There are so many ways to get moving in Pittsburgh.
We have an endless list of green spaces, bike lanes, running trails, and waterways to choose from. There are fitness studios and sweat spots for every kind of workout. Plus, races, expos, workout groups, and fitness-themed festivals happening almost every week throughout the year.
With so much going on, it can be hard to keep up. That’s why we handpicked the healthiest, most happening events in the Steel City.
This is your Pittsburgh Fitness Bucket List.
The Pittsburgh Marathon is pretty much a Pittsburgh holiday now. The city shuts down for a weekend in May to make way for more than 30,000 runners and 100,000 spectators. Yeah, it’s a big deal. 26.2 miles through 13 Pittsburgh neighborhoods is something you’ll never forget.
The “race” is indoor cycling; the “anyplace” is Heinz Field, and it’s a must because you’ll be pedaling to save lives. Race to Anyplace Pittsburgh, a HUGE indoor stationary bike set-up, has raised money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 16 awesome years in a row. Put together a squad or sign-up solo for this 6-hour cycling sweatfest.
Stairs are inevitable, so you better get good at them. Luckily, downtown’s got a few skyscrapers we can use… Held in downtown high-rise One Oxford Center, The Pittsburgh Fight for Air Climb will test your lungs as you work your way up 897 steps. When you’re huffing and puffing, remember that you’re lucky. You’re running to support friends, family, and neighbors with lung disease.
By now, you should know that Market Square is a pretty happenin’ place to be. You’ve got the hustle and bustle of suits and heels mixed with the sights, sounds, and smells wafting from the best eateries and watering holes in town. But every once in a while, this Pittsburgh hub learns to be still. Roll out a mat with us, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and some of the city’s most talented yoga instructors for a guided (and FREE) flow in the Square under the sun, or in the Wintergarden at nearby PPG Place to practice in the winter!
Maybe this is one for “Never Have I Ever”, but have you never run through our sparkling city in your underwear? Well, here’s your chance! Yeah, you can show off your favorite PG-13 undies for Pittsburgh’s hottest race, held in the coldest time of year. Cupid’s Undie Run, a Valentine’s Day tradition, invites you to strip to your skivvies for a fun mile run benefitting the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
First, you tell the runners of Pittsburgh that they can run in their underwear. Now the cyclists want in on the party! And if you want a ride to write home about, you best free up your schedule for Thursday nights in the summertime. The PGH Underwear Bike Ride is exactly how it sounds. This community gets together for an underwear-clad night’s revel through the city (on two wheels) – all in celebration of urban cycling and positive self-body image.
You haven’t really seen Pittsburgh until you see it from the water. And you can’t truly be a fit Pittsburgher until you’ve sweat on any of our three rivers. But you can’t just jump in a boat and row yourself out there, can you? You can. And 3 Rivers Rowing Association makes it easy to learn rowing skills, network, have fun, and get a killer workout with its summer corporate rowing league.
The Pittsburgh Fitness Expo is a must-visit for any fitness fanatic or health enthusiast. In its 17th year, the expo gets bigger and better every year. This is your chance to experience the most popular fitness, nutrition, and health trends up close and personal. Make your way to Monroeville Convention Center in May for everything from fitness and figure competitions to martial arts matches and performances, CrossFit, nutrition demos, and so so so many free samples.
Our city of Pittsburgh is home to 712 public stairways – we’re the king of stairs in the US! We’ve got 44,685 steps covering 24,108 vertical feet (over 4 miles straight up). It’s your job as a Pittsburgher to climb some of them. And the Pittsburgh StepTrek is your opportunity to climb the step-monster that is the South Side Slopes. The noncompetitive event invites you to test your fitness and take in stunning views of the city over 2 courses. All-in, you’ll be hiking 2,500 steps and a vertical distance greater than the Empire State Building.
Driving on the Parkway East or Second Ave, you may get serious FOMO when you see all the bicyclists on the beautiful, paved trail winding beside you. Well, to be honest, you are missing out. The Eliza Furnace Trail, or as you may know it, the “Jail Trail”, is the perfect spot to spin your wheels in the city. With convenient bike rental nearby, it’s a ride (and a view) you just can’t miss.
If you’re a little more action-adventure than a leisurely spin through the city, pack the panniers and embark on a journey that can take you all the way to DC! The Great Allegheny Passage, often called the GAP Trail, is 150 miles of biking over repurposed railroad. Set off from the South Side to bike, hike, and camp to Cumberland, MD. There, you’ll have to decide to turn around or take the C&O Canal Trail to our nation’s capital!
You probably already know the North Shore Trail. It’s where you go to kill time before a Buccos game or dock your boat for a Kenny Chesney concert, right? But that’s not our idea of active. Try running or walking this beautiful riverfront trail, complete with views of the city, the Great Lawn and Water Steps of North Shore Riverfront Park, and plenty of elbowroom for jogging.
This is your opportunity to run like a cheetah…or a sloth. Whatever your pace, walkers, joggers, sprinters, and animal enthusiasts can find their stride through the Pittsburgh Zoo. Take in the zoo’s wild family as you stroll past or take the more express tour to the finish.
There’s carbo-loading before a race, then there’s carbo-loading as a requirement of the race. This is the Donut Dash in Schenley Plaza. The cause? A fun run and fundraiser supporting ALS Research. The carbs? Donuts, of course. Competitive racers will run one mile, eat six donuts, then finish the race with a belly full of powdered sugar, sprinkles, and sweet glazed donuts. Last fall saw 1,300 donut dashers and an incredibly sugary feast.
**need to confirm they’re renewing for 2016
We’ve all seen Cutch stretch out in the outfield at PNC – now it’s your turn. Yoga in PNC Park, cleverly called OMs in the Outfield, is a one-of-a-kind experience led by the city’s top yoga instructors. On a sunny summer day, you can roll out your mat and find your zen in the most beautiful ballpark in America.
A triathlon is a heck of an achievement for anybody. And Pittsburgh’s got a beauty of a triathlon that’ll help you cross it off of your list. Along the Allegheny River and over the picturesque riverfront trails, you’ll bike, run, and swim yourself to an amazingly active feat. They also offer and Adventure Race for you to bike, run, and paddle in a kayak or canoe.
You’ve got to get out on the rivers on a paddleboard! Stand-Up Paddleboarding is all the rage now and the perfect platform to take you around the city. Not only is cruising around the riverfronts great for balance and a killer core workout, but Pittsburgh’s SUP scene is exploding. Come summer, look for SUP tours, yoga classes, and even the South Side Outside Paddle and Music Festival!
Don’t show up in fresh running kicks and some energy gel chews and expect to complete the Rachel. The Rachel Carson Trail Challenge is a 34-mile trek through rocks and roots, paved streets, steep bluffs, and untamed wilderness. (who knew northern Allegheny County could be so rugged?) More than 600 people brave this day-long challenging hike each June. Do you have what it takes?
If you’re more comfortable on two wheels than your own two feet, you’re gonna want to take off work the week of BikeFest. It’s a celebration of all things cycling. Call it a bike rally, call it a bicycle bash, but for the 12th year, Pittsburgh riders of all abilities dance, pedal, and spin in bike-centric events and parties. Make sure you’re there for PedalPGH, the region’s largest bike ride!
Venture Outdoors has a pretty big impact on Pittsburgh, you just might not realize it. Want to organize the best biking and hiking tours around the riverfront and trails? That’s VO. All those kayaks in the rivers on a sunny day? That’s VO, too. So when the Venture Outdoors Festival goes down in May, you’re going to want to bring the whole gang for a day’s worth of outdoorsy activities, like kayaking, fishing, climbing, dragon boating, and more!
OpenStreetsPGH is back and better than ever. For the first time ever in 2015, the City of Pittsburgh shut down parts of Penn Avenue and Butler street to let you…well, do whatever you want! This year, as a pedestrian or cyclist, you’ll get to play in the streets with a number of hosted fitness events like bikram yoga, salsa dancing, and even roller disco. Whatever you do this summer, make sure get out and get active on these wide-open Pittsburgh streets!
We’ll keep you up to date on all things health, fitness and local food in Pittsburgh.