‘Round about Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Holiday Special

'Round about Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Holiday Special

The Christmas and Holiday Season in Pittsburgh is unique just like numerous other cities and towns.  It is a season when the city of Pittsburgh and numerous destinations seem to capture magic that is the air.

Below is a short list and description of popular destinations in the city during the holiday season.


1)    Continuing a tradition from the defunct Pittsburgh-based department store, Joseph Horne’s Company; the city of Pittsburgh continues to display a Christmas tree on the corner of the former downtown store at Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street.  The lighting of the Horne’s Christmas tree at the former downtown store during the city’s Light Up Night became a holiday tradition years ago.  Although the department store is gone, the tradition of lighting the Christmas Trees at the yearly and popular Pittsburgh Light Up Night occurs to this day.


2)    At one time, a window decorating competition between downtown department stores was extremely popular.  In the end, Kaufmann’s out-lasted its competitors.  What started with Kaufmann’s continues today with Macy’s.  In 2006, the Kaufmann’s name was retired as Macy’s had recently purchased the department store.  Every holiday season, Macy’s continues to design and decorate the windows on the ground level for the public to view.  The Christmas windows as many Pittsburghers’ will call them, have become a tradition themselves as people continually stop, visit, and be amazed by the scenes depicted in the windows.  Even to this day, Pittsburghers’ of all ages remember stopping by the Kaufmann’s or Macy windows during the holiday season.  The window displays are unveiled yearly on Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night.


3)    One of the most popular spots downtown during this season is PPG Place.  The Rink and tree at PPG Place replaces a fountain during the holiday season and is open for ice-skating during much of the day.  Also at the nearby PPG Wintergarden is a tree surrounded by a miniature railroad display, gingerbread house village, and a display of life-sized Santa Clauses and paintings from varies countries.  Throughout the holiday season, entertainment is available at the PPG Wintergarden as well.  Admission to the PPG Wintergarden to free.


4)    Right outside the city at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning is a very unique experience.  Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning are an excellent way to learn how Christmas and other holiday traditions from around the world are celebrated.  The rooms consist of the nationality and heritage of the people of Pittsburgh.


5)    Also located outside of the city in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood is Phipps Conservatory in Schenley Park.  During this special time of the year, Phipps Conservatory turns into a Winter Flower Show and Winter Light Garden with decorated evergreens, poinsettias, and lights.  Varies rooms of the conservatory showcase different aspects of the holiday season.  The tradition of transforming Phipps Conservatory for the holiday season has continued to this day.  It truly is a wonderful family oriented event.


6)    Every year a large and extremely detailed nativity scene is located next to the U.S. Steel Tower.  Stop by the area to see one of the largest nativity scenes you will probably ever see.