South Hills summer specials: Fireworks and pool parking lots
RecreationFun in the 'burbs

South Hills summer specials: Fireworks and pool parking lots

There's a lot to do in the South Hills this season. Here are a few suggestions.

Fireworks will be displayed throughout the South Hills to celebrate the Fourth of July (Photo by Designecologist via Pexels)
Fireworks will be displayed throughout the South Hills to celebrate the Fourth of July (Photo by Designecologist via Pexels)

While the city of Pittsburgh is bustling with events throughout the year, the suburbs of Pittsburgh are oft-overlooked spots for summer fun. Don’t miss out on spectacular firework displays on the Fourth of July or the opportunity to unwind poolside in the South Hills.

Celebrate the Fourth of July with grand firework displays
Upper St. Clair and South Fayette are holding a joint firework display on July 4 from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Fairview Park. The display is free and can be viewed from around the townships. Parking is limited at Fairview Park, but you can park and watch it from afar at Upper St. Clair’s Community & Recreation Center, 1551 Mayview Road.

If you’re not eager to be up at 11:30 p.m., Dormont is holding an earlier display from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Dormont Day in the Dormont Pool’s parking lot, 1801 Dormont Ave. The three-hour event features musical performances from The Smeres and Justin Fabus from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., respectively, before the Zambelli fireworks are launched at 9:35 p.m. While you’re there, snag a grab bag and get some food from Tom’s Diner on Wheels and Kona Ice.

Go swimming
And if you’re already stopping by the Dormont Pool for fireworks, why not take a dip? A one-day visit costs $8 and non-residents of Dormont can buy a season family pass for $295. Kids under 3 can go in for free. If you go, make sure to take a turn on the waterslide. The Dormont Pool is open from noon to 8 p.m. every day during the summer.

The Mt. Lebanon Swim Center is another great place to swim since its renovation in 2014 brought about a new bathhouse, pool heater, spray features and — you’re reading this correctly — a poolside rock climbing wall. A daily pass is $10 for adults, and $9 for those 62 and older and 18 and younger. The pool is open from noon to 7 p.m. every day at 900 Cedar Blvd.

Visit the mall

South Hills Village Mall (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
The South Hills Village is a two-story mall with all the classics: Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Build-A-Bear, Claire’s and Hot Topic. A hidden gem in the mall is The Spice and Tea Exchange, the go-to shop for tea, spices and flavored salts and sugars. You can get a freshly brewed tea or just enjoy the sights and smells. Make a day of the visit by getting brunch at Eat ’n Park and catching a discounted matinee at the AMC Theatre, both within walking distance of the mall. South Hills Village is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at 301 South Hills Village.

Go ice skating
If the summer heat is getting to you, take to the ice and cool off at one of Ice Castle Arena’s two rinks at 990 Castle Shannon Blvd. Breaks from skating can be spent eating fair food like churros and funnel cakes from the snack bar, getting drinks at the bar and lounge or working out your fingers in the Arena’s arcade. General admission costs $10, senior admission costs $6 and children under 5 get in free. Bring your own skates or pay $5 to rent a pair. The rink is open for skating from 10 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, and noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The summer brings a new Friday night skate time from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a $15 flat admission. The rink is lit up by colored lights during weekend skates.

Watch a movie

From sitting in the seats of the AMC Theatres by the South Hills Village to watching films under the stars, there are plenty of places to catch a movie in the suburbs. The animated film “The Bad Guys” is free to watch in the Dormont Pool parking lot at 8:40 p.m. on July 14, but make sure to bring your own blanket or chair. Dormont Elementary School’s fifth grade class will be selling concessions.

If you prefer an indoor movie experience, AMC Theatres has a Mt. Lebanon location in addition to the South Hills Village theater. This summer brought new releases like “Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse,” “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Flash,” all of which are being shown at both AMC locations.

Volunteer at the South Hills Jewish Community Center
While the summer is a great time for swimming and celebrating, there’s never a wrong time to lend a helping hand. The Jewish Community Center in the South Hills offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. Volunteers can help out at the J Café — which serves kosher food to older adults — by providing support, assistance and company to those dining. Older adults can volunteer to call seniors through the CheckMates program to provide reassurance and company to those who may be isolated or lonely. Contact Amy Gold at or 412-697-3528 to get involved.

Take advantage of public libraries
South Hills has too many public libraries to count, but all of them are great places to sit down with a good book and unwind during the hotter days of the year. Plus, they’re perfect for the whole family. Peters Township Public Library’s Curious George Curious Club introduces kids to STEM with Curious George-themed activities on July 6, and at its July 8 Paws for Reading event, kids can read to therapy dogs. Attendees must register in advance by visiting the library’s website,, and clicking on its events calendar. For adults, Upper St. Clair Public Library is holding a bingo event on July 10 at 10 a.m., and weekly matinees on Fridays at 10 a.m. To find more events at South Hills public libraries, visit the event calendar on your local public library’s website.

Get fresh food and produce at a farmers market
Put the season in seasonal this summer and stop by one of the many South Hills farmers markets for locally produced fruits, vegetables and pantry staples. Mt. Lebanon’s farmers market runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday this summer at 975 Washington Road and sells everything from mushroom growing kits to flower crowns. The Bethel Park farmers market is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday at 30 Corrigan Dr. Some vendors only sell every other week, so it’s worth visiting two weeks in a row. Upper St. Clair’s farmers market is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday at 2040 Washington Road.

Watch a theatrical performance
Something to look forward to later in July are the new productions by Stage 62 and the Little Lake Theatre Company. Starting on July 20 at 8 p.m., Stage 62 will debut “Something Rotten,” a musical comedy about two brothers seeking fame and fortune by writing a hit play in the 1590s, but struggling to make it in the age of Shakespeare. Also on July 20, Little Lake Theatre Company’s “Deathtrap,” a comedic thriller about Broadway writer Sydney Bruhl and his potentially devious plan to collaborate with another writer, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the performances can be bought on Stage 62’s website,, and the Little Lake Theatre Company’s website, PJC

Abigail Hakas can be reached at

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