By: KDKA-TV Senior Web Producer Heather Lang
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s time to kick off the holiday season in Pittsburgh. With that Christmas vibe settling in town, Downtown Pittsburgh puts on its party clothes and dresses up to impress all of its visitors.
After the Highmark Light Up Night was canceled last year due to the pandemic, it’s back. It takes place on Saturday, November 20th, and this year’s 60th anniversary has a holiday theme for everyone.
We break down all the events and activities from place to place so you can plan your evening downtown.
For more information on the upcoming Pittsburgh holiday season, visit the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership‘s vacation section here.
US steel tower
Visit the only authorized replica of the Nativity in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The crèche is approximately 64 feet wide by 36 feet long and has 20 life-size figures. It was blessed on Friday morning and will be on display through January 7th.
City district buildings
The 106th Official City Tree will come to life at 5pm, followed by a Zambelli Rooftop Fireworks Show. The 60-foot spruce is from Lincoln Place and 90 of its oversized ornaments will be named a neighborhood.
The 19th annual gingerbread house exhibition and competition can be found on the portico on Grant Street. 60 winners will show their creations.
What would Christmas in Pittsburgh be without the Highmark Tree in the old Hornes building? Don’t miss the lighting of this Pittsburgh tradition with rooftop fireworks at 6 p.m. on the corner of Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street!
Fifth Avenue Square
The Holiday Ice Carvings is directly opposite! The organizers promise “a great sculpture that pays special homage to the 60th anniversary of the Light Up Night”. They are always spectacular.
Stroll down Penn Avenue to EQT Plaza and you can take the BEST. SELF. JE. with the world’s largest pickle ornament! The gates to the square are open daily until 9:00 p.m. Share your photos with the hashtag – #PickleOrnamentPGH.
An Oxford center
This is the place to eat! Some of the best food trucks in the area are set up along the outdoor patio to warm up hot meals on a cold night. Children can also visit Santa Claus from 6pm to 8pm and see the 9 meter high tree in the lobby of the Oxford Center.
Do your shopping at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market! The European-style open-air holiday market is open every day except Thanksgiving. This year the popular market place celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
From ornaments to art, ceramics to baked goods, candles to jewelry – it’s easy to find something special for someone special. And all to the music of BJ’s Sounds of the Season Stage!
You can also visit the market square to the North Pole virtually with Santa Claus!
A full list of vendors in this year’s market can be found here.
Lace up these skates for the UPMC Rink at PPG Place. Get in the Christmas spirit by walking around the beautiful 18 meter high tree, which is adorned with more than 100,000 lights! For maps click here.
Then, admire the Spirit of Giving Around the World exhibit in the windows of Two PPG Place along Fourth Avenue. It features 16 life-size Santa Clauses from around the world.
Visit the PPG Place website for more information.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays the sounds of the season in three 30-minute concerts. Entry is free at 6.30 p.m., 7.15 p.m. and 8 p.m. The concerts mark the debut of the newly appointed assistant conductor Jacob Joyce.
Further information can be found on the website of Heinz Hall.
American writers and Pittsburgh favorites Joe Grusbecky and The Houserockers highlight this year’s Light Up Night concert schedule! There will be five stages spread across the city center for music and performances.
Highlight main stage
(On Stanwix Street and Penn Ave.)
• Joe Gruschecky and the Houserockers at 5pm
• Mr. Smalls All-Star Beatles Tribute at 6:30 pm
• Miss Freddye at 8:20 pm
BNY Mellon Allegheny viewing platform
(On Fort Duquesne Blvd. and Sixth St.)
• Donora at 5 pm
• Lyndsey Smith & Steeltown Horns at 6:30 pm
• American authors at 8:30 pm
BJ’s Sounds of the Season Stage
• Kea Michaels
• The evergreens
EQT Jazzmasters stage
• MCG Jazz Presents: The Daniel May Trio with Dwayne Dolphin and George Heid III @ Noon- 9:30 pm
City of Pittsburgh Grant Street stage
The performances start here at 4 p.m.
• River City marching band
• contemporary texture ballet
• Act 3 (a cappella)
• Pittsburgh CLO
Click here for more.
Click here for the current weather conditions.
ROAD BLOCKS & DETOURS:
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has released this list of road closures for the downtown holiday celebrations. Plan accordingly when you go to any of the events.
The Roberto Clemente Bridge is closed on Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight. Motorists needing to bypass the lock can use Liberty Avenue, Seventh Street, Andy Warhol Bridge and Isabella Street.
Friday, November 19, 6 p.m. to Sunday, November 21, 2 a.m .:
• Fort Duquesne Boulevard, westbound lanes between Stanwix Street and 6th Street and between 6th Street and 7th Street
• Roberto Clemente Bridge (6th Street)
• Stanwix Street between Liberty Avenue & Ft. Duquesne Boulevard (with garage access to the parking garage at 625 Stanwix Street)
• Penn Avenue between Stanwix and 6th Streets (with garage access to 6th and Penn parking lots at 542 Penn Ave)
• Penn Avenue Extension between Stanwix Street and the Gateway Light Rail Station
• Fifth Avenue between Penn Avenue and Liberty Avenue
• Cecil Square between Ft. Duquesne Boulevard & Penn Avenue
Friday, November 19th from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday, November 20. from 4 pm to 11 pm:
• Fourth Avenue between Smithfield Street and Grant Street (garage access only)
• Fourth Avenue between Stanwix Street and Wood Street (garage access only)
Saturday 20th November only:
• Grant Street between Forbes Avenue and Fourth Avenue
Saturday, November 20th only. from 8 pm to 11 pm:
• Fort Duquesne Boulevard, east lanes between Stanwix Street and 6th Street, including the exit from Fort Duquesne Bridge
Click here for more.
Port Authority diversions
The port authority will reroute more than 40 bus routes for the Light Up Night celebrations.
“After 6pm on Light Up Night, Saturday, November 20th, most buses will be diverted to the Smithfield Street Bus Lane, where drivers can board outgoing buses until the end of service.” – said the port authority.
Click here for a full listing of all diversions.
ADDITIONAL LINKS & INFORMATION: