2. There’s always too much to do on Light Up Night, so I plan what I call a “Holiday Day” (or a few of these) with friends to take in other Pittsburgh events and activities. What else is there to do? You can combine a number of these events into a joyful day!
- The Holiday Market at Market Square kicks off on Light Up Night and continues daily through Dec. 23. It includes a number of artisans (many of whom are local) offering an array of items that are perfect for gifts. Other activities at Market Square include karaoke, the lights synced to music and, of course, Santa.
- The Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village exhibit is a must-do. This year, the original Downtown Kaufmann’s Department Store – known as the Grand Depot – was added. You won’t recognize the building or the clock, but it’s certainly a nod to Pittsburgh’s history. The science center offers holiday laser light shows and a number of holiday films at Rangos Giant Cinema.
- The Heinz History Center’s “A Very Merry Pittsburgh” exhibit features a look at past Christmases with items ranging from old Downtown department store window displays to retro toys and vintage newspaper ads. Plus, the exhibit explains every holiday celebrated around this time of year.
- The adorable gingerbread displays were gentrified this year. Highwood Properties – the company that manages PPG Place – booted the displays from the Wintergarden. So the City of Pittsburgh stepped in to save the competition, which now can be found in the Grand Lobby of the City-County Building on Grant Street. PPG Place’s Santas display also was bumped to the lobbies of One PPG and Two PPG. But you still can ice skate at the PPG Place rink.
- I never miss watching the annual WPXI Holiday Parade, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Ever since I was a kid, my favorite part is waiting for anchor David Johnson to do his Yogi Bear impression.
- The Incline rounded up several artisan markets planned for the holidays, including Handmade Arcade, Queer Craft Market and I Made It! Last Minute Market.
- Don’t forget Holiday Magic at Phipps Conservatory, which always features gorgeous displays among greenery and other plants.
- The holidays inside the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt always are a great visit for the family.
A Gilded Age Christmas: Holiday Traditions at the Frick Pittsburgh is an event I’ve wanted to see but haven’t been to. It’s on my list this year.