Love at First Ride: 5 Reasons I Adore OpenStreetsPGH (And You Should, Too)

Love at First Ride: 5 Reasons I Adore OpenStreetsPGH (And You Should, Too)

Market Square - one of the main entry points for the May 2018 OpenStreetsPGH.

Market Square - one of the main entry points for the May 2018 OpenStreetsPGH.

If you happen to reside in or around Pittsburgh, you might have heard of this little 'ole free event - called OpenStreetsPGH - that draws thousands of participants each summer. On the last Sunday in May, June, and July, OpenStreetsPGH closes a predetermined route to vehicles so that bikers, rollerbladers, walkers, joggers, and skateboarders can enjoy full access!

Now, I must confess - I was a bit of a skeptic at first. However, that might've been my super introvert rearing its ugly head. Bike among tons of other people? Did I want to do that? Turns out, yes. Yes, I do!

I recently experienced my first OpenStreetsPGH and quite honestly, I had a blast! Here are five reasons why I fell in love with this event - and you should, too!

 

1. You Get to Rule the Road

This seems like an obvious point, right? After all, the idea behind OpenStreetsPGH is to grant pedestrians access to specific roads. But it's also one of those things in life where, once you experience it, you find yourself exclaiming, "Oh! This is AMAZING!" 

There's something very freeing about coasting along a bridge, tunnel, or city street without having to worry about cars. You're free to truly experience where you are and enjoy the scenery from a different point-of-view. 

Participants of OpenStreetsPGH on Forbes Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh.

Participants of OpenStreetsPGH on Forbes Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh.


2. It's a Fresh & Unique Way to Experience Pittsburgh

I've lived and worked downtown for several years now, and yet my first OpenStreetsPGH (which ran from Market Square to the South Side and back) allowed me to experience the city in a way I hadn't before. I was able to really take in the shops, restaurants, streets, atmosphere, and the surrounding landscape. Something not easily done when riding a bike amid traffic, for example, as your attention is required elsewhere.

Plus, there's numerous activities going on along the route - and in interesting places such as the side lanes of a major bridge. And when you're pedaling over a bridge and through a tunnel... I mean, how often do you get to do that? It's just plain fun!
 

3. You Can Explore Different Neighborhoods

OpenStreetsPGH offers a different route for each of its May, June, and July events. This means you can enjoy a new area each time - whether it's completely new to you or a personal favorite. You can see the routes for each event on their website.

Map of the May 2018 OpenStreetsPGH event. 

Map of the May 2018 OpenStreetsPGH event. 


4. There Are a Ton of Activities - For All Ages

At its heart, OpenStreetsPGH is about fun and fitness for everyone. It offers a ton of activities in the categories of Mind & Body, Dance, Strength, and Family-Friendly. You can try anything from yoga, to face-painting, to pickleball, and even unicycle lessons. And you can attend just the activities if you wish - no need to walk, bike, or jog the entire route if that's not your cup of tea.

Visit the OpenStreetsPGH website to view the full activity schedule for each event.
 

5. It's the Perfect Excuse to Indulge 

Whatever fun activity you're pursuing, whether you're rollerblading or jogging through the streets, you're burning those calories! So feel free to treat yourself and explore the local shops at the same time. A friend and I did just that at Just Good Donuts on the South Side. (Yum!)

Cinnamon and chocolate donuts from Just Good Donuts - located on E. Carson Street in the South Side.

Cinnamon and chocolate donuts from Just Good Donuts - located on E. Carson Street in the South Side.