Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Big Butler Fairgrounds. 1127 New Castle Rd., Prospect. Call (866) 856-8444 or visit Shadrackchristmas.com.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is back at the Big Butler Fairgrounds this holiday season. This Christmas light and music extravaganza is unlike any show you’ve seen. Simply tune into your car radio and watch the magic unfold as you drive through hundreds of thousands of brilliant LED lights dancing in perfect synchronization with the music. The lights will glow every night from dusk to 10 p.m., including holidays, through January 7. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are popular nights to visit the light show, so please anticipate long lines and wait times. Visit Monday through Thursday to avoid extended wait times. Fee is $25 for cars and family vans; $40 for mini-bus, limousine or activity van; $80 for school and tour busses. Items in Santa’s Village are an additional cost. Christmas Wonderland supports local charities. Tickets can be purchased onsite from the comfort of your vehicle.
Carnegie Museum of Art Holiday Trees and Presepio
The Carnegie Museum Group, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Call (412) 622-3131 or visit cmoa.org
Kick off your holidays with a visit to this popular seasonal display, brought to you by the Carnegie Museum of Art Women’s Committee. This year’s theme is “Beloved Children’s Books”, featuring trees inspired by The Cat in the Hat, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. See the Hall of Architecture filled with several towering Colorado spruce trees, each adorned with handcrafted ornaments from committee members and collaborating organizations. The trees flank the museum’s exquisite Neapolitan presepio Nativity scene, a cherished Pittsburgh tradition. Handcrafted between 1700 and 1830, teems with lifelike figures and colorful details that recreate the Nativity within a vibrant and detailed panorama of 18th Century Italian village life. More than 100 superbly modeled human and angelic figures, along with animals, accessories and architectural elements, cover 250 square feet. The exhibit runs through January 7. Seniors ages 65 and older, $12; adults, $15; ages 3 to 18, $11. Price of admission includes both art and natural history museums.
First Night Pittsburgh
Cultural District, Downtown. Call (412) 456-6666 or visit Firstnightpgh.org or TrustArts.org.
Join Pittsburgh’s 2018 New Year’s Eve Party! A production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, First Night is an arts-focused and family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. It is the largest single-day celebration in the region, offering about 150 events at nearly 50 indoor and outdoor locations within a 14-block area. The celebration offers something for everyone, including a countdown to midnight and fireworks display, parade with giant puppets, live music and dance, a Sing-Off competition and art displays both indoors and outside. Admission buttons are $10 (children under age five are free).
Hayden: The Creation
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. Call (412) 392-4900 or visit pittsburghsymphony.org.
Haydn’s hymn to nature, The Creation, sets the six days to music. Music Director Manfred Honeck, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra present a unique twist on this shining masterpiece. It is set in a schoolroom with a universal lesson perfect for the holidays: a celebration of life and love given to us from above. Let there be light! Show takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 1 and 2:30 p.m. on to Sunday, December 3.
Holiday Magic Laser Show
Carnegie Science Center. One Allegheny Ave, North Side. Call (412) 237-3400 or visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org.
Experience the magic of the holiday season with a little science at this magical holiday laser show perfect for the whole family. Featuring traditional holiday tunes from across generations to contemporary artists performing their personal favorites, this matinee laser show is guaranteed to be a hit with all ages. Shows daily through December 30.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh, Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. Call (412) 392-4900 or visit pittsburghsymphony.org.
Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Who’s, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. From Wednesday, December 20 to Sunday, December 24.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
The Benedum Center, Downtown. Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30. Call (412) 456-6666 or visit Trustarts.org or cirqueproductions.com.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the 2017 season with its 10th Anniversary National Tour created by Cirque Dreams Founder and Broadway Director Neil Goldberg. This critically-acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza is a cirque spectacle …Broadway musical…and family show all in one. Filled with over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers, original music and seasonal favorites, don’t miss snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, ornaments and of course Santa. Cirque Dreams Holidaze’s soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats, elaborate production numbers and illusions will leave you mesmerized. Experience this 2-hour theatrical phenomenon. Appropriate for all ages. Tickets start at $40.
Miniature Railroad & Village
Carnegie Science Center. Call (412) 237-3400 or visit Carnegiesciencecenter.org.
Take a walking tour of western Pennsylvania at the world-renowned Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Center. The exhibit began in 1920 with a man named Charles Bowdish of Brookville. Originally a holiday display on the second floor of his house, it moved to the Buhl Planetarium in 1954, and ultimately found its final home at Carnegie Science Center in 1992. The Miniature Railroad & Village features hundreds of wonderfully realistic animated scenes that illustrate how people lived, worked and played in our region during an era spanning the 1880s to the late 1930s. A replica of the Buhl Planetarium on Pittsburgh’s North Side is the latest gem added to this extraordinary display. More favorites include Fallingwater, Forbes Field, Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler’s Knob, Luna Park, Sharon Steel Mill, a historic Pittsburgh incline and more. The display has 250,000 trees, 105 animations, 85 automobiles and 14 aircraft, and much more.
A Musical Christmas Carol
The Byham Theater. Friday, December 8 to Saturday, December 23. To order tickets, call (844) 765-8432 or visit Trustarts.org.
The holidays would not be the same without Pittsburgh CLO’s A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL! We’ve taken the spirit of the season, wrapped it in your favorite yuletide melodies and tied it with all the holiday magic and wonder of your childhood. Join Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and a host of colorful characters for a remarkable CLO holiday presentation of A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL. With dazzling special effects, holiday charm and ticket prices even Scrooge would approve of, this Charles Dickens classic is a wonderful way to celebrate all the tradition of the season. Starring Broadway’s Patrick Page as Scrooge.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Friday, December 22, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, call (855) 335-9722 or visit Pittsburgh-theater.com; prices from $73.
This exciting Trans-Siberian Orchestra show is the story of a runaway girl who takes refuge in an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve. She meets the Ghosts of Christmas and learns her own worth. This show was TSO’s first made-for-television film back in 1999. The rock band’s concerts are arguably the most visually dazzling live event you’re ever likely to see, featuring giant video screens, a pyrotechnics display that rivals many cities New Year’s celebrations and more lasers than Star Wars. Composed of four original members, the group’s touring lineup’s ranks are swelled with entire string sections, dozens of extra musicians and choirs. Over the past 20-plus years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become a critically acclaimed, multi-platinum, musical powerhouse, and its annual winter tours a beloved, multi-generational holiday tradition.
Winter Flower Show and Light Garden: Holiday Magic!
One Schenley Park in Oakland. Call (412)-622-6914 or visit Phipps.conservatory.org.
Built around a “Holiday Magic!” theme, the dazzling displays of this year’s Winter Flower Show will feature heartwarming vignettes including an extravagant winter feast, Santa’s workshop and a sparkling New Year’s Eve celebration. The magic is brought to life in signature Phipps fashion with artful LED lights, detailed props, decorated fir and pine trees, amaryllis, orchids and more than 2,000 poinsettias. From majestic, illuminated trees to whimsically oversized ornaments, toys, books and more, the show delights the senses and kindles the spirit of the season in guests of every age. Adding to the festive atmosphere, the Outdoor and Discovery Gardens will sparkle with luminous orbs, trees, fountains, and a tunnel of lights designed to imitate a twinkling winter sky. A new Garden Railroad will be on view, too, taking you on a high-seas adventure to a tropical Treasure Island of joke-telling pirates, gleaming treasures and chugging trains. Runs through Sunday, January 7. Daily hours for Winter Flower Show are 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. for the Winter Light Garden. Phipps closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 24 and reopens at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 26. Admission is $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and students, and $11.95 for children ages two to 18). Members and kids under age two enter free.
Candlelight evenings: Through Sunday, January 7, Phipps will stay open until 11 p.m., giving you a unique opportunity to experience the magic of Winter Flower Show by evening light. Enjoy a relaxing meal at Café Phipps, visit our outdoor Winter Light Garden, and meander through the festive gift shop displays to complete your holiday shopping. Plus, enjoy live musical performances by Samuel Stucky, the Penn Trafford Flute Choir, the Plum Brass Quintet and more.
Santa visits: Bring the kids, or the entire family, to pose for a photo with Santa, free with Phipps admission. Santa’s schedule is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. The Benedum, Downtown . Friday, December 1 to Wednesday, December 27. Call (412) 456-6666 or visit pbt.org or trustarts.org.
Complete with flurrying snow, a colossal Christmas tree and magic tricks galore, this holiday spectacular features over 100 dancers, 200 costumes and Tchaikovsky’s exultant score. Since its 1892 premiere, The Nutcracker has held a special place in holiday traditions all over the world. PBT adds its own spin to the time and place with a turn-of-the-century setting incorporating Pittsburgh’s own landmarks, historical figures and personality. Each performance features a unique casting combination, giving regulars the chance to see a variety of dancers perform iconic roles like Marie, the Nephew, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Highmark Holiday Pops
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 17. Call (412) 392-4900 or visit Pittsburghsymphony.org.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—a spectacular concert of holiday music for the whole family. Take a “Sleigh Ride” with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Broadway sensation Ryan Silverman, and Santa Claus, too! It’s Pittsburgh’s favorite holiday tradition. Featuring conductor Andrés Franco, vocals by Ryan Silverman and Christopher Sanders and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh Don’t miss the ornate decorations and 25-foot tree in Heinz Hall’s Grand Lobby.
PPG Place Wintergarden
Call (412) 434-1900 or visit ppgplace.com.
Spirits of Giving Around the World: The splendor of the holidays comes alive at PPG Place’s breathtaking “Spirits of Giving Around the World” exhibit in the Wintergarden at Two PPG Place, downtown, through January 6. This enchanting display of life-size Santas and original paintings captures a world of Christmas folklore and fantasy. The Wintergarden’s spectacular 32-foot tree is adorned with magnificent ornaments. Enjoy the Sounds of the Season in the Wintergarden as a variety of local choirs and musicians perform every day through December 26. Exhibit is free to the public.
Gingerbread House and Train Display: It’s “Home Sweet Home” in the Wintergarden with the 15th annual Gingerbread House Display. Don’t miss this magnificent display of delicious dwellings created by area individuals, organizations, seniors, students and chefs. Local artist Don Jones enhances the exhibit with a unique display of trains from his private collection. There is no charge for admission; donations benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides: Get into the holiday spirit and experience downtown in a whole new way during a free horse-drawn carriage ride through Market Square, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Free carriage rides depart the Fourth Avenue side of the PPG Place Plaza. Arrive early as rides fill up quickly. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through December 23.
MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place: Through February 25, the Plaza between Third and Fourth Avenues transform into The Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place, a spectacular outdoor ice skating rink. It is now through early March. Enjoy an exhilarating holiday tradition as you glide around the breathtaking 65-foot Christmas tree at the plaza. Bring the grandkids to Skate with Santa on Saturdays: December 2, 9 and 16 and 23, from 2 to 4 p.m. Fee is $8 for adults and $7 for seniors (age 50 and older) and children. Skate rentals are $4. Skating lessons are also offered. General hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. but be sure to call and confirm hours or to learn more: (412) 394-3641.