What To Do In Pittsburgh Over Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break is so close, you can almost smell the turkey baking in your family’s oven from here. There’s no doubt that students are eager to spend the entire week putting off class work, but you can only sit on the couch doing nothing for so long. 

For those Penn Staters following the aroma of home-cooked meals back to Pittsburgh, here are some things to do that will keep you equally entertained and unproductive over Thanksgiving break:

Events and Attractions

Light Up Night — Friday, November 16

If you depart State College early enough on Friday, you can make it to Fifth Avenue Place in time to watch the lighting of the Highmark Tree and laser show hosted by none other than Mr. McFeely himself. Skip right over Thanksgiving and enjoy unique holiday shops, ice skating at PPG Place (if you can find room), and more festive decorations downtown all next week after the holiday season officially kicks off.

Phipps Conservatory Holiday Magic: Let It Glow — Opens Friday, November 23

Rather than hunting for Black Friday deals, you could spend next Friday soaking up Phipps’ dazzling holiday display. This year’s display features Phipps’ signature floral designs, trees mounted on oversized music boxes, a 22-foot Fraser Fir, and more! The Winter Light Garden also opens from 5-11 p.m. for some extra special light displays at night. Make sure to get your timed tickets for the show in advance here so you don’t miss out on all of the holiday spirit. 

Carnegie Science Center

Killing the afternoon at the Carnegie Science Center proves that it is possible to avoid your school work and still learn something new at the same time. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

The Mattress Factory 

This modern art museum may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of art in Pittsburgh (thanks, Andy Warhol), but it is definitely a gem on the North Shore. Beat the wintery weather and enjoy the latest installations that the Mattress Factory next week. 


Josh Groban with Idina Menzel — Friday, November 16

Josh Groban is on tour for his latest album “Bridges,” and he’s bringing along Tony-winning vocalist Idina Menzel. The concert starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, making it a great indoor alternative to Light Up Night. 

6LACK — Tuesday, November 20

You don’t need to know how to pronounce 6LACK to enjoy his smooth R&B stylings live in concert. Don’t miss your chance to catch him Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale at 8 p.m. next Tuesday.

Jason Mraz — Saturday, November 24

Relive all of Jason Mraz’s middle school bops and learn some of the new songs off of his 2018 project “Know.” when he takes the stage at Pittsburgh Symphony’s Heinz Hall — a prime venue for his acoustic style — at 8 p.m. next Saturday.

Travis Scott — Sunday, November 25

You could come back from break on Sunday to listen to “Sicko Mode” in a frat basement, or you could stay an extra night in the Steel City to hear Travis Scott perform it live on his “Astroworld” Tour. It may be your last chance to experience a concert at PPG Paints before Scott blows the roof off of the venue. Tickets are still available for the concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. next Sunday.


Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins may have gotten off to a shaky start this season, but that doesn’t make watching Sidney Crosby embarrass grown men on ice any less entertaining. You have not one, not two, but three opportunities to party on Fifth Ave with the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena this Thanksgiving break. 

Crosby and the Pens will host the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, and the Columbus Blue Jackets next Saturday. The puck will drop on all three of those games at 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Anthony Fiset

Anthony is a senior *gasp* majoring in Economics and a lifetime Costco Executive Member. If you are an employer, please hire him. Otherwise, direct all complaints to [email protected].

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