April is here to revive the mind, body, soul … and palate. It’s a month for breaking out in song, taking your Burgh pride to new heights, helping to protect the planet and biking to dessert destinations. Here are 11 ways to make the most of the next 30 days in Pittsburgh as spring takes root.
1. “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” at the Benedum: April 4-9
This year’s PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh Series is driven by some serious girl power — from “Hairspray” and “Jagged Little Pill” to “Six.” Now, the series shines a spotlight on the iconic Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. She’s won 12 Grammys, has sold more tickets than any other solo performer and is one of only three women inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame twice. Don’t miss this musical sensation nominated for 12 Tonys. Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, Turner shattered barriers to become an iconic singer, dancer and actress. It’s a comeback story like no other written by Pulitzer Prize winner Katori Hall. Megawatt superstars Ari Groover and Zurin Villanueva share the role of Turner in an ensemble directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Buy tickets.
2. Three Rivers Beer Week: April 12-16
Find out why Pittsburgh is a top-notch beer destination during this five-day froth fest produced by the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild. With dozens of events led by 50 breweries, there’s something to satisfy every thirst and palate. On opening day, drink up at new kid on the block Back Alley Brewing during a happy hour benefiting Dormont Arts. Hoppy highlights include an ice cream mixer, Taps and Tapas social, Lawrenceville Brewery Crawl and a Half-assed Beer Share. New this year is the Friends of Pittsburgh Beer Program and a choose-your-own-adventure night with beer gear bingo and yinzer trivia. Not to miss on April 15 is East End Brewing’s iconic Pedal Pale Keg Ride, which kicks off Pittsburgh’s bicycling — and outdoor drinking — season and raises money for charity. Later that day head to Necromancer’s Drag Bingo fundraiser. Wrap the week at Trace Brewing for the first Disco Sunday Disco patio dance event of spring. View a schedule and buy tickets.
3. Yinzercon at Remixxd by Steel City Galleries: April 15
Pittsburgh has conventions for everything from furries to beer to comics. So why not a convention all about Pittsburgh itself? Enter YINZERCON, the brainchild of Remixxd founder Don Spagnolo. After transforming a Fox Grocery Warehouse in Belle Vernon into a “pop culture mecca,” Spagnolo is hosting this one-day extravaganza showcasing all things yinz. The people, the food, the lingo, the nebbiness, the unapologetic hometown pride, all of it. It’s a rare chance to rub elbows with local celebs, explore beloved brands and get a sneak peek into what makes Pittsburgh tick. Peruse displays from the Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, Steel City Ghostbusters and Tom Savini School of Special Effects and meet local personalities like “The Shop ‘n Save Lady,” KDKA meteorologist Mary Ours and “Hunting Nostalgia” host Nick Bartley. Snap a selfie with Yinza the Pittsburgh Luchador Wrestler and actors from “Dawn of the Dead.” Sports lovers can meet Steelers Super Bowl champion John Banaszak and Angelo Spagnolo — aka Golf Digest’s “World’s Worst Avid Golfer.” Buy tickets.
4. JFILM Festival: April 20-30
JFilm celebrates its 30th anniversary with 11 days of dynamic programming. The rarely told story of antisemitism in 1960s communist Poland. A 60-something couple in Tel Aviv enthralled with their neighbor’s karaoke parties. A WWII thriller about a Jewish jewelry maker in Nazi-occupied Paris. That’s only a hint of the 23 independent films. Jewish-themed cinema is on the big screen at the AMC Waterfront 22, Oaks Theater and at Carnegie Mellon University — with virtual offerings rounding out the roster. Augmenting the films are Q&As, a bagel brunch and Film Schmooze chats. Opening Night sizzles with the premiere of “Matchmaking,” called an “Orthodox twist on Romeo and Juliet.” Afterward, join the 30th-anniversary bash at Bravo! Italian Kitchen. World premieres include “The Cure for Hate,” a documentary and talkback about former skinhead and Holocaust denier, Tony McAleer. The North American premiere of “Jack L Warner: The Last Mogul” includes a Q&A with Warner’s grandson who wrote and directed the film. View a schedule and buy tickets.
5. Pittsburgh Earth Day Downtown: April 21-22
Did you know that Pittsburgh is one of 23 cities in The 2030 Districts Network? The goal is to reduce built environment emissions by 50-65% by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2040. One of the best ways to explore the city’s progress and get involved is during Earth Day. Kick off the eco-weekend at Friday’s Sustainable Business Breakfast, where leaders will discuss the circular economy, sustainability and how businesses can fight climate change. Saturday’s Tailgate Tour animates the Hill District, Market Square and PNC Park with engaging experiences for the whole community. The Energy Innovation Center’s Powered Up celebration features mouth-watering tailgate treats from Chef Claudy Pierre and renewable energy workshops. Over in Market Square, the free Music, Art and Culture Festival is a hub teeming with eco-friendly activity booths, local businesses, a green wellness area and more. There will be live music, artwork by The Chalking Dad and libations from Creatives Drink. The Tailgate Tour wraps up on the North Shore with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Salute to Sustainability and the game against Cincinnati.
6. Opening Weekend at Kennywood: April 22-23
Some people usher in spring by planting gardens, attending opening day at the ballpark or dyeing Easter eggs. Thrill seekers will flock to West Mifflin for a quintessential quasquicentennial. The National Historic Landmark has a lot to celebrate this year with new improvements, rides, experiences and amenities. For its milestone 125th anniversary, Kennywood presents its biggest season yet along the Mon — and it will take more than one year for this party. Be the first through the gates when the park launches a new event series paying tribute to distinct eras from the park’s past. Opening Weekend festivities will spotlight innovation through the decades from 1898 through 1969 via nostalgic photo opportunities, live music by the Boilermaker Jazz Band and Brass Staff, retro foods, historical displays, commemorative giveaways, and specialty merchandise. Buy tickets.
7. Pittsburgh Fringe Festival: April 26-30
Deep laughter is something we could all use after a three-plus-year global pandemic. For its return to in-person programming, Pittsburgh Fringe has a lot to cheer about. The “all-out, no-holds-barred, inclusive multi-disciplinary performing arts festival” turns 10 with a hyper-local focus, plus the return of fan favorites and hybrid offerings. Explore art on the fringe with international, national and local performers spanning multiple East End venues. It’s a chance to experience all kinds of theater — along with comedy, art, puppetry, family entertainment, music, dance, spoken word — via affordable and intimate shows. After a long hiatus, the Fringe StorySlam will be revived, inviting participants to share 5-minute tales. The Yinzer Variety Show returns to showcase short performances in any genre and a new format has been added for professional dancers. View a schedule and buy tickets.
8. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: April 28
Enjoy a spring evening while checking out the newest arts offerings popping up throughout the Cultural District. The free quarterly event returns with 15 free Crawl stops (look for the green signs). Don’t miss three exhibitions making their Crawl debut: in spite of me, here you are by Steve Alexis at 707 Penn Gallery; And, The Lord Spoke by Jacob Pesci at 937 Liberty Gallery; and multidisciplinary work by London-based collective, United Visual Artists, at Wood Street Galleries. Highlights include Trap + Paint: Cultural Edition with BOOM Concepts at the Trust Arts Education Center and a musical showcase presented by WPTS in the Peirce Studio. Be sure to see the #notwhite collective retrospective at SPACE and mixed-media prints by Jo-Ann Bates at 820 Liberty. Stay late for Crawl After Dark events including the return of the super popular Silent Disco with DJ Samuel Andres, DJ QRX and DJ Icey Pisces.
9. Super Monster-Rama at Riverside Drive-in: April 28-29
The monsters are due on Lee’s Lake Lane. In Vandergrift that is. Kick off the drive-in movie season along the Kiskiminetas River at this centerpiece springtime event. Celebrate April Ghoul’s with a weekend lineup of B-movie slashers at the only operating drive-in in Armstrong County. Boasting four feature films each night, the horror happening gets underway with Charles E. Sellier Jr.’s 1984 flick, “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” about a very evil Santa Claus. Why camp in the woods when you can pitch a tent by the glowing big screen and make it a movie marathon weekend? From mayhem at a shopping mall to terrifying telepathy in a sorority house to a supernatural rockabilly maniac, you’ll be gripping the edge of your seat or sleeping bag. Breakfast is served both mornings for campers and the snack bar with all your favorite movie concessions opens for lunch at 1 p.m. Buy tickets.
10. Le Tour de Donut: April 29
Biking with your trusty water bottle is a necessity but biking to doughy delights might just be the best idea ever. Bringing together two of our favorite things — bikes and doughnuts — Pittsburgh’s newest ride is the sweetest way to spend a Saturday. How does it work? Hop on two wheels and cruise around to four destinations from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each pop-up site offers a unique doughnut or another breakfast pastry from local bakeries. Rookies can rejoice because this is not a race. Riders can start anywhere, choose their own route and visits stops in any order. Organized by Pittsburgh’s newest bike share program — dubbed POGOH — the tasty trek is approximately 12.5 miles. The four pop-up locations are: Highland Park (Elm Grove Shelter); Millvale Riverfront Park; 10th St & Penn Ave.; and Schenley Plaza. Buy tickets.
11. Art All Night at 31st Street Studios: April 29-30
For more than a quarter-century, Art All Night has been smashing boundaries between artists and audiences. If you’ve ever wanted to exhibit your own art publicly — or buy an affordable original piece to display — this is the place. Reigning as Pittsburgh’s 22-hour egalitarian art happening, the freewheeling crowd-sourced exhibit is guided by a staunchly grassroots mantra: “no fee, no jury, no censorship.” Appealing to early birds and night owls alike, the populist party will fill the raw industrial space in the Strip with around-the-clock immersive experiences for all ages, along with one of the biggest art auctions you’ve ever seen. The 26th-anniversary edition will include a video lounge, coffeehouse and main stages, live theater, collaborative art projects and plenty of imaginative surprises. And it’s all free from 4 p.m. on April 29 to 2 p.m. on April 30.
Find more things to do in Pittsburgh, including weekly events, live music and family activities, here.