Seeing all of the holiday decorations up already has definitely gotten me in the mood for Christmas. In my mind, it’s never too early for lights, cookies and of course, Santa. And if you’re one of those people that refuses to acknowledge Christmas until after Thanksgiving, there are so many opportunities to see the big guy in red that you’re bound to miss out out on.
With it being our son’s first time REALLY experiencing Christmas this year as an 18-month old, I’ve been scouring the internet for all the best places to see Santa. Whether you just want to sneak a peek at Santa or want to torture your your kid with another picture this year, there are so many options regardless of what area of Pittsburgh you live in. With that in mind, I wanted to share 25 places to spot Santa and his helpers in the Pittsburgh area this holiday season.
P.S. Thanks to Will’s adorable little friends Brielle, Jordan, Zachary & cousin Harper for sharing their Santa pics with us!
1. The Mall is the most obvious place to see the big guy, and with several in the area there’s no shortage of photo ops with Santa. To name a few:
- Ross Park Mall* (Location: 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Ross Township// Dates: November 9- December 24// Time: Varies by day// Cost: Price of pictures varies by package; purchase skip the line & package here)
- South Hills Village* (Location: 301 S Hills Village, Bethel Park/ Dates: Nov 2- Dec 24// Time: Daily; hours vary by day // Cost: Photo packages vary; purchase skip the line & package here) *Ross Park Mall and South Park Village will have an autism friendly “Caring Santa” on December 2 from 8-10am, sponsored by the Autism Connection of PA
- The Mall at Robinson (Location: 100 Robinson Centre Drive Pittsburgh, Robinson Township/ Dates: Nov 10-Dec 24// Time: Daily; hours vary by day // Cost: Photo packages vary) Tip: Add your name to the virtual waiting list so you can shop until it’s time for you see Santa and play under the tree.
- Monroeville Mall– (Location: 200 Mall Circle Drive, Monroeville/ Dates: Nov 17-Dec 24// Time: Daily; hours vary by day // Cost: Photo packages vary)
- Westmoreland Mall– Visit Santa in Center Court (Location: 5256 US-30, Greensburg/ Dates: Nov 9-Dec 24// Time: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 11am-5pm // Cost: Photo packages vary and include a phone call from Santa himself) Pet Nights are also available on Nov 12, 19 & 26 and Dec 3 and 10 from 6-9pm; just keep your furry friends leashed.
2. Visit Santa while listening to a performance from singer/ songwriter Gabby Barrett at the NRG Santa Spectacular 2018. (Location: Point State Park, 601 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh// Date: November 15// Time: Santa Visits start at 4:30pm; Show is at 5pm // Cost: Admission along with many activities is Free) *Pets are also welcomed here for pictures with Santa
3. Head to Light Up Night in downtown Pittsburgh for the “official” start to the holiday season. Includes tree lighting ceremony, kids activities, fireworks and Visits with Santa at the Holiday Market* (Location: Downtown Pittsburgh// Date: November 16// Time: Tree lightings start at 4:30pm // Cost: Many activities are Free) *Santa is available for visits in market square most days from November 16- December 23; free picture with donation of a food item to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
4. If you can’t make it downtown; visit the Streets of Cranberry for Sparkle Night which includes tree lighting, bounce house, photo booth, and Santa Clause with a firetruck. (Location: 24030 Rt 19, Cranberry Township/ Date: November 16// Time: 4-7pm // Cost: Free)
5. View 3 miles of beautiful lights from your car at Shadrack’s Christmas Light Show at the Butler Fairgrounds. After the light show, stop by Santa’s Village for pictures with Santa, letter writing, carnival-style rides and refreshments. (Location: 127 New Castle Rd, Prospect // Date: November 16- January 6// Daily 6-10PM// Cost: Light Show is $25 per car; admission to Santa’s Village is free with purchase of the light show; some activities available for a charge) Tip: Visit Mon-Thurs to avoid long lines and wait times to get into the show.
6. Walk around Overly’s Christmas Village and see Santa in his workshop. (Location: 116 Blue Ribbon Lane,
Greensburg// Dates: November 16- December 23// Time: 5:30-9pm (open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays // Cost: $5 per person or $20 per carload of 4+ people. Option to purchase a Santa picture with commemorative frame for $8.)
7. Experience Winter Wonderland Weekend at Station Square with live holiday performances, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and several free activities for the whole family. (Location: W Carson St & Smithfield St Brg, Pittsburgh// Date/Time: November 17 5-8pm & November 18 12-3pm // Cost: Admission is Free)
8. See the holiday fireworks display at Pine Township’s Holiday Dazzle. Includes pictures with Santa, activities for kids, carriage rides and live reindeer. (Location: Pine Community Park, 100 Pine Park Drive, Wexford/ Date: November 17// Time: 4-7pm // Cost: Pre-sale tickets available for $3 at the community center; $5 at the door; refreshments available for purchase from various vendors)
8. Head to Oakmont for the Hometown Christmas Parade and Event, for the parade, tree lighting, pictures with santa and free cookies from Oakmont Bakery. Plus multiple food vendors available along Allegheny River Blvd. (Location: 504 Allegheny River Blvd, Oakmont/ Date: November 17 // Time: 5-8:30pm // Cost: Free)
9. Kick off the holidays at Waterfront’s Let it Glow event with Santa’s tree lighting after arriving by firetruck, several activities for kids, live music and free chocolates with the sweet treat stroll. (Location: 149 W Bridge Street, Homestead// Date: November 18 // Time: 3-6pm // Cost: Free)
10. Take a picture with Santa among the beautiful flowers and holiday decorations at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden’s Santa Visits. (Location: 1 Schenley Park Rd, Pittsburgh// Dates: Multiple days between November 23- December 23// Time: 11am- 2pm during the day; evening visits from 6-9pm on Dec 10, 11 & 12) // Cost: Free with admission)
11. Cruise on the Gateway Clipper with Santa, along with a DJ dance party and a treat from Santa himself. (Location: 350 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh// Dates: Weekends from November 23-December 23 // Time: 1:00pm boarding; sail 1:30-3:30pm // Cost: $24 for adults; $12 for children & $5 for infants)
12. Head to Downtown Pittsburgh to see Santa and his friends at the WPXI Holiday Parade (Location: Downtown Pittsburgh// Date: November 24// Time: 9-11am // Cost: Free)
14. Visit Santa and his Penguin Helpers at the National Aviary on Saturdays until Christmas. (Location: 700 Arch St, Pittsburgh// Dates: November 24- December 22// Time: 11am- 1pm// Cost: Included with Admission; just bring your camera to take pictures!)
15. Attend Elf Day Story Time at Riverstone Bookstore. Includes an elf themed book, elf name creation, a craft, letters to Santa, followed by pictures with Santa afterwards. (Location: 8850 Covenant Ave, McCandless Crossing// Date: December 1// Time: 10:00am story time followed by 11am Santa pictures // Cost: Free including pictures)
16. Experience Christmas on the Farm at Freedom Farms with local food and alcohol vendors, christmas cookies, crafts, Christmas tree shopping and of course, Santa. (Location: 434 Overbrook Rd, Valencia// Dates: Dec 1 & 2 //Time: 9am- 5pm// Cost: Free Admission; items available for purchase)
17. Have breakfast or lunch with Santa at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Includes crafts for kids, cookie decorating, animal meet and greets and letter writing to Santa. Be sure to stop at the aquarium at 11:30am for Penguins on Parade before or after your visit with Santa (Location: 7370 Baker St, Pittsburgh// Dates: Dec 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16 //Time: 9-10:30am or 12-1:30pm// Cost: $30 for adults and children over 2; $7 for children under 2) UPDATE: breakfast is sold out and there is limited lunch availability. REGISTER SOON!
18. Attend the Sewickley Santa Parade to officially welcome Santa to the Village. (Location: Sewickley// Date: December 1 // Time: 10:30am- 1pm // Cost: Free) Visits with Santa, free carriage rides and brunch food trucks are also available on Sundays from December 2- 23.
19. Have a special brunch and decorate cookies with the Clauses in Santa’s workshop at Fairmont Hotel. Includes a custom aprons, desserts, reading of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. (Location: 510 Market St, Pittsburgh/ Date: December 2// Time: 12-7pm // Cost: $100 for 1 child and 1 adult; $35 for each additional adult; Reservations required at 412-773-8904)
20. Stroll along Butler Street for Taste of Lawrenceville’s Miracle on 41st Street with live music, kid’s activities, shopping and of course, Santa. (Location: The Foundry at 41st, Lawrenceville/ Date: December 2// Time: 12-7pm // Cost: Free Admission)
21. Brunch with Santa at the DoubleTree Monroeville Convention Center. (Location: 101 Mall Blvd, Monroeville// Date: December 8 // Time: 10am- 2pm // Cost: $32 for Adults; $18 for Children 5-12; Children under 5 are FREE. Call 412-843-4405 for reservations.)
22. Head to Soergel Orchard’s Snowflake Festival for tree lighting, snow princesses and the arrival of Santa. (Location: 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford// Date: December 8 // Time: 5-8pm // Cost: Admission is free (including Santa visit); items are available to purchase.) Naturally Soergels also has allergen-free donuts with Santa on December 9 from 10am-12pm. Cost is $7 for participating children and $2 for adults. Registration is required here.
23. Play mini golf at the holiday lights course and eat your share of cookies at Fun Fore All’s Santa Spectacular Cookie Party. Take pictures with Santa, enjoy a dessert bar, holiday activities, open play and mini golf with the price of admission. Several other holiday events are available here. (Location: 8 Progress Ave, Cranberry Township// Date: December 14 // Time: 5-9pm // Cost: $19.95 per person)
24. PJs and Pancakes with Santa at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South.* (Location: 164 Fort Couch Rd, Bethel Park// Date: December 15 // Time: 9-11am // Cost: $15 for adults; $10 for kids. RSVP by Dec 7th to Shauna Bodamer at 412-855-9708 or email email@example.com) *An unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots is requested as part of this event.
25. See Santa on stage for Elf the Musical, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at Heinz Hall (Location: 600 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh// Dates: December 26-30 // Time: Varies by Date // Cost: Tickets start at $31)
Be sure to check your local township or municipality as well, since many offer holiday events for local residents. And if you have your heart set on anything requiring a ticket or registration, sign up soon as many Santa sightings we left off this list are already sold out.
Leaving you with these gems from Will and his cousin Harper’s 2017 Santa experience. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Children’s Book Inspiration: S is for Santa: A Christmas Alphabet Book by Greg Paprocki
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