Pittsburgh area holiday season events 2021!

From small-town celebrations, neighborhood Clark Griswolds and train shows to Kennywood Park, Phipps and Oglebay, find a wide array of holiday-themed sights and sounds to make the season merry and bright. Events are listed in alphabetical order.

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Before you go:
» Confirm events and details with organizers and organization/company sites, if possible, as information might change.
» Bring face masks as some activities below might require or recommend attendees to follow health and safety policies to keep everyone safe.

Hanukkah events

Kennywood Park Holiday Lights

Experience Western Pennsylvania’s favorite amusement park — at the holidays! Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights features more than 1 million lights, Pennsylvania’s tallest Christmas tree, rides, food, Santa, train display, dancing lights displays, community/school performance groups and more. Well-known Pittsburghers — including Sally Wiggin and Rick Sebak — read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Kennyville Stage. New this year: The Jack Rabbit roller coaster will be open for the season. There are add-on Dinner with Santa events, too.

  • Details: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from Nov. 20 to Dec. 24. Plus, nightly Dec. 26 through Jan. 2. Hours: 5-10 p.m. On Dec. 24, 31 and Jan. 1 and 2, hours are 5 to 9 p.m. A special season pass holder only event is planned from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 19. Kennywood asks guests to mask up inside.
  • Cost: $14.99 for all heights and ages if purchased online. $29.99 for all guests if purchased at the gate. Select season pass holders gain free entry to Holiday Lights.
  • Online: Kennywood.com

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Phipps’ Winter Flower Show returns for this holiday season. The conservatory and botanical gardens features an array of holiday trees, topiaries, designs and lights. Floral displays include amaryllis, orchids and more than 1,600 poinsettias. Back this year is the magnificent and peaceful Winter Light Garden, complete with lighted orbs, trees, fountains and a tunnel of lights. Plus — the outdoor space features a new ice castle display. Back indoors, be sure to check out the new Garden Railroad: Bridges and Tunnels with miniature displays of regional scenes. It’s important to note that, even if you’ve been to a Phipps holiday season event before, the displays change every holiday season!

  • Details: Opens Nov. 19 and continues through Jan. 9. Daily hours for Winter Flower Show are 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 – 11 p.m. for Winter Light Garden. Phipps is closed Nov. 25 and Dec. 25. Phipps will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 24.
  • Cost: Admission is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and students, and $11.95 for children (ages 2 – 18). Members and kids under 2 enter free. All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance.
  • Online: phipps.conservatory.org

Steubenville Nutcracker Village

The world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers will be on display in downtown Steubenville, Ohio, ​during the entire holiday season. The Steubenville Nutcracker Village features more than 150 nutcrackers — many of which are 6 feet tall. Most are located at historic Fort Steuben Park. Many others are displayed on the streets of Downtown Steubenville within a block or two from the park. An artisan and vendor market is held many nights during the season.

  • Details: The exhibit is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, but many activities and events are planned throughout the holiday season.
  • Cost: Free to view nutcrackers and attend entertainment.
  • Online: SteubenvilleNutcrackerVillage.com

Light up celebrations

These evoke a very Hallmark Channel holiday movie feeling. Most include Santa and fireworks!

Drive-thru displays

From resorts and parks to the neighborhood Clark Griswold, there are plenty of drive-thru lights displays.

  • Pittsburgh Zoo: The drive-thru lights display features more than 80 animal lights displays — including 30 new displays, classic characters and carols. Event is held from 5:15 to 9:45 p.m. on select nights from Nov. 26 through Dec. 30. Cost is $40 per vehicle for members or $50 for nonmembers. Buy tickets, more information online.
  • Allegheny County’s Holiday Laser Show at North Park: Allegheny County offers a 45-minute light show synchronized with holiday music in the parking lot of the North Park pool. Show is held multiple times daily from Dec. 1-22. Cost is $20 per vehicle for Allegheny County residents and $25 for non-county residents. Space is limited. More details at AlleghenyCounty.us.
  • ElfBurgh: The people behind the scary Hundred Acres Manor haunted attraction celebrate the holidays with a holiday-themed drive-thru event. The family-friendly so-called “COVID safe Christmas drive-thru event” features more than a half-million lights along the “Elf trail,” which makes its way to Santa’s Ice Castle. You never have to leave your car. Cost is $25 per vehicle. Select nights from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23. Buy tickets and get more information at PittsburghChristmas.com.
  • Clinton Christmas Light-Up: First held in 1993, organizers of the Christmas Light-Up Celebration in Findlay Township say it’s the “best kept holiday secret in Pittsburgh.” The drive-thru display features a 1-mile drive of lights displays in a wooded setting through the Clinton Community Park. Display is open nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 20 to Jan. 5. Cost is $10 per vehicle and is cash only. This event is organized by a nonprofit group. Though not guaranteed, the chance to go through multiple times is possible depending on traffic. Find more information online.
  • Presque Isle Lights: For the second year, Presque Isle State Park will offer a serene drive-thru lights display through the park that many Pittsburghers are familiar with in the summer for its beaches along Lake Erie. The lights show is organized by the nonprofit Presque Isle Partnership group. Lights turn on at 6 p.m. and park gates close at 9 p.m. There is no fee to enter the park. Lights displays are found in some spots among the 13-mile drive. Be sure to spot the owls, the Presque Isle Lighthouse and Beach 8 display. Important to note that this display does not light the entire park, so if you head north, be sure to couple it with the the Erie’s Best Holiday Lights Facebook group. Many displays are lit with solar generators. Lights are lit Thursdays through Sundays from Dec. 3-26. Details on the Presque Isle Partnership site.
  • Erie’s Best Holiday Lights Facebook group: Created out of COVID-19 pandemic closures, this group provides photos and information to the many public and private lights displays in Erie — from several homes on Harvard Boulevard to Asbury Woods park. Check out the Facebook group here.
  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland: This 2-mile lights display at the Big Butler Fairgrounds offers a 300-foot lit tunnel, 50-foot-tall tree, the 12 days of Christmas and more. Event is held nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. or later from Nov. 12 through Jan. 2. Cost per carload varies based on night and ranges from $25 to $40. There is an “express lane” add-on. There are special costs for other types of vehicles. Tickets are purchased for a specific day but are “valid on any day of equal or lesser value.” Find more information online.
  • Dashers Lightshow at Pittsburgh Mills: The show opened Nov. 5 and continues through Jan. 2. The drive is 1 mile. Prices vary from $30 to $50, based on date and time. Tickets are sold per vehicle. Tickets must be purchased online at dasherslightshow.com/pittsburgh.

Family lights displays

“Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.” — Clark Griswold

  • 217 Maplewood Ave., Ambridge: One man puts at least 20,000 lights up around his Maplewood Avenue, Ambridge, home. Even some houses next door and down the street get into the fun. Park, walk and take some selfies!
  • Brodzinski Family Light Show: Located at 1 Woody Crest Drive in Whitehall, the Brodzinski Family Light Show features more than 10,000 lights, a 20-foot-tall tree and other displays synced to music. The show begins Nov. 27 and is lit from just after 5 p.m. to around 9 (some nights until 10) p.m. Find details on the family light show’s Facebook page.
  • Gilstrap Family Lights: This interactive display in West Newton lets people viewing the show vote on the next song. Check for a start date and times on the family display’s Facebook page.
  • Woodland Ridge neighborhood in Moon: For at least 25 years, residents in the Woodland Ridge neighborhood have held a house decorating contest and celebration to usher in the holiday season. Houses are typically judged in early December. The neighborhood is located at Tiffany Ridge Drive and Thorn Run Road in Moon.
  • Taylor’s Christmas Light Display: New this year, the Taylor’s Christmas Light Display will officially kick off at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at 335 Vernon Drive in West Newton. Find more on the family’s Facebook group for the display.
  • Edgeworth Borough on Christmas Eve: This small borough near Sewickley has, for many years, lit luminaria bags along sidewalks and property lines on Christmas Eve. Whether you’re heading home from family, trying to find Santa in the night sky, heading to midnight church services or making a Sheetz run, take a drive through Edgeworth on Christmas Eve.
  • Unconfirmed for 2021 but have provided displays in the past: Corner of Forsythe Road and Crest Lane in Scott Township (near Carnegie boundary); Sts. Simon & Jude on Greentree Road in Scott; Pappy Ed’s Christmas Lights near Glenburn Drive and Orchard Drive in Pleasant Hills; Nellis Family Holiday Light Show in Baldwin.

Oglebay Festival of Lights

Oglebay Festival of Lights in Wheeling features a variety of holiday-themed activities, including a more than 6-mile drive of lights. The drive-thru lights show is considered one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year. Festival of Lights offers 300 acres of lights and includes 90 lighted attractions with more than 1 million LED lights. But wait, there’s more: Oglebay offers a number of other activities and events — dinners, zoo events, shopping, overnight stays and more.

  • Details: Festival of Lights continues through Jan. 9.
  • Cost: The drive-thru display is a suggested $25 donation. Costs for other activities varies based on event.
  • Online: Find information for all of the Wheeling resort’s holiday events here.

Overly’s Country Christmas

Overly’s Country Christmas says it is “not” a drive-thru lights display, instead, calling itself a “unique, old-fashioned, walk-around Christmas Village, filled with traditional sights, sounds, treats and things to do reminiscent of Christmas” long ago. Read more from the Tribune-Review about what to expect. Overly’s website has a lot of information about parking and busy times, so it might be worth better understanding high volume times before making the trek out.

  • Details: Open Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30. Also open Dec. 20-23 and 27-29. All dates are weather permitting. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Gates open at 5:30 and close at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Gates open at 5:30 and close at 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays.
  • Cost: Overly’s is cash only. $20 per family (a carload 8 people or fewer); $40 per extended passenger vehicle. There is a $5 per person charge for people who park outside and walk in. Bus pricing available.
  • Online: Overlys.com
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