Frugal Foodie Mama: 5 Festive Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

5 Festive Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh During the Holidays

Twinkling lights, holiday magic, and festive family fun await you & your family this holiday season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

Twinkling lights, holiday magic, and festive family fun await you & your family this holiday season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This post was created in partnership with Visit Pittsburgh. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.


I have spent most of my life living 2 hours or less from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and never once in that 30+ years did I visit the Steel City just to take in the sights & the sounds of the holiday season. To shop at the malls for holiday gifts? Yes. But we had never took the time to go and see the twinkling lights at Kennywood, or to take in the wonder of the season at Phipps Conservatory, or to try our luck at ice skating downtown. That is, of course, until a couple of weeks ago. ;)

Let me just start by saying that we have been missing out! I don't know how many times during our most recent visit to Pittsburgh (aka, Kidsburgh) that I turned and looked at my husband & asked him why we have never taken the kids to the city do all of these fun & festive things during the holidays before? Pittsburgh becomes something so much more during the holidays than just a former steel town, a home to major league sport teams, the point where the Allegheny, Monongahela, & Ohio Rivers meet. During the holiday season, the city becomes a magical place alive with the spirit of holiday wonder.

Although there is so much to do during the holidays in Pittsburgh, I am sharing with you all my top 5 festive reasons to visit the Steel City during the holidays in today's post...

#1 Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens for their Winter Flower Show & Light Garden - 1 Schenley Park
Running from now until January 7, 2018, the Winter Flower Show & Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a must-do when in Pittsburgh during the holidays.


Running from now until January 7, 2018, the Winter Flower Show & Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a must-do when in Pittsburgh during the holidays. With a "Holiday Magic!" theme this year, the 14 room glasshouse is transformed into a colorful, sparkling winter wonderland filled with over 2,000 festive poinsettias, decked out fir & pine trees, & awe-inspiring LED light displays.


Running from now until January 7, 2018, the Winter Flower Show & Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a must-do when in Pittsburgh during the holidays.


Running from now until January 7, 2018, the Winter Flower Show & Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a must-do when in Pittsburgh during the holidays.


Definitely be sure to take a stroll outside of the conservatory and enjoy their outdoor & discovery gardens that have been transformed into a Winter Light Garden for the holiday season. The gardens are illuminated with glowing orbs, sparkling trees, and twinkling lights- truly a magical sight to behold! :)


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker - Benedum Center, 7th Street at Penn Avenue
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is showcasing The Nutcracker with its own little Pittsburgh spin this holiday season. As you and your family are dazzled by twirling dancers & amazing costuming, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the hints of Pittsburgh during the production.


The Nutcracker ballet has been a part of holiday family traditions since 1892. This year the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is showcasing this classic Christmas story with its own little Pittsburgh spin. As you and your family are dazzled by twirling dancers & amazing costuming, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the hints of Pittsburgh throughout the production- glimpses of popular landmarks, historical local figures, and a little of that Steel City flair. ;)



The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is showcasing The Nutcracker with its own little Pittsburgh spin this holiday season. As you and your family are dazzled by twirling dancers & amazing costuming, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the hints of Pittsburgh during the production.
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre


The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker runs from now until December 27th at the beautifully restored historic Benedum Center


Even if you are not much of an ice skater or have never set foot on the ice before, ice skating at the MassMutual Ice Rink at PPG Plaza should be on your to-do list when visiting Pittsburgh during the holiday season.


Even if you are not much of an ice skater (raises hand) or have never set foot on the ice before, ice skating at the MassMutual Ice Rink at PPG Plaza should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Pittsburgh during the holiday season. Prior to our holiday visit to Pittsburgh, my 5 year old daughter had been begging me to take her ice skating. We don't have any ice rinks nearby locally, so you can imagine her excitement when I told her that ice skating was on our itinerary for this trip! :) While I had been ice skating a few times before, this was the first time my husband & daughter had been.

Even if you find yourself slipping & sliding instead of gliding along (raises hand, again), taking a few spins around the rink is worth it for the view of the towering Christmas tree in the center and the sparkling reflections from the PPG building that surrounds the rink.


Even if you are not much of an ice skater or have never set foot on the ice before, ice skating at the MassMutual Ice Rink at PPG Plaza should be on your to-do list when visiting Pittsburgh during the holiday season.
Photo courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh


The MassMutual Ice Rink is open from now until February 25, 2018. Ice skate rentals, skate sharpening, & coin operated lockers are available at the Pro Shop near the rink.


Shopping at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh
With over 30 vendors, you are sure to check everyone off of your holiday gift list at the German style Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square in Pittsburgh.


After your visit to the ice rink, be sure to head straight across the street to Market Square to browse & shop the German style shopping village. With over 30 vendors (some full time, others visiting), you are sure to check everyone off of your holiday gift list at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market. 


With over 30 vendors, you are sure to check everyone off of your holiday gift list at the German style Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square in Pittsburgh.


You can find everything from hand-blown & hand-painted ornaments, to jewelry, to European wooden ornaments & candle houses (pictured above), & so much more. You can even make a stop at Helmut's Strudl for authentic Austrian bratwurst, strudel, & hot apple cider. 


With over 30 vendors, you are sure to check everyone off of your holiday gift list at the German style Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square in Pittsburgh.


Before you leave the holiday market, don't forget to stop by and say hello to Santa Claus! For a donation of just $5 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, you get to walk through Santa's home in the market & take a photo with the big guy himself. Please CLICK HERE for the Santa's House hours of operation as they differ from the market's hours.


Holiday Lights at Kennywood Amusement Park - 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin
Want to see what close to 2 million dazzling Christmas lights looks like in person? Then you definitely need to plan to go see the Holiday Lights at Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin during your holiday visit to Pittsburgh!


Want to see what close to 2 million dazzling Christmas lights looks like in person? Then you definitely need to plan to go see the Holiday Lights at Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin during your holiday visit to Pittsburgh. On weekends now through December 30th, you can visit the festively transformed amusement park to oooohhh & aaaahhh at the lights, marvel at the giant model train display in the Penny Arcade, take a spin on the carousel, and even get a photo with Santa and Kenny the Kangaroo in a replica coaster car at the Racer roller coaster...


Want to see what close to 2 million dazzling Christmas lights looks like in person? Then you definitely need to plan to go see the Holiday Lights at Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin during your holiday visit to Pittsburgh!


Want to see what close to 2 million dazzling Christmas lights looks like in person? Then you definitely need to plan to go see the Holiday Lights at Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin during your holiday visit to Pittsburgh!


And although there are plenty of rides to ride and games to play, the real star of Kennywood during the holidays are the amazing light displays. Stop by the Lagoon on the half hour to enjoy a spectacular 10 minute light show choreographed to some of your favorite songs of the season. And don't forget to get your pic taken in front of the largest Christmas tree in Pennsylvania! The 90 foot tree (my daughter is pictured in front of it above) is located between the Pizza Warehouse & Kiddieland. 


Twinkling lights, holiday magic, and festive family fun await you & your family this holiday season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Have you visited Pittsburgh during the holidays before? 
What is your favorite thing to do?


For more information & to start planning your holiday getaway to Pittsburgh now, be sure to visit the Visit Pittsburgh website!
For a full list of holiday events happening in Pittsburgh this month, please CLICK HERE



Looking for a family friendly hotel with amazing city views to stay at during your visit to Pittsburgh for the holidays? Then be sure to book a room at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown Pittsburgh. It is also happens to be walking distance from restaurants & shops in the Strip District.


If you loved this travel post, then you might also like my...







Want to follow along with all of our family travel adventures? 
Then be sure to follow me on Instagram! :)