Christmas is a season for making memories. To help remember all the things to do, many people start making lists when the holiday season approaches: shopping lists, Christmas card lists, etc. But what about a list detailing things to do to make it your best holiday season ever? The most memorable and enjoyable, instead of just a task list? What would you put on that kind of list? One of the simplest ways for making lasting, joyful holiday memories is to enjoy some of the area’s most beloved holiday traditions. Here’s our favorite things to do during the holidays!
Start the season off right by joining in the festivities of Light Up Night. The evening is jam-packed with events, including the arrival of Santa Claus and a grand fireworks finale. This spectacular event sets the stage for a fantastic holiday season.
Pittsburgh is home to the world’s only authorized replica of the Crèche in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. This magnificent, life-sized Nativity was unveiled in 1999 and has since become one of the most visited destinations during the Christmas season. This glorious depiction of the first Christmas will awe all ages and best depicts “the reason for the season.”
Think you have to head to Rockefeller Center to skate amongst skyscrapers? Think again. The Rink at PPG Place is magical. Skaters glide around an enormous lighted Christmas tree in the center of the rink. It is particularly breathtaking at night when the lights reflect off the panes of glass from the buildings of the PPG complex.
While you are at PPG Place, don’t forget to visit the Wintergarden, where the Santas from Around the World exhibit will help you and your family learn how other cultures around the world depict the “Jolly Old Elf.”
Speaking of visiting gardens, don’t overlook a visit to Phipps Conservatory. The Winter Flower Show features holiday foliage and flowers. As a bonus, the fragrance of flowers and warm air revitalizes the spirit during the colorless, cold days of winter.
The Miniature Railroad & Village has delighted visitors for generations. With numerous trains and other modes of transportation leading gazers into a miniscule world depicting how area residents lived in the past. The Miniature Railroad & Village is the ultimate train display.
Encircling the lower-level floors of the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus is an exhibit that pays tribute to the world’s different cultures, the Nationality Rooms. These 26 functional classrooms are each decorated and furnished to pay tribute to that particular heritage. At Christmastime, the Nationality Rooms don holiday finery to reflect the customs and traditions of that country. Santa visits every land on Christmas Eve, and outside of stealing his sleigh, this is the only way to take a trip around the world and take in each country’s holiday style.
No grander setting for displaying holiday decorations can be found than at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hall of Architecture. These majestic decorated Christmas trees are situated among the towering marble columns and casts of architectural masterpieces from the past. Also not to be missed is the Neapolitan Presepio, an elaborate Nativity. What the Presepio lacks in size as compared to the Pittsburgh Crèche, it makes up for in scope with more than 100 figures.
The holiday season begins with a collective celebration on Light Up Night; therefore, it’s only fitting to wrap up the season with a citywide celebration as well. This New Year’s Eve celebration offers more than 140 events from concerts to fireworks and provides a way for every member of the family to ring in the New Year.
With so many unique ways to celebrate with those you love during the holidays, go get out there and create some memories of your own!