Here’s my listing of family-friendly events in Pittsburgh for this holiday season weekend!


Seasonal fun continues this week with a number of ongoing attractions, including:

Holidays in Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh holds a number of ongoing attractions during the holiday season including The MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG PlaceThe Wintergarden at PPG PlacePeoples Gas Holiday Market and The Pittsburgh Creche. In addition, there are free Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, the free Holly Trolley and children’s activities at Fifth Avenue PlaceOne Oxford Centre and throughout the Cultural District during Holiday KidsPlay.


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden Winter Flower Show

Phipps Conservatory is hosting a “Deck the Halls”-themed Winter Flower Show. The Conservatory will be open for extended hours from 9:30am-11pm daily for its Candlelit Evenings and its outdoor Winter Light Garden (from 5-11pm). Phipps will also be offering visits with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov 28-Dec 20.


In addition, there are a number of other ongoing Christmas attractions in the region, including The Polar Express: An Imax Experience at the Carnegie Science Center (plus the awesome Miniature Village and Railroad there), Photos with Santa at the National AviaryOverly’s Country Christmas in Greensburg, the new Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland in Butler, Christmas Light Up Celebration in Clinton PAThe Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum’s Holiday Train Display in Gibsonia, Santa Trolley at the Pennyslvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Yuletide in SewickleyKennywood’s Holiday Lights in West Mifflin, the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort in West Virginia and Santa Family Fun Cruises on the Gateway Clipper Fleet.


The musical scene in Pittsburgh comes alive this season with holiday-themed live performances. This weekend there are several, including these:

Opening Weekend of the Highmark Holiday Pops

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Highmark Holiday Pops at Heinz Hall from December 11-20th. Features classic Christmas music and a visit from Santa!

Singin’ with Santa by the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale

The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale is holding a special Singin’ with Santa concert designed for kids on December 12th at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. It’s only $10 per family!

Renaissance City Choir Holiday Concert

The city’s LGBTQA choir presents its 30th annual Holiday Concert on December 12th at 7:30 pm at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

Coro Latinoamericano Pittsburgh’s Nostalgia en Navidad

Coro Latinoamericano Pittsburgh presents Nostalgia en Navidad, a choral concert of “yuletide yearnings and celebrations in the America’s” at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland at 7:30pm on Saturday. Coro Latinoamericano is an organization dedicated to using choral music to connect Pittsburghers to the cultures of Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula.


And these:

Beauty and the Beast Holiday by the Gemini Children’s Theater on Saturday and Sunday at Latitude 360 in Robinson, The Nutcracker by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater at the Benedum Center and A Musical Christmas Carol by the Pittsburgh CLO at the Byham Theater throughout the weekend, the Pittsburgh Camerata’s Celtic Christmas Carol on December 11 and 13th, the Steel City Men’s Chorale Let Men Their Songs Employ: A Celebration of the Season at First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland on Sunday and Oliver Twist by PICT Pittsburgh’s Classic Theatre.


If movies are more your thing, the Hollywood Theater in Dormont is showing A Christmas Story on Friday and Sunday evenings and the Harris Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh is showing classic holiday short films and cartoons during Holiday Kidsplay on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.


Other events this weekend:

Friday Night, December 11

Parents Night Out at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is hosting a Parents Night Out for local families. While parents enjoy a night out, kids ages 4-11 are invited to spend the evening at the Zoo, enjoying a pizza party followed by animal encounters, games, a craft and an educational film about animals. Advance registration required.

Times: 6-10pm

Cost: $31 for first child, $16 for additional siblings with a $6 discount for members

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh PA


Parents Night Out at the Lauri-Ann West Community Center

The new Lauri-Ann West Community Center in the Fox Chapel area is hosting a Parent’s Night Out, where kids in grades K-6 can enjoy pizza and popcorn, watch The Lego Movie, and make some crafts, while parents get a night out!

Times: 6-9pm

Cost: $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers, 5% sibling discount available for members

Location: Lauri Ann West Community Center, 1220 Powers Run Road, Pittsburgh PA 15238


Pittsburgh Family Country Dance

The Swisshelm Park Community Center is hosting a family-friendly country dance party, with live music and traditional dancing for all ages followed by a potluck dinner. There is also a special adult dance afterwards and a playspace available for parents that want to stick around and dance while their kids play.

Times: Dancing starts at 6, potluck dinner at 7

Cost: $5/person or $10/family of two or more

Location: Swisshelm Park Community Center, 1050 Windermere Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15218


Penns vs. Kings

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the LA Kings at the Consol Energy Center at 7pm.


Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13

Holidays Around the World at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History introduces the new Holidays Around the World event,  featuring holiday-themed stations showcasing the traditions of other cultures through crafts, food and artifacts. While you’re there, check out the Christmas trees in the Hall of Architecture and the Neopolitan Presepio in the Hall of Sculpture.

Times: 12-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


PirateFest 2015

The Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting PirateFest, featuring live programs, autograph sessions with current and former players, games, youth baseball clinics, the Pirate Parrot and more. Saturday’s event is open to the general public, but Sunday’s event is reserved for Pirates Season Ticket Members who chose a PirateFest VIP experience as one of their 2015 Membership Experiences.

Times: Saturday 10-7pm, Sunday 12-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: David L Lawrence Convention Center


“Christmas at the Village” at Old Economy Village

Old Economy Village is offering a unique opportunity to explore this historic village! Travel back in time to visit a 19th-century Christmas Village. Walk along a candlelit cobblestone streets, window shop in the various stores, listen to music by local choirs, participate in children’s crafts and activities, see Santa, and eat!


Saturday, December 12

Play It Forward Pittsburgh

Families in need of toys for their children can come and “shop for free” at the annual Play It Forward Pittsburgh event. Each family is invited to take up to three toys, three stuffed animal and three books per child for free.

Times: 9-3pm

Cost: Free

Location Century III Mall, 3075 Clairton Road, West Mifflin, PA 15123


Breakfast with Santa in Pine Township

Families are invited to a special buffet breakfast with Santa, featuring food, music, crafts, games, face-painting and more.

Times: 9-10:30am

Cost: Adults $8, Children $16 with discounts available for members

Location: Pine Community Center, 100 Pine Park Drive, Wexford PA


Cookies with Santa at Round Hill Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at Round Hill Park, featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday movies and visits with Santa.

Times: 10-noon

Cost: Free

Location: Round Hill Park


Cool Yule Free Family Fun Day at the Frick

The Frick Art and Historical is offering its annual family celebration for the season, featuring stories, family-friendly tours of the Clayton (adult admission rates apply) and holiday art-making. From 11-11:45, the Frick will also be hosting a CarKids: Horse Sense free program for children, where they can learn about the horses that pulled the carriages owned by the Fricks.

Times: 11-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208


First Night Puppet Making with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

In preparation for the First Night Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh, Parade Creative Director Cheryl Capezzuti and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are hosting an all-ages puppet-making party. Participants can also sign up to carry the puppets in the Parade. Advance registration required.

Time 11am

Cost: Free

Location: Trust Arts Education Center, 805 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Pittsburgh Polar Plunge

Over 2,000 Pittsburghers will jump into the Ohio River to raise money for the Special Olympics. There will also be free food and entertainment, unified sports, games, a “Seven Springs” experience tent and more.

Time: 12pm

Cost: $50 to plunge, $0 to watch, Free parking available.

Location: Heinz Field


We Stand in Solidarity with Las Palmas Rally

Las Palmas, a Mexican grocery store in Brookline, was graffitied this week with xenophobic language. The “We Stand in Solidarity with Las Palmas” rally is being hosted by Casa San Jose and will include representatives of the many organizations in our city working to break down barriers for immigrants.

Times: 12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Las Palmas, 700 Brookline Blvd, Pittsburgh PA


Avalon Brighten the Season

Avalon Now presents the community’s 2015 Brighten the Season event, featuring visits with Santa, refreshments, crafts, a tree-lighting ceremony and more.

Times: 12-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Avalon Borough Building, 640 California Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


Pine Santa Express

Santa will be visiting each neighborhood in Pine on board a fire truck on December 12 from 12 to 5 p.m.


Penny Arcade

The Penny Arcade is hosting its monthly kid-friendly improv comedy show preceded by creative activities that help kids generate ideas for the show.

Times: 1pm

Cost: Free!

Location: Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


Havdal-ukah at the JCC Squirrel Hill

The JCC in Squirrel Hill is hosting Havdal-ukah, a family-friendly event featuring swimming, pickup basketball, stuffing your own Sufganiyot, a Story Walk with PJ Library, 3-D Printing and clay Dreidel-making, community service opportunities, Chanukkah candle-lighting, singing and torch walk.

Times: 4-6 pm

Cost: Free

Location: JCC Squirrel Hill, 5738 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


Merry Morningside 2015

The Morningside Area Community Council and the Bulldog Pub are hosting a holiday community event, featuring free finger foods, cider, music and more. Other beverages and food available at own cost. Guests have a chance to win various gift cards from retailers.

Times: 5-7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Bulldog Pub, 1818 Morningside Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


Snowflake Festival at Soergel’s Orchard 

Soergel’s Orchard is holding its annual Snowflake Festival, featuring a Snowflake Express, hot chocolate and other treats, ice carving demonstrations and horsedrawn carriage ride around the grounds.

Times: 5-8pm

Cost: Free

Location: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford, PA 15090


Pittsburgh Vegan Festival Holiday Ball

The Pittsburgh Vegan Festival is hosting a Holiday Ball featuring vegan food and desserts, Indian and Middle Eastern dancing, a dance party and holiday shopping.

Times: 6-9pm

Cost: $20 cash only at the door, Kids 11-16 $10, 10 and under are free

Location: Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills, 2359 West Ingomar Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237


Sunday, December 13

Father Ryan Arts Center Holiday Children’s Extravaganza

Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks is hosting a Holiday Children’s Extravaganza, featuring a candy buffet, games, activities and visits with your favorite Disney and Marvel comic characters. Costumes are encouraged!

Times: 11-6pm

Cost: $12.50

Location: Father Ryan Arts Center, 420 Chartiers Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA


Holiday Family Workshop: Build Your Own Gingerbread House at the Frick

The Frick Art and Historical Center is hosting a build-your-own gingerbread house workshop for families. All materials provided and a quick tour of the Clayton is included in the event. Event appropriate for children ages 6-12 with an adult and advance registration is required.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Child member $16, Child nonmember $19, accompanying adult is free

Location: Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208


Gingerbread Letterboxing with Venture Outdoors

Venture Outdoors is hosting a Gingerbread Letterboxing event, where families will go on a scavenger hunt through the forest in search of letterboxes. They’ll collect stamps featuring all the components they’ll need to make the gingerbread house.

Time: 1pm

Cost: Adults $18, Kids $10

Location: Olson Park


My Favorite Sweet Shoppe Holiday Prep Workshop

My Favorite Sweet Shoppe in Bridgeville is hosting a holiday cooking workshop, where kids will make holiday treats like chocolates, pretzel rods, marshmallow pops and Oreo’s. Parents do not need to stay. Advanced registration required.

Time: 1-3pm

Cost: $30 for first child, $20 for additional children

Location: My Favorite Sweet Shoppe, 1597 Washington Pike, Bridgeville PA


Little Cup of Hope

The second annual “Little Cup of Hope” fundraiser will be held at the Pine Community Center in Wexford on December 13th at 2pm, featuring Christmas crafts, treats, stories and a visit from Santa. All proceeds benefit the Pittsburgh chapter of Flashes of Hope – which takes portraits of children fighting cancer at Children’s Hospital.

Time: 2pm

Cost: $15 per person or $50 per family

Location: Pine Community Center, 100 Pine Park Drive, Wexford PA


South Fayette Polar Express Pajama Party

South Fayette is hosting a Polar Express Pajama Party. Children are encouraged to wear PJ’s and bring a stuffed animal and blanket.

Time: 5:30pm

Cost: Free with donation of a toy to Toys for Tots

Location: South Fayette Community Room at the Senior Center, 515 Millers Run Road, South Fayette


Have a great weekend!

© Copyright 2015 Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi

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