first night Pittsburgh

Your guide to First Night Pittsburgh 2022

It’s almost time to celebrate the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Kidsburgh has pulled together all the details for you:

WHAT’S PLANNED? This arts-focused, family-friendly celebration begins at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and covers a 14-block radius in the city’s cultural district (see map below).

Events include the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks, a performance from the winner of the Williams Sing-Off Competition, and a headlining performance from Pittsburgh-based musicians Byron Nash, Julz Powell, and Justin Brown. Along with music, there are also comedy, dance, magic and theater performances, plus visual art displays and hands-on activities for all ages.

“A highlight of this year’s event, Intrude from Parer Studios in Australia, is a true spectacle,” says Sarah Aziz, director of festival management for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “You do not want to miss these gigantic, illuminated rabbits that will take over the 8th Street block of the District! With the largest measuring 50 feet tall (yes, that’s almost four building stories high!), the public art piece will be inflated and deflated daily, signifying when the three rabbits wake and go to sleep.”

first night Pittsburgh
Map for Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.


The outdoor events don’t require any reservations or ticketing, but a few indoor performances (happening at Liberty Magic, Bricolage and the Harris Theater) require a free ticket for entry due to limited capacity. You can reserve free tickets for these events here.

WHAT ABOUT COVID? Vaccines and masks are not required at this outdoor celebration.

But the Cultural Trust describes the cultural district as “a mask-friendly place.” They encourage families to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. In the indoor spaces, masks are required but vaccines are not. And for ticketed events inside Cultural Trust venues, guests 12 and over are required to be fully vaccinated, (providing proof of vaccination and a valid ID with their reserved ticket) and wearing masks. Guests under the age of 12 aren’t required to be vaccinated, but must wear a mask and be accompanied by an adult who meets the venue health and safety requirements. You can find the Cultural Trust’s health and safety policies here.

WHAT’S THE VIP EXPERIENCE? The Cultural Trust is offering a “First Night Friends VIP experience” that includes access to the First Night Friends Lounge, which offers hot beverages, sweet treats, and a private party atmosphere from 6-11 p.m., plus a First Night Friends 2022 light-up button to wear during the event. Ticket packages cost between $50 and $100.

First Night Friends also get special access to seating for some of the outdoor festival events and guaranteed access to some of the indoor performances, plus one pre-paid, reserved parking spot in Theater Square Garage per household. Details here.

Visit the First Night website for the full lineup of events during this six-hour celebration.

Want more holiday fun? 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.