Here’s my listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of December 18-20th.


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

Holidays in Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh holds a number of great 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, Holiday Laser Shows, etc), 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:

  • Holiday POPS: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Holiday POPS at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on December 18th, featuring traditional Christmas carols.
  • Salsa Navidad by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra: The Spanish Harlem Orchestra celebrates the holidays with its New York-style salsa at the August Wilson Center on December 18th.
  • Christmas in East Liberty: The Brass Roots and organist Dr. Ed Moore presents this arrangement of Christmas classics and carols at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church at 7:30pm on December 18th.
  • A Lyrical Christmas Carol by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater: The Pittsburgh Musical Theater presents its family-friendly version of the classic Christmas Carol story on December 17-20th at the New Hazlett Theater.

And these ongoing shows:

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 Saturday,  Oliver Twist by PICT Pittsburgh’s Classic Theatre on Friday and Saturday and Beauty and the Beast Holiday by the Gemini Children’s Theater on Sunday at Latitude 360 in Robinson.


And if movies are more your thing, the Regent Square Theater is hosting free showings of It’s a Wonderful Life throughout the weekend (bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the East End Cooperative Ministry). Also, the Hollywood Theater in Dormont is showing White Christmas on Sunday, the Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville is showing Christmas movies throughout the weekend and the Harris Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh is showing classic holiday short films and cartoons during Holiday Kidsplay on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Plus, don’t forget the new Star Wars movie playing at movie theaters throughout Pittsburgh this weekend!


Other events this weekend:

Friday Night, December 18

Winter Fridays at the Frick

The Frick is hosting an Adults Night Out with on-site childcare available. Parents can leave children ages 4 and up with museum educators for a maximum of 2.5 hours for FREE, as long as you stay on the museum’s grounds.

Times: 5-9pm

Cost: Free!

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


Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Boston Bruins at the Consol Energy Center at 7pm.


Saturday, December 19

Sing We Noel during Chatham Baroque’s Peanut Butter and Jam Session

Chatham Baroque is presenting a Christmas-themed Peanut Butter and Jam session designed to introduce preschool-aged children to baroque music. Led by a Kindermusik instructor, this program incorporates music, creative movement and a snack.

Time: 10 and 11:30am

Cost: Adults $8, Children $5

Location: McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206


Gingerbread Stories at the Frick

The Frick is hosting a gingerbread-themed family event for children ages 4-6 with a caregiver, featuring storytelling, games and gingerbread cookie-decorating.

Times: 10-11:30 am

Cost: Adults Free, Member Child $10, Nonmember Child $12

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


Pancakes with Santa and the Reindeer at the Roof at The Commoner

Families are invited to a delicious-sounding brunch at The Rooftop of The Commoner at the Hotel Monaco, featuring a create-your-own pancake station plus other great breakfast options, cookie- and ornament-decorating stations, a hot cocoa bar (plus a full bar for adults) and visits with Santa and his reindeers. Advanced registration required here.

Times: 10am

Cost: Adults $44, Children $22, Children 3 and under free

Location: The Commoner, 458 Strawberry Way, Pittsburgh PA


Cookies with Santa at Boyce Park

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at Boyce Park on December 19th from 10 to noon, featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday movies and visits with Santa.

Time: 10-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Boyce Park Four Seasons Lodge


Holiday-Themed Let’s Move Family Dance Party at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is hosting a holiday-themed Let’s Move Family Dance Party on December 19th at 11 a.m. featuring a DJ dance party, holiday craft activities and more.

Time: 11am

Cost: Pay What You Can

Location: Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA


Skate with Santa at the Rink at PPG Place

The MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink is hosting a special Skate with Santa event.

Times: 2-4pm

Cost: Adults $8, Children $7

Location: Rink at PPG Place, Downtown Pittsburgh


Hike it Baby Pittsburgh’s Dahntahn Pittsburgh Holiday Stroll and Ugly Sweaters

Hike It Baby Pittsburgh is hosting a family-friendly stroll through Downtown Pittsburgh’s holiday attractions. Don’t forget to wear your ugliest sweaters!

Times: 2-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Meet at Starbucks in Market Square


Fleury’s Kids Night Out at the National Aviary

Fleury, the National Aviary’s Snowy Owl is hosting a Kids Only night out featuring stories, bat feedings, crafts to take home, a scavenger hunt, flashlight hike and opportunities to meet a penguin up close. For children in grades K-2 and 3-5.

Times: 5-9pm

Cost: $50 per child plus $5 for optional dinner

Location: National Aviary, 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh PA


FAAP’s Annual Christmas Party

The Filipino-American Association of Pittsburgh is hosting its annual Christmas party with visits from Santa Claus/Mano Po, traditional Filipino foods and sawayan-dancing. Please bring a dessert or drink to share and nonperishable foods to donate to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Times: 5-9pm

Cost: Free for FAAP members, $10 Adults, $5 child 5-12 years old

Location: Bethel Park Community Center, 5151 Park Avenue, Bethel Park, PA 15102


Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Carolina Hurricanes at the Consol Energy Center at 7pm.


Sunday, December 20

Please note: The Carnegie Science Center is closed today due to the Steelers home game.


Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Denver Broncos at 4:25pm at Heinz Field.


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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