Summer 2022: The Summer of the Student

The energy around the University of Pittsburgh’s campus has begun to change. The weather is slowly getting warmer and campus morale is steadily rising. Students across campus are climbing out of their winter hibernation and populating the campus green space with hammocks, spikeball, and picnics.

Spring semester at Pitt has always been highly anticipated, but to most students, the arrival of spring means that summer is quickly approaching. While a vast majority of Pitt students journey home for the summer, there is always a special group of students that choose to stay on campus.

Summer on Pitt’s campus is very different from the normal student life most of us are accustomed to — the campus is half empty and we are free from the normal student obligations that tie us down. This combination of freedom and empty space encourages students living in Oakland over the summer to find creative ways to fill their newly found free time. 

Unfortunately, many of the benefits we receive as Pitt students disappear during the summer. For one, the benefits of having a Pitt student ID during the fall and spring semester are put on pause during the summer. Pitt students are no longer offered discounts or free passes to places like the Pittsburgh museums or the Phipps Conservatory.

Luckily, Pitt student IDs still function as a free bus pass during the summer. The free bus pass is an essential factor to filling one’s summer with fun activities as the bus serves as the perfect transportation vessel for exploring Pittsburgh.

This guide will help you explore low-cost opportunities for summer fun in Pittsburgh for Pitt students planning or considering staying in Pittsburgh over the summer.

Student Bands

One of the best parts of my past summer in Pittsburgh was exploring the music scene. There are a handful of fun, cheap options for Pitt students looking to explore the Pittsburgh music scene. The most convenient option is to go to a house show hosted by Pitt students.

House shows normally play alternative music, but some of the best bands from the past summer were Wild Blue Yonder and Quiet Hours.

In the fall and winter, these shows are held in basements which quickly become sweaty and unbearable because they are packed with students. But, in the summer, the house shows are starkly different and the open air encourages dancing, conversation, and even lounging.

At most, these bands might charge $5 at the door or else they are free. These bands know how to get a crowd going, but most importantly, the crowd consists of Pitt students and provides concert-goers an opportunity to build a musical summer community. 

Jam on Walnut

Another great way to explore the music scene in Pittsburgh during the summer is to attend Jam on Walnut in Shadyside.

Only a short bus ride away, Jam on Walnut is a block party/ summer concert series which donates twenty percent of their sales (beer, food, merchandise) to Animal Friends – a Pittsburgh-based animal rescue focused on rehoming and rehabilitation.

This concert series always supports a lively crowd and a band that is ready to rock out. Usually, the summer concerts take place about once a month during the warm months of June, July, and August.

The options make it easier for students to attend once or even go multiple times. Additionally, while there is alcohol available, the event is not limited to a 21+ crowd which allows the rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors staying on campus to join in on the fun.

If you choose to eat before you venture over to Shadyside and not buy anything, you have access to a free concert and night full of entertainment.


Moving more toward entertainment, Pittsburgh has some sweet movie deals if you were hoping to go out for date night or are bored on a rainy day.

Theaters close to campus include Southside Works by The Cheesecake Factory and Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill. Both have extremely reasonable deals on Mondays and Tuesdays. Fortunately, these deals — which include a $5 movie ticket — are yearly deals.

This deal is amazing for anyone who likes to go to the movies and basically halves the original price of a movie ticket nowadays.

Plus, summer is a perfect time for students to catch up on all the movies that came out in the spring when they might have been too focused on studying to take a trip to the movies. The cheap prices for high-quality entertainment are hard to pass up!