Top 9 Christmas Events in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
From November 23rd to January 4th, you can experience your own fairytale Christmas at Lumaze Pittsburgh. This indoor festival wonderland features dazzling light gardens of fantastic intricacy, plus a wide selection of food and drink for the whole family. Daily live entertainment will keep things fresh if you decide to come back for more after your first visit! Best of all, your kids can help Santa Claus himself save Christmas on an interactive adventure that will leave them with great memories for years to come. At Lumaze Pittsburgh, the best holiday festival in town is everything you imagined and more.
Light Up Night
Christmas begins for most folks in Pittsburgh with Light Up Night, which occurs on the Friday before Thanksgiving. It’s a full-day event that features live music from local musicians, Christmas markets, and various tree lighting throughout the city. But the biggest attraction is the three fireworks shows that occur that evening, which impressively color the sky of Pittsburgh in a dazzling display of radiant hues and patterns. It’s easily the most impressive fireworks display after 4 July! Best of all, you don’t need to pay a dime to enjoy the fireworks; just be in Pittsburgh when the moment arrives, and you won’t be disappointed.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
This newer holiday tradition first began in 2015 but has since exploded in popularity. The Big Butler Fairgrounds are transformed starting in mid-November until the first week of January and is open every day between. Bring your car and your family and drive through the fairgrounds to be submerged in an amazing display of beautiful lights and magical Christmas time sounds. The driving track through the fairgrounds is three miles long, offering lots of opportunities to take pictures or simply soak in the holiday atmosphere.
Phipps Conservatory’s Winter Flower Show
This show begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving, after which point the Phipps Conservatory is transformed into a wintery wonderland that features a unique theme each year. The indoor flower gardens become decorated with a variety of Christmastime trappings, and the Conservatory plants extra Christmas-colored flowers in preparation for the event. Even the outdoor garden is converted into a glimmering light display, perfect for touring after it gets dark. As one of the most popular attractions in the city, be sure to arrive early if you want to guarantee a spot inside on any particular day.
Spirits of Giving from Around the World
The holidays aren’t just a Western tradition. Stop by the lobbies of One PPG Place and Two PPG Place and enjoy a magical display of life-sized Santa statues and figurines, plus several artistic paintings that display the folklore and holiday traditions of cultures all around the world. It’s a wonderful chance to expose your children to the holiday spirit outside Pittsburgh and America. The exhibit is both educational and enchanting. It’s also totally free, so make it a point to stop by and enjoy the holiday cheer from all around the globe.
17th Annual Gingerbread House Competition
Gingerbread addicts and people with sweet teeth should make sure to stop by the City-County Building Grand Lobby starting from November 22 to January 3. This traditional festival features hundreds of gingerbread houses and other structures that are created from chefs, students, or simply talented families from all across the Pittsburgh area and western Pennsylvania region. These gingerbread dwellings are then compared against one another for a grand prize. It’s a fascinating display of artistic merit and a temptation for anyone who enjoys snapping up such treats. You can even enter the competition yourself, if you’ve got the baking chops to make an exceptional gingerbread house of your own.
MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink
Stop by the Ice Rink at PPG Place, which is a one-of-a-kind outdoor ice-skating environment that first opened in 2001. Since its inception, it’s been expanded to allow for even more skating room. At this time, it measures 116’ x 116’, making it 67% larger than the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. As such, it’s an excellent place to show off your ice-skating skills or take a date for a romantic evening out. You can even plan a party at the ice rink if you call ahead and reserve the space during one of its private days.
As the only authorized creche aside from the one in the Vatican at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pittsburgh Creche holds tremendous importance for those with religious ties to the Christmas holiday. It’s a life-size Nativity scene that opens up on November 22 in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Light Up Night. This startling scene includes 20 detailed statues of people and animals. Everyone, religious or not, can appreciate the artistic grandeur and skill on display here. Feel free to check out whenever you’re nearby, as there’s truly nothing quite like it anywhere else in America.
Pittsburgh Zoo Penguins on Parade
Families or animal lovers alike should attend the parade held by the Pittsburgh Zoo. The parade takes place within zoo property, but the zookeepers let the penguins march around in the snow on the visitor’s pathway. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the critters up close and watch them enjoy a little extra free space in their natural icy environment. On weekends, kids can also find Santa in the zoo. Stop by early enough and you can have some one-on-one time with the man in red himself.