Although it’s hard to believe, the Christmas season is just about to begin in Pittsburgh. Starting after the city’s Light Up Night celebration this Friday, many local communities, museums and performance venues will begin hosting special holiday-themed events and concerts. In addition, many favorite Christmas attractions will reopen by the end of this month. I have created this 2015 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide to help your family navigate through one of the most exciting times of the year to be in this city!
I have included events and special attractions both within the city and in the surrounding suburbs. At the end, I have also included a special section on Christmas-themed concerts and dance performances. Please note: I will be regularly updating this blog post as more information becomes available, so please check back.
I will start this guide with special holiday events and attractions within the city:
55th Annual Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts the official kickoff to the holiday season at the free Light Up Night on Friday November 20th. The evening features various tree lightings, Santa and reindeer sightings, free horse-drawn carriage rides, the unveiling of the window displays, ice skating, music, food, fireworks and lots more!
There are also a number of alternatives to the city’s official Light Up Night celebration on November 20th:
- Winter Wonderland at Station Square: Station Square is hosting a Light Up Night Celebration with live musical performances, character meet and greets, visits with Santa and live reindeers, ice carving, face-painting and more.
- Winter Wonderland at the Overlook: The Elliot Community Group hosts Winter Wonderland at the West End Overlook, an alternative to Downtown’s “Light up Night” celebration. Santa will arrive on a fire engine and there will also be games, food and hot cocoa for sale and live music. Plus, you will be able to see the main fireworks display over the city.
- Poinsettas and Pointe Shoes at Phipps Conservatory: Another “Light Up Night” alternative: enjoy a unique opportunity to explore Phipps during the evening and see vignettes from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s rendition of The Nutcracker. Tickets cost $26 for adults and $13 for children. Plus, ticket purchase includes a discount on tickets for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s full-length performance of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center. Advance registration required.
Light up Night marks the beginning of a number of regular holiday-themed happenings throughout Downtown Pittsburgh. Added bonus: The Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages offer free parking on Saturdays (plus Black Friday) during the holidays.
PPG Place has a number of attractions:
- The MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place: Starting at Light Up Night, The Plaza at PPG Place will house the newly updated and 25% larger MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink seven days/week with $4 skate rental, $8 adult entry and $7 children < 13 entry. The Rink will hold a special Mascot Skate on November 21st and Santa Skates from 2-4pm on Saturday, December 5, 12 and 19th.
- The Wintergarden at PPG Place: The Wintergarden at PPG Place opens on November 20th and is open seven days per week until January 7th. This free exhibit features a display of life-sized Santas and original paintings from various countries around the world, a 32 foot tree, gingerbread houses, and a unique train display.
Market Square houses the Peoples Gas Holiday Market open seven days/week starting on Light Up Night. The Holiday Market is inspired by the original Christkindlemarkt created in 1545 in Nuremberg and features European-style wooden chalets decorated for the holidays and selling high-quality gifts and ornaments. The Holiday Market also has its own Santa for kids to visit and is adjacent to the BNY Mellon Season of Lights, which illuminates Market Square every half an hour.
Finally, the US Steel Tower Plaza on Grant Street houses The Pittsburgh Creche from November 20th to January 7th. The Pittsburgh Creche is the world’s only authorized replica of the Nativity Creche that stands outside Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
There are several other fun activities in Downtown Pittsburgh starting after Light Up Night, including:
- Free Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in Downtown Pittsburgh: Highwoods offers complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides starting on Fourth Avenue next to the Plaza at PPG Place on Saturdays from 11-3pm and 4 to 8pm from November 21st to December 19th.
- Fifth Avenue Place: Fifth Avenue Place is running its Free Holly Trolley again this year. Run by “Santa’s little helpers,” this trolley circles downtown on Saturdays and Sundays (and Friday, November 27th) from 11-5pm from November 21st to December 20th. Fifth Avenue Place is also offering free holiday activities on Saturdays with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh starting on November 28 from 11 to 2 p.m.
- Saturdays at the Centre: One Oxford Centre offers special holiday-themed activities, visits with Santa and Santa Land (previously at Macy’s) from 11-3pm on Saturdays until December 19.
- Holiday KidsPlay: A relatively new holiday tradition in the 800 block of Liberty Avenue, Holiday Kidsplay offers kid-friendly activities on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5pm. Includes activities at the Arcade Comedy Theater, Harris Theater and the Trust Arts Education Center.
And, of course, the annual Holiday Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh on the Saturday after Thanksgiving:
35th Annual WPXI Holiday Parade: WPXI is holding this favorite annual parade on November 28th. It starts at 9 a.m. on the 22nd block of Liberty Avenue and features marching bands, colorful floats, local celebrities and the arrival of Santa!
Oakland is another hub of holiday-themed activities throughout the season with:
- The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning: Beginning on November 7th, the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning will be decorated in traditional holiday styles and open for special tours. The Nationality Rooms will also hold a very special Open House on December 6th from 12-4pm with guides dressed in ethnic costumes, free ethnic dance performances and special ethnic food selections.
- Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden Winter Flower Show: The Winter Flower Show at Phipps begins on November 27th with a ““Deck the Halls” theme. 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). This year, Phipps will also be offering visits with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov 28-Dec 20, plus November 27 and November 30. Also, the Sugar Plum Fairy will be visiting Phipps on November 21 and December 5 for a free with admission 30-minute creative movement dance class and story time with a dancer in costume.
- Holidays at the Carnegie Museums: Starting November 27th, The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will house the Neopolitan Presipio, a handcrafted nativity scene featuring lifelike figures and colorful details that recreate the Nativity within a panorama of 18th-century Italian village life. Beginning on December 3rd, the Hall of Architecture will also hold the Museum’s six decorated 20-foot spruce trees. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History will also host a special Holidays Around the World event on December 12-13th, featuring holiday-themed stations showcasing the traditions of other cultures through crafts, food and artifacts.
If you would like to take a guided tour of some of these Oakland attractions, check out this option:
Oakland Yuletide Tour: Enjoy a holiday tour of some of Oakland’s most beautiful buildings on December 12th. Begins with a continental breakfast at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, followed by a guided tour through the Nationality Classrooms at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. Finally, a tour of Heinz Memorial Chapel and an organ recital of Christmas music. Participants will receive coupons to Oakland shops, restaurants and attractions. Tickets are $30.
A number of other museums and other special venues offer holiday-themed events within the city over the next month:
- Carnegie Science Center: The Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad and Village will reopen in holiday style on November 24th. Also, the Carnegie Science Center will be showing The Polar Express: An Imax Experience from November 27th to January 3rd for $10 for adults and $8 for children.
- Photos with Santa at the National Aviary: On Saturdays from November 28-December 19th, the National Aviary invites children to visit with Santa and his penguin helpers from 11-1 pm. Kids can also take home a penguin pinecone ornament.
- Holiday I Made It! Market: This year’s holiday I Made It! Market will be held on November 27-28th at Nova Place on the Northside. The market will feature 100 regional artists, live entertainment, DIY art-making for children, food and more.
- “The Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour” by the Lawrenceville Corporation: From December 3-6th, Lawrenceville hosts its “Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour,” featuring free cookies and shopping at over 40 stops in Lawrenceville.
- Members Holiday Event at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting a “Members Holiday Event” on December 4th from 6-8pm, featuring visits with wintry friends like penguins from the National Aviary and a reindeer from Living Treasures Animal Park, live entertainment, holiday crafts and gift-making in the Studio. Member admission is free. Guests are welcome at $12 each. Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Handmade Arcade: Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair comes to the David L Lawrence Convention Center on December 5th and includes an art-making area where children can make handmade holiday gifts.
- Breakfast/Lunch with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo: On Saturdays and Sundays from December 5-2oth, the Pittsburgh Zoo hosts a breakfast or lunch with Santa, featuring food, holiday crafts, decorating sugar cookies and visits with the animals. Two seatings at 9:30am and noon. Cost is $17 per Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium member; $20 per non-Zoo member; $7 per child under the age of 2 years. Advance registration is required.
- Santa Family Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet: The Gateway Clipper Fleet is offering a special Santa Family Fun Cruise on Saturdays and Sundays (plus Friday November 27 and December 7-8) from November 28 through December 20th with a DJ dance party and special gifts for all boys and girls. Tickets are $26.25 for adults and $12.60 for children. On December 5th, 12th and 19th the Gateway Clipper Fleet also offers a special Breakfast with Santa with a breakfast buffet and visits with Santa. Breakfast service begins at 9 am and cruise runs from 9:30-11:30.
- Cool Yule Free Family Fun Day at the Frick: On Saturday, December 12th the Frick offers its annual family celebration for the season, featuring stories, family-friendly tours of the Clayton (adult admission rates apply) and holiday art-making. The Frick will also offer a number of other holiday-themed family workshops during December. See website for more info.
- 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.
Know of any other city celebrations? Let me know at email@example.com and I’ll add it to the list.
The northern suburbs of Pittsburgh hold a couple special holiday attractions:
- Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland: Butler County welcomes a new Christmas attraction this year, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, a musical Christmas light show that also hosts an indoor Santa’s village, running from November 20-January 3rd at a cost of $25 per car.
- The Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum’s Holiday Train Display: Located in Gibsonia, this model railroad museum is only open to the public during the holiday season when it holds its annual Holiday Train Display. This year’s show starts on November 14th and runs into mid-January. The Museum’s bottom floor has a special interactive area for kids with wooden train tables and a Lionel toy train display. The second floor holds its 4000-sf layout called “A Railroad Journey in Miniature. The Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11-5pm and Fridays from 6-9pm for its special “Steam at Twilight” exhibit.
- Hartwood Acres Mansion: Hartwood Acres Mansion is decorated in full holiday splendor starting November 15th. The Mansion offers daily guided tours with advance registration. Also, the Mansion hosts special candlelight tours on select days and a Tea with Santa on November 29th.
Also, a number of the northern communities offer special holiday-themed events:
- Santa’s First Stop in Cranberry Township: Cranberry Township holds its annual Santa’s First Stop event on November 20th at its Municipal Building with activities and crafts starting at 6pm, Santa’s arrival at 7pm, a chance to visit with Santa, Mrs Claus and their reindeers, the giant Lego train display and a stroll through the annual Cranberry Tree Gallery.
- Light up Kittanning Night: Kittanning hosts its annual light up event on November 20th from 5:30-9pm, featuring Santa’s arrival with Frosty the Snowman, live entertainment, free cookies and hot chocolate, pony rides, dog sled rides and tons more.
- Brackrenridge-Tarentum Christmas Parade: Brackrenridge and Tarentum hold their annual Christmas Parade on November 21st at 1pm.
- “Light Up the Wall” in Aspinwall: On November 21st, Aspinwall will host its annual “Light Up the Wall” event with food, music, free Christmas cookies and visits with Santa from 4 to 6:30 pm with fireworks starting at 6:45 pm.
- Annual Shaler “Lite” Up Night: Shaler Township holds it annual “Lite Up Night” on November 21st at 7pm in front of the Shaler North Hills Library and Shaler Middle School, featuring visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, fireworks, craft tables and refreshments.
- Etna Light the Night: Etna is hosting its Light the Night celebration on November 27th on Butler and Walnut Streets with a parade at 6:30 pm and fireworks at 9pm.
- Holiday Parade in Saxonburg: Saxonburg holds its annual Holiday Parade and Celebration at 7pm on November 27th.
- Light-Up Night in Butler: Butler County Parks and Recreation is hosting its large Light Up Night celebration on November 28th in Diamond Park with a parade, tree lighting, visits with Santa and more!
- Blawnox Christmas Night of the Lights: Blawnox is hosting its annual Christmas Night of the Lights on December 3rd.
- Holiday Season Greeting Celebration in Hampton: Hampton Township celebrates its annual Holiday Season Greeting Celebration on December 3rd at 7pm at the Community Center, featuring free cookies, hot chocolate, live music and visits with Santa.
- Millvale Yuletide Tour and Light Up Night: Millvale is hosting a Yuletide Tour and Light up Night on December 4th with a holiday tree lighting at McCarthy Park at 5:30 pm and a Holiday Carnival from 6 to 8 pm at the Boys & Girls Club with Santa.
- LaRoche College Festival of Lights: LaRoche College celebrates its annual Festival of Lights on December 4th with crafts, games, Santa, music performances, carriage rides, a live nativity, fireworks and more.
- St. Paul’s Preschool Santa Express: Located in Allison Park, St. Paul’s Preschool is holding its annual Polar-Express themed fundraiser on December 5th with indoor train rides, hot cocoa bar and cookies, train bounce house, a balloon artist, Polar Express crafts and games, a miniature railroad display, a strolling magician, and face painting. Tickets are $10.
- Avalon Brighten the Season: Avalon Now presents the 2015 Brighten the Season event on December 12 from 12-4 p.m. featuring visits with Santa, refreshments, crafts, a tree-lighting ceremony and more.
- Snowflake Festival at Soergel’s Orchard: Soergel’s Orchard is holding its annual Snowflake Festival on December 12th, featuring a Snowflake Express, hot chocolate and other treats, ice carving demonstrations and horsedrawn carriage ride around the grounds.
- Breakfast with Santa in Pine Township: Families are invited to a special buffet breakfast with Santa in Pine Township on December 12th beginning at 9 a.m. Also features games, crafts and face-painting.
- 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.
- 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.
The southern suburbs of the city hold a special holiday attraction:
Santa Trolley at the Pennyslvania Trolley Museum: The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum offers its annual Santa Trolley on weekends from November 27-December 13th, featuring a caroling-filled trolley ride, holiday craft, a Lionel toy train display and wooden train tables.
Many southern communities offer special holiday-themed events:
- Lebo Light Up Night: Mt. Lebanon hosts its annual Light Up Night event on November 19th from 6-9pm, featuring horse-drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, Southminster Bell Ringers, a model train exhibit, tree lightings and visits with Santa.
- Santa Claus is Shopping in Monongahela: Monongahela hosts its annual “Santa Claus is Shopping” event on November 20th at 5:30pm, featuring a Christmas tree display, live entertainment, visits with Santa, face-painting and children’s activities.
- Brentwood Light Up Night: Brentwood is hosting its annual Light Up Night celebration on November 21st at 4pm at Brentwood Towne Square.
- Holidays at the House: The Woodville Plantation in Bridgeville is hosting a special Holidays at the House event where families can learn about 18th-century holiday customs. Tours are being held from noon to 8pm and cost is $5 with children under six free.
- A Night with St. Nick at Trax Farm: Celebrate the holiday season at Trax Farm in Finleyville on November 28th! Visit with Santa, watch the Christmas tree lighting, participate in Christmas crafts, a coloring contest, a reindeer scavenger hunt game and try samples for holiday entertaining. Refreshments and treats available for purchase. You can also attend a special Breakfast or Lunch with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays at Trax Farm throughout December. Cost is $8. Advance registration required.
- Baldwin Township Holiday Light Up Night: The Baldwin Township Business & Professional Association is hosting a Holiday Light Up Night on November 29th at 6pm, featuring Santa’s arrival by fire truck at the ALDI parking lot the corner of McNeilly Road and Sussex Avenue.
- Holiday Celebration in Jefferson Hills: Jefferson Hills is hosting its 13th annual Holiday Celebration on November 30 from 6-8pm at the Municipal Center, featuring visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas trees, refreshments, crafts and a holiday toy drive.
- Baldwin Holiday Festival: Baldwin hosts its annual Holiday Festival on December 2nd from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Borough Building with caroling, tree lighting, refreshements, vendor crafts, a kids craft center, a log cabin and Santa. Please bring a non-perishable food item or monetary donation for the Baldwin Food Pantry.
- Tree Lighting in Bethel Park: Bethel Park hosts its annual Tree Lighting event on December 2nd at the Community Center featuring entertainment, refreshments and visits with Santa.
- Scott Township Tree Lighting: Scott Township will host its tree lighting on December 3.
- Cookies with Santa in Dormont: Dormont is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at the Recreation Center on December 5th from 3-5 pm.
- Bridgeville Festival of Trees: Bridgeville is hosting its annual Festival of Trees on December 5-6th.
- Holidays at the Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center: The Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center holds its annual holiday event on December 5th at 11am, featuring live music, children’s activities, refreshments and visits with Santa.
- Santa Luncheon in Canonsburg: The Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Santa Luncheon on December 5th at Canonsburg Senior Center, featuring lunch, treat bags, balloon artists, music and visits with Santa.
- South Park Brunch with Santa: South Park is hosting a Brunch with Santa for children age 7 and below on December 5th at noon. Advance registration required.
- South Park Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: South Park Township hosts its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 7th at 6:30 pm in the library courtyard.
- Cookies with Santa at Round Hill Park: The Allegheny County Parks Department is hosting a Cookies with Santa event at Round Hill Park on December 12th at 10 to noon, featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday movies and visits with Santa.
The Eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh hold a couple special holiday attractions:
- Overly’s Country Christmas: Located in Greensburg, Overly’s Country Christmas is a nonprofit old-fashioned Christmas Village open from November 20th-January 1st, featuring lots of lights and holiday decorations, Christmas carols around the bonfire, a model train display, horse drawn wagon/sleigh rides, shopping, food and Santa. Cost is $12/car Monday-Thursday and $15/car Friday-Sunday.
- Kennywood’s Holiday Lights: Starting on November 27th, Kennywood will transform into a winter wonderland of spectacular lights, family friendly rides, activities and seasonal food favorites from 5-9pm on Fridays-Sundays.
A number of eastern communities also have special holiday-themed events:
- Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas and Parade: On November 21st, The Oakmont business district hosts a night of Christmas festivities, including a Christmas Parade with Santa, marching bands, floats, horses, and lots more. Other activities that evening: a Nutcracker performance by Western PA Youth Ballet, musical performances, Christmas tree lighting, horse and buggy rides, free Christmas cookies, pictures with Santa, and lots of children’s activities!
- Greensburg Holiday Parade: Greensburg hosts its annual Holiday Parade on November 21st at noon beginning on North Main Street near the Middle School and ending at City Hall.
- Season of Lights in White Oak: White Oak hosts its annual “Season of Lights” event on November 21st.
- The Waterfront Light Up Night: The Waterfront in Homestead is hosting a Light Up Night from 4 to 7 pm on November 22nd with a tree lighting, Christmas music, traditional carolers, visits with Santa and the Snow Queen and more!
- Monroeville Tree Lighting: Monroeville holds its annual Tree Lighting on November 24th from 7-7:30pm at Old Stone Church on Monroeville Blvd. Kids can bring homemade decorations, hang them on the tree, listen to caroling and visit with Santa.
- Penn Hills Holiday Light Up: Penn Hills hosts its annual Light Up Night on December 3rd from 7-9pm at the Municipal Building on Frankstown Rd, featuring Santa and his reindeers, tree lighting, clowns, treats, refreshments and train display.
- Greenfield’s Holiday Parade: Greenfield is hosting its annual Holiday Parade on December 4th at 7pm.
- Light Up Edgewood Night: Edgewood is hosting a Light Up Night on December 4th at 7pm in Memorial Park, followed by refreshments and visits with Santa in the Edgewood Club.
- West Homestead Holiday Event: West Homestead’s Annual Holiday Event will be held on December 4th at 7:15pm.
- Munhall Light Up Night: Munhall hosts its annual Light Up Night event on December 5th at 6pm at the Borough Building, featuring refreshments, carolers and Santa.
- North Versailles Family Christmas Party: North Versailles is hosting a family Christmas party on December 5th at 5:30 pm at the Community Center.
- Dravosburg Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration: Dravosburg is hosting its sixth annual Christmas Celebration on December 5th at 6 pm, featuring a tree lighting, visits with Santa, a magic show and lots more.
- The Historic Steel Valley Christmas Parade: The annual Steel Valley Christmas Parade is happening on December 5th on Eighth Avenue in Homestead.
- Wilkins Township Breakfast with Santa: Wilkins Township is holding a Breakfast with Santa event on December 5th at 10am at the Wilkins Township Community Center. Reservations by November 20.
- East McKeesport Children’s Christmas Party: East McKeesport is holding a Children’s Christmas Party on December 19th. Call borough to make reservations.
- 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.
Finally, the west of Pittsburgh holds a couple special holiday attraction:
- Christmas Light Up Celebration in Clinton PA: Clinton PA holds its annual light display from November 19-January 3rd, featuring over a mile of lights and displays in a woodland setting. On November 19-20th, there is a special walk-through experience. There are also hayrides and carolers during this celebration. $10 per car donation requested.
- The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort: West Virginia’s Oglebay Resort holds its nationally-renowned 300-acre holiday light display on Thursdays-Sundays starting on November 13th. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season.
- Yuletide in Sewickley: Sewickley hosts a variety of Christmas-themed events, including free carriage rides and entertainment on Saturdays and Sundays in December, visits with Santa (Saturdays from 11-1pm) and his reindeer (Sundays from 1-3 pm) in Wolcott Park. There are also several character-themed breakfasts for kids, Polar Express-themed pajama party and a Santa Parade. See link above for more information. Also, see section below on Sewickley’s Light Up Night.
Also, several western communities offer special holiday-themed events:
- Oakdale Light Up Celebration: Oakdale is hosting a Light Up celebration on November 28 at 7pm.
- Ohio Township Holiday Tree Lighting: Ohio Township is hosting its annual Holiday Tree Lighting on December 1st at 6:30 pm.
- Sewickley Light Up Night: Sewickley hosts its annual Light Up Night on December 4th from 5-9pm with entertainment, food from local restaurants and vendor carts, shopping, and the Lighting of the Village followed by a fireworks show. Finally, check out Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley for holiday-themed craft activities throughout the season.
- Robinson Township Tree Lighting: Held in Clever Park, Robinson Township’s annual Tree Lighting on December 4th from 6:30-7:30pm, features Christmas lights, refereshments, caroling and Santa.
- Christmas Tree Lighting in North Fayette: North Fayette is hosting its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 4th starting at 6:30 pm.
- Holiday Festivities in Carnegie: Carnegie is holding its annual Light Up Night at 6 p.m. at the PNC Parking Lot on December 4th and then Santa and carolers will be coming to town on Saturday December 5th.
- Heidelberg Light Up Night: Heidelberg is hosting a Light Up Night celebration on December 5th.
- A Visit with Belsnickel at Old Economy Village: Old Economy Village is hosting a visit with Belsnickel, the German helper of St. Nicholas, on December 5th. Event is appropriate for ages 3-8, simple refreshments will be served and there will be a craft activity. Plus, there will be regular historic tours of the village decorated for Christmas.
- Kennedy Township Breakfast with Santa: Kennedy Township is holding a Breakfast with Santa on December 6th from 9 to 1pm at the Kennedy Township Fire Hall.
- “Christmas at the Village” at Old Economy Village: 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! Held on December 12-13th.
- Brunch with Santa in Moon Township: Moon Township hosts its annual “Brunch with Santa” event on December 12th at the Doubletree Moon on University Blvd. 10:30 and 11:30 am seatings are available and cost is $10/person, which includes a boxed brunch, visits with Santa and craft activities.
- Father Ryan Arts Center Holiday Children’s Extravaganza: Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks is hosting a Holiday Children’s Extravaganza on December 12th, featuring a buffet, games, activities and visits with your favorite Disney and Marvel comic characters.
- South Fayette Polar Express Pajama Party: South Fayette is hosting a Polar Express Pajama Party on December 13th at 5:30 pm at the South Fayette Community Room at the Senior Center.
Finally, there a number of Christmas-themed concerts and shows throughout the city. Many of these have a huge variety of show times and ticket prices, so I have not included that information for these events. Visit the performance’s website for more detailed information.
- Beauty and the Beast Holiday by the Gemini Children’s Theater: The Gemini Children’s Theater’s holiday show this year will be “Beauty and the Beast Holiday” and will be held on select days at Latitude 360 in Robinson from November 28-December 27.
- “The Nutcracker” by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater: Enjoy this timeless ballet classic presented by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre at the Benedum Center running from December 4-27th.
- Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker”: The Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company’s offers its rendition of this classic Christmas ballet on December 4-6th. A great option for introducing your little ones to the ballet!
- Sounds of the Season by the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale: The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale presents its annual “Sounds of the Season” concert on December 4-6th, featuring traditional and modern Christmas tunes. Also, 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!
- A Musical Christmas Carol: The Pittsburgh CLO presents its annual “A Musical Christmas Carol” at the Byham Theater from December 4-23rd. Enjoy this Charles Dickens’ classic with accompanying Christmas music. Children under age 3 are not permitted in the theater.
- O Holy Night at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: J’Aira Pryor and other Pittsburgh artists will star in this all-ages Christmas concert and food drive on December 5th at 7:30 p.m.
- Holiday Concert by the Heinz Chapel Choir: University of Pittsburgh’s Heinz Chapel Choir presents its annual holiday concert on December 5, 6, 11 and 13th.
- Holiday Hijinks at the Attack Theater: The Attack Theater is hosting a Holiday Hijinks event on December 5th with daytime performances and interactive games for families.
- 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!
- Renaissance City Choir Holiday Concert: The city’s LGBTQA’s choir presents its 30th annual Holiday Concert on December 12th at 7:30 pm.
- 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.
- Holiday POPS: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual “Holiday POPS” at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on December 18th, featuring traditional Christmas carols.
- It’s a Wonderful Life at the Regent Square Theater: The Regent Square Theater is hosting free showings of It’s a Wonderful Life from December 18-22nd. Bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the East End Cooperative Ministry.
- Sing We Noel during Chatham Baroque’s Peanut Butter and Jam Session: Chatham Baroque is presenting a Christmas-themed Peanut Butter and Jam session on December 19th at noon. The Chatham Baroque also has a number of other Christmas-themed concerts including Handel’s Messiah on December 11, Cantadas de Navidad on December 5th and Lessons and Carols on November 29th.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh presents the musical, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, based on the favorite television version of the story. Tickets start at $26 and shows run from December 22 to the 27th.
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour 2015: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra presents its Winter Tour 2015 at the Consol Energy Center on December 27th.
Other Christmas concerts: Celtic Woman Christmas on December 7th, the Pittsburgh Camerata’s Celtic Christmas Carol on December 11, 13 and 19th, BE Taylor Christmas Concert on December 12 and 14, Holiday Doo Wop on December 16th and Mark Milovats in Concert: Christmas in the City on November 29
It is my sincere hope that this family guide will help make this holiday season your most magical yet :). Enjoy!