Pigs at Pittsburgh VegFest
Pittsburgh VegFest takes place on Aug. 5 at Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh VegFest.

From rooftops to riverfronts, there’s so much more of summer to revel in all month long. Favorite artisanal food and craft brew festivals, steamy summer soirées and outdoor recreation are just a few of the reasons why we love August. Stave off FOMO by adding this month’s top 10 events to your calendar right now.

Attendees in a tent at the Growlers & Flowers event at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

1. Growlers & Flowers at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden: Aug. 4

Hops and horticulture are on the menu for this enchanted evening. Skip the crowded bars and enjoy happy hour at one of Pittsburgh’s most serene green spaces. You’ll play summertime games, be treated to the musical stylings of Dr. D and savor bites from Hazelnut Catering. Providing the growler portion of the party will be Lolev Beer and Back Alley Brewing. The event takes place under the illuminated Davidson Event Center tent and in the Peirce Celebration Garden. Tickets. For more eco-brews, head to Oakland for the free Beer at the Bosque events on Aug. 4 and 5, with lawn games and live music. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and 11th Hour Brewing will debut their limited-edition Schenley Park Brew benefitting 170 local green spaces. 

Pop-tarts at Pittsburgh VegFest
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh VegFest.

2. Pittsburgh VegFest at Allegheny Commons Park: Aug. 5

Infusing Pittsburgh’s summer festival scene with sustainable eating, living and thinking, VegFest is the place to fill your plate and satisfy your palate with the power of plants. Eat your way through the region’s top vegan eateries and explore 160 vendors — from small-batch food purveyors, restaurants and wellness shops, to artisan makers, indie boutiques and animal welfare nonprofits. Returning favorites include Chick Habit, ShadoBeni, Onion Maiden, The Chosen Crumb, Pleather Vegan Jerky and Pittsburgh Juice Co. Start your day with the 1.5-mile Walk with a Doc led by Dr. Natalie Gentile. For a first taste before the crowds descend, buy a VIP pass and nab a swag bag. Creating festival vibes all afternoon will be local musicians, raffle prizes and a kiddie bounce house.

Mattress Factory Community Fest flyer
Flyer courtesy of the Mattress Factory.

3. Trash Bash Community Fest at the Mattress Factory: Aug. 6

What would you create if you were handed a pile of trash? Let your imagination run wild when the Mattress Factory hosts this end-of-summer blowout celebrating the creative power of reuse. It’s the free all-ages component of the museum’s Urban Garden Party, which took place in June. It’s also the perfect counterpart to “The Museum Collects Itself,” the exhibit by Lenka Clayton and Phillip Andrew Lewis. What might look like the contents of a dumpster spilled out onto the gallery floor is actually a collection of all the trash the Mattress Factory is generating over 10 months. Create a collaborative fish sculpture using litter removed from rivers, transform reused materials into wearables and meet the Litter Bug mascot. It promises to be a day of energizing music, sustainable fashion, vendors and art demos. Schedule.

Peacock at the Asian Lantern Festival at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium
Asian Lantern Festival. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.

4. Asian Lantern Festival at Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium: Aug. 11

One of Pittsburgh’s favorite festivals is back with a completely new experience that’s guaranteed to light up your life. Marking the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium’s milestone 125th anniversary, the Asian Lantern Festival highlights a “global passport” theme with its World of Wonders concept. Take a scintillating staycation as you trek over the mountains, through the jungle and under the sea. Surrounded by massive handcrafted sculptures, you’ll explore the glowing destination while learning about the richness of Asian history and culture and decades of animal conservation. The dazzling display of 60 brand-new lanterns also features themed cuisine and live entertainment. Offering twice the fun, lantern lovers have the option to walk or drive through this year. The festival runs on select nights from Aug. 11 until Oct. 29. Tickets.

Barrel & Flow Fest
Photo courtesy of Barrel & Flow Fest.

5. Barrel & Flow Fest at The Stacks at 3 Crossings: Aug. 12

If you only make it to one brew bash this summer, the country’s first Black beer festival is a must. Returning to the Strip District with its distinctive festival-exclusive brews, Barrel & Flow is dedicated to Black arts on tap. With 60 culinary and creative vendors, 55 collaboration beers, 40 Black-owned breweries and 20 community organizations, it’s truly a place to “support local, sip local, shop local and vibe local.” Augmenting the brews is a wide-ranging presentation of musicians, DJs and panel discussions. A family-friendly S.T.E.A.M. tent makes its debut with hands-on activities, and interactive demos will be led by the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild, Master Brew Association and Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers. More great news: A City of Pittsburgh proclamation has announced Barrel & Flow Week activities at breweries and venues around town. Tickets.

The Neighborhood Flea in the Strip District
Photo courtesy of The Neighborhood Flea.

6. Neighborhood Flea at The Stacks at 3 Crossings: Aug. 13

Flea season is in full swing and there’s no better place to score keepsakes than this Strip District shopping staple. Continuing its 10th season, the open-air event offers an authentic flea market experience. With five hours of shopping from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 140 curated vendors, there’s a treasure waiting for every flea fanatic. Live painting and local music add to the experience, along with food trucks, service providers and hands-on workshops. And parking is only $5 at The Hive and The Hub.

Little Italy Days
Photo courtesy of Little Italy Days.

7. Little Italy Days in Bloomfield: Aug. 17-20

Are you ready to live “La dolce vita?” Because it’s once again time for the region’s largest heritage festival to set up shop in Pittsburgh’s Little Italy. Eat, shop and sing your way through a street fair that’s 10 football fields long, watch pizza stretching demos and catch nonstop entertainment from 30 acts on three stages. You’ll be transported to the Old Country with strolling accordion music, opera singers, traditional dancing and more. Highlights include the Celebrity Bocce Challenge on Cedarville Street and the dramatic Italian procession. From Billy Mancini’s Rat Pack tribute to John Vento’s “Italian Invasion” and the country’s top Earth, Wind & Fire tribute group, you’ll be dancing in the streets. The festival is also a fantastic way to give a boost to the independent businesses that line Bloomfield’s Liberty Avenue. Schedule.

Party at the Pier models on the rooftop terrace of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Party at the Pier. Photo by Rose Colored Creative.

8. Party at the Pier at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Rooftop Terrace: Aug. 18

“Hidden gem” is a phrase often used to describe our city. It’s also the theme of one of the summer’s hottest parties. Riverlife’s benefit bash debuts a fab new look and location. Head up to the convention center’s rooftop terrace to be transported to a “mysterious and glittering environment.” You’ll be greeted by pop-up performances, sip jewel-inspired libations and discover a new perspective on the Burgh. It’s the perfect backdrop for highlighting Riverlife’s mission and upcoming projects as a nonprofit leader in waterfront transformation. The Hidden Gems gala will include dancers, live music by Rythm6, a DJ and piano combo and themed food and drink. Bring your style A game, because this fashion-forward event is excepted to showcase rich jewel tones, shimmering accents and unexpected combinations. Tickets.

Artwork by Atomic Folk Art at the Oddities and Curiosities Expo
Atomic Folk Art. Photo courtesy of the Oddities and Curiosities Expo.

9. Oddities & Curiosities Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: Aug. 26

If you sport a “Keep Pittsburgh Weird” bumper sticker or are glued to the wildly popular Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh social media site, you can’t miss this showcase of all things strange. The bizarre bazaar rolls into Pittsburgh with eight hours of weirdness for every curious oddball. If taxidermy, animal specimens and horror films are your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Shop for Halloween-themed art, eccentric antiques, handcrafted oddities and even funeral collectibles. In addition to the staggering selection of 150 local and national vendors, the expo also features odd photo ops, tarot readings, sideshow performers and concession treats. Take a taxidermy class hosted by The Sleeping Sirens and step back in time — if you dare — to visit “The Cryptic Collection of a Mad Clown,” a 1,600-square-foot carnival sideshow. Co-founders Michelle and Tony Cozzaglio have been taking the eerie expo on the road from coast to coast. Tickets.

PedalPGH. Photo courtesy of BikePGH.

10. PedalPGH at Allegheny Commons Park: Aug. 27

Hop on two wheels to help Pennsylvania’s largest single-day charity bike ride mark three decades of going strong. Whether you’re a cycling champ looking to break a personal best or are a leisurely glider, PedalPGH offers four fantastic routes showcasing Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, topography and landmarks. Celebrate your accomplishments at the finish line festival featuring free lunch, beer and refreshments, bike-powered cooling misters, entertainment from Shorty’s Pins x Pints and music by DJ Willionaire. Running from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the BikePGH event begins and ends in Allegheny Commons Park. Register.

Find more things to do in Pittsburgh, including outdoor recreation, farmers’ markets, music festivals, movies and family activities.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.