The Santa Claus Parade in Pittsburgh
With so much for you and your family to see and do during the holiday season, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. To ensure you don’t miss any Christmas fun, we’ve put in the time to find some of the best local events happening near you this season.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. This year Christmas is going to look a little different, a little more colourful and a whole lot more awesome!
“But why?” you may ask. “Who said so?” We did, of course, and let us tell you why.
This year the Pittsburgh Annual Santa Claus Parade turns 39 (yes, it’s really in its 39th year), and to celebrate, they’re doing something extra special.
Bear in mind that this is the same parade that in previous years has brought you performances by stars including Usher and Christina Aguilera — the same parade that just keeps raising the bar by betting better and better. Expect bands, expect floats and expect photos aplenty. But we’ll get to that a little further down the line, as well as give you a few tips to help you organize your time to best enjoy the spectacle.
Mark it on Your Calendar
The parade will be lighting up lives from November 30th, 2019, but the elation will be sure to last for (at least) another year. This makes it one of the later Santa Claus Parades happening in North America and Canada, but that’s not a bad thing — it just means they’ve had even more time to prepare.
Tell Me Where to Go
It all starts-off on 11th Street and Liberty Avenue. But for those lucky enough to have streaming apps, it will be live on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire which means you can live it, watch it and relive it over and over at your leisure, no matter where in the world you happen to be spending this Christmas.
Tell Me More!
Where do we start?
The Pittsburgh Santa Claus Parade takes place downtown from 9 am to 11 am. It features colourful floats, marching bands, balloons, specialty performers, celebrities, and of course, the hero of the day: Santa Claus himself.
You’ll be able to see everything from rappers (such as 1NE and Fryz) and other groups like Pittsburgh’s very own cosplay masters, The Pittsburgh Avengers. The Studio 19 dance group and the Steelers’ very own drumline: Pittsburgh Steeline, will also be present and accounted for; and that’s just barely scratching the surface.
There will also be animal groups present throughout the day, with many non-profit organizations turning out to offer animal therapy and rehoming/foster care. And it goes without saying there will be a plethora of places to get food and drink, and more photo opportunities than a red carpet runway.
Like every year, the parade route is hotly debated and expertly curated by some of Pittsburgh’s finest minds. This year, Ford is the sponsors and they wanted the most impressive route yet.
And that’s exactly what they got.
Stepping off at 11th St and Liberty Avenue, the parade makes its way further down Liberty Avenue, taking its time for everyone to see and experience the majesty of the moment. It ends further down at Liberty and Stanwix (in front of the Gateway Center), and there’s a viewing stand located between 6th & 7th Street in front of the PNC II for the best views.
It’s a parade in the old school format, covering one strip of ecstatic attendees, which makes it a surefire winner for Santa Claus enthusiasts both old and new.
A Few Tips
With thousands of people expected to attend, safety is important, so make sure you’re wearing warm clothing, and keep yourself on the right side of the curb. Seating is allowed, but we would highly recommend setting yourself up in the viewing stand as it provides the most stunning panorama. Due to the expected congestion, those driving are advised to arrive early and park sensibly, away from the designated route. No cars will be granted access to Liberty Avenue.
The more eager you are, the earlier you arrive and the better your spot. We like to bring a thermos of something hot to keep us company as we wait for Santa’s sleigh to shoot by.
Parades don’t just bring a city together, but a nation as well. The electric atmosphere of thousands upon thousands of people cheering sends shivers to your nerve endings. With a whole host of performances from such a diverse variety of artists, set against the backdrop of colourful floats and the Santa, star of the show, the Pittsburgh Santa Claus Parade is a real show stopper.
And, now that festivities are in the air, why not get lost in the lights at Lumaze Pittsburgh, an indoor festival and market in the heart of Pittsburgh? It’s a great way to get a little more Santa into your system this holiday season. Boasting a fully-licensed bar, as well as live music, independent vendors and fun for the kids, it’s the perfect place to make memories this festive season. Oh, and did we mention it has one million — yes you read that right: one million —- sparkling lights inside? Once you’ve experienced Lumaze in all its glory, Christmas will never be the same again.
Note: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the Pittsburgh Annual Santa Claus Parade.