family events in Pittsburgh

From Latkepalooza to reindeer on the roof, this weekend is full of wild winter family events in Pittsburgh

Photo above by Filip Bunkens used by permission via Unsplash.

It’s the last full weekend before Hannukah begins Sunday night and Christmas next weekend — and it is packed to the brim with celebrations, excitement, and affordable family events in Pittsburgh. Don’t miss all the spectacular magic happening around the city for kids and grown-ups. 

Friday, Dec. 16: Cookies with Santa at Dutilh Church, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Join the team at Dutilh Church in Cranberry Township for a fun-packed Friday evening. Guests will enjoy cookies, crafts, cocoa and a visit from Santa. Bring your camera! Santa is happy to pose for free pictures. Stay for a few minutes or the entire time. (Note: Parents or guardians must stay with their children.) Find out more here

family events in Pittsburgh

Saturday, Dec. 17: Cookies With Santa at The Promise Center of Homewood, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Santa will be visiting The Promise Center of Homewood in conjunction with Toys for Tots. Come visit with the big man himself and enjoy the holiday festivities. The event includes free hot chocolate and pastries. You’ll also find toys, coats and hats giveaways. For more information, click here or call 412-867-5603. 

Saturday, Dec. 17: AWCommunity Day: Holiday Edition, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center hosts the AWCommunity Day: Holiday Edition with a lineup of family-focused activities including a Kwanzaa celebration and a visit by Santa himself – with brown skin. Many activities will be held outside the August Wilson Center for African American Culture on the plaza and sidewalk. Click here for more details about the event. Admission is free.

family events in Pittsburgh

Saturday, Dec. 17: Transiberian Orchestra at PPG Paints Arena,  3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a progressive rock band founded as an outlet for the many rock operas written by the late rock industry producer, composer, and musician Paul O’Neill. It was designed to push the boundaries of what was possible for a band to create – both musically and visually. Tickets start at $39.50 and can be found here.

Saturday, Dec. 17: Washington’s Hark in the Park, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The folks at Washington Park are so excited about this first-ever holiday event. This family-friendly features crafts, s’mores, music, bingo and even an appearance from St. Nick himself. Keep in mind, this event is held outdoors in a public park. So while they will have heaters, please dress accordingly. This event is free and more information can be found here. Check out what may become a tradition among the family events in Pittsburgh.

family events in Pittsburgh

Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18: Reindeer on the Roof at The Commoner, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The reindeer are back on the rooftop at Hotel Monaco this weekend. Guests who are having brunch at The Commoner can head up to visit the stars of Santa’s sleigh for just $10. Those looking to skip breakfast and make a beeline to the top can meet & greet with Santa’s reindeer for $12. Complimentary hot chocolate and cider available for all guests. Reservations are recommended.

Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18: Ohio Valley Lines Model Railway, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Open through the first week of January, the Ohio Valley Lines model railroad museum is located in Ambridge at 1225 Merchant St. This year, they celebrate their 40th anniversary. Join the festivities by visiting their two model railroad displays, which have been expanded this year. You’ll also find raffle baskets and bargain prices on trains and train accessories in their “flea market” area. The display is only open on Saturdays and Sundays and is closed next weekend, so don’t miss a chance to stop by. Requested donation: $6 for adults, $2 for kids 3-12 and free for kids 2 and under.

Saturday, Dec. 17: Play Day at GLOWLAND, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

You’ll find free events and music during the final day of GLOWLAND on Saturday in Oakland. The heart of this winter festival is a playable and interactive art installation called Impulse, located in Schenley Plaza, which includes 15 sound- and light-producing seesaws. Beyond Schenley Plaza, you’ll find buildings, public spaces and unexpected corners throughout Oakland’s business district brought to life by various kinds of light-based art, along with music, entertainment, vendors and games. Details here.

Sunday, Dec. 18: Latkepalooza at Beth Shalom, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

It’s latke time! Join friends at the Joint Jewish Education Program for a fun-packed morning filled with crafts, prizes, donuts and latkes. Cost is $5 per person with a max of $15 per family. This event is hosted by the Beth Shalom congregation and more details can be found here.

Sunday, Dec. 18: The Great Birthday Bake by Beverly’s Birthdays, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Beverly’s Birthdays is hosting its fifth annual Great Birthday Bake, and they want you and your family to attend. Wear holiday attire and join the team for a day of tasting delicious treats baked by kids in our community. This fundraiser for Beverly’s Birthdays helps them throw birthday celebrations for kids with financial barriers. There will be crafts and visitors from North Pole friends. The cost is $10. Full rules and details can be found here. Kids 10 and under are free.

family-friendly events this weekend in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Culture Trust.

Sunday, Dec. 18: First Night Parade Workshop, 12 p.m. to 3 pm. 

One of the coolest and most creative family events in Pittsburgh is helping build puppets for the First Night Parade that will close out 2022. A hands-on creative workshop welcomes the whole family to pitch in on Sunday at the Braddock Battlefield History Center. Registration is free, but required to save your space.

Sunday, Dec. 18: Of Maccabees and Menorahs, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Rabbi Jonty Blackman joins Classrooms Without Borders to light the menorah and celebrate the miracle of Chanukah. This event is totally free and will explore some of the lesser events behind long-celebrated Chanukah traditions. Find more information here

There are many more family events in Pittsburgh happening this December. Our big holiday events roundup can be found here, and we also have the scoop on camps and activities for kids over the winter break. Make sure to check out our guide to the First Night celebration, and sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.