Insider's Guide to Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival

See legendary and emerging artists at Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival and enjoy 10 days of free music and art!

The air is warm and the days are getting longer. It's the perfect time to be outdoors enjoying the free, annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival from June 1-10 in the Cultural District, Gateway Center and Point State Park. You don't need to buy tickets or make reservations. Just show up! There's lots of great art, food and live musical entertainment every day. 

Experience a diverse daily lineup of concerts, offering a variety of music from every genre. Be sure to bring a blanket and some friends while you enjoy a free concert under the stars. 

Don't miss Gospel/Soul R&B singer Mavis Staples on June 1. You'll be mesmerized by the rich vocals of this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist and dynamic performer. The Mavericks take the Dollar Bank main stage, merging strains of Tex-Mex, Cuban bolero, R&B, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll on June 10.

A new visual arts exhibition at the August Wilson Center/African American Cultural Center, Lest We Forget, explores the depictions of African Americans in European American popular culture from the past 150 years. RethinkVets, an exhibit of work from members of the United States Veterans' Artist Alliance, can be found on Gateway Center's Lawn. 

Explore the treasure-filled, open-air Artist Market from 12-8 pm daily for unique, handmade art. Buy a painting for that empty space on your wall. Get a handcrafted piece of jewelry for your favorite friend. Pick up an edgy sculpture to spruce up that home office.

Bring out your inner artist for an evening at the Twilight Sketch Crawl on June 9. The two-hour drawing marathon invites you to draw what you see on a journey through Point State Park. Accomplished artist and illustrator Rick Antolic will be on hand to assist with your masterpiece. 

Dine al fresco at one of the many vendors offering everything from sausage and pepper sandwiches to tabbouleh to lobster burgers. Indulge in a funnel cake. Sip on fresh-squeezed lemonade that tastes like summer. There are also food trucks available or you can always dine at one of the many great restaurants in the Cultural District. 

Here are the basics of what you need to know before you go:

Dress for the Weather

In any given year at the The Arts Festival you may need massive amounts of sunscreen, a light jacket, or an umbrella. The weather is unpredictable in June, but Pittsburghers are down to enjoy the festivities no matter what it's like outside. The only time events close down is when the weather presents a true safety hazard, and if you're worried you can monitor the website and social media for any weather-related changes in the schedule.

Best Time to Go

The festival's hours are 12-8pm every day, and if you're looking to examine the art, going over lunch time is a great way to beat the crowds. There are also many wonderful food providers offering everything from typical festival fare to food trucks on Fridays, so – win/win! If you're interested in the scheduled music performances, check out the schedule and make sure to plan enough time for parking and grabbing that perfect viewing spot.

Are Pets Allowed?

Dogs on leashes are permitted in Point State Park, with the obvious expectation that owners must pick up after their pooches. Be advised, though, that the environment of the festival may not be enjoyable for many pets. There are large crowds of people, children, loud noises and music, as well as bicycles and other dogs. Consider carefully if your pup would be comfortable in this environment. Dogs are not allowed in the Artist Market due to tight spaces and fragile artwork.

Parking & Transportation

It's easier than you would think to get to the Arts Festival. Public transportation is available through the Port Authority of Allegheny County by bus, light rail and the incline, and there are several downtown stops that will get you close to where you need to be. Biking is a great option as well thanks to downtown Pittsburgh's dedicated bike lanes. Another great reason to bring your bike is to take advantage of free bike valet parking at the festival. That's right, more free stuff. If you're driving, make sure to check out the ParkPGH app that will show you real-time the availability at downtown garages. For more information check out our transportation page.

Accessible for All

Anyone and everyone is welcome to enjoy the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Restroom locations in Point State Park and Theater Square include accessible facilities, ADA-compliant cable covers are used throughout the Artists Market, and guide animals are welcome in all festival locations. In addition, large-print programs are available at every information booth. Art and music for all!

Green & Sustainable

The Three Rivers Arts Festival is big on environmental responsibility, and as a festival attendee you get to make a sustainable impact, too! Since 2009 The Arts Festival has installed systems to divert nearly 268 tons of waste through composting and recycling efforts. Don't worry about buying a bottle of water while you're there – bring your own bottle and enjoy the free water stations provided. They also donate materials from previous projects and installations for future reuse, making sure to pay it forward.

The Bathroom Situation

Portable restrooms are in Point State Park right past the portal bridge as you're heading to the fountain. The Cultural District locations also provide indoor facilities.

We hope this gives you some solid information to start preparing for your trip to the Three Rivers Arts Festival. It's anything but ordinary, and a whole lot of fun. Book your trip now so you don't miss out!