The holiday season in Downtown Pittsburgh is a magical celebration of bright lights, festive music and annual traditions that bring families closer together. What’s even better is many of the events are free. Here are 11 kid-friendly events where your family can celebrate the season in style – from Light Up Night to First Night.
Comcast Light Up Night
Downtown is the place to be on Nov. 16, when Pittsburgh officially welcomes in the holidays during its 58th Light Up Night. There’s so much happening, it will be a challenge to take it all in. The festivities officially get underway at noon with the dedication of the crèche at U.S. Steel Tower, followed by seven tree lightings and a variety of entertainment across Downtown.
Five stages of live music will feature Grammy Award-winning national recording artists A Great Big World and singer-songwriter Elley Duhé. Steel Town favorites Joe Grushecky and Jeff Jimerson will rock the crowd and jazz vocalist James Tormé will perform. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform mini-concerts of holiday music at Heinz Hall.
Fifth Avenue Place, One Oxford Centre and PPG Place will host live music and free family activities. Catch the rooftop fireworks and laser show at 7 p.m. featuring Mr. McFeely of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.” The evening ends at 10 p.m. with the BNY Mellon Fireworks Finale choreographed to holiday tunes and launched from the Allegheny River.
NRG Santa Spectacular
The NRG Santa Spectacular Show returns to Point State Park on Nov. 16, featuring Winter Wonderland Booths with activities and family entertainment, an ice carving display and Santa’s Workshop opening at 4:30 p.m. New this year is a walk-through model train exhibit from McKeesport Model Railroad Club. Kids will enjoy games, princess visits and face-painting. Local performance groups will take the stage at 5 p.m., with American Idol finalist Gabby Barrett of Munhall performing at 7:30. A fireworks show at the Point takes place at 8:30 p.m.
Gingerbread House Display and Competition
Kids will be inspired by the overwhelming vision of gingerbread, icing, gumdrops and candy canes at the 6th annual Gingerbread House Display and Competition in the PPG Place Wintergarden. The towering display runs from Nov. 16 to Jan. 1. The competing gingerbread houses are creations by families, seniors, students and chefs in a fascinating range of whimsy and creativity. Admission is free, but donations will be collected for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund.
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