Doors Open
Tour the Pittsburgh River Safety Boat with Doors Open.

Usher in a new season at these top events happening online, outdoors and at socially distanced destinations.

Boyce Park
Boyce Park. Photo courtesy of P3R and Allegheny County Parks.

1. Explore Your Parks Adventure: October 1-31

P3R and Allegheny County are teaming up to host the first-ever Explore Your Parks Adventure in conjunction with the FedEx Corporate Challenge — and the public is invited to join the fun. Runners of all levels are challenged to complete a self-guided, three-mile distance — whether it’s walking, jogging or hiking — in all nine county parks. A portion of the proceeds will help plant trees in local parks. Register here.

Neverending Story
Neverending Story. Photo courtesy of Row House Cinema.

2. Row House Cinema Drive-In at The Terminal: Weekends in October, 8 p.m.

Drive-ins are popping up around town like this new series at The Terminal parking lot at 21st & Smallman. Inaugural weekend features “Neverending Story” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” The lineup includes family-friendly flicks from Tim Burton and Mel Brooks along with Halloween icons like “Night of the Living Dead.” Row House will be on hand slinging classic movie concessions, beer and cider. Buy tickets.

3. Doors Open Pittsburgh: October 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The doors remain open to iconic Pittsburgh landmarks thanks to this cool annual event. There are 22 stops on this self-guided tour from a 1930s Art Deco bank vault to a posh penthouse rooftop. Explore Downtown’s former diamond district, see a hotel pool that was once a shooting range and visit Pittsburgh’s oldest church. You’ll even peek into a speakeasy and step off land to explore the River Rescue and Explorer boats. View a map and buy tickets.

Chuck Brown Band
Chuck Brown Band. Photo courtesy of the August Wilson Center.

4. Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival: October 3, 12 p.m.

From Mississippi and New Zealand, acclaimed artists will perform right in their own homes for the free, online Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival. The impressive lineup includes vocalist Rhiannon Giddens, composer Toshi Reagon and go-go band Rare Essence. Blues fans can check out sets by New Breed Brass Band, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and others. festival will stream live on YouTube and Facebook.

Reel Q
Alice Júnior. Photo courtesy of Reel Q.

5. Reel Q LGBTQ+ Film Festival: October 8-17

Pittsburgh’s longest-running film festival will light up devices and televisions with 21 programs over 10 nights. Reel Q kicks off with “Monsoon” starring Henry Golding as a British Vietnamese man returning to his birth country. Don’t miss the story of two headstrong women battling gentrification in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The festivities culminate with a drive-in screening of the first gay slasher film and a socially-distant party. There will also be Q&As, food trucks, drag queens and more. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Salman Rushdie and Russell Banks. Photo courtesy of City of Asylum.
Salman Rushdie and Russell Banks. Photo courtesy of City of Asylum.

6. City of Asylum’s Freedom to Create Gala: October 9, 6:30 p.m.

During this milestone event, Cities of Asylum founders Salman Rushdie and Russell Banks will discuss the origins of the organization and reflect on the vital work being done in Pittsburgh. Rushdie will read from his novel Quichotte, and Oliver Lake and the Flux string quartet will present a world premiere performance. The gala will also include virtual tables with national authors and swag bags with champagne, chocolates and books. Buy tickets.

7. Terry Tempest Williams Virtual Talk: October 12, 7:30 p.m.

In an era defined by climate change crises, the writing of Terry Tempest Williams stands as a call to action. As part of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures’ Ten Evenings series, the celebrated conservationist will present a virtual talk focusing on her book, Erosion: Essays of Undoing. The essays examine public and scared lands in America, the open space of democracy, the fossil fuel industry and more. Copies are available from White Whale Bookstore. Buy tickets.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

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.