Last Updated 11/22/23
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 Christmas things to do in Pittsburgh. Keep reading for some of our Christmas lights, events and places to see Santa in Pittsburgh.
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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
In 2023, Pittsburgh Zoo Christmas lights are offering both a drive through and walk through option. You can drive through the Pittsburgh Zoo with a holiday themed audio tour at the Zoo Lights Drive-Thru. The Pittsburgh Zoo Lights walk through option also offers music, special snacks and photo opportunities. Whether you drive or walk through, you will also get a chance to see some animals amongst beautiful light displayed throughout the zoo. (Location: 7370 Baker Street Pittsburgh | Dates: The Drive-thru dates from November 24- December 30 with timed Tickets from 5:15pm- 9:45pm. The walk-through option is available select nights on December 15, 16, 22 & 23. Cost: $45 per car / $40 for members for drive-thru and $18 for adults/ $15 for kids for the walk-through lights. 2023 Pittsburgh Zoo Lights are now on sale.
Note: Breakfast with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo is sold out for 2023. Select dates have availability for lunch with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps
Visit Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden for the 2023 Phipps Holiday Flower Show and Lights Garden from November 17, 2023- January 7, 2024. The beautiful lights at Phipps are one of our favorite things to do in Pittsburgh at Christmas, and we love the indoor and outdoor aspect of the display. New for 2023 are special displays with a winter solstice theme, LED fireworks, metallic colors and more. Another highlight of the holiday flower show at Phipps is the amazing garden train at Phipps, which has a Four Seasons of Pennsylvania theme for 2023. 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 2023, and you can sign up for a virtual story time with Santa here.
Overlys Christmas Village
See the drive-through Overlys Christmas Village light display in Westmoreland County. It’s great if you’re looking for holiday things to do in Pittsburgh without going into the city, and you can walk around the Christmas village for a chance to see Santa up close. Location: 116 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg// Dates: Select days Thursday- Sunday from Nov 16- Dec 30, 2023) | Opening hours are typically 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. The 2023 Holiday Light Show at North Park will take place most nights from December 8-23, 2023. Tickets are $30 per car, or $25 if you purchase by November 28. Find more details on the North Park light show and purchase tickets here.
More places to see Christmas lights in Pittsburgh include:
- Clinton Christmas lights near Pittsburgh in Findley, PA
- Dazzling Nights: Holiday lights at Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens
- Kennywood’s Holiday Lights
- GLOWLAND Winter Lights in Oakland, PA
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 2023 Light Up Night in Pittsburgh date is November 18, 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 the Heinz Hall Courtyard from November 24- December 23, 2023. 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 Saturdays starting November 18th. (Note: Kids get into the Heinz History Center FREE in November!)
- 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 Christmas events in Pittsburgh, with local food and alcohol vendors, handmade goods, Christmas trees and Santa.
- The 2023 Lawrenceville Cookie Tour is taking place on December 9 & 10 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 2023 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 2023!
- Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe starting December 2 with multiple weekend dates
- Santa Breakfast in Fox Chapel at Baja Bar & Grill on December 2
- Brunch with Santa in Gibsonia at The Clubhouse on December 9
- Breakfast with Santa at the Greenhouse Winery in Irwin details are TBD
- Dinner & Dessert with the Grinch and Breakfast with Santa at Lenope Heights
- Holiday Brunch in the Garden at the Aviary on December 10 & 17
Pittsburgh Malls with Santa
Of course, we can’t forget about the malls in Pittsburgh with Santa visits in 2023. 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 will be available on select dates from November 10- December 24. Find more details here on getting pictures with Santa at Ross Park Mall.
- South Hills Village Santa is expected to start visits on November 10. Check here for details.
- The Mall at Robinson Santa starts visits on November 17, 2023. Find details here on Santa at Robinson as well as other Christmas activities at the Mall at Robinson.
- Santa’s Workshop at Monroeville Mall starts November 22. You can find more details on the Monroeville Mall Santa here.
- Westmoreland Mall Santa arrives on November 10, 2023. For more details on visiting Santa at Westmoreland mall, check here.
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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