12 Pittsburgh-area holiday light displays you won’t want to miss
Photo above courtesy of Fun Fore All.
Now that Light Up Night has brought holiday cheer to Downtown Pittsburgh, holiday light displays are brightening up the nights all around the Pittsburgh region. If you’re ready to start celebrating, here’s you’re guide to all the holiday light displays and events to check out during this joyful season.
Light Up Night came early this year, so Downtown is officially decked out in holiday lights. Through the end of the year, you can do holiday shopping at the People’s Gas Holiday Market at Market Square (note: Santa Claus does not come to Market Square until Sunday, Nov. 24), see the sparkling tree and go skating at the ice rink at PPG Place and much more.
You’ll also find a brightly lit tree at the County Courthouse and the Pittsburgh Creche at the U.S. Steel Tower Plaza, plus the Holiday KidsPlay area at Sixth Street and Liberty Avenue, and a selfie garden in the Heinz Hall Courtyard with a Fred Rogers theme. In the lobby of the City-County Building, guests can find that beloved collection of gingerbread houses that have been built by locals each season and displayed for over 20 years. And don’t miss the sparkling, 60-foot “Three Rivers Tree” at Point State Park, which replaces the “Tree of Lights.”
Thousands of environmentally-friendly LED lights have once again been lit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. There are more than 300,000 bulbs — more than 30 miles of wired lights now glowing throughout the Zoo. The Zoo Lights Drive-Thru, open select nights between Nov. 24 through Dec. 30, has grown to include more than 100 animal lights in new displays (more than 160 displays in total), plus festive music and holiday treats. Follow the guided audio tour filled with Christmas carols. Timed tickets are $40 per vehicle for zoo members or $45 for nonmembers (includes all riders in the vehicle). The drive takes about a half-hour, depending on traffic and your interest in seeing each display. Special walk-thru nights are scheduled for Dec. 15, 16, 22 and 23. Walk-thru cost is $18 per adult, $15 per child. (Note: The zoo’s drive-thru fundraisers are popular and have sold out quickly in the past. So consider booking early to avoid disappointment.).
Allegheny County Parks is once again hosting their popular Holiday Laser Show. Catch the show this year from Dec. 8 through Dec. 23 at the North Park Pool parking lot (note: no shows Dec. 11 and 12). You can stay cozy in your car and enjoy this 45-minute light show synchronized with holiday music. Buy timed tickets here (organizers ask that you arrive 30-45 minutes before your time slot to get parked). Tickets for most shows are $25, though a few are priced at $20. Space is limited, so consider reserving early.
This bright and beautiful winter festival is back again this year at Schenley Plaza and throughout Oakland’s central business district. The free experience, open Nov. 20 through Jan. 2, will feature a signature installation created by Lucion Media of Montreal, Quebec. Composed of three self-inflated vinyl spheres ranging from 8 feet to 15 feet in diameter, EXPosure invites attendees to create art with their faces through light and video projection. Beyond Schenley Plaza, you’ll find buildings, public spaces and unexpected corners brought to life by eye-catching, light-based installations by Pittsburgh-based designers and artists, along with music, entertainment, vendors, and games. Special events include Glow Ball on Dec. 1, Winter Play Day on Dec. 9 and a Drone Show and Music Festival on Dec. 16. Get all the details here. Get all the details here.
The Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium is once again offering their eye-catching Laser Holiday Magic show. Check out the fun daily from Nov. 24 through Jan. 1. Traditional and contemporary holiday music will fill the air as high-powered laser lights create animation and gorgeous abstract images above your heads. This year, timed tickets are $6 for Science Center members and $7 for nonmembers.
If you grew up with the jokes of Henny Hemlock, the talking Christmas tree, it may be time to introduce your kids to the fun at Overly’s Country Christmas in Greensburg, open now through Dec. 30 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — get the full schedule here). Families can drive through or park and walk directly to the Christmas village. Open since 1956, Overly’s beautiful light displays sparkle with more than a million lights. This nonprofit, operated mainly by volunteers, offers old-fashioned traditions and treats. Sing carols at the bonfire, enjoy the model train display, have your picture taken with Santa (in the days before Christmas), take a wagon ride or shop for gifts in the C. Edgar & Sons General Store. The cost is $25 per carload (eight people or less, cash only) for those who drive or $5 per person to park and walk (again, cash only and this is only for visiting the Christas village). Get all the details here.
From Nov. 24 through. Jan. 3 this year, Fun Fore All in Cranberry once again turns their two miniature golf courses into fully playable walk-through holiday light extravaganzas from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). You’ll find tunnels of light and animated themes. Tickets are $15 to play one course, $20 for both courses. Admission includes a treat bag of goodies and coupons. And as they’ve done in the past, 10 percent of all sales will benefit The Highmark Caring Place.
The one-mile cruise through a wooded light display in Clinton Community Park — set up by a team of volunteers with lots of holiday spirit — has been a holiday favorite since 1993. It’s happening again this year (though the former website isn’t up any longer, so find them on Facebook). Set your GPS to 600 Clinton Park Drive, Imperial, Pa., to find this beautiful, one-mile light display through a gorgeous wooded setting. Proceeds from the $10 admission per vehicle (cash only) are shared with local charities. Open this year through Jan. 1.
Of all the holiday light displays in Pittsburgh, this may be the most remarkable. Running through Jan. 7 this year, this year’s theme at Phipps is “season’s greetings,” with new displays featuring holiday trees decorated in jewel tones, detailed props and gorgeous flowers including amaryllis, orchids and 21 varieties of poinsettias. New features indoors and outside in the Winter Light Garden include whimsical gnomes, LED fireworks, the new “singing tree” and “a flickering fireplace beside a topiary cat curled up on a succulent armchair.” Admission is $19.95 and up (depending on date/time) for adults, $17.95 for seniors and students, and $13.95 and up for children (ages 2 – 18). Members and kids under 2 enter free. All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance. Get tickets here.
Christmas is back at Kennywood. You’ll find more than two million twinkling lights this year, along with the tallest Christmas tree in the state, plus holiday foods and drinks, plus a range of rides open for kids and entertainment for all ages. Up to 20 Kennywood attractions will be open, and Santa will be there, along with a model train village and more. You can even add on dinner with Santa. Open select nights through January 1. Tickets begin at $19.99, if you buy online.
Stroll through 65 acres of sparkling light displays, including 2,000 illuminated flowers, a tunnel of giant stars, interactive displays that light up when you walk on them, and a custom light show around the lotus pond. As you walk, holiday music will fill the air. Dazzling Nights opens Nov. 24 and runs through Jan. 6 (first entry at 5:30 p.m., last entry at 9:00 p.m.). Timed tickets are $22-27 for adults and $19-24 for children (plus fees). Children 2 and under enter free. Limited on-site parking is available for a fee, and free off-site parking includes shuttle service. Visitors parking on-site are asked to arrive 15 minutes before scheduled entry times. Those using the off-site parking shuttle are asked to arrive 30 minutes before their ticketed entry time. Dress for the weather for this nighttime walking experience, which does include stairs at a few locations.
The Waterfront in Homestead has been all lit up since last weekend’s Let It Glow event. Through the end of December, kids can wander among the holiday lights and then drop off their wish lists in Santa’s mailbox and have their photo taken in the “big blue chair.” Santa will be on site for photos Dec. 2-21.