What To Do In Pittsburgh Over Winter Break

Finals are tough. Your whole world may seem really dark right now, especially because the sun seems to set around noon throughout the dark winter months.

However, fear not! For some of us, there is light at the end of the tunnel. That tunnel is the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and the light is going home to Pittsburgh for winter break. For all the Yinzers out there, we compiled a list of things to do in and around Pittsburgh over break.


Phipps Conservatory Holiday Magic

Phipps is easily one of the most beautiful places in Pittsburgh. Now, add in some holiday spirit and you have yourself an amazing experience.

Take a stroll through all of the plants, flowers, holiday decorations, trees, wreaths, and other forms of art! Oh, and don’t forget about all of the lights, too. It is open pretty much every day throughout break. You can go in the morning and afternoon or at night, which we would highly recommend for the best holiday ambiance. This is the sight to see in Pittsburgh throughout the season.

PPG Place Rink

Does this really need any explaining? Around Christmastime, you aren’t from Pittsburgh if you don’t skate in circles around that glorious tree, continuously falling on your face, while kids are moving at a speed similar to Sidney Crosby.

Also, around the corner in Market Square, the Pittsburgh Christmas Market will be open to ice skaters. At the market, you can purchase an array of holiday goodies that look quaint and cozy.

UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

Is the PPG Place Rink too cold for you? Do you not want to deal with driving into the city? Well, about 25-30 minutes north of Pittsburgh, you can skate inside on a much larger rink.

The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township offers public skating at various times pretty much every weekend. Also, it costs just around $10 (including the skates rental). As wonderful as going downtown to skate with your friends in the middle of the city and taking a bunch of pictures for your socials is, sometimes it just isn’t worth it. Give the public skate at the same place where the Penguins practice a try over break!

Drive-Thru Light Experiences

If you are like me, you are a feen for Christmas lights. The Pittsburgh area actually has a couple of incredible drive-thru Christmas lights experiences going on if looking at the lights in residential neighborhoods gets stale. You can find a few of these experiences below:

  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
  • Clinton Christmas Light Up Celebration
  • Kennywood Holiday Lights (You can’t actually drive through Kennywood, but it deserves to be mentioned.)
  • North Park Holiday Laser Show


We have been doing so much through our screens for what seems like forever now. Netflix is great, and Disney+ is a must, but live entertainment is back, folks!

Pittsburgh has a few different shows going on during break. Not just any shows, though, these are holiday-themed! Don’t be a Scrooge. Go check out one of these shows.

  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker: December 10 to 30 (Benedum Center)
  • The Nutcracker: December 11 to 12 (Palace Theatre)
  • Lindsey Stirling: December 13 to 14 (Benedum Center)
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Highmark Holiday Pops: December 17 to 18 (Heinz Hall)
  • Home For The Holidays: December 18 to 19 (Palace Theatre)
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra: December 29 (PPG Paints Arena)
  • The Hip Hop Nutcracker: December 30 (Benedum Center)


Even though there is a good chance if you’re reading this you are probably tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, shopping is still fun around the holidays! Maybe you have been too busy with finals to get your Christmas shopping done, and now could be the time to do so. Here are some of the best places to do some shopping in the Pittsburgh area.


  • South Hills Village
  • Mall at Robinson
  • Ross Park Mall
  • Pittsburgh Mills (basically dead, so go only if you’re desperate)


  • Tanger Outlets
  • Grove City Outlets

Shopping Centers/Areas

  • Cranberry Township/Wexford
  • SouthSide Works
  • Shadyside
  • Squirrel Hill
  • Strip District (One of the best places to get homemade/unique items in Pittsburgh)
  • Station Square
  • Downtown Beaver (There is a new small business called “Cord+Iron” that we’re a big fan of)
  • Sewickley


The best part of being back in Pittsburgh is getting to see Pittsburgh sports in person. At this time of year, the Steelers and Penguins are in season while the Pirates are not, but that’s probably a good thing. Here is the schedule of home games throughout winter break.


  • Sunday, December 19 at 1 p.m. (Tennessee Titans)
  • Monday, January 3 at 8:15 p.m. (Cleveland Browns)


  • Tuesday, December 21 at 7 p.m. (New Jersey Devils)
  • Thursday, December 23 at 7 p.m. (Philadelphia Flyers)
  • Sunday, January 2 at 1 p.m. (San Jose Sharks)
  • Wednesday, January 5 at 7:30 p.m. (St. Louis Blues)

For more information on activities in and around the Pittsburgh area throughout winter break, click here.

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About the Author

Rico Gore

Rico is a senior advertising major from Pittsburgh who has been with Onward State since just a couple weeks into his freshman year. He loves to drink Diet Coke and eat Mexican food. You can follow Rico on Instagram @RealBigRico and TikTok @RealBigRico.

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