5 great things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend, including prowling for owls and shivering on the river

Photo above by Sweta Meininger used by permission via Unsplash.

Looking for cool things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend? On these final days before Christmas, you can catch some of Pittsburgh’s top holiday shows and events before they close. You can also celebrate the season by exploring the great outdoors. Check out what’s on tap:

Friday, Dec. 17, 6-9 p.m.: Shiver on the River at Allegheny RiverTrail Park 

Though this event is called Shiver on the River, it’s not supposed to be terribly cold this weekend. So head to Aspinwall for this riverside holiday celebration. Find cool gifts at the European-style artisanal market and roast marshmallows around the fire pits, then check out the Children’s Museum exhibit. You’ll also see the unveiling of public art made by Fox Chapel Area School District students in collaboration with Ketchup City Creative, plus a snow-making machine and live music. Advance tickets $5 per person or $10 for a family. At the door, admission is $10 per person and $15 per family.

things to do in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

Friday, Dec. 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Venture Outdoors Owl Prowl Night Hike in North Park

You and your family can learn about and call out to the owls that call North Park home, and they might just respond. Master naturalist and birder Ray Morris will lead this two-mile hike in search of these nocturnal birds of prey. Tickets $12-$15.

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17, 18 and 19, various times: Holiday Laser Show at North Park 

This is the final weekend for Allegheny County Parks’ Holiday Laser Show, which runs through Dec. 22. Reserve a spot at the North Park Pool parking lot, where the whole family can watch the 45-minute spectacular from the safety and warmth of your car. You can buy timed tickets (organizers ask that you arrive 30-45 minutes before your time slot) to check out these laser lights coordinated with holiday music. Admission per vehicle for county residents is $20 ($25 for non-residents). Space is limited and some time slots are sold out for this weekend, so book as early as you can.

things to do in Pittsburgh
Image courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17, 18 and 19, various times: “A Musical Christmas Carol,” Byham Theater

It’s also the final weekend to see Richard Thomas reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Pittsburgh CLO’s annual family favorite. “A Musical Christmas Carol” weaves song and dance, special effects and a touch of holiday magic into Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption. Tickets for the show, which runs through Dec. 23, start at $15. (Masks, photo ID and proof of vaccination are required for theater-goers over 12.)

things to do in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Gemini Theater Company.

Saturday and Sunday, Dec 18 and 19, various times: “Gift of the Ice Queen” at Gemini Theater Company

Catch the final performances of Gemini Theater’s first in-person show in a long, long time. With extra precaution in mind, “Gift of the Ice Queen” features a smaller cast and a special production without an intermission to allow time to clean the theater between shows. The story begins when Lumi, Queen of the Ice Fairies, discovers that a villager is stealing her snow. She turns to her goblin pals and fairy friends for help. Tickets are $10.

Want more things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend?

Check out our guides to the coolest holiday light displays in Pittsburgh, all the holiday events for familiesbeautiful miniature railroads and more cool things happening throughout December.