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What To Do Over Thanksgiving Break: Pittsburgh Edition

We hate to be away from Happy Valley, but a nice trip home is always a good time (especially if you’re heading home to Pittsburgh). The holiday season is especially magical in Pittsburgh, and a break is much needed before coming back to Penn State to tackle finals. With that in mind, here are some recommendations for a picture perfect Thanksgiving break in the Steel City:

Light Up Night

If you make it back to Pittsburgh on Thursday night or early Friday, then Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night, which takes place downtown, is the place to be. The celebration is the official start to the holiday season in Pittsburgh and it’s a popular event for both young people and families. Some of the events this year include performances by Daya and O.A.R., the tree-lighting ceremony, a fireworks display on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and ice skating at the PPG Rink.

Ice Skating And The Winter Garden At PPG Place

Ice skating and the free Winter Garden at PPG Place open on November 18, and the area is usually a popular spot post-Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Ice skating and walking around to see all the gingerbread houses with your friends and family is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones at home.

2016 Peoples Gas Holiday Market

The holiday market in Market Square is another winter tradition that will bring some nostalgia to your Thanksgiving break. The outdoor market is inspired by the original German Christkndlmarkts; market-goers can stroll through the Alpine cabins and browse through a large selection of possible Christmas gifts. The Holiday Market usually features a large selection of hand-made gifts and there are usually musical performances happening in the middle of the square.

Go To A Penguins Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the New York Rangers on Monday, November 21 at the newly crowned PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers beat the Penguins in the playoffs two seasons ago, and there is nothing better than revenge. If you’ve never been to a Penguins game, head over to the PPG Paints Arena on Monday to watch the Stanley Cup Champions in action. The Penguins are also playing the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, November 26, but hopefully you’ll opt for Beaver Stadium instead.

See A Show At Benedum Center

A Christmas Story, The Musical is showing at the Benedum Center from November 22-27 thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Get a nice dinner, see a classic holiday musical, and add some culture to your Thanksgiving break in downtown Pittsburgh.

26th Annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot

Get some exercise before you gorge on Thanksgiving dinner at the annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot. The event benefits the YMCA’s Home Run for Hunger campaign, which seeks to eliminate hunger in Allegheny County. The Turkey Trot begins at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24 at PNC Park on Pittsburgh’s North Shore and you can register for the event here.

Winter Flower Show At Phipps Conservatory

The Winter Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory opens the day after Thanksgiving — this is a personal favorite for my family. Going to the Winter Flower Show has always been a tradition for us, and for good reason. Nothing quite kicks off the holiday season like strolling through a room filled with poinsettias and mistletoe.

Take In A View At Mount Washington

Every Pittsburgh native knows about Mount Washington. The great views visible from the scenic overlook are no secret and the Incline is a hometown favorite. Thanksgiving break could possibly be one of the last weekends to get in a good view of Pittsburgh surrounded by fall foliage — it might be worth snapping a few pics of home before you head back to State College for finals.

About the Author

Katie Klodowski

Katie is a senior from Pittsburgh, PA and a retired editor at Onward State. Currently, she works as a staff writer. True to her hometown, she is a fan of Steel City sports but also uses her ballet and music training to be a tough critic of all things artsy. The fastest ways to her heart are through pizza, sushi, and a solid taste in music (this means no Taylor Swift). To be constantly razzle-dazzled, follow her on all social media forms at @KatieKlodowski


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