Guide to Valentine's Day in Pittsburgh: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Love locks on Schenley Bridge in Pittsburgh.

Codemaster / Getty Images

A city historically associated with steel production and industrialization may not be the obvious choice for Valentine's day getaways, but Pittsburgh today is better known for its hip vibe, rich cultural events, and stunning beauty, both natural and architectural. Take a stroll along one of the hundreds of bridges in the city (there are more bridges here than in Venice, Italy), enjoy an elegant dinner cruise along the three rivers that converge in downtown, or embrace the winter weather with a date on the ice rink.

If you want to escape from the clichéd date of dinner and a movie, Pittsburgh offers all types of out-of-the-box ideas for you and your loved one this Valentine's Day.

01 of 09

I Made It! Mine Market

I Made It! Market

Courtesy of I Made It! Market

If you want to give a homemade gift to your Valentine but don't have the talent to actually make something, the "I Made It!" market is just what you need. This regular event hosts pop-up markets around Pittsburgh featuring local vendors who have designed, created, and produced their products all by hand.

Before Valentine's Day, the organizers host a special version of the market called "I Made It! Mine," which now boasts over 100 artisans selling their crafts. Catch this year's event at The Block Northway shopping center on February 8, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You're sure to find a gift that your loved one will be crazy about while also supporting independent crafters.

02 of 09

Clay and Wine at the Union Project

Union Project Pottery Making

Courtesy of Union Project

If you want to get dirty this Valentine's Day, sign up for a ceramics class. The community center Union Project, located near Highland Park, puts on workshops throughout the year for participants to learn how to mold clay, but on February 14 you can take part in a special holiday class that includes clay, firing, and wine. Shake up the usual Valentine's plans of a fancy dinner out and try something new; you'll even get to bring your creation home as a romantic memento.

This out-of-the-box idea is great for couples, first dates, an evening with friends, or even to go alone and socialize with others. Everyone gets a chance to throw the wheel and use their hands, and if your pottery doesn't turn out how you imagined, you can always enjoy the free wine.

03 of 09

Valentine's Day Skates

PPG Place iceskating Pittsburgh

Courtesy of PPG Place

Few wintertime activities are as romantic as ice skating, and Pittsburgh has plenty of options for you to hit the rinks. The two-county rinks, one up in North Park and the other in South Park, have a special Valentine's promotion for February 14, 2020, where you buy one admission and get the second one free, which is perfect for an inexpensive date idea.

Schenley Skating Rink, which is run by the city of Pittsburgh, is more centrally located and also offering a two-for-one deal on February 14, 2020, from 7 to 10 p.m. For some extra romance, the first 200 couples also receive a red rose and a special Valentine's chocolate to enjoy.

The Rink at PPG Place is privately owned and a little more expensive, but in exchange, you can skate on a rink that's sure to be less crowded and sits underneath the gorgeous PPG skyscraper for an unforgettable night of romance.

04 of 09

'Burgh Bits & Bites Valentine's Strip District Food Tour

Strip District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

peeterv / Getty Images

If you and your partner enjoy food and adventure, then a culinary tour with 'Burgh Bits & Bites is just the ticket for a perfect Valentine's Day experience. The Strip District Market Tour on February 14, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. takes you both on a guided tour through Pittsburgh's historic market district. You'll both get to savor Italian pastries, Mediterranean specialties, Polish snacks, and more, all while learning about the rich history of Pittsburgh's melting pot culture on a guided tour.

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05 of 09

Valentine's Dinner Cruise

Gateway Clipper Fleet Riverboat
Michael Righi / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Head out to the waters and enjoy a special Valentine's cruise on the Three Rivers. Gateway Clipper is offering three different holiday packages, so you can choose whichever best fits your Valentine's needs.

The Valentine's Dinner Cruise is ideal for couples looking for a romantic night together and sets sail in the evening on February 14 and 15, 2020. Not only is there a full bar and buffet dinner, but a live DJ plays hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s to keep you both dancing and warm throughout the night with the Pittsburgh skyline gliding by as a backdrop.

Parents like to celebrate Valentine's Day, too, and finding a babysitter isn't always an option. So, bring the kids with you on board for an Ice Princess Valentine's Ball, with special appearances by the characters from "Frozen." Interactive activities keep the kids busy so moms and dads can enjoy an intimate moment alone on the water, even if it is just a moment. This family-friendly cruise departs on February 16, 2020.

For those who are young or young at heart, the Valentine's Day Moonlight Dance Party is a maritime ball with an included Tex-Mex buffet and a full bar for purchase. Spend the night of February 14 on this floating dance club, which is sure to be a hit for couples and groups of friends.

06 of 09

RSG1 Valentine's Day 5K and 10K Race

Charity runners
Stuart Grout / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Not all Valentine's plans are about eating out, chocolate, and commercialized gifts. If you're looking for plans that are beneficial for you, your partner, and the community, sign up for the RSG1 Valentine's Race on February 8, 2020, at North Park. The mission of RSG1 is to advance cures and therapies for patients afflicted with brain tumors, cancer, and other neurological diseases and disorders through treatment, research, and human clinical trials. All proceeds from this special Valentine's Day race helps them to advance that mission.

This aerobic and altruistic event is followed by a post-race party, so you can celebrate your good deed with your loved one and fellow runners.

07 of 09

Animal Instincts: Dinner at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo kissing booth

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium hosts a special adults-only Valentine's dinner on February 14, 2020, from 6 to 9 p.m. It starts with a four-course formal dinner that starts with hors d'oeuvres and salad, followed by an entree of artichokes with herb-crusted chicken and slow-roasted sirloin, and finished with strawberry shortcake and vanilla brandy hot cocoa, plus a cash bar throughout the entire night.

But if the menu and drinks aren't enough to entice you, the evening also includes a humorous and very informative presentation about how exotic animals mate, to keep with the theme of the holiday. Some of the smaller residents of the zoo may even make an appearance at dinner, so you can get up close and personal with the animals.

08 of 09

Pittsburgh Symphony

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Nick Amoscato / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Every year for Valentine's Day, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs a special composition known for its sensuality and also invites a renowned musician to grace the Heinz Hall in downtown Pittsburgh. For 2020, there will be three of these special performances, from February 14 to 16, 2020. For the ultimate highbrow Valentine's Day date, don't miss out on one of these concerts.

Composer Vasily Petrenko will lead the orchestra Maurice Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe," an opus that Stravinsky called "one of the most beautiful products of all French music." Then, the violin virtuoso Ray Chen, who has performed in top concerts around the world, will treat the audience to Sibelius' "Violin Concerto."

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09 of 09

Valentine's Day Tea in a Tudor Mansion

Hartwood Mansion in Hartwood Acres Park

MikeMurphy / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Hartwood Acres Park is just ten miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh and is considered one of the most beautiful parks in the entire county. The highlight is the Hartwood Mansion, an English-style manor surrounded by gardens that look like a scene straight from a fairytale. On February 15, 2020, you and your partner can treat yourselves to a special three-course tea, followed by a guided tour of the home and grounds.

This event fills up fast, so register well in advance to take part in this romantic excursion.

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