Picklesburgh
Picklesburgh

The summer festival season kicks into high gear in July. Fill your calendar with iconic events making their long-awaited return and several first-ever festivals debuting around town. Here are 13 fun things to do in Pittsburgh in July.

Our July Concert Guide coming this week has the scoop on the Deutschtown Music Festival and the Pittsburgh Black Music Festival and more shows, and don’t miss our Weekly Event Guides.

Visit each organization’s website and social media for changing Covid protocols.

Anthrocon. Photo by Tom O’Connor.
Anthrocon. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

1. Anthrocon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: July 1, 2 & 3

The wait is over — the Furries are back in the city that loves them something fierce. With sessions like “How to Handle Your Suiter,” “The Pandemic Turned Me into a Furry” and “Pool Toy Safari,” Pittsburgh’s favorite convention draws Furry veterans and the Furry curious from around the planet. For four Furry days, anthropomorphism takes center stage with imaginative experiences like escape rooms, game shows, craft nights and even how-to sessions for newbies. Get that camera ready for Furry watching around town, and no, you don’t have to wear a costume to attend. If you only have one day in Furryland, make it the beloved Fursuit Parade and first-ever Block Party along Penn Avenue on July 2. View a schedule and register.

Photo courtesy of VISITpittsburgh.

2. Independence Day Celebration at Point State Park: July 4

Pittsburgh’s topography always provides a dramatic backdrop to July 4th fireworks. Start your holiday at the Fort Pitt Museum with a flag-raising ceremony and family activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Then head to Point State Park for a family-style picnic, summer soul line dancing, demonstrations, games and face painting. As evening approaches, enjoy shows by the East Winds Symphonic Band and River City Brass. New this year is an immersive performance of Squonk Opera’s “Hand to Hand” featuring giant puppet fingers, progressive rock music and dueling guitars. The main attraction Zambelli fireworks display begins at 9:35 p.m. Tune in to 100.1 FM KDKA for a live broadcast of the spectacle’s soundtrack or watch from home on WPXI-TV.

1962 Porsche 356 at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Photo by Bill Stole.

3. Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix: July 10-24

London has Wimbledon, Queens has the U.S. Open, Louisville has the Kentucky Derby, and Europe has the Tour de France. Right up there with them is the iconic Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The engines will rev again when one of the region’s most beloved and distinct summertime events rolls back into town. Upping the thrill factor, the Grand Prix is on track with even more for auto aficionados, speed freaks and curious tourists alike to experience. Expanding its calendar to span 15 days, highlights include the Kick-Off Rallye, Historics, Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala, International Car Show, Tune-Up Party and Countryside Tour. It all culminates with the 40th annual Race Week anchoring the festivities on July 23 and 24. There’s nothing like witnessing the spectacle and exhilaration up-close at the country’s largest vintage race event — and the only one run on city streets — so find your favorite viewing spot. View a schedule.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

4. Picklesburgh in Downtown Pittsburgh: July 15-17

Ketchup, Klondikes, pierogies, pickles, fries on a sammie. Pittsburgh adores its homegrown food. But only one of these has its own three-day festival. Debuting a new HQ and its largest ever footprint ever, this cornerstone culinary celebration will draw global gherkin lovers to the Rachel Carson Bridge. Activities will flow along the 10th St. Bypass waterfront offering scenic views and shaded areas. Underneath the colossal Heinz pickle balloon, the briny bash will present a massive array of dill-ectable products, foods and experiences. Sip pickle cocktails and beer, compete in a pickle juice drinking contest, shop pickle-themed merch and more. Pickle fanatics can check out cooking demonstrations, live music and local vendors. The youngest pickles will love the Li’l Gherkins Kids Activity Area. New this year is a collaboration with the National Comedy Center, which will premiere the “Pickles & Giggles Comedy Showcase” on July 14 (buy tickets).

Toco toucan at the National Aviary. Photo by Lindsey Shuey.

5. Night in the Tropics: Vintage Vacation at the National Aviary: July 16

It’s tropical outside so why not pair the climate with some exquisite avians and lush habitats? Party like it’s 1952 at this retro-themed gala celebrating the Aviary’s 70th anniversary. Take a vintage (stay)vacation in The Garden Room, a new event space with an open-air terrace and exclusive access to beautiful birds and tropical environments at night. From 7 to 11 p.m., the summertime soirée will sizzle with music, entertainment and Pittsburgh’s top restaurants. Check out fire dancing by Tuika’s Polynesian Island Magic, then cool off with some very friendly penguins, owls and parrots. Bird nerds have been waiting two years for this feathered fiesta to return, so get your tickets now.

Bad Form by Ariel / and Justin Kelly. Photo by Beth Barbis.

6. House Party at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: July 16

Studio 54 meets The Met Gala meets East Liberty at one of the summer’s hottest new parties. Rewriting the book on the house party and debuting a new concept for its benefit bash, the theater will pulse with interactive performances, community activations and spectacular fashion statements. Set in an immersive art installation, the night will highlight “creative experimentation, community dialogue and collective action rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people.” The VIP preview kicks off at 7 p.m. with a mainstage reception, portrait installation by Scott Andrew and performance by Ariel / and Justin Kelly. Dress up to party down when the lobby is transformed into an epic dance party at 9 p.m. ICY PISCES fka Deejay Aesthetics sets the scene with retro beats, while DJ Femi brings the heat with global sounds. Buy tickets.

The Liberty Mile. Photo courtesy of P3R.

7. Fleet Feet Liberty Mile: July 22

More is not always better. Short and sweet, this one-miler is the ideal distance for all speeds and fitness levels — from first-timers and pros to walkers and recreational runners. It’s Pittsburgh’s fastest road race — and Downtown’s only nighttime one. Experience the rare thrill of running at night Downtown, then watch Olympians and national champions race to the finish with 4-minute miles. Starting on Penn Avenue, racers follow a USATF-certified, U-shaped course that makes a quick turn onto Liberty Avenue for the exhilarating final stretch. Named one of the 35 Most Iconic American Races by Runner’s World, the Liberty Mile is the second event of the 2022 #RUNwithP3R challenge. Register here.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Beerfest.

8. Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest at Stage AE: July 29-30

Craft brews and animal advocacy will make a fantastic pairing when Pittsburgh’s largest craft beer showcase opens its taps. Froth fans will enjoy open samplings of local, regional and hard-to-find craft beers, along with seltzers, cocktails and live music. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the event offers an affordable venue for craft beer enthusiasts to sample what can sometimes be expensive beers, while learning about them from experienced brewers and distributors. Plus, proceeds benefit Animal Rescue Partners. From Evil Genius to Sly Fox to Knockin Nobbin, there’s a tasty libation waiting to quench your thirst. Buy tickets.

Photo by Julie Kahlbaugh.

9. Pittsburgh Mixed Culture Festival at Freedom Farms Event Center: July 30

Mix up your summer routine — and sip farmhouse beers on an actual farm — at Pittsburgh’s newest festival. Cinderlands and Trace Brewing, two of the city’s newest beer meccas, want you to know where your beer comes from and who makes it. Passionate about Belgian brewing traditions, they’ve dreamt up this first-ever festival as an ebullient celebration of saison, mixed-culture brews and the diverse community of beer-loving humans. It’s the perfect place to spend the dog days of summer. Savor all things saison with 48 breweries from 19 states and two countries that you don’t always find at Pittsburgh festivals. Beer loves will also explore the complementary roles of brewer and nature in making mixed-fermentation beer at the family-owned farm in Valencia that supplies the fruit for Cinderlands’ foederbier. There are two ticketing options, along with local DJs and shuttle service. Be a VIPer at 4:30 p.m. and get a Rastal Teku tasting glass and Mixed Culture swag. Pittsburgh Action Against Rape will make the festival safe for all with trainings and a well-being station.

Photo courtesy of Friends of South Side Park.

10. Goat Fest at South Side Park: July 30

They’re highly intelligent and inquisitive — and impossibly cute — but did you know that goats play a vital role in ecological restoration by munching on invasive plants? Watch this industrious species in action — and hear them communicating with each other by bleating — from noon to 4 p.m. You’ll also get to see Hobo, the adorable miniature donkey who protects the goats! The festival takes place at the top of the wooded park, so no uphill hike is required to see the goats doing their thing. Join a goat-themed puzzle adventure, participate in tree plantings, and learn about Allegheny GoatScape. New offerings include artisan vendors, live music, tree adoptions, puppet shows, and a petting zoo. If you’re driving, park at 21st and Josephine streets and hop on the free shuttle.

Photo courtesy of OpenStreetsPGH / Murphy Moschetta.

11. OpenStreetsPGH in the East End: July 30

There’s even more car-free fun to love when OpenStreetsPGH unveils its longest route. If you’re wondering what all the buzz is about, this is the perfect chance to check out the movement that’s sweeping the streets of hundreds of cities worldwide. Moving to a Saturday in July, the 4.4-mile East End Loop connects the neighborhoods of Homewood, Larimer, East Liberty, Shadyside and North Point Breeze. Journey through three bustling business districts plus local parks and green spaces. With no vehicles to avoid, you’re free to stroll, skip, bike, roll, run, and explore the wide-open roads from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Along the route, enjoy activity hubs, vendors, performers and special promotions. You’ll leave with a fresh perspective on your surroundings.

Photo courtesy of Allegheny County.

12. Allegheny County Wine & Spirits Festival: July 30

If sipping vino at an opulent Tudor mansion sounds like the perfect summer date night, then get your tickets for this elegant evening. With the Allegheny County park system’s crown jewel as your backdrop, you’ll sample offerings from Western PA’s top vintners and distillers and enjoy music by Samantha Sears and Justin Sellers. One of the region’s largest country estates, Hartwood Acres was designed in 1929 by Alfred Hopkins and is surrounded by 629 acres of bridle trails and parklands. Choose from one of three sessions: 12 to 2:30 p.m. for the day drinkers, 3:30 to 6 p.m. for an afternoon outing, or 7 to 9:30 p.m. for the sunset views. Stay sated with food truck cuisine — and save room for Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream.

13. Hill District Arts Festival: July 30 & 31

Experience the deep sense of community and rich artistic vision that’s infused within Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District. A first-of-its-kind festival for the neighborhood, the event is taking place on a site that resonates with community and heritage — the 1800 block of Centre Avenue —  where the Kaufmann Settlement House and Hill House once stood. Today, the nonprofit ACH Clear Pathways uses the property to provide visual and performing arts experiences to youth and families. Supported by Advancing Black Arts Pittsburgh, the weekend includes concerts, entertainment, artist booths, DJs, children’s activities and food trucks from noon to 8 p.m.

For things to do this month, read 10 fun-filled Pittsburgh events for kids in July.

Jennifer Baron

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...