Tag Archives: pittsburgh creche

Self-guided holiday selfie snapshot tour … or a fun ‘holiday day’ around Downtown Pittsburgh

Missed Light Up Night? Still want that selfie with all the trees? Check out these spots to hit on a fun “holiday day” in Downtown Pittsburgh! See the map below. These are listed in no particular order so that you can customize your own holiday fun!

Downtown Pittsburgh

  • See the Horne’s tree. Yes, it’s now called the Highmark Tree, formerly the Unity Tree (that name needs to come back Maybe Highmark Unity Tree). This is Pittsburgh’s classic holiday decoration. The tree beautifully sparkles at the corner of Stanwix and Penn along the corner of the former flagship Horne’s department store building. While decorated windows and shopping no longer exist here, the tree can serve as a great backdrop for that holiday season selfie!
  • Shop the Holiday Market at Market Square. Find more than 30 artisans and vendors at Pittsburgh’s mini version of a German Christmas market, complete with adorable chalets. Local artists, such as Linda Barnicott, display everything from ornaments to paintings, and other artisans have wearables (gloves, sweaters, hats), edibles (baked goods and more), smellables (is this even a word?) (candles) and more. While at Market Squre, check out the dazzling lights, sphere tree and entertainment.
  • Get a group photo with the large ornament at K&L Gates Center. The huge red ornament is up! Check it out in front of the main entrance to K&L Gates Center at 210 Sixth Ave.
  • Be a big dill — see the world’s largest pickle ornament. We can’t confirm it’s the world’s largest pickle ornament, but who else is going to have a massive pickle ornament except Pittsburgh? It’s at EQT Plaza (across the street from the red ornament). It’s at 625 Liberty Ave.
  • See the 106th Pittsburgh Christmas tree. The tree had quite a glowup. Check out the ornaments depicting each of the city’s neighborhoods.
  • Visit the Pittsburgh creche. It’s the only authorized replica of the creche at the Vatican. That’s a big deal for Catholics.
  • Take a selfie with the Point State Park tree one last time. After more than 30 years, Duquesne Light is ending the tradition of having a tree at the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. You still have this season to get that perfect selfie with the tree and skyline.
  • Spot the Pittsburgh area landmarks at the Carnegie Science Center train display. Popular Pittsburgh area landmarks —Kaufmann’s building, Mister Rogers house, etc — dot the landscape of this adorable train display. Don’t rush through it — watch day turn to nighttime! Also, while at the science center, check out the holiday laser lights show. Admission is required for the science center.
  • Make it a ‘Very Merry Pittsburgh’ at the Heinz History Center. See how Pittsburghers celebrate the holidays. Take a step back in time when Downtown was bustling with department store windows. Learn about all of the holidays that happen around here (even the Polar Bear Plunge!). See old toys, learn about a toy factory on the North Side and … see Santa (on select days). Admission is required for the history center.
  • Afterward, take a drive to see some neighborhood lights displays.

The ultimate guide to Pittsburgh Light Up Night 2021

Pittsburgh Light Up Night 2021 marks 60 years since Pittsburgh first held a holiday-themed light up event. (In 1959, the city held its first light up event to celebrate the Pirates.)

Light Up Night quite literally is my absolute favorite day of the year. Read more about that here.

This is your ultimate guide to doing ALL THE THINGS for Pittsburgh Light Up Night 2021! SHARE and BOOKMARK this page. Scroll down for my ULTIMATE GUIDE to having a merry and bright Light Up Night!

Remember: Pittsburgh Light Up Night is on Saturday, Nov. 20, this year. Unless otherwise noted, the events listed below are for Saturday.

Of note: It’s currently not known whether the separate Santa Spectacular event, hosted by the CBS Radio (now Audacy), will be held this year. This event had been held at Point State Park and ushered in the lighting of the tree at The Point.

Also: It seems there might not be activities inside Fifth Avenue Place, which is currently undergoing construction.

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»» Complete, chronological list of Light Up Night 2021 events/activities

11 a.m. — “World’s Largest Pickle Ornament”

It’s kind of a big dill, ’n at. This pickle ornament is more than 35 feet tall! Open until 9 p.m. daily beginning Nov. 20.

EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

11 a.m. — Holiday Market at Market Square opens

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market includes 35 chalets, with each hosting various artisans and vendors. The market opens Friday, Nov. 19 and is open daily (except Thanksgiving) through Dec. 23. Hours are: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Market Square

11 a.m. — Ice skating at the UPMC Rink at PPG Place opens!

The PPG Place tree will be lit Friday night. Also, be sure to brag with everybody you know that this rink is bigger than Rockefeller Center’s ice rink. Be sure to check out the “Spirit of Giving Around the World” displays of 16 “life-sized” Santas in windows along 2 PPG Place along Fourth Avenue.

PPG Place, 1 PPG Place



My ultimate guide to making Light Up Night merry and bright.


Noon — Pittsburgh creche dedication

This larger-than-life nativity scene is the only authorized replica of the nativity in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Another Pittsburgh bragging point. The Pittsburgh creche measures about 64 feet wide by 36 feet long. It features 20 life-sized figures. The creche was first installed in 1999. It is viewable 24 hours a day during the holiday season.

U.S. Steel Tower Plaza, 600 Grant St.

Noon — Pop-up cocktail and beer garden at EQT Plaza (continues until 9:30 p.m.)

Seems like a good spot to bookmark for an adult beverage pit stop. Or another excuse to see the giant pickle ornament.

EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

12:30-2 p.m. — The Thomas Wendt Quartet at the EQT Jazzmasters Stage

EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

2:30-4 p.m. — Big Blitz at the EQT Jazzmasters Stage

EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

4-5 p.m. — River City Brass Band at the City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage

414 Grant St.

5 p.m. — City of Pittsburgh Tree Lighting (with Zambelli rooftop fireworks)

After the tree lighting, look for the Gingerbread House competition, which was named one of the “Ten Best Places to See Gingerbread Houses.” This year’s display will feature 60 winning entries displayed behind glass under the Grant Street portico.

City-County Building, 414 Grant St.

5 p.m. — Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers at the Highmark Main Stage under the Horne’s Tree

Stanwix Street & Penn Avenue

5-6 p.m. — Donora band at the BNY Mellon Allegheny Overlook Stage

Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Sixth Street

5-9:30 p.m. — MCG Jazz Presents: The Daniel May Trio with Dwayne Dolphin and George Heid III at the EQT Jazzmasters Stage

EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

5-9:30 p.m. — Kea Michaels and The Evergreens will rotate performances at the BJ’s Sounds of the Season Stage

Market Square

5:30-6 p.m. — Texture Contemporary Ballet at the City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage

414 Grant St.

6 p.m. — Horne’s Tree lighting (officially known now as the Highmark Christmas Tree Lighting) (with Zambelli rooftop fireworks)

Look for holiday-themed ice carvings nearby.

Stanwix Street & Penn Avenue

6-8 p.m. — Visit with Santa at One Oxford Centre

Plus, check out the 30-foot tree and grab some food from some of Pittsburgh’s favorite food trucks parked outside.

Grant Street & Fourth Avenue

6:30 p.m. — Mr. Smalls All-Star Beatles Tribute at the Highmark Main Stage under the Horne’s Tree

Stanwix Street & Penn Avenue

6:30-7 p.m. — Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 30-minute concert at Heinz Hall

COVID-19 policy in effect. Full PSO policy linked here.

Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave.

6:30-8 p.m. — Lyndsey Smith & Steeltown Horns at the BNY Mellon Allegheny Overlook Stage

Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Sixth Street

6:30-6:45 p.m. — Pittsburgh CLO Holiday Medley at the City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage

414 Grant St.

6:30-9:30 p.m. — Blast VIP Party in the courtyard at Heinz Hall.

Pre-purchased tickets are required. Details here.

7-7:30 p.m. — To be announced … at the City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage

414 Grant St.

7:15-7:45 p.m. — Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 30-minute concert at Heinz Hall

COVID-19 policy in effect. Full PSO policy linked here.

Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave.

7:45-8 p.m. — Pittsburgh CLO Holiday Medley at the City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage

414 Grant St.

8-8:30 p.m. — Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 30-minute concert at Heinz Hall

COVID-19 policy in effect. Full PSO policy linked here.

Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave.

8:20 p.m. — Miss Freddye at the Highmark Main Stage under the Horne’s Tree

Stanwix Street & Penn Avenue

8:30-9:30 p.m. — American Authors at the BNY Mellon Allegheny Overlook Stage

Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Sixth Street

9:30 p.m. — BNY Mellon Fireworks Spectacular (with “supersized” Zambelli finale)

Allegheny Overlook on Fort Duquesne Boulevard

Source for Light Up Night information: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
Information is accurate as of Nov. 10, per the PDP’s Light Up Night site.