family events in Pittsburgh

13 family events in Pittsburgh this weekend, from fire-breathers and holiday movies to the Lawrenceville Cookie Tour

Photo above by Kelsey Weinkauf used by permission via Unsplash.

This second weekend of December is packed with just as many fun family events in Pittsburgh as the first one was. From skating with Santa to firebreathers and ice sculptures, here are 10 things to do around Pittsburgh this weekend. 

Friday, Dec. 9: Joy-Thru Fairview, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

Drive through Fairview Park and enjoy South Fayette Township’s Holiday Celebration filled with music, ice princesses, Santa, a giant Christmas tree and much more. Reserve your free ticket and get details here. Please donate one toy per vehicle.

Friday through Sunday, Dec. 9-11: holiday movies at the Tull Family Theater, various showtimes

The Tull Family Theater is a great resource year-round, so it’s no surprise they have you covered at the holidays. This weekend, go see holiday favorites “Elf” or “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” Other Hollywood favorites include “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Annie” and “Casablanca.” Details and tickets here.

Friday through Sunday, Dec. 9-11: Highmark Holiday Pops, various showtimes

Pittsburgh Symphony’s annual Holiday Pops concerts run over two weekends from Dec. 9-19 at Heinz Hall. It’s a family favorite with carols, classic tunes, and singalongs. Tickets start at $22 for the live shows. You can also stream the Holiday Pops Concert online for free. Also available is the Holiday Sensory-Friendly Concert with closed captions, ASL interpretation and shortened runtime.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Trust Arts Puppets! Creation and Play, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Come join the folks at Trust Arts Education to create puppets and bring them to life. Families will work together to create the puppets out of a variety of recycled and repurposed materials and learn how to bring them to life! Participants will use their creativity and learn new techniques. The cost is $10 and more information can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 10: Saturdays with Santa at the Heinz History Center, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Come visit Santa as part of your admission to the Heinz History Center this weekend (and every weekend until Christmas). Take a trip down the  Liberty Tube slides, explore Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and make sure the head elf gets your wish list. The Heinz History Center participates in Museums For All, and many families qualify for reduced admission. Find out more here

Saturday, Dec. 10: HOME at the Strand Theater, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This beautiful show by Lizzie Allen returns to Zelienople again this holiday season. This intimate show is as resourceful and imaginative as small children themselves can be when they’re off in a world of their own. The adventure begins as the kids look for Florrie and Todd’s perfect home. This show is best for ages two and up. Tickets are $10-$15 and more info can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 10: The City of Pittsburgh’s Skate with Santa, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The big man himself is hitting the ice to create some holiday memories. Families can register here for tickets to ice skate with Santa at the Schenley ice rink. Bop along to holiday music while Santa leads the party. Appropriate for all ages. 

Saturday, Dec. 10: Buzzwords Early Literacy Event with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Join the early literacy specialists at Buzzwords for an in-person event at The Kingsley Association featuring food, reading, and dance instruction from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater where kids will learn moves from “The Nutcracker.” Families will receive a free lunch, early reading materials, and crafts. This event is free and best for kids under age 5. Find out more here

Saturday, Dec. 10: New Brighton Fire and Ice Festival, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

This event is the perfect mix of winter fun and fiery entertainment. Horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, fire breathers and fire dancers – there’s something for everyone (including an adult beverage station carved entirely out of ice). This event is free, though some activities have a small fee. Find out more here

Saturday, Dec. 10: Beauty’s Christmas Ball, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Join Beauty and six other surprise princess friends for a 90-minute, fun-filled ball filled with singing, dancing, games, refreshments, performances, and wonderful family memories! You’ll have opportunities for one-on-one character interactions, autographs, and photos. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased here

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11: Photos with Santa at The Waterfront, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m

Santa will be at The Waterfront from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Dec. 22. You’ll find him between Carhartt and the Children’s Place in the Town Center. Walk-ins are accepted along with online photo time slot reservations for $5. All proceeds will be donated to Jeremiah’s Place, helping those in need within the community.

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11: “The Nutcracker” at Carnegie Performing Arts Center, various times

“The Nutcracker” will be performed at the Andrew Carnegie Music Hall this weekend. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. and are available at the door or through the website. For more information, call the Carnegie Performing Arts Center at (412) 279-8887 or visit their website.

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11: Lawrenceville Cookie Tour, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Holiday shopping has never been so fun (and so filling). This free event, now in its 24th year, allows shoppers to sample fresh, homemade cookies as they find incredible gifts for everyone on their list. Make sure to hop on the event trolley as it makes stops throughout Lawrenceville and Penn Avenue. All the details can be found here

There’s so much more to do this December – every day of the week!  Our big holiday events roundup can be found here, and we also have the scoop on sensory-friendly events happening all around town. Make sure you don’t miss our guide to holiday lights displays, and sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.