A Sensory-Friendly Guide to Pittsburgh

A Sensory-Friendly Guide to Pittsburgh

Resources for sensory-challenged, autistic and neurodivergent visitors to Pittsburgh

Everyone should be able to enjoy the best of Pittsburgh and have an inclusive, seamless experience! That's why we're thrilled to showcase all of the museums, sports stadiums, theatres, attractions and other organizations who are providing sensory-friendly and sensory-inclusive experiences throughout our city.

For more information on any of these initiatives or additional requests or needs, please contact the organization directly to help you plan your next visit!

Please note: All of this information was either provided directly from partners or was taken from their websites, and every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy. If you need additional info on sensory-inclusive experiences, please message the business directly.

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is the first KultureCity-certified Sensory Inclusive Building in the state of Pennsylvania.

Sensory bags containing noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, feeling thermometer, sunglasses and verbal cue cards are available. A Quiet room is available on Level 2, Concourse A, and Headphone Zones are clearly marked. Guests can download the free KultureCity app to view the available sensory tools and the social story detailing the items featured at the DLCC. 

Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium has partnered with KultureCity to improve their ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs, providing an inclusive and seamless experience for all guests for all events. The Zoo also raises awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our Team Members with continuous training and by offering the following resources and accommodations to guests:

  • Sensory Bags
  • Weighted Lap Pads
  • Social Story and KultureCity All-Inclusive App

Children's Museum

Sensory Friendly Afternoons are offered on the second Tuesday of each month from 1-5 p.m. Anyone with sensory sensitivities is invited to have a fun, friendly experience in a comfortable and accepting environment. Lights and sounds in spaces throughout the museum are adjusted, Sensory Kits with noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, fidgets and other items are available, and several Quiet Areas, where families can take a break, are designated. To learn about other programs for children and families with autism spectrum disorders and sensory sensitivities, please contact accessibility@pittsburghkids.org or visit their website.

Sensory tools, including noise-canceling headphones, weighted neck wraps and wrist assistance cuffs, are available upon request by contacting accessibility@pittsburghkids.org in advance of your visit.

A description of Museum exhibits told from a child’s perspective and utilizing visual messages is also available.

Heinz History Center

Sensory bags containing fidgets, noise reducing earmuffs and earplugs, sunglasses and a flashlight are available to borrow (at no cost by leaving an ID) on a first come, first served basis in the Heinz History Center Museum Shop.

Moonshot Museum

Sensory bags are available for free at the Moonshot Museum admissions desk. Guests who would like to check out a bag just need to request one upon purchasing their admission tickets. Upon their return, guests will be asked for feedback on the kits to make sure they are successfully meeting your needs.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Pittsburgh's Cultural District is committed to making performances and facilities available to all of our patrons. If you should have further questions, please call the box office. If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask your ticketing representative or call the facility directly: 

  •  August Wilson Center: 412-258-2700
  • Benedum Center: 412-456-2600
  • Byham Theater: 412-456-1350
  • Harris Theater: 412-456-1350
  • Heinz Hall: 412-392-4900
  • O'Reilly Theater: 412-316-8200

Carnegie Science Center

Sensory Sensitive Science Hours are held on select Sunday mornings. Exhibit lights and sound effects are adjusted and special hands-on activities are added to foster a safe, welcoming, and most of all, fun, environment for all visitors. 

Whenever possible, low-sensory versions of shows and demonstrations are hosted by Buhl Planetarium, Demonstration Theaters or other departments. Early entry is also offered on these days to provide reduced wait times and a calmer entry experience. A Quiet Space is available during Sensory Sensitive events, for visitors who need to take a break.

Sensory backpacks (including a pair of noise cancelling headphones, gloves, sunglasses, fidget toys, communication cards), weighted vests, blanket and lap pad are available to borrow at no-cost on a first-come, first served basis. See a staff member at the first-floor ticket counter for availability.

Click here for the Science Center's Adventure Guide (PDF) , which is helpful in preparing visitors and their families for a visit to the Science Center. The Adventure Guide tells you about our facilities and exhibits, as well as addressing sensory and accessibility-related questions.

Andy Warhol Museum

The museum offers engaging gallery and studio experiences for teens and adults with autism spectrum disorders and sensory sensitivities. To learn about upcoming programs, visit the Andy Warhol Museum's calendar or contact access@warhol.org to schedule a tour.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

During Sensory Friendly Hours, the museum will open its galleries at 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the museum opens to the general public. Families with members on the autism spectrum or who otherwise easily experience sensory overload are welcome to visit the museum for a quieter experience in a more controlled environment.

Museum experts will give tours of the exhibitions and be on hand to answer questions throughout the morning. Designated quiet zones will allow visitors to decompress and experience the museum at their own pace. To provide the most sensory-friendly environment possible, advance registration is required for Sensory Friendly Saturday.

PNC Park

Partnering with Allegheny Health Network and KultureCity, PNC Park is striving to make Pirates games more inclusive and comfortable for guests with sensory processing needs. Located on the Suite Level in Suite 65, a sensory room is available for all guests with sensory processing needs. The room contains items such as bubble walls, sensory art panels, sensory touch panels and bean bags. Guests are allotted 15 minutes inside the room, and a Pirates team member will be available to assist with your needs.

Sensory Bags containing fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones, weighted lap pads, and other sensory resources are available at no charge in the Main Guest Relations Office located at the bottom of the Home Plate Rotunda. A valid credit card or acceptable form of picture identification, such as a valid driver's license or non-driver government-issued photo ID card, is required as a deposit. Additionally, Pirates team members are trained to recognize opportunities to assist with these guests' enjoyment of the game.

PPG Paints Arena

PPG Paints Arena is a KultureCity partner, and Sensory Inclusive Bags are available with fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones and other activities to help those with sensory needs.

Acrisure Stadium

KultureCity Sensory Packs help fans with special sensory needs feel comfortable and remain engaged during games and events at Acrisure Stadium. Packs provide engaging sensory input on multiple levels to meet the unique needs of users. Packs may be checked out of any Guest Service Room and must be returned at the end of each event.

Photo Credit: @Robhornaman on Insta

Petersen Events Center

The Petersen Events Center has partnered with KultureCity to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs. Sensory bags conting special KCVIP badges, fidget tools, noise cancelling headphones and other resources are available for checkout (at no cost by leaving an ID) at our Guest Services Booth located above sections 117 & 118.

Weighted lap pads are also available upon request (at no cost by leaving an ID) at our Guest Services Booth located above sections 117 & 118.  

National Aviary

Noise cancelling headphones and sensory backpacks are available for visitors with sensory sensitivities at the National Aviary. They may be borrowed at a first-come, first-served basis from our Visitor Services desks. 

The National Aviary's Sensory Guide shares what you might experience room by room during your visit. You can also view our KultureCity Story Guide. Join the Aviary each month from January to May for Sensory Friendly Mornings!

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's sensory-friendly performances are relaxed performances that are open to all. This come-as-you-are atmosphere is perfect for families with small children or those needing any kind of additional support. It is a judgment-free zone where theater staff and patrons accept (and expect) extra sound or movement in the audience and where we celebrate the myriad ways audience members can experience a live stage performance.

Find upcoming sensory-friendly performances on the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's website.

Prime Stage Theatre

The second Saturday of each production at 2:30 p.m. is a sensory inclusive performance at Prime Stage Theatre. This family experience provides a social story with pre-theater preparatory activities for the person with a sensory, social or learning disability so the person begins to understand and anticipate what might happen at a performing arts experience. Prime Stage Theatre staff is certified for Sensory Inclusive in partnership with KultureCity.

Pittsburgh Opera

Sensory Workshops are held for select productions at the Bitz Opera Factory in the Strip District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. These workshops examine the story, the music and the background of the opera. Participants will have a chance to explore the scenery, props and costumes. Workshops are conducted by the Education Department.

Sensory Workshops are free, but reservations should be made by calling 412-281-0912, ext. 242.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all patrons. Each year, PSO hosts a sensory friendly performance that is customized especially for those with autism spectrum disorders or who have other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. Modifications include mitigation of sudden sounds, low-level lighting throughout the performance, designated quiet area and expert Heinz Hall staff trained to patron needs.

In addition to our annual sensory friendly concert, all Fiddlesticks and Schooltime concerts also have sensory friendly accommodations available. Please ask your ticketing representative for more information or call 412-392-4900.

Carnegie Libraries

All 19 Carnegie Library locations own Sensory Discovery Programming kits. These kits include many supports for sensory needs, including noise cancelling headphones, weighted lap pads and fidgets. All of our locations also own Sensory Discoveries Art kits which include items which can help adapt programming for children and adults of all abilities, such as adaptive scissors, Dot Art Painters, scented markers and triangular crayons. These items are available for use within the Library, just ask a staff member.

Many sensory-friendly toys are also incorporated into our everyday programming, such as the ASL, braille and textured blocks used for our playgroup series Family PlayShop. Over ten CLP locations host Storytime: Sensory Discoveries, which are dynamic, sensory based literacy programs developed with the learning needs of all children in mind. You can find upcoming dates and times for Storytime: Sensory Discoveries here; also check out Jessica’s post for an in depth look at what happens at a Sensory Discovery storytime. Every location has a different selection of sensory-infused furniture and toys, so feel free to call ahead of time if you are looking for a specific item.

Pittsburgh International Airport

Presley’s Place, located down the A Terminal between Gates 9 and 11, offers a calming respite for travelers with sensory sensitivities and their families to de-escalate prior to getting on a plane or even after landing. Key features include a realistic airplane cabin experience, private and soundproof spaces, adjustable lighting, calming activities, sensory-friendly restroom and a transitional space between the concourse and room with real-time flight info and interactive terminal map.


Besides all of the proactive ways businesses are training and offering programming on sensory-inclusive needs, the Pittsburgh region is fortunate to have a variety of businesses in town to offer additional advocacy, training, resources and support

  • Autism Caring Center - dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the families that care for them.  
  • Autism Connection of Pennsylvania- their mission is to be a lifeline and hub for families and adults, providing support, information, and advocacy.
  • Autism Pittsburgh - Since 1966, we have been working to advocate for the autism community through information, referral, and programming.
  • Band Together Pittsburgh - believes that music has the power to unify the world. We envision using music to inspire and enrich the lives of those on the autism spectrum, enabling integration with family, friends, and society as a whole.
  • in Toto Community Resource Center- inclusive programs offer support groups, educational workshops, resource referrals, and more. 
  • KultureCity - We are the nation's leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities.