Pittsburgh WalkFest 2016: Slow Your Roll

walkfest blog
Lace-up your walking shoes and join us! Photo by Brad Quartuccio.

WalkFest is a 9-day, 9-event, community walking festival to celebrate the walkability of the great city of Pittsburgh. 

This fun festival, encourages the most healthy, sustainable form of transportation: walking. Join us on October 1st – 9th for our first ever (and hopefully annual) WalkFest!

WalkFest is anywhere and everywhere around Pittsburgh. You can go to one of our highlighted events on our calendar below or just take a purposeful stroll through your neighborhood streets. WalkFest is the perfect time to see how convenient, pleasant and energizing it can be to add more walking into your daily commute. We support leaving your car at home and experience walking to work, school, parks, and shops.

We encourage you to host walking meetings and friendly step competitions throughout October! Be sure to keep us updated on your progress and use the hashtag #Walkfest tag us on social @BikePGH! And don’t worry, we’ve already collaborated on a WalkFest playlist for you!

CONTEST ALERT: Starting Saturday, October 1st, we’re launching our #WalkFest photo contest. The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card from Little’s Shoes! Two runner-up winners will receive grab bags filled with prizes perfect for any autumn stroll. Click here for full contest details!

Slow your roll and take in the beauty of Pittsburgh’s city streets, local trails, and parks. Although we love getting around on two wheels, here are 9 events worth lacing up your walking shoes for.

Saturday, October 1

This year’s event will highlight the Mosaic Steps Public Art Project on Oakley Street Steps. Photo from the StepTrek Facebook page.


Time: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Place: South Side Park (Josephine & 21st Streets) on the South Side
Cost: $13 pre-registered (Bring $15 for a t-shirt!)
Website: http://www.southsideslopes.org/steptrek/steptrek-event-description-2/

In its 16th year, the Pittsburgh StepTrek has lasted this long due to the backing of individuals with a curiosity as to what lies at the top or bottom of the numerous public stairs in the neighborhood. With the South Side Slopes having the greatest concentration of public stairs of any neighborhood in the city, step maintenance is crucial. And StepTrek participants and sponsors have assisted the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), an all volunteer organization, with its mission of maintaining and improving this unique neighborhood asset.

The routes will take a tour of the hillsides and spectacular views that distinguish Pittsburgh. The family-friendly event combines photography, historic narrative and a sense of a neighborhood dependent upon steps. Each pre-registered trekker receives a map and a course narrative.

StepTrek is what the trekker makes it. Participants may choose to use this noncompetitive event as a test of fitness or a semi-challenging hike. The benefits of a stirring walk through the Slopes have earned this event the heart-healthy rating from the American Heart Association.

Sunday, October 2

Doors Open Pittsburgh will include 40 buildings and visitors will be provided self-guided or semi-guided access, depending on the building and the space. Photo from the Doors Open Facebook page.

Doors Open Pittsburgh

Cost: Free
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Place: Downtown Pittsburgh
Website: http://doorsopenpgh.org

Doors Open Pittsburgh, the first-ever event of its kind in Downtown Pittsburgh, provides behind-the-scenes access, or unique experiences, across a collection of iconic buildings and perhaps some lesser known places – showcasing the City’s diverse architectural styles and rich heritage.

This free event, which will be held on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, will open the doors of some of Pittsburgh’s most impressive buildings. This is the opportunity for Pittsburghers and visitors alike to gain access to some of our city’s great landmarks, including office buildings, private clubs, houses of worship, government offices, theaters, hotels, and residential buildings that contribute to our City’s rich architectural landscape and heritage.

“During the Doors Open Pittsburgh weekend, Downtown Pittsburgh will open its doors to you, literally. This is your chance to see the insides of a diverse collection of buildings and some of the really cool spaces you may have heard about, driven or walked past, but have never been inside to explore and experience.  We welcome curiosity,” says Bonnie Baxter, founder of Doors Open Pittsburgh. Visitors have the ability to choose which buildings or spaces they want to visit throughout the entire weekend.

Monday, October 3

lunch loop

Join us for the WalkFest Edition of #LunchLoop Photo by Brad Quartuccio.

#LunchLoop WalkFest Edition

Cost: Free
Time: Noon
Place: Meet us at Market Square
Website: Register Here

Trade in your normal lunchtime routine and join BikePGH, Riverlife and Healthy Ride for our first-ever Walkfest #lunchloop on Monday, October, 3rd. This #Walkfest edition of #LunchLoop will feature a 30-minute walk starting and ending in Market Square. The philosophy of this event is no sweat, no stress. Get out of the office, stretch your legs, and enjoy the crisp fall air with us.

Tuesday, October 4

frick-park-gallery-rosie wise

Hit the Trail Tuesday, an Instagramers dream! Photo by Rosie Wise, from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website.

Hit the Trail Tuesday

Cost: Free
Time: Whenever you want!
Place: Any Trail in Pittsburgh (see below for ideas!)

We want to make Hit the Trail Tuesday an easily accessible event for everyone. All you have to do is pick a trail and explore! Now, we’re not judging for the formal definition of a trail, it could also be a lap around a local park in your neighborhood. Get creative and post your adventure on social, use the hashtag #WalkFest and mention @BikePGH.

Here are some great options to get those steps:

Wednesday, October 5

Light The Night Walk brings help and hope to people battling blood cancers. Photo from the Light the Night Walk – Heinz Field Facebook page.

Light the Night Walk

Cost: Varies
Time: 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Place: Heinz Field
Website: http://www.lightthenight.org

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds research to find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. Anyone can take part in this event – children, adults and seniors are all welcome. This is a casual fundraising walk with no fitness requirements. There are many ways you can help. You can register to walk individually or as part of a team, just make a donation online, or become a volunteer or sponsor/partner.

Join thousands carrying illuminated lanterns to ‘light the night’ with the hope that cures are found in our lifetime! Those who raise $100+ receive a lantern, t-shirt and food/beverage. This event features kids’ activities, entertainment, music, free Survivor shirts for patients, a moving Remembrance Ceremony and Zambelli fireworks.

Thursday, October 6

Roll up your sleeves and help clear trails at Highland Park! Photo by Melissa McMasters, from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website.

Highland Park Volunteer Sweeps

Cost: Free
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Place: Highland Park Entry Garden
Website: Register Here

Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on this final Highland Park volunteer sweep of the year. Enjoy a walk around Highland Park and take part in park beautification projects like trail clearing or trash cleanup during this two-hour event. Long pants and sturdy shoes are recommended. Tools, gloves and training are provided. Meet at the Highland Park Entry Garden.

Friday, October 7


Each month, people from all over the region stroll Penn Avenue between the 4800 and 5500 blocks to meet with artists and local business owners. Photo from www.pennavenue.org

First Fridays on Penn: Unblurred  

Cost: Free
Time: 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Place: Penn Avenue in Garfield (between
Website: http://www.pennavenue.org/content/unblurred-october-7-2016

Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn is a monthly initiative sponsored by the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, a joint program of the BGC and Friendship Development Associates. What started as an attempt to revitalize Penn Avenue between Negley and Mathilda has transformed into one of the city’s hottest cultural events.

Visitors can expect to see everyone and everything. Families, singles, workers, students, long-time residents and first-time visitors alike can bask in Penn Avenue’s creative energy – experiencing a mix of photography, dance, painting, sculpture, music and spoken word performances. You can find each month’s Unblurred listings on the Events page. If you take any cool pics during your visit to Unblurred, please feel free to share them on your social media sites with the hashtags #WalkFest #unblurred and mention @BikePGH.

Saturday, October 8


Re:NEW Festival reflects Pittsburgh’s commitment to arts and culture, and its forward-thinking creative industries and sustainable technologies. Photo from the Re:NEW Festival Facebook page.

Re:NEW Festival

Cost: Free
Time: Varies
Place: Click here for events by location
Website: http://renewfestival.com

The Re:NEW Festival: a month-long celebration of Creative Reuse, Sustainability, and Transformation happening September 9–October 9, 2016. As Pittsburgh experiences a resurgence and addresses continuous, equitable improvement, the Re:NEW Festival is a collaborative, brand new endeavor, bringing together the city’s diverse and forward-thinking arts and culture, creative industries, and sustainable technologies.

Click here for Event highlights for Saturday, October 8th.

Sunday, October 9


Have a wild adventure at the Zoo for free! Photo from the Pittsburgh Zoo Facebook page.

RADical Day

Cost: Free
Time: 9am-5pm
Place: Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place (Highland Park)
Website: http://www.pittsburghzoo.org

Combine learning, fun, and exploration with a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Walk to their newest exhibit, The Islands. See thousands of animals, including sea lions, leopards, elephants, polar bears, giraffes, and penguins. Sponsored by PPG Industries. At the Water’s Edge: Performance by River City Brass Band (noon).

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! 

Bike Pittsburgh works to make our city streets safe and accessible for everyone to bike and walk. For more info, check out: http://bikepgh.org/membership

1 Comment

  • […] So long summer! October’s almost here and we’re officially psyched for fall leaves, apple cider, and last but not least…WalkFest! In case you haven’t heard, WalkFest is a 9-day community festival to celebrate the walkability of Pittsburgh. […]

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