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Pittsburgh Parks Grill and Table so expensive for a picni! Any alternatives?

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I'm a graduating college student and my family and friends are coming to Pittsburgh in May. Instead of a traditional graduation dinner, I want to have a barbeque BBQ in one of Pittsburgh's amazing public parks. In order to get a grill and picnic table you have to make a reservation. The shocking thing is that the cheapest reservation is $150!!! This is absolutely ludicrous but I really want to have a BBQ!

I don't have money or time to invest in buying my own grill and table and a picnic blanket is not an option. Is this $150 really the truth? Is there another alternative or other green space where there are grills and I can still barbeque with my family?

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  1. Out of all of the beautiful parks around the Pittsburgh area, I've always really enjoyed North Park. If I remember correctly, the fee for a shelter, which included a grill, was $30.00.

    http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burghfeeder

      Yeah, in terms of parks around Pittsburgh suitable for a BBQ, I would also recommend North Park. I've had and been to a number of picnics/get-togethers at their shelters, and they all have grills. The price Burghfeeder quotes sounds about right, although I kind of remember some of the shelter's having electricity for a nominal upcharge. Some of the larger shelters might be slightly more expensive, too. But I think the wide majority are right around $30-$40 for the day.

      I've also been to BBQ's at Settler's Cabin, and they had nice shelters with grills as well, probably in a similar price range to North Park, if that would be closer.

      1. re: MonMauler

        Yes, the Allegheny County parks should be a better option price-wise; they go from $30-45. We've had company picnics at both North Park and Settler's Cabin Park. The latter is easy to get to off the highway (Parkway West/I-376 towards the airport).

        http://www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/f...

        The only problem with Settler's Cabin is there aren't nearly as many picnic groves available so you'd better get on this now. In North Park (or South Park) there are so many that unless you need a specific large one you shouldn't have too much trouble.

        Note that an additional alcohol permit is required if you're going to have any. That's another $50 so now you're up to $80-95. The city fee of $150 and up does include this. So if you're going to have a dry cookout you'll save more on this permit than if not. ;-)

        If you're having people from out of town, Settler's Cabin might be ideal because of its location.

    2. Wow thanks so much for all the suggestions. Being originally from out-of-state, I'm still shocked that I even have to pay a dime for a table in a park. Is this just a Pittsburgh thing? I'm originally from Austin, and a cheap way to have a great day is grab a table with a grill without a reservation or cost at the city parks, and buy bulk packages of steaks and watermelon. But maybe not paying for park services is also why Texas's budget is in such a hole right now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kongrid

        We always reserved because we were having an event. However, I'm not sure that you specifically can't use a grove on a first come, first served basis if it's not reserved, at least in the county parks. You might call them and ask. I don't really know the deal on that.

        The thing is, you'll have a typical time frame i.e. graduation, so you won't likely be the only one doing this. So you probably need to reserve anyway to ensure a spot, unless you're doing it on a weekday.

        Mainly these are a small number of parks serving a large number of people so I gather that's why it's mostly done with the permit systems. But there probably are some municipal parks in the smaller communities that allow for first come, first serve. I also have a vague recollection of one or the other or both of those county parks having some areas set aside for non-reserved. So that could be an option. Can't say for sure. The parks web site info doesn't seem to make mention of this so perhaps I am mistaken.