7 Pittsburgh Holiday Traditions to Add to Your Annual Calendar

Charles Dickens admonishes us to “keep Christmas well” at the end of his iconic tale, A Christmas Carol. In the ‘Burgh, we take those instructions seriously and extend them to pretty much every festive occasion. Put these annual Pittsburgh holiday traditions and celebrations on the calendar… and let Jacob Marley rest in peace. 

Highmark First Night

Cultural District, December 31
Every December 31, Downtown Pittsburgh rings in the New Year with Highmark First Night, a family-friendly evening featuring over 100 activities and performances throughout the Cultural District. After the Pittsburgh ball is raised, not dropped like the one in Times Square, fireworks light up the night sky. 

Highmark Light Up Night

Downtown, November 19
Brring brring… The unofficial start of the holiday season is calling, whether you attend the Downtown event or one of the many Light Up Nights in communities throughout the region. 

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Now the third-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, Pittsburgh’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a time-honored celebration in the city since the mid-1800s. The parade currently clocks in at a total of 1.4 miles long and attracts around 200,000 to 350,000 spectators every year, according to VisitPITTSBURGH. 

Independence Day Celebration

The Point, July 4
While communities around Pittsburgh offer their own fireworks shows, Downtown’s Point State Park is the most popular gathering spot for Pittsburghers across the region. Music and food flow aplenty before the main event: a spectacular fireworks display. 


2012 Butler Logan Road, Tarentum
Now located inside the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, Travel Channel named ScareHouse one of “America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions.” 

Peoples Gas Holiday Market and Ice Skating

Market Square, November 18-December 24
Whether you like shopping early or need a last-minute gift, this Downtown holiday market with local and national vendors selling out of vintage, wooden chalets pops up the day before Light Up Night to offer unique wares you won’t find elsewhere in the city. Check out the market before or after visiting the UPMC Rink at PPG Place, which runs until March. 

Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden

Phipps Conservatory, November 18-first week of January
The most wonderful time of the year is made even better with Phipps’ annual winter flower show. 

Story by Jordan Snowden

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