by Janet Jonus
Light Up Night on November 22nd is the official start of the Holiday Season in Pittsburgh.
Comcast Light Up Night is back, bigger and better than ever with more FamilyFun activities for all ages, entertainment, shopping, tons of food trucks, kid’s activities, and of course, a lot of Tree Lightings.
The Tree Lighting Ceremonies
Light Up Night celebrates the Holidays with Official Tree lightings. The first celebration of the day is at 1200PM at the U.S. Steel Tower with the dedication of the crèche. At 445PM the Allegheny County Tree & Tower are lit at an official ceremony held at the County Courthouse Courtyard. The City County Building Tree Lighting is at 515PM. The PPG Tree Lighting ceremony takes place at 530PM at the PPG Plaza. The One Oxford Center Tree Lighting Ceremony is at 545PM. The Tree Lighting Ceremonies culminate with the Lighting of the Highmark Tree at the corner of Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue at 700PM. The Lighting is followed by Rooftop Fireworks and a Laser Show.
The BNY Mellon Season of Lights in Market Square starts at 545PM and runs every half hour. Watch as Santa flips a giant switch to turn on the lights in Market Square followed by a light show set to seasonal music.
Light Up Night is full of fireworks. There are rooftop fireworks at 700PM at the Lighting of the Highmark Tree.
The Santa Spectacular at Point State Park are at 745PM.
If you haven’t seen enough, the BNY Fireworks Finale lights up the night sky above the Allegheny River at 930PM. The Fireworks are provided by Zambelli and are synchronized to holiday favorites. (You can listen on Q92.2FM.) The Official Viewing Area is on Fort Duquesne Blvd between Stanwix and 6th Streets.
Family note: The weather is going to be in the 30’s during much of Light Up Night on the 22nd. There are FamilyFun indoor activities at Fifth Avenue Place, Oxford Center, PPG Place, at the City County Building, and at Heinz Hall.
The Musical Entertainment
There are three stages spread throughout downtown with entertainment all night long.
The Comcast Main Stage at Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Ninth Street has some of the biggest stars from Pittsburgh and beyond. The performances start at 600PM with The Nox Boys followed at 700PM by Pittsburgh favorites Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers. Headliner Adam Lambert takes the stage at 830PM.
The BNY New Music Stage at Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Sixth Street features rising stars of the Pittsburgh music scene. The evening starts out at 600PM with Beauty Slap. Tribe Eternal is on at 730PM followed by The Krunk Movement at 830PM.
The EQT Jazzmasters Stage highlights Pittsburgh’s rich jazz history. The Stage is located in EQT Plaza on Liberty Avenue. Performers from 600-900PM will be celebrating the music of Fred Rogers with appearances by Daniel Tiger.
More FamilyFun Things to Do
The Tree Lighting at the City-County Building takes place at 515PM. Immediately after the Tree Lighting, the Building comes alive every half hour with a Lightshow set to holiday music from 600-800PM. Take a tour of the City-County Building from 600-900PM.
The ever-popular Gingerbread House Display and Competition moves to the City-County Building this year. See 450 gingerbread creations and the miniature railroad winds it way through the display. The Display is open from 600AM-800PM on Light Up Night.
The MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Plaza is open from 1100AM – 1200AM (midnight). Skate on Downtown Pittsburgh’s only outdoor ice rink. Catch the RMU Island Sports Figure Skating Holiday Show at 445-500PM and the East End Kids Show at 500PM. The American Cancer Society’s Tribute of Light Show and Tree Lighting takes place from 530-600PM. In the spirit of the Holiday Season, Magic Ice USA will donate $1.00 from every ice skating admission to the American Cancer Society. Bryan Nash performs at 600PM.
If you are looking for a place to warm up, head into the PPG Place to see see the “Spirit of Giving Around the World” display.
One Oxford Center
Join Santa at 545PM for a Tree Lighting Ceremony and Santa’s Arrival. Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides will be available from 600-900PM starting on the 4th Avenue Side with the last ride heading out at 845PM. Santa’s Reindeer headline the Kid’s Activity area from 600-900PM. Free indoor activities include face painting, balloon animals, a selfie station, temporary tattoos, caricatures, and more.
Fifth Avenue Place
The Highmark Tree Lighting and Fireworks at 700PM is the highlight of the night. Enjoy the Fifth Avenue FREEZE and Festivities from 500-900PM. Explore FREEZE, an ice sculpture display featuring childhood toys and favorites. Watch Rich Bubin, a master ice carver, as he creates amazing sculptures. Live entertainment is provided by the Roger Barbour Jazz Quartet from 430-630PM and Cross/Current from 700-900PM. Mr. McFeely, from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood will be greeting families from 730-830PM. The Shops and Food Court are open until 900PM with some food place open even later.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be having special holiday performances at 630 – 830PM. Warm up with the wonderful sounds of the Holidays inside the beautiful Heinz Hall. Visit the Heinz Hall Lobby to see the Christmas Tree Display and Menorah.
Holiday Kids Play is in the Heinz Hall Courtyard. Celebrate the Holidays and the 50th Anniversary of Mister Rogers Neighborhood with FamilyFun activities including decorating the Children’s Museum Thank You Tree, sitting on a replica of Mister Roger’s bench, crafts, science activities, and more. This is an outside activity area so dress warmly. Holiday Kids Play is open on weekends through December 23rd and then daily December 26th-31st from 1100AM-700PM.
Point State Park
Head to Point State Park for the Santa’s Spectacular Village with Kid’s activities from 600-900PM. Young kids can catch the Fireworks Show at 745PM.
Trust Oasis DJ Performance and Dance Party
Join in the Dance Party from 600-1000PM at the Trust Arts Oasis at 133 7th Street.
Roberto Clemente (6th Street) Bridge
Stop by the Xfinity Experience for a free cup of hot chocolate and a place to warm up.
Market Square and The Peoples Gas Holiday Market
Market Square hosts two big events during Light Up Night. Shop at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market. Find the perfect gift from the Old World Holiday Market. Vendors include local and national artists. The Market is open daily, except on Thanksgiving, from November 16th through December 23rd. Weekday hours are 1100AM-700PM. Weekend hours are 1000AM-700PM.
See the beautiful lights and the Sphere Tree in Market Square. Have a photo taken with Santa in Santa’s House with a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.
Over 30 Food Trucks are scattered throughout Light Up Night. There will be food trucks at the EQT Plaza on Liberty Avenue, at Gateway Plaza, and at Fort Duquesne and Sixth Street.
Light Up Night is scattered throughout Downtown. It is nearly impossible to see everything so make a plan. The current weather forecast for Friday night is cloudy and in the mid-30’s. Many streets are closed for Light Up Night making driving and parking complicated. An excellent way to get into the City is to park on the North Shore or in Station Square and take the T into town. (The T is free from the North Shore but costs $2.75 per person from Station Square.) If you are taking the T, Gateway Center will get you close to Market Square and the Highmark Tree, Wood Street is near Heinz Hall, and Steel Plaza is across the street from the U.S. Steel Building. For information about parking, check here: http://www.parkpgh.org/ For information about the T, check here: http://www.portauthority.org/paac/
For more information about Comcast Light Up Night and the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, check here: https://downtownpittsburghholidays.com/light-up-night