jazz musicians perform on a Tuesday evening in Katz Plaza

Spring Into Action With The Season's Free Events

Fri, Mar 30, 2018

Written by: Seth Culp-Ressler

Pittsburgh is ready to thaw out. This winter has been a long one (thanks a lot, Phil) and it’s time to finally enjoy some Steel City sunshine. To that end, we’ve compiled some of the season’s must-see free events happening right in our Downtown neighborhood — and a few that aren’t. Hopefully these irresistible programs will help ease us out of our collective winter haze.


1 - Pittsburgh Earth Day

April 20-21, Market Square

There’s no better way to celebrate some beautiful weather than with an opportunity to help preserve our wonderful planet. On April 20 and 21, Pittsburgh Earth Day will “Paint the Square Green” in Market Square. While a full list of events has yet to be announced, expect to find vendors selling their Earth-friendly wares, educational opportunities and, to top it all off, free live music. It’s family-friendly fun, all for a good cause.

2 - Music 101

April 25, Heinz Hall

Interested in hearing more from one of the impressive musicians that play with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (who, remember, recently won two Grammys)? This lunchtime lecture-recital is the perfect opportunity for just that. Cellist Bronwyn Banerdt will be the featured musician for the talk, and from the look of her biography you’ll want to be there.

a patron points out elements of an art exhibit to a friend


3 - Gallery Crawl

April 27, Cultural District

A new season means a new Gallery Crawl — always a must-attend night. Throughout the Cultural District will be free live music, free gallery openings and much more. Downtown always buzzes with activity on Gallery Crawl Fridays, so make sure to be part of the noise.

a group of kids with pirate face paint pose for the camera


4 - EQT Children’s Theater Festival

May 17-20, Cultural District

Nicer weather is also a harbinger of festival season. The Cultural Trust’s EQT Children’s Theater Festival falls right at the beginning of the calendar and is perfect for any and all Pittsburgh families. While the indoor theater performances require tickets, there will be numerous free outdoor shows. If that isn’t enough, the weekend will also have dozens of no-cost cultural and educational activities for kids of all ages to enjoy.

the sun sets over a crowded point state park during the dollar bank three rivers arts festival


5 - Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival

June 1-10, Cultural District, Gateway Center and Point State Park

While many might think of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival as a summer event, it actually falls well before the summer solstice on June 21. For nearly six decades TRAF has been a central feature in the Pittsburgh arts community. The ten-day schedule sees dozens of concerts, theater performances, dance performances, creative activities, gallery exhibitions and an expansive artist market — all open to the public for free. Don’t do yourself a disservice by missing it.

6 - BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive

Tuesdays, Backstage Bar and Katz Plaza

The Cultural Trust’s JazzLive series is the perfect pick-me-up on a Tuesday evening. Experience the best Pittsburgh’s jazz scene has to offer — all for free. If that’s not enough, the concerts will move outside to Katz Plaza on June 5. Top-notch jazz on a warm spring evening: does it get any better?

...And Beyond

7 - Art All Night

Last weekend it April, Lawrenceville

Art All Night is a community-driven arts and culture event that takes place in Lawrenceville every year. “No Fee, No Jury, No Censorship” — the event’s motto — sums up the goal of Art All Night pretty effectively. All are invited, with different portions of the day geared towards different ages. While official 2018 dates aren’t announced yet, Art All Night typically falls on the last weekend in April.

8 - PSO @ City of Asylum

June 7, Alphabet City in the Northside

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and City of Asylum have been collaborating for some time now, aiming to explore the intersection of music, art and spoken word. The theme for this performance is slated to be “From Persia to Pittsburgh” with composer Reza Vali featured. While tickets are free, registration is required due to space limitations. Get your name on the list before the chance to see this unique mashup is gone.

  • art
  • free
  • Cultural District
  • spring
  • Festival