family-friendly Pittsburgh events

10 family-friendly Pittsburgh events this weekend, from Santa visits and holiday lights to CSC’s Freeze

Photo by Tyler Delgado used by permission via Unsplash.

It’s time for one of the busiest weekends of the year in Pittsburgh. With a long weekend for most families, out-of-town-guests visiting the city, and a slew of exciting activities occurring in every corner of the region, you won’t want to miss any of these family-friendly Pittsburgh events.

Looking for something special? Along with the family-friendly Pittsburgh events listed here, check out our daily events calendar for a full listing of community-submitted events. 

Here’s what the city has going on this weekend:

Friday, November 25: Freeze at the Carnegie Science Center, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Come join Science Center educators as they teach kids and adults about the science of freezing things, which seems like the perfect way to usher in colder temps in the ‘burgh this holiday weekend. Taste a frozen marshmallow or watch chemical reactions in the Works Theater, which is included with admission to the Science Center. (Remember that all local museums have reduced admission through Museums for All.)  

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27: Santa Trolley at Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, various times

Santa is back at the trolley museum for the season. Take a trolley ride, get your photo with Santa, and enjoy the festivities back at the depot. There are several model displays for the holidays, plus crafts and refreshments. Kids age 2 and under are free, and tickets for the rest of the family can be purchased here

train display
Santa is back at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27: Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum Holiday Show, various times

The holiday show at the model railroad museum comes just once a year, and it’s a fan favorite. Come see model trains and displays that showcase the Pittsburgh region for the holidays. On Friday evenings, their Steam at Twilight performance shows visitors what evenings used to be like in our once-smoggy steel city. Tickets are priced affordably for families. More info can be found here.

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27: Pittsburgh Zoo Drive-Thru Lights, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On select weekend nights, after the Zoo closes, guests are welcome to purchase tickets and drive through the Zoo Lights display. Stop for a hot chocolate, wear your holiday pajamas, and enjoy the thousands of holiday lights from the warmth of your car. The price is $50 per carload of people ($40 for Zoo members).  

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo.

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27: “Les Miserables” at the Benedum Center, various times

The Broadway-touring production has been brilliantly restaged while retaining the epic story and stirring music. Recommended for ages 13 and older. Tickets start at $35.

Saturday, November 26: Season’s Greetings Saturday at the National Aviary, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Come join Santa and all his feathered (and scaly, slimy, and furry!) friends at the Aviary and participate in carols and a craft with him. There’s even a very special mailbox for North Pole letters. The best part? This event is included with Aviary admission

Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

Saturday, November 26: Rochester Holiday Model Railroad Open House, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

It’s the seventh year for this festive train display. They’ve got five different displays of different scales, including one “rail town” that is decked out for Santa’s arrival. The cost for this event is just $5 a person. More details can be found here

Saturday, November 26: ELFburgh Opening Night, various times

While Hundred Acre Manor is a spooky scene throughout the fall, it transforms into a magical winter wonderland for the holiday season. The opening weekend for ELFburgh is this weekend – for $25 per car to drive through and see dazzling light displays and visit Santa’s workshop. More information and tickets can be found here

Photo courtesy of ElfBurgh.

Saturday, November 26: Charlie Brown Christmas at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, 7 p.m. 

In the heart of Greensburg, this classic theater will host the iconic “Charlie Brown Christmas” live on stage in a way you’ve never seen it before. The characters come to life to retell this well-known tale. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased here

Sunday, November 27: Dazzling Lights at the Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Wander through the twinkling lights at the botanical gardens – they have one million bulbs, interactive installations, sounds, and more. There are food and drink options available for this magical night for the whole family. Find tickets and more info here

Want more family-friendly Pittsburgh events? Check out our roundup of indoor place spaces as the temp drops our tour the best holiday light dislays. And don’t forget to sign up for the Kidsburgh newsletter here, if you haven’t already – it’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss a thing!