Last Updated November 30, 2022
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!
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Pittsburgh Christmas Lights
There are several opportunities to view Christmas lights in Pittsburgh, either from your car or on foot. Below are a handful of Pittsburgh Christmas light displays to check out during the holiday season. A few require tickets in advance, so be sure to keep an eye out for ticket sales so you don’t miss out!
Pittsburgh Zoo Lights
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 from November 25- December 30 | Timed Tickets from 5:15pm- 9:45pm | Cost: $50 per car / $40 for members. 2022 Pittsburgh Zoo Lights tickets go on sale Nov 1 for members and Nov 7 for non-members.
Note: Breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo is sold out for 2022.
Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps
Visit Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden for the 2022 Phipps Holiday Flower Show and Lights Garden. The beautiful lights at Phipps are one of our favorites and we love the indoor and outdoor aspect of the display. New for 2022 are special displays with arctic animals like Narwhales and Polar Bears throughout, along with a North Pole display. Another highlight of the holiday flower show at Phipps is the amazing garden train at Phipps with a National Park theme for 2022. When you head outside to tour the light garden, be sure to grab a hot chocolate or a glass of wine to tour the groups.
Santa at Phipps will be virtual in 2022, but you can sign up for a virtual story time with Santa here.
Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show
View 2 miles of beautiful lights from your car at Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show, with its new location at Cooper’s Lake in Slippery Rock. The displays synchronize with your radio and includes huge LED light displays throughout. Santa’s village is reopening at Shadrack’s in 2022, and it includes fun things like photos and visits with Santa, letter writing to Santa and food for purchase.
Location: Cooper’s Lake Event Venue and Campground, 205 Currie Rd, Slippery Rock, PA 16057 | Date: November 18- January 1, 2023 | 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 2022 for an additional $20.
Overlys Christmas Village
See the drive-through Overlys Christmas Village light display and walk around Christmas village for a chance to see Santa up close. Location: 116 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg// Dates: Select days Thursday- Sunday from Nov 17- Dec 30, 2022) | Time: 5:30- 9pm Thurs & Sunday, 5:30-10pm Fri & Sat| Cost: $5 per person or $25 per carload of 8 or less people. Admission to Overlys Christmas Village is cash only.
North Park Christmas Light Show
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. It plays several family favorite Christmas songs (as well as a Hanukah song or two) with lights synchronized to music from your car. December 9-22, 2022. For more information on this Pittsburgh Christmas light show at North Park, head here.
Downtown 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. The 2022 Light Up Night in Pittsburgh date is November 19, 2022. Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night includes several festivities like fireworks and live music in addition to the tree lighting ceremony at 5pm.
Additional Pittsburgh Christmas events downtown include:
- The Downtown Pittsburgh Christmas Market has a European Christmas market feel with several vendors selling hand crafted goods. Find more info on the Pittsburgh holiday market here.
- Stop by PPG place for *the* Pittsburgh Christmas tree as well as seasonal ice skating at PPG rink.
- Visit Santa in Downtown Pittsburgh at a new location at the Heinz Hall Courtyard. (After a few years of virtual visits with Santa in Market Square, Pittsburgh, you can finally see him in person again!) Check here for more details on visiting the Downtown Pittsburgh Santa.
Light Up Nights near Pittsburgh are also taking place in most towns, including Norwin, Robinson Township and Cranberry.
Pittsburgh Santa Visits
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. If you’re wondering where to see Santa in Pittsburgh, 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.
- Celebrate the holidays at the Carnegie Science Center with the laser holiday light show and Polar Express in 3-D.
- Visit the National Aviary for Season’s Greetings Saturdays, which includes holiday crafts and Santa visits each Saturday from 11am-3pm.
- See Santa at Heinz History Center on Saturday December 10, 17 and 24.
- Santa sightings and mini golf at the holiday lights Pittsburgh course at Fun Fore All in Cranberry.
- See Santa near Pittsburgh at the Santa Trolley at the Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.
- Find Santa in Bakery Square along with other festivities.
- 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.
- Elfburgh is another unique Christmas event in Pittsburgh. This drive-through Christmas experience includes a Santa visit and several fun stops along the way.
- The 2022 Lawrenceville Cookie Tour is taking place on December 10 & 11 from 12-5pm. More details will be announced here.
- The Sewickley Santa Parade is a popular annual Christmas parade in Pittsburgh, along with Santa in Sewickley at the fire station.
- Pittsburgh Holiday Markets including the Terminal Holiday Market and I Made It Market.
Note: Details on the 2022 WPXI Holiday Parade have not yet been announced.
Breakfast with Santa: Pittsburgh Area Options
If you’re looking to have brunch or breakfast with Santa in Pittsburgh, these events tend to fill up fast! Below are some fun options for breakfast, brunch or lunch with Santa in Pittsburgh in 2022!
- Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe starting December 4 with multiple weekend dates
- Santa Breakfast in Fox Chapel at Baja Bar & Grill on December 3
- Brunch with Santa in Gibsonia at The Clubhouse on December 10 and 11
- Breakfast with Santa at the Greenhouse Winery in Irwin on December 3
- Dinner & Dessert with the Grinch and Breakfast with Santa at Lenope Heights
- Holiday Open House with Santa at Vinosky Winery on December 11
- Holiday Brunch in the Garden at the Aviary on December 11 and 18
Note: The 2022 breakfast and lunch with Santa at Pittsburgh Zoo is already sold out for the holiday season.
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. Below are a few options for seeing Santa in Pittsburgh at the mall. Note: Reservations in advanced are strongly encouraged.
- Ross Park Mall Santa
- Dates: November 11- December 24
- Location: 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Ross Township
- South Hills Village Santa
- Dates: November 17- December 24
- Location: 301 S Hills Village, Bethel Park
- The Mall at Robinson Santa
- Dates: November 18- December 24
- Location: 100 Robinson Centre Drive Pittsburgh, Robinson Township
- Monroeville Mall Santa
- Dates: November 23- December 24
- Location: 200 Mall Circle Drive, Monroeville
- Westmoreland Mall Santa
- Dates: November 18- December 24
- Location: 5256 US-30, Greensburg
If you’re avoiding the malls this year, try a virtual Santa visit instead. PGH Santa is offers virtual Santa visits in addition to the traditional in-home Santa visits in Pittsburgh.
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.
- The Westin Pittsburgh right next to the Pittsburgh Convention Center
- The Embassy Suites Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh
- The Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh- Downtown by the Heinz History Center
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!
- The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Pittsburgh
- 25+ Weekend Trips from Pittsburgh
- 13 Fun Things to do in Pittsburgh With Kids
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