Last Updated December 1, 2021
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!
**We’re in the process of updating this for 2021 Pittsburgh Christmas events. Be sure save this post for later and check back periodically for more Pittsburgh holiday events.**
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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!
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 26- December 30 | Timed Tickets from 5:15pm- 9:45pm | Cost: $50 per car / $40 for members (tickets must be purchased online in advance) Note: Breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo is sold out for 2021.
Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps
Visit Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden for the Phipps Holiday Flower Show and Lights Garden. The beautiful lights at Phipps are one of our favorites and we’re excited for them to come back this year. Another highlight of the holiday flower show at Phipps is the amazing garden train at Phipps with fun, interactive features throughout. Santa at Phipps will be virtual in 2021, but you can sign up for a virtual story time with Santa here. (Location: One Schenley Ave, Pittsburgh, PA | Dates: Nov 19, 2021- Jan 9, 2022 | Show included with standard admission.)
Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show
View 2 miles of beautiful lights from your car at Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show at the Butler Fairgrounds. Santa’s village isn’t operating in 2021, but they added a new Santa beach party for the 2021 Shadrack’s Christmas Lights Show! (Location: 127 New Castle Rd, Prospect | Date: November 12- January 2, 2022 | 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.
Overly’s Christmas Village
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 18- December 30 (plus additional nights) | Time: 5:30- 9pm Thurs & Sunday, 5:30-10pm Fri & Sat| Cost: $5 per person or $20 per carload of 8 or less people. Admission to Overly’s 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. Our toddler loved sitting up front in the car with a special snack while he watched. Dates: nightly Dec 1-22, 2021| $20 for Allegheny County residents & $25 for non-residents. For more information on this Pittsburgh Christmas light show at North Park, head here.
If you’re looking for more Christmas lights in Pittsburgh, we also hear great things about the Clinton, PA Christmas Lights!
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 2021 Light Up Night in Pittsburgh is scheduled for November 20, 2021 after being canceled in 2020. 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 and outside of the city include:
- The Downtown Pittsburgh Christmas Market, with several vendors selling hand crafted goods. Santa at the 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.
- Elfburgh is another unique Christmas event in Pittsburgh that was new in 2020. This drive-through Christmas experience includes a Santa visit and several fun stops along the way.
Several traditional Pittsburgh holiday parades and events are also back for 2021. They include:
- The Sewickley Santa Parade is taking place on December 4, 2021 at 10:30am. There will also be Santa in Sewickley at the fire station again this year.
- For 2021, the Lawrenceville Cookie Tour is scheduled to return again. More details will be announced here.
- Oakmont Hometown Christmas Parade is scheduled to return again on November 20, 2021.
- City of Greensburg holiday parade is returning as well on November 20, 2021.
- Light Up Nights near Pittsburgh are also taking place in most towns, including Norwin, Robinson Township and Cranberry.
Note: The 2021 WPXI Holiday Parade is canceled again for this year.
Pittsburgh Santa Visits & Holiday 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. 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 a winter themed story time. Note: Santa and his penguin helper won’t be back yet for pictures this year, but you can write letters to Santa at the Aviary.
- Santa sightings and mini golf at the holiday lights course at Fun Fore All in Cranberry.
- See Santa near Pittsburgh at the Santa Trolley at the Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.
- Santa at the Park for visits with Santa at Blueberry Hill Park in Franklin Township.
- Find Santa in Bakery Square along with other festivities on December 18th.
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 and social distancing is being enforced.
- Ross Park Mall Santa
- Dates: November 12- December 24
- Location: 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Ross Township
- South Hills Village Santa
- Dates: November 19- December 24
- Location: 301 S Hills Village, Bethel Park
- The Mall at Robinson Santa
- Dates: November 19- December 24
- Location: 100 Robinson Centre Drive Pittsburgh, Robinson Township
- Monroeville Mall Santa
- Dates: November 24- December 24
- Location: 200 Mall Circle Drive, Monroeville
- Westmoreland Mall Santa
- Dates: November 19- December 24
- 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.
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 2021!
- Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe on Dec 4, 5, 11, 12 and 18
- Santa Breakfast in Fox Chapel at Baja Bar & Grill on December 4
- Breakfast with Santa at Vinosky Winery on December 4
- Breakfast with Santa at RMU University on December 18
- Holiday Brunch in the Garden at the Aviary (does not include Santa but looks like a great option!)
Note: The 2021 breakfast with Santa at Pittsburgh Zoo is already sold out for the holiday season.
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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