days through the mid-90s. Although you may need several rainy days to work through this one (it took us about two years!), this one covers just about everything.

Other stellar options include Meet You in Hell shares how one-time business partners Carnegie and Frick became bitter enemies, Gangs and Outlaws of Western Pennsylvania covers some of Pittsburgh's darker moments, and Pittsburgh Drinks showcases the region's cocktail culture over the years!

Or if you simply want to think about what to do with better weather, 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Waterfalls are gems!

Watch a Movie Set in Pittsburgh

Dark Knight Rises was filmed partly in Pittsburgh

Are you one to sit back and enjoy a movie on a rainy day over reading a book? Thankfully there are a number of great movies set in Pittsburgh (either true to form or with some creative liberties attached)!

Movies, where you may easily recognize some city scenes, include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A Man Called Otto, Striking Distance, The Next Three Days, and Adventureland.

Others use Pittsburgh as a filming location, but you may need to stretch to determine where some of the scenes were shot, like Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Night of the Living Dead, and The Dark Knight Rises to name a few!

Do you have a favorite indoor activity in Pittsburgh to enjoy on a rainy day? Comment below to share!

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