Pittsburgh Christmas: Festive Things to Do in 2020

With all of the fun things to do with kids in Pittsburgh, it’s no surprise that our city has a ton of Christmas events as well. From Pittsburgh Christmas lights to festive boat rides, Christmas markets and unique Santa visits, there are so many fun things to do for Christmas in Pittsburgh.

Keep reading for some of our favorite things to do in Pittsburgh at Christmas time.

**While several 2020 Pittsburgh Christmas events have been canceled, there are still many socially distant options to choose from. Be sure save this post for later and check back periodically for more Pittsburgh holiday events.**

Santa in Market Square Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh Christmas Lights

There are several opportunities to view Christmas lights in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Christmas lights displays below all offer a Christmas experience from your car, which is especially great in 2020! Below are a handful of Pittsburgh Christmas light displays to checkout. A few require tickets in advance, so be sure to purchase soon if you don’t want to miss out!

  • Drive through the Pittsburgh Zoo with a holiday themed audio tour at the Zoo Lights Drive-Thru. See the animals amongst beautiful light displays throughout the zoo. (Location: 7370 Baker Street Pittsburgh | Dates: Various dates in November & December | Cost: $60 per car / $40 for members (tickets must be purchased online in advance) Note: Breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo was canceled for 2020.
  • View 3 miles of beautiful lights from your car at Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show at the Butler Fairgrounds. Santa’a village is not operating in 2020, but check back for next year! (Location: 127 New Castle Rd, Prospect | Date: November 13- January 3, 2020 | Daily 6-10PM | Cost: Light Show is $30 per car) Pro Tip: Visit Mon-Thurs to avoid long lines and wait times to get into the show. An express pass is also available in 2020 for an additional $20.
  • Walk around Overly’s Christmas Village and see Santa in his workshop. The walk around Christmas village is closed in 2020, but you can still catch a glimpse of Santa! (Location: 116 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg// Dates: Thursdays- Sundays November 19- December 30 | Time: 5:30-10pm| Cost: $5 per person or $20 per carload of 4+ people. CASH ONLY.)
  • Enjoy the holiday laser light show at North Park from the comfort of your car. This drive-in experience is located in the North Park Pool Parking lot and lasts 45 minutes. For more information on these Pittsburgh Christmas lights, head here.

If you’re looking for more Christmas lights in Pittsburgh, we also hear great things about the Clinton, PA Christmas Lights!

Pittsburgh Christmas Lights Phipps Toddling Traveler
Phipps Conservatory Holiday Show

Pittsburgh Holiday Events

There are typically so many great holiday events in Pittsburgh, with Light Up Night being the unofficial start of Christmas in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night is canceled in 2020, but there are a few great Pittsburgh Christmas events you can still enjoy. They include:

  • The Downtown Pittsburgh Christmas Market is still taking place, with several vendors selling hand crafted goods. Santa at this Pittsburgh holiday market will be virtual this year with a personalized Zoom visit. Check here for more details on visiting Santa in Market Square Pittsburgh virtually. While you’re visiting the Pittsburgh Christmas Market, be sure to also stop by PPG place. It contains *the* Pittsburgh Christmas tree as well as seasonal ice skating at PPG rink.
  • If you’re looking to get out of the city, you can experience Christmas on the Farm at Freedom Farms. It’s one of the biggest growing Christmas events in Pittsburgh, with local food and alcohol vendors, handmade goods, Christmas trees and Santa. Check their Facebook Page for details.
  • Elfburgh is another unique Christmas event in Pittsburgh that’s new for 2020. This drive-through Christmas experience includes a Santa visit and several fun stops along the way.

Unfortunately in 2020, several other traditional Pittsburgh holiday parades and events have been canceled. Check back in 2021 for more Pittsburgh Christmas events, including:

  • WPXI Holiday Parade
  • Sewickly Santa Parade
  • Lawrenceville Cookie Tour
  • Oakmont Hometown Christmas Parade
Santa Market Square Pittsburgh Toddling Traveler
Santa House Market Square Pittsburgh

Attractions in Pittsburgh with Santa Visits and Christmas Festivities

We’re lucky to have so many fun things to do in Pittsburgh with kids. Many of our favorite Pittsburgh attractions also offer Santa visits and other activities throughout the holiday season. Below are just a few fun places to visit during a Pittsburgh Christmas.

  • Cruise on the Gateway Clipper with Santa on a special Santa Story Time cruise. (Location: 350 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh | Dates: Saturdays, December 5, 12 & 19 | Time: 10:45am boarding | Cost: $30 for adults; $20 for children 1-12)
  • Visit Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden for the Winter Flower Show and garden train. Santa at Phipps will be virtual in 2020, but the flower show is still running! You can sign up for a virtual story time with Santa here.
  • Santa and his penguin helpers will not be at the National Aviary this year, but they will still be celebrating the holidays with Season’s Greetings Saturdays. (Location: 700 Arch St, Pittsburgh | December 5, 12 & 19 from 10am- 4pm)
  • Celebrate the holidays at the Carnegie Science Center with the laser holiday light show. (Location: 350 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh)
  • Play mini golf at the holiday lights course at Fun Fore All. (Location: 8 Progress Ave, Cranberry Township | Dates: November 20- January 2 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas) | Time: 5- 9pm)
Santa in Pittsburgh Aviary Santa Toddling Traveler

Breakfast or Brunch with Santa in Pittsburgh

If you’re looking to have brunch or breakfast with Santa in Pittsburgh, these events tend to fill up fast! Below are a handful of ideas on where to go for pancakes with Santa in Pittsburgh.

Note: Most events for breakfast with Santa in Pittsburgh have been canceled for 2020. There are a few options still available including:

  • Breakfast with Santa at Joe’s Crab Shack. (Location: 230 W. Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh | Date: December 12, 2020 | Time: 8- 11:00am)
  • Breakfast with Santa on the Polar Express at Greenhouse Winery (Location: 1048 Pinewood Rd, Irwin, PA 15642 | Dates: December 5 & 6 | Time: 10am- 12pm | Cost: Adults are $15: Children 4 – 8 are $10 and kids under 3 are FREE!; Call 724.446.5000 to reserve a spot. )
  • Breakfast to-go with Santa at Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus. Order breakfast online in advance and see Santa while you’re picking up your food! This holiday brunch takes place on December 5, 12 and 19.

Past events like breakfast with Santa at Trax Farms and breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo have been canceled for 2020.

Pittsburgh Malls with Santa

Of course, we can’t forget about the malls in Pittsburgh with Santa visits. With several malls in the Pittsburgh area there’s no shortage of photo ops with Santa.  

Note: Reservations in advanced are strongly encouraged and social distancing is being enforced.

  • Ross Park Mall Santa 
    • Dates: November 20- December 24
    • Cost: Photo Packages vary; purchase skip the line & package here
    • Location: 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Ross Township
  • South Hills Village
    • Dates: November 20- December 24
    • Cost: Photo packages vary; purchase skip the line & package here
    • Location: 301 S Hills Village, Bethel Park
  • The Mall at Robinson  
    • Dates: November 27- December 24
    • Cost: Photo packages vary)  
    • Location: 100 Robinson Centre Drive Pittsburgh, Robinson Township
  • Monroeville Mall
    • Dates: November 27- December 24
    • Cost: Photo packages vary. Zoom calls with Santa are also available.
    • Location: 200 Mall Circle Drive, Monroeville
  • Westmoreland Mall
    • Dates: November 27- December 24
    • Cost: Photo packages vary. Virtual visits with Santa are also available.
    • Location: 5256 US-30, Greensburg

If you’re avoiding the malls this year, try a virtual Santa visit instead. PGH Santa is offering virtual Santa visits in addition to the traditional in home Santa visits in Pittsburgh.

Santa at Ross Park Mall

Visiting Pittsburgh During the Holidays?

If you’ll be in Pittsburgh at Christmas, be sure to check out our list of the best things to do Pittsburgh with toddlers. (This is a great list of things to do for kids of almost all ages!)

For family friendly hotels in Pittsburgh, we recommend the hotels below. They’re all Pittsburgh hotels with pools and they offer larger rooms and suites for families.

Do you have any favorites things to do during Christmas in Pittsburgh? We’d love to hear in the comments!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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Places to See Santa in Pittsburgh Pinterest Toddling Traveler

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