Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Jeremy
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If you're struggling with a new idea for date night in Pittsburgh, you're not alone. It is often quite easy to get settled into a routine of hitting your favorite places over and over again (in fact, getting out of that cycle is why we started Discover the Burgh in the first place).
So while it would be quite easy for us to share some tried-and-true Pittsburgh date ideas like checking out Phipps Conservatory, exploring the Warhol Museum, or the conventional dinner and a movie combo, we wanted to think outside of the box with this one with ideas that will also really impress your partner.
But not only did we want to put together a list of ideas that will win you points with your date, we also wanted to provide a spectrum of ideas for all budgets, all seasons, and varying interests. Suffice it to say, you'll have a lot of ways to impress a date in this one!
Check Out a Lesser Known Museum or Art Gallery
As mentioned at the start of this article, it would be easy for us to simply list the most popular museums in Pittsburgh and call them good date ideas. They are great spots, and really do make for great dates, but you (and your date) probably have visited many already- either together or solo. But for something a bit different, our lesser-known galleries and unusual museums are far more interesting date options.
Part of this is simply that the odds of them being new to you are much greater, but they also can be quite thought-provoking and provide many great opportunities to spark a conversation!
So, what are a few of our favorites you may want to consider? Check out some of the following:
- SPACE and Wood Street Galleries in downtown Pittsburgh are operated by the Cultural Trust and offer some impressive rotating exhibits that can be explored in as little as an hour. Free.
- Randyland and Bicycle Heaven in the North Side are two incredibly colorful spots that will put a smile on your face- just be sure to drive between the two! Free.
- The Troy Hill Art Houses are completely renovated houses from acclaimed artists that must be explored to be understood (we're being vague on purpose here, trust us). Free with reservation.
- The Bayernhof Museum offers a guided tour of a former private residence with secret passages and one of the world's largest collections of self-playing music machines. Reservation required.
- …and more with even more focused themes are featured in our unusual Pittsburgh museums guide!
*Note: Most free museums and galleries in Pittsburgh have a donation box at the entrance. It is always recommended to tip if you are able to help keep these experiences open for future guests.
Take a Picnic at a Local Park
In the mood for an outdoor experience that doesn't break the bank? Pack up a meal and go on a picnic in a local park! Point State Park makes for great viewing of the rivers, and the hill in front of the Observatory at Riverview Park always has several picnickers on a warm summer day and are two of our favorites.
Want to combo up your picnic with music or a movie? Many city and county parks put on shows in the summer months like Riverview Jazz, Bach, Beethoven and Brunch, the summer concert series at Hartwood Acres, and Cinema in the Park throughout the week to name a few.
It really is hard to beat the combination of a gorgeous park, a picnic, and a free show!
Need picnic snack ideas? You can never go wrong with ordering charcuterie from Salty Pork Bits (online sales) and picking up cheese from Chantal's Cheese Shop in Bloomfield.
Wine Tasting at Palate Partners Casual Fridays
Want to take your date wine tasting in a welcoming environment where you don't have to feel pressured to pick the wines for your flight? Palate Partners in Lawrenceville is the place to be.
This one is Pittsburgh's premier wine school that offers a Casual Fridays tasting on the first and third Friday of the month. Guests here are able to sample six pre-selected wines for a rather reasonable price (~$12 per person as of our last visit, reservations recommended) and learn about them with a very short discussion taking place at roughly 6:30 pm.
Not only is the price hard to beat for the amount of wine you get, but you'll also walk away knowing a fair bit more about each wine you sampled than if you simply ordered a flight at a bar!
Looking for another glass of wine or a snack after the Casual Friday class? Head over to Allegheny Wine Mixer for a nightcap or pick up a baked good from Butterwood Bake Consortium– one of the only late-night bakeries in Pittsburgh. We have to admit this trio is a regular date night outing for us!
Palate Partners is located at 3401 Liberty Avenue, Allegheny Wine Mixer is located at 5326 Butler Street, and Butterwood Bake Consortium is located at 5222 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Go on a Self-Guided Food Crawl of the Strip District
You likely already know that the Strip District is one of the best spots for food in Pittsburgh. So how about going on an eating spree of some of the best street food to find a new favorite with your date?
While there are many, many vendors you may want to check out on a food crawl of the Strip, a few of our own favorites include:
- Coffee (or a heavenly mocha in the winter) and arepas from Colombino Coffee & Cacao Bar
- Lucy's famous Vietnamese banh mi (seasonal) – arguably the most popular sandwich in the Strip District
- Stuffed eggrolls from the Thai vendor between Schorin Company and PGH Sports near 18th
- Mung bean pancakes from Sambok Korean Grocery
- Stuffed ice cream sandwiches from Sam's in the Strip (seasonal)
- …and many more!
In fact, while all of the above are generally street food or served via walk-up windows, you really could also go nuts simply eating your way around the Strip District, including pizzas from Enrico's Cafe, sampling PA-made spirits at Pennsylvania Libations, snagging some epic sushi from Andy's Sushi Bar or Penn Ave Fish Co., and so much more. (We are simply biased towards the street food!)
Suffice it to say, if you do a food crawl well, neither you nor your date will be hungry by the end of this one!
The street food vendors mentioned above can all be found on Penn Avenue between 17th and 23rd in the heart of the Strip District.
All You Can Play Pinball at Pinball PA
Some of the best dates are where you can let your inner child run loose, and there are no shortage of great opportunities for that in the Pittsburgh region. For those who love pinball and vintage arcade games, it is hard to beat a trip to Pinball PA in Aliquippa.
This monster showroom features over 400 new and retro games set to free play mode. So after you pay for entrance (either a two-hour window or an all-day pass) you can play some pretty amazing machines to your heart's content. The highest pinball score wins!
Pinball PA is located at 2284 Brodhead Road in Aliquippa.
Looking for more places to play games in the area? Pinball Perfection in Westview, Victory Pointe Arcade and Gaming Cafe in South Side, and Kickback Pinball Cafe in Lawrencneville are all great options too!
Ride All of the Roller Coasters at Kennywood
Want to find out which of the two of you is the biggest thrill seeker? Head over to Kennywood to tackle all of the rollercoasters like the historic Jack Rabbit, Phantom's Revenge, Sky Rocket, or the heart-racing Steel Curtain. The first one to chicken out loses!
Extreme thrills not your thing? There are also a ton of other great rides at Kennywood for all thrill levels. Just don't forget to add on an order of Potato Patch Fries during your visit to complete the Kennywood experience!
While Kennywood is seasonal and best enjoyed in the summer months, they also have a number of great events throughout the year like Bites & Pints from late May through June, the Pierogi Festival in September, Phantom Fright Nights around Halloween, and Holiday Lights in December, meaning you have numerous opportunities to check out the park depending on your interests!
- It is worth noting that the fall events only feature limited rides due to cold weather.
Kennywood is located at 4800 Kennywood Blvd in West Mifflin.
Get Out on the Water on the Three Rivers
When it comes to uniquely Pittsburgh dates, it is hard to beat getting out on the three rivers to enjoy the city, and there is no shortage of seasonal activities for all interests!
For those who want something a bit more laid back, the Gateway Clipper and Rivers of Steel operate river cruises that offer amazing views of the city with a bit of narrated history as well.
For those who want something a bit more active, Kayak Pittsburgh and 10.7 Marina offer kayak rentals to enjoy some solitude out in nature (those who are really bold with their relationship can attempt a tandem!).
Or, if you are looking for something a bit more extreme, Steel City Jet Ski Rentals will have you flying down the rivers as well (Note: this one is best enjoyed on a weekday due to wake restrictions around the Point on weekends).
Suffice it to say, there are a number of great ways to get out on the rivers in Pittsburgh, and these are just a start!
Snag a Hard-to-Get Reservation at a Popular Restaurant
As foodies, it is hard to have a list of date night ideas and not include going out to a restaurant. It is one of our favorite date night activities and some of our most cherished memories involve dining in some way, shape, or form.
So while we may be going a bit cliche in this recommendation, we're also going big to talk about some of the best restaurants that will truly wow a date. While the following will come at a fair premium (and often require significantly advanced reservations), if you are looking to impress, you can't go wrong with any of the following:
- Altius on Mount Washington dazzles with one of the best views of the city and a lovely fine dining menu.
- Gi-Jin in downtown Pittsburgh serves up nigiri and handrolls that will make you feel like you are at a sushi bar in Japan.
- Spork in Garfield/Friendship offers a dazzling dining experience with some of the finest cocktails in the city.
- Pusadee's Garden in Lawrenceville features high-end Thai fare with one of the most stunning outdoor courtyards in the city.
- Fig & Ash in the North Side cooks virtually every item over their wood-fired hearth with absolute precision.
Of course, these are not the only restaurants that are perfect for date night. We have hundreds of other options in our best restaurants in Pittsburgh guide you may want to check out to get an idea for a new spot to visit!
Take in a Show in the Cultural District
If you or your date is a lover of the arts, it is hard to beat a show in the Cultural District. Not only do staples like the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Pittsburgh CLO call downtown home, but you can also find touring Broadway shows, the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet, concerts, and many, many other performances throughout the year.
In fact, there is hardly a night where there isn't a performance of some sort going on in the Cultural District, so odds are good you can snag tickets to a show on any day of the week and may even get lucky with a last minute find, too!
Just be sure to head down early for a meal at gems like tako or Meat & Potatoes (reservations required) or hang around for a post-show conversation with a cocktail at The Warren!
Animal Experiences at the Zoo and Aviary
While the Pittsburgh Zoo and National Aviary both make for great dates for animal lovers, did you know that they also offer animal encounters for visitors? This one is a great opportunity to take a conventional date to a whole new level.
The National Aviary offers several animal encounters, including their sloth, penguins, owls, and falcons, whereas the zoo offers red panda, giraffe, and broader animal and aquarium adventures too. So if your date is a lover of a specific animal, it will be hard to top a date like this one. Just be prepared for a price to match the exclusivity of these experiences!
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is located at 7370 Baker Street and the National Aviary is located at 700 Arch Street.
Do you have a favorite Pittsburgh date activity that isn't featured above? Comment below to share!