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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

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2014 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide

2014 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family GuideThis post originally appeared on The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog

Although it’s hard to believe, the Christmas season is just about to begin in Pittsburgh. Starting the second week in November, 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 2014 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.City of Pittsburgh

I will start this guide with special holiday events and attractions within the city:

54th Annual Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts the official kickoff of the holiday season at Light Up Night on November 21st. The evening features various tree lightings, Santa and reindeer sightings, free horse-drawn carriage rides, the unveiling of the Macy’s window displays, ice skating, music, food, fireworks and so much more!

There are also a number of less-crowded alternatives to the city’s official Light Up Night celebration on November 21st:

  • Light Up Night Sleepover at the Carnegie Science Museum: Spend “Light Up Night” at the Carnegie Science Center and enjoy holiday-themed activities.  Plus, get a great view of the fireworks over the city! Tickets are $35/person.
  • 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. There are two show times for this event: 6pm and 7:30 pm and 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 MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink seven days/week with $3 skate rental, &8 adult entry and $7 children < 13 entry. The Rink will hold a special Mascot Skate on November 22nd and Santa Skates from 2-4pm on Saturday, December 6, 13 and 20th.
  • The Wintergarden at PPG Place: The Wintergarden at PPG Place opens on November 21 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.

Finally, the US Steel Tower Plaza on Grant Street houses The Pittsburgh Creche from November 21 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 the weekend 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.
  • Fifth Avenue Place and Macy’s Free Holly Trolley: Fifth Avenue Place and Macy’s will be 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 28th) from 11-5pm.
  • Saturdays at the Centre: One Oxford Centre offers special holiday-themed activities, crafts and visits with Santa from 12-4pm on Saturdays.
  • Creation Stations at Fifth Avenue Place: Fifth Avenue Place will be hosting “Creation Stations” on Saturdays from 11-2pm in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, featuring kid-friendly activities.
  • Holiday KidsPlay: A new holiday tradition in the 800 block of Liberty Avenue, Holiday Kidsplay offers kid-friendly activities on Saturdays and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Includes activities at the Arcade Comedy Theater, Harris Theater and the Trust Arts Education Center.
  • Macy’s in Downtown Pittsburgh: Macy’s has beautiful holiday-themed window displays. Also offers visits and photos with Santa, Breakfast with Santa and a Children’s Very Own Gift Shop, where kids can shop for gifts for their parents with the help of Santa’s elves!

 And, of course, the annual Holiday Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh on the Saturday after Thanksgiving:

34th Annual WPXI Holiday ParadeAlthough Macy’s is no longer sponsoring the annual Holiday Parade, WPXI will still be holding this favorite annual parade on November 29th. It starts at 9am on the 22nd block of Liberty Avenue and features marching bands, colorful floats, local celebrities, and the arrival of Santa! Kid-friendly activities follow at Fifth Avenue Place.

Winter Light Garden at Phipps

Oakland is another hub of holiday-themed activities throughout the season with:

  • The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning: Beginning on November 15th, 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 7th from 12-4pm with guides dressed in ethnic costumes, free ethnic dance performances and special ethnic food selections. Check out the most recent edition of Shady Avenue Magazine for a nice write-up on the Nationality Rooms.
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden Winter Flower Show:The Winter Flower Show at Phipps begins on November 28th with a “Winter Wonderland” 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 29-Dec 20. Also, the Sugar Plum Fairy will be visiting Phipps on December 6 and 13th for a free 30-minute creative movement dance class and story time with a dancer in costume.
  • Holidays at the Carnegie Museums: Starting November 28th, 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 4th, the Hall of Architecture will also hold the Museum’s six decorated 20-foot spruce trees (there is also a special opening celebration happening on December 3rd if you would like to purchase $35 tickets).
  • Santa Skate at Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink: The Schenley Park outdoor skating rink opens mid-November. Each year, the rink hosts a special Santa Skate in December. No further information available at this time.

 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 6th and 13th. 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 $25.

 A number of other museums and other special venues offer holiday-themed events within the city over the next month:

  • The Nutcracker Holiday Party: On November 23rd, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s hosts its FREE Nutcracker-themed Open House from 12-3pm with a storytime, holiday crafts, dance classes, performance excerpts and a stage makeup station!
  • Photos with Santa at the National Aviary: On Saturdays from November 29-December 20th, the National Aviary invites children to visit with Santa and his penguin helpers from 11-3pm. Kids can also take home a bird seed ornament to feed the birds in their backyard.
  • Members Holiday Event at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting a “Members Holiday Event” on December 5th 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 members@pittsburghkids.org.
  • Breakfast/Lunch with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo: On Saturdays and Sundays from December 6-21st, 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. Advance registration required.
  • Santa Family Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet: On Saturdays and Sunday from December 6-21, families can visit with Santa Claus during a special cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet, featuring a DJ dance party and special gifts for all boys and girls. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children. On December 13th and the 20th, the Gateway Clipper Fleet also offers a special Breakfast with Santa with a breakfast buffet and visits with Santa. Breakfast service begins at 8:30am and cruise runs from 9:30-11:30. Tickets are $20.
  • Cool Yule Free Family Fun Day at the Frick: On Saturday, December 6th 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 13th (time info not available yet), featuring a DJ dance party, holiday craft activities and more.

 Finally, a number of city neighborhoods offer holiday-themed events:

  • A Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour on the Northside: The Northside is hosting a Christmas Carol tour on November 13th from noon to 2:30pm with a portion of the $50 ticket price benefitting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Tour includes a visit to two historic and decorated churches and a stop at the Priory Hotel where they can enjoy a light brunch and a tour of the Great Hall.
  • Holiday I Made It! Market in Shadyside: The Holiday I Made It! Market will be in the space above Shady Grove every Saturday from November 29-December 20th from 11-5pm, with vendors selling gift items, treats and other holiday goodies.
  • “The Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour” by the Lawrenceville Corporation: From December 4-7th, Lawrenceville hosts its “Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour,” featuring free cookies and shopping at over 35 stops in Lawrenceville.
  • Wilkins School Community Center Holiday Gift Shop and Opening Night Party: Regent Square’s celebration of the holidays begins at the WSCC’s party on December 5th from 7-9pm, featuring refreshments, music, dancing and a visit from Santa. Also, the WSCC is hosting a make-your-own Gingerbread House Night in December, although final date has not yet been set.
  • Light Up Point Breeze: Point Breeze is offering a holiday celebration from 4-7pm on December 6th on Reynolds Street near Gettysburg Avenue, featuring crafts, music and food.
  • Santa Celebration at the Millvale Community Center: On December 6th, Millvale holds it annual Santa Celebration at its Community Center at 11am, featuring refreshments, children’s activities and visits with Santa.
  • South Side Slopes Holiday Party-The South Side Slopes will be holding its annual Holiday Party on December 9th at 7pm at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery. Dinner will be provided, but guests are asked to bring a dessert or appetizer.

Pittsburgh North

The northern suburbs of Pittsburgh hold a couple special holiday attractions:

  • 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 8th 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.

 Also, a number of the northern communities offer special holiday-themed events:

  • “Light Up the Wall” in Aspinwall: On November 13th, Aspinwall will host its annual “Light Up the Wall” event with food, music, free Christmas cookies and visits with Santa from 7-9pm. Also, this year’s holiday fireworks display in Aspinwall will be held on November 15th at 7pm.
  • Pine Holiday Dazzle: This year’s Pine Holiday Dazzle will be held on November 15th at the Pine Community Center in Wexford from 4-7pm. This event will have Santa and his elves, carriage rides, crafts, ice carving, a parade, tree lighting, a holiday movie, a bonfire with marshmallows, musical entertainment and fireworks.
  • Santa’s First Stop in Cranberry Township: Cranberry Township holds its annual Santa’s First Stop event on November 21st 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 21st from 6-9pm, 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 22nd at 1pm  starts at the Tarentum bridge and ends at Flabeg Brackenridge. 
  • Annual Shaler “Lite” Up Night: Shaler Township holds it annual “Lite Up Night” on November 22nd at 7pm in front of the Shaler North Hills Library, featuring visits with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the reindeers, etc.
  • Light-Up Night and Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt in Butler: Butler County Parks and Recreation is hosting a “Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt” on November 22nd at 5pm, featuring live music, hot chocolate and popcorn, caroling and a candy cane hunt. Cost is $5 per child through November 7th and $7 per child after November 7th.
  • Holiday Parade and Light-Up the Borough Night in Saxonburg: Saxonburg holds its annual Holiday Parade and Celebration at 7pm on November 28th.
  • Christmas Parade in Butler: Butler holds its annual Christmas Parade on November 29th on Main Street in the Downtown area beginning at 5:30pm, featuring floats, marching bands, fire trucks and Santa!
  • Christmas in the Country at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm: Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm holds its annual “Christmas in the Country” event on weekends from December 1-24, featuring a bonfire with marshmallow roasting, a live animal nativity scene, hot chocolate, and complimentary wagon rides with Santa at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm.
  • Holiday Season Greeting Celebration in Hampton: Hampton Township celebrates its annual Holiday Season Greeting Celebration on December 4th at 7pm at the Community Center, featuring free cookies, hot chocolate, live music and visits with Santa.
  • LaRoche College Festival of Lights: LaRoche College celebrates its annual Festival of Lights on December 5th with crafts, games, Santa, music performances, carriage rides, and fireworks.
  •  St. Paul’s Preschool Santa Express: Located in Allison Park, St. Paul’s Preschool is holding its annual Polar-Express themed fundraiser on December 6th 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 $8.
  • Snowflake Festival at Soergel’s Orchard: Soergel’s Orchard is holding its annual Snowflake Festival on December 13th, featuring a Snowflake Express, hot chocolate and other treats, ice carving demonstrations and horsedrawn carriage ride around the grounds.  Santa and his elves will arrive via horse-drawn sleigh at 6 pm.
  • Breakfast with Santa in Pine Township: Families are invited to a special buffet breakfast with Santa in Pine Township on December 13th. Also features games, crafts and face-painting. Full registration info is not available yet.
  • Little Cup of Hope: The second annual “Little Cup of Hope” fundraiser will be held at the Pine Community Center in Wexford on December 14th from 2-4pm, 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.


Pittsburgh South

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 28-December 14th, featuring a caroling-filled trolley ride, a complimentary cup of hot chocolate, 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 20th from 6-9am, featuring horse-drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, Southminster Bell Ringers, a model train exhibit, tree lightings, visits with Santa and a gingerbread house competition.
  • Santa Claus is Shopping in Monongahela: Monongahela hosts its annual “Santa Claus is Shopping” event on November 21st at 5:30pm, featuring a Christmas tree display, live entertainment, visits with Santa, face-painting and children’s activities.
  • A Night with St. Nick at Trax Farm: Celebrate the holiday season at Trax Farm in Finleyville on November 29th!  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 and seatings are available at 9:30am and 12:30pm. Advance registration required.
  • Tree Lighting in Bethel Park: Bethel Park hosts its annual Tree Lighting event on December 3 at the Community Center featuring hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, the high school marching band and visits with Santa!
  • Bridgeville Winter Blast: Bridgeville is holding its annual Winter Blast on December 5th at 6:30pm at Triangle Park, featuring a bonfire, chorus, refreshments and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
  • Christmas Parade in Washington PA: Washington PA holds it annual Christmas Parade on December 5th at 7pm, beginning on West Chestnut Street and ending at the Railroad Station. Parade features floats, marching bands, fire trucks, horses and Santa!
  • Light Up Dormont: Dormont holds it annual holiday event on December 6th. The day starts with the Fireman’s Annual Christmas Parade at 10am on West Liberty and Potomac Avenue. Parade is followed by Cookies with Santa hosted by the borough from 3-5:30pm at the Recreation Center. Finally, Light Up Dormont begins at 6:30pm at the Recreation Center, featuring carolers from Dormont Elementary and tree lighting.
  • 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 6th 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 6th at Canonsburg Senior Center, featuring lunch, treat bags, balloon artists, music and visits with Santa.
  • South Park Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: South Park Township hosts its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 8th at 6:30 pm in the library courtyard. Afterwards, families are invited to the community center for refreshments.

Window Display at Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas

Pittsburgh East

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 21-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 28th, 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:

  • Salute to Santa Parade in McKeesport: McKeesport holds its annual Salute to Santa Parade on November 15th at 11 am on Fifth Avenue in Downtown McKeesport, followed by a Children’s Christmas Party.
  • Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas and Parade: On November 22nd, 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 22nd 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 22nd
  • Monroeville Tree Lighting: Monroeville holds its annual Tree Lighting on November 25th 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 4th from 7-9pm at the Municipal Building on Frankstown Rd, featuring Santa and his reindeers, tree lighting, clowns, treats, refreshments and train display.
  • 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.
  • The Historic Steel Valley Christmas Parade: The annual Steel Valley Christmas Parade is happening on December 6th on Eighth Avenue in Homestead.

Pittsburgh West

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 20-January 4th, featuring over a mile of lights and displays in a woodland setting. On November 20-21st, 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 14th. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season.


Also, several western communities offer special holiday-themed events:

  • Sewickley Light Up Night: Sewickley hosts its annual Light Up Night on December 5th from 6-10pm with entertainment, food from local restaurants and vendor carts, shopping, and the Lighting of the Village followed by a fireworks show. Sewickley also offers special holiday-themed activities on Saturdays throughout December, including visits with Santa at Wolcott Park, free carriage rides and entertainment. 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 5th from 6:30-7:30pm, features Christmas lights, refereshments, caroling and Santa.
  • Sewickley’s Santa Parade: Sewickley welcomes Santa to the village with a holiday parade on Beaver Street on December 6th.
  • “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 13th and 14th.
  • Brunch with Santa in Moon Township: Moon Township hosts its annual “Brunch with Santa” event on December 13th 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. Email info@moonparks.org for more info.
  • Gingerbread Geocaching in Moon Township: Moon Parks and Recreation is hosting a Gingerbread Geocaching adventure where children can find gingerbread house building materials using GPS receivers. After collecting the components, kids can assemble their gingerbread houses in an authentic 1800’s cabin. Email info@moonparks.org for more info.

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s the Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of the PBT

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.

  • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: PNC Broadway Across America presents Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a new musical running from November 18-23rd at the Benedum Center.
  • Mon River Arts Presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Mon River Arts presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” based on the favorite children’s series at Grand Theater in Elizabeth, PA from November 20-23.
  • Gemini Children’s Theater “The Gift of the Ice Queen”: The Gemini Children’s Theater’s holiday show this year will be “The Gift of the Ice Queen,” starting on November 29th on Saturdays and Sundays. Enjoy this original, interactive, holiday-themed production.
  • Holiday Concert by the Heinz Chapel Choir: University of Pittsburgh’s Heinz Chapel Choir presents its annual holiday concert on November 29, 30th and December 5 and 7th.
  • “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 5-28th.
  • Sounds of the Season by the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale: The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale presents its annual “Sounds of the Season” concert on December 5-7th, featuring traditional and modern Christmas tunes. Also, the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale is holding a special “Singin’ with Santa” concert designed for kids on December 6th at Ingomar United Methodist Church.
  • Holiday Unwrapped at the Attack Theater: The Attack Theater hosts its annual “Holiday Unwrapped” event on December 5-6th, featuring live theatrical performances, movement activities for the family and holiday games.
  • Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker”: The Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company’s offers its rendition of this classic Christmas ballet on December 5-7th. Tickets start at just $15. . A great option for introducing your little ones to the ballet!
  • A Musical Christmas Carol: The Pittsburgh CLO presents its annual “A Musical Christmas Carol” at the Byham Theater from December 5-21st. Enjoy this Charles Dickens’ classic with accompanying Christmas music. Children under age 3 are not permitted in the theater.
  • Highmark Holiday Pops: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual “Highmark Holiday Pops” at Heinz Hall from December 12-21st. Features classic Christmas music and a visit from Santa!
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour 2014: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra presents its Winter Tour 2014 at the Consol Energy Center on December 13th.
  • Holiday POPS: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents its annual “Holiday POPS” at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on December 18th, featuring traditional Christmas carols and a visit from Santa Claus.
  • Sensory-Friendly Performance of the Nutcracker: The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will once again present its sensory-friendly version of the Nutcracker on December 23rd at 2 pm. Intended for individuals with autism or other sensory-processing disorders and their families.


Other Christmas concerts: Chatham Baroque’s Handel’s Messiah on December 6th, the Pittsburgh Camerata’s “Recounting the Nativity” on December 12, 14 and 20th, BE Taylor Christmas Concert on December 15-16th, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas on December 16th, Holiday Doo Wop on December 17th.


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