Father’s Day 2018 is right around the corner. If you’re looking for gift ideas for the dad in your life besides the typical golf outing, Hallmark card, or gift receipt to Home Depot or Lowe’s, read on for some new ideas to celebrate Father’s Day in your house. My husband, Andrew, helped to compile some of this list, so you can be sure it’s dad-approved.
Author’s disclosure: Some of this our family has done before, at least one I’m considering doing for this year, and this is all a result of my personal research and experiences. Nothing on this list is endorsed by the Pittsburgh Moms Blog and no one paid to be included.
The age of subscription boxes is here! Use them to your advantage for Father’s Day.
Mystery Tackle Box is great for fishermen, and comes with a variety of affordable plans starting at $15 per month for just three months. We did this last year for my father-in-law and he loved it.
If your husband isn’t already on the Dollar Shave Club bandwagon, now’s the time to start. My husband enrolled in this last year. It’s cheap, the products are great (they have much more than razors and shaving cream), and I haven’t bought a single razor for myself since. Win-win.
There are subscription boxes for practically everything you can think of: socks, coffee, beer, knives, watches, comics, video games, the list goes on. Do a quick Google search and read a few reviews, and you’re all set.
Distillery and Brewery Tours
There are tons of options for great local distilleries and breweries. Treat the dad in your life to one of these tours for a fun afternoon sampling delicious spirits. Bonus points if you get him a few tickets to take some buddies with him (or a date day!).
Wigle Whiskey is known for producing an excellent variety of whiskey, gin, and rum, plus a selection of liqueurs, bitters, and vodka. Distillery tours occur usually every Saturday and tickets cost $20-$25. They also have gift sets.
Maggie’s Farm Rum was founded in 2013 and claims to be one of America’s most awarded distilleries. My husband has tried a few different varieties and hasn’t been disappointed yet. Tours are $20 and usually available every Saturday afternoon.
East End Brewing Company brews about 35 varieties of beer annually, and they host a brewery tour every other Saturday ranging from $15-$25. They don’t have food on-site, but guests are welcome to bring their own food or eat at one of the food trucks on-site on Fridays and Saturdays.
City Brew Tours has perhaps the best variety of local beer. You get a 5-hour tour of at least four breweries, up to 16 possible varieties of local craft beer, and food, transportation, and swag are included. There are two tour main tour options, one that starts at 11:30 am and one that starts at 4:30 pm. Tours run on weekends and weekdays and cost $99 per person.
If a tour isn’t what you want, here is a list of the five top-rated craft breweries in Pittsburgh. There are a lot that don’t appear on this list; in the South Hills, we have at least three good breweries that I know of off the top of my head. There’s probably one in your area where you could schedule a date day or night with your partner.
Raising kids is tough. Enjoying a glass of alcohol at the end of a hard day might help those tough days of being a dad a little easier. I don’t care for hard liquor, but my husband has developed a liking to quality alcohol on the rocks or mixed with traditional drinks like an Old Fashioned – not the middle-of-the-shelf varieties or discount bottles. This is what he recommends when you want something top-shelf to sip slowly. My husband’s advice if you’re going to the liquor store: “If your husband’s into whiskeys and bourbons, your best bet is to look for something in the $40-$60 range. There is a lot of variety out there.”
- Jim Beam Double Oak
- Angel’s Envy
- Bulleit Bourbon 10-year
- Jameson’s Caskmate
- Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey
- Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey
- Maggie’s Farm Rum
- Other high-end rums
As an alternative, you can get engraved glasses to pair with a bottle of your partner’s favorite alcohol. Amazon can help you out here, as there are specific glasses for certain types of alcohol. Engravers often need at least a few days’ notice (or more), and usually charge by the letter so keep that in mind if you’re thinking how cool it would be to have a set of four engraved, high-quality bar glasses … it could get pricey.
Parks and Museums
The Pittsburgh Zoo offers free admission for all fathers on Father’s Day, when accompanied by at least one of their kids.
Kennywood is pairing their Comicon event on Sunday, June 17 with Father’s Day. If you wear a comic-book themed t-shirt, your ticket is only $25. There will be other Father’s Day-themed activities as well.
The Heinz History Museum is offering all dads a 50 percent discount off admission, plus a discount in the gift shop. Kids 5 and under get in free.
On June 2, 3, 8, and 9, the Children’s Museum is giving kids the chance to record a CD for their dad. Cost is $15 in advance or $18 at the door. On Sunday, June 17 kids can record a “voice print” depicting a wave form of their voice saying I love you. Cost is the same.
If given the choice between giving a gift and giving an experience, I usually favor experiences. The memories last forever and it’s a good excuse to get out of the house. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
LumberjAxes is Pittsburgh’s first axe-throwing venue. Groups can reserve an axe-throwing lane for $35 per person, or walk-in for $20 per hour, per person.
A 2-hour guided tour of Carrie Furnaces is perfect for a history buff or anyone interested in Pittsburgh’s steel legacy. Tours happen regularly during the summer and range from $14 to $25.
Through the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, one Friday a month you can participate in Urban Art workshops. A grittier version of Painting With a Twist, this three-hour workshop lets you make your own graffiti art while learning about its culture. Tickets are $30 and June’s workshop is Friday, June 15.
For the outdoors-loving dad, Venture Outdoors is hosting a 2-hour family-friendly hike through Highland Park from 2-4 pm. Kids can make a terrarium to take home.
Speaking of outdoors, there are two other free or low-cost options to enjoy the day: Kayak Pittsburgh, with hourly rates ranging from $19 to $24.50 on the weekends, and biking along one of the many trails in the area. Kayak Pittsburgh has bike rentals available, as well as bike share stations at various locations throughout the city. Here’s more information on biking and walking trails in and around Pittsburgh.
There are a ton of great events happening in Pittsburgh all the time, it seems. Sometimes, they coincide with weekends like Father’s Day.
The 2018 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is June 15-17, and most of the outdoor performances are free. There are literally dozens of shows and activities to choose from. The August Wilson Center for African American Culture is hosting the Jazz Festival and serves as the home base for activities and workshops throughout the weekend,
The Pittsburgh Pirates are playing the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game home series on June 15, 16, and 17, with special promotions on each day.
Forget the mall. Take a half-day trip to Grove City Outlets or Tanger Outlets. Sign up for their free VIP shopper rewards to get a free coupon book and take your man on a shopping trip. While you’re there, skip out for a few minutes to check out some of the stores for yourself. Two of my husband’s favorite stores at Grove City are Haggar and Van Heusen.
If you still want to give an actual Father’s Day gift other than alcohol or a subscription box, these are good bets.
- Custom dad and kid shirts from Cole and Coddle (Etsy also has some similar ones)
- City map glass from Uncommon Goods
- Coffee from Pittsburgh favorite Nicholas Coffee Co. or your favorite local coffee shop (hint: you can buy online from Nicholas Coffee Co. but in-store, they have gift boxes ready to go)
- Pretty much anything from Wendell August Forge
- And currently at the top of my husband’s wish list, a sound bar for the TV
Celebrate With Food
Gift-giving can induce stress. If you don’t have the time to plan an outing, worry not: take him out to breakfast or visit one of Pittsburgh’s great bakeries or ice cream shops for a special treat! We especially like:
- Bob’s Diner (three locations)
- Pamela’s Diner (six locations)
- Crack’d Egg (Brentwood)
- Black Forge Coffee (Allentown)
And for bakeries, my husband recommends:
- Oakmont Bakery (everything)
- The Priory Bakery (for pastries and cupcakes)
- Grandview Bakery (for pastries, cookies, specialty cupcakes, and mini cheesecakes)
- Cibrone & Sons (for bread and pastries, especially sticky buns)
- Bethel Bakery (for “little special treats”)
- Potomac Bakery (for French bearclaw)
- Prantl’s (for burnt almond torte, of course)
- La Gourmandine (for excellent French pastries)
- Mancini’s (for bread and pepperoni rolls)
- Party Cake Bakery (for donuts and pies)
- Schorr’s (for donuts)
- Give Mia Cookie (for cookies, obviously)
So, there you have it. Dozens of ideas to show the father of your children a good time on Father’s Day. Bonus points if you have the energy at the end of the day to share some, ahem, “special time.”
What did I leave out? Add to this list in the comments! And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, stepdads, and father figures who make a difference in our kids’ lives.