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20 Enchanting Holiday and Winter Activities and Attractions in Pittsburgh

The holiday season; what an exciting time of the year!

Food, family, holidays, and, if you’re from western Pennsylvania, probably lots of cold and snow! This guide to winter activities in Pittsburgh will hopefully help you warm up and find some fun winter and holiday-themed activities to enjoy this season! During the holidays, Pittsburgh has a beautiful holiday glow. Since we’re located a short one hour drive from Pittsburgh, we enjoy coming into Pittsburgh, especially during the holidays because of all the fun-filled holiday and winter activities in Pittsburgh. Here’s a list of our favorite and the top things to do during the holiday and winter season in Pittsburgh! 

Top Winter and Holiday-Themed Activities in Pittsburgh

Start Your Holiday Season off with Pittsburgh Light-Up Night

To kick off the holiday season by attending Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night! Every year, there are fireworks, ice skating, food, music, carriage rides, and photos with Santa!

Ice Skating at PPG Place

Located in downtown Pittsburgh, the Rink at PPG Place is a fun activity for the winter. Open from Light up Night to mid-February you can rent skates and skate your day away around the Christmas tree. You can also visit the Wintergarden, a winter “green space” that also houses the gingerbread display!

Holiday Market at Market Square

Located at Market Square in Pittsburgh, the Christmas Market is a great place to do some last-minute Christmas Shopping. Here, local businesses can sell their handicrafts. Throughout the duration of the market, there are different events including live shows and food.

Lumaze Christmas Show

This year Pittsburgh was selected as one of the cities to host the Lumaze: A Fairytale Christmas! This indoor Christmas light show is taking over the Strip District this Christmas. Here, you can awe at the dazzling lights, visit Santa, and do some shopping!

Visit Phipps Conservatory Winter Flower Show

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden never fail to amaze us! Its winter flower show is always a beautiful spectacle! Featuring Christmas themed exhibits, Christmas lights, holiday trees, and the magic of Christmas!

Tour the Clayton: A Gilded Age Christmas

The Clayton or the Frick Mansion offers holiday-themed tours during Christmastime. This beautiful late Victorian mansion was the home of the wealthy Frick family. This years tour discusses the evolution of popular Christmas traditions throughout the 19th century. Advanced ticketing is highly recommended for these tours!

Hangout with the Penguins at the Aviary

If you want something a little different for winter fun, visit the South African penguins at the National Aviary! You can even book an encounter where you can get up close with a penguin! The National Aviary has birds from all over the world to discover. The Aviary is a great place to visit if you want to see some animals without going outside like at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

See the Penguins on Parade

On the weekends during December, the Pittsburgh Zoo puts the penguins on “parade.” The penguins are brought outside and allowed to waddle around in the cold and snow! When visiting the penguins, Zoo admission is discounted and you can still see other animals on exhibit!

See the Other Pittsburgh Penguins

If you’re a sports fan, pick a night and go to a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game! Hockey games are always fun options for families over the winter break from school. If you’re a local college student, try to student rush tickets at a discounted price!

See a Holiday-Themed Theater Show

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs a yearly Christmas concert. Come to listen to your favorite Christmas tunes with a full orchestra! The Pittsburgh Ballet also follows suit with the Christmas theme in the Cultural District and puts on The Nutcracker! The Trans Siberian Orchestra and Cirque du Soleil Ovo also visit PPG Paints Arena every year.

Visit the Nationality Rooms

Located in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, the Nationality Rooms get fully decorated for the holidays. These rooms are designed in the style of different nationalities around the world, and during Christmas, they are decorated accordingly.

Kennywood Christmas Light Show

During Christmastime, Kennywood Amusement Park decorates the park with thousands of Christmas lights! The light shows spans most of the park and some of the rides are operating! It’s worth taking the train ride around the park to see additional light displays. Throughout the park, there are different events are activities including ice sculpture demonstrations, magic shows, and musical performances.

Model Railroad Museum

The Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum is a fun place to visit during the holidays! Every year, the Model Railroad Museum sets up their Christmas display!

Go Snow Tubing or for a Winter Hike

If you’re looking to get outdoors this winter, consider going for a winter hike at one of the many beautiful parks near Pittsburgh.  Boyce Park, only a short 20-minute drive from downtown offers snow tubing during the winter! Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley in the Laurel Highlands are two ski resorts that are great to visit during the winter!

Warm Up with Some Adult Beverages

Get warm this winter with your favorite drinks! Pittsburgh is full of great wineries, cider houses, breweries, and distilleries. Here are some of our favorites:

Get Artsy

One unique thing to do in Pittsburgh during the winter is getting crafty! Pittsburgh has many unique arts and crafts locations throughout the city and the suburbs. Paint Monkey and Painting with a Twist are two places that offer BYOB painting classes in Pittsburgh. If you want to paint some pottery, the Pottery Place and Kiln-N-Time offer ceramics classes and open studios! For something super unique and artsy in Pittsburgh, visit one of the open studios or events offered by the Pittsburgh Glass Center! Throughout the year, they offer opportunities for the public to learn about glassworks! During Christmastime, they sometimes offer classes on making your own Christmas ornaments!

Have Some Laughs at Arcade Comedy Theater

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, the Arcade Comedy Theater is a great place to spend an evening with laughs and drinks! This BYOB comedy club hosts improv, standup, and comedy classes!

Take a Weekend Getaway to Oglebay Resort

Oglebay Resort in Wheeling West Virginia has a beautiful Festival of Lights every year! Read more about taking a weekend getaway to Oglebay on our post here!

Annual Seasonal Events by Popular Places in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is full of many organizations that host annual holiday-themed events. Check out these event calendars to see what’s new for the holidays! Many of these places create Facebook events on their pages so give them a follow!

Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Museum of Natual History 

Pittsburgh Zoo

Explore One of Pittsburgh’s Museums

Since the winter weather in Pittsburgh tends to keep people inside, consider spending some time inside one of the many museums in Pittsburgh! These museums host winter-themed events throughout the holiday season as well!

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Pam & Kathrine

Hello! We are sisters for southwestern Pennsylvania who love to travel locally and internationally. Join us in exploring the world around us while balancing the 9-5 life!

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