Skyscrapers define the city skyline providing a backdrop for stunning waterways, and guests of the city will discover a rich tapestry of culture, arts, and entertainment they may not have expected. Pittsburgh is home to an iconic football team, one of the nation’s most beloved sandwiches, and a thriving tech and healthcare industry, and is a hardworking town that has its roots in steel and has – over time – grown into a modern tourist destination.
Pittsburgh is beloved by its residents as a “small town” big city and – believe it or not – there’s no better time to explore all that Pittsburgh has to offer than during the winter holiday.
While it is decidedly cold and snow is always imminent during winter months, the weather is worth braving. In fact, those who live here will tell you that winter is when Pittsburgh’s lights shine the brightest.
Here are some things not to miss during a Pittsburgh winter holiday:
The Cultural District. Fourteen blocks of downtown Pittsburgh is home to The Cultural District – where visitors will find numerous art galleries, shopping, dining, six theaters, the Pittsburgh Ballet, the Pittsburgh Opera and more. The Cultural District is the city’s creative heartbeat; its center of arts and entertainment. Between the 1,500 shows staged here every year and the variety of retail/dining options, there is always something to do for people of all ages.
The Rink at PPG Place.
Nothing says winter like outdoor ice skating; and Pittsburgh does it right at the PPG Plaza in the downtown area where skaters can hit the ice on a rink even bigger than the famed ice rink at Rockefeller Center. Further setting the mood is the 60’ Christmas tree displayed at the rink during the holiday season.
Originally opened in 1877, the Duquesne Incline has become a Pittsburgh landmark and right of passage. Wooden cable cars ferry visitors up and down a height of 400 feet – along nearly 800 feet of track – offering unparalleled views of the Ohio River and the city of Pittsburgh.
Holiday Light Displays. Pittsburgh offers a variety of options for getting into the holiday spirit including the Hartwood Acres Celebration of Lights, offering over three continuous miles of more than two-million holiday lights culminating at the mansion at Hartwood. Another great option is the Holiday Lights spectacular at Pittsburgh’s famous Kennywood Amusement Park.
University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning. Twenty-six classrooms are each designed to embody a particular country that has been influential in creating what is now the modern culture of Pittsburgh. Starting in November, the rooms are decorated in traditional holiday decor reminiscent of the country it represents.
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The annual Winter Flower Show is a must-see for flower enthusiasts and is held in the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Holiday music (and visits from Santa) adds a festive backdrop.
Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Center. A tradition of the city, the Miniature Railroad & Village depicts Western Pennsylvania through miniature handmade replicas. Kids will especially enjoy this attraction.
Steelers Game. No self-respecting Pittsburgher would allow someone to visit their city in the winter and not recommend they go to a Pittsburgh Steelers game. Football is part of the tapestry of this city and it’s one of the best ways to get to know its people and lifestyle.
Stay Outdoors. If you’re a winter sport enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of options in and around the area including skiing, tobogganing, and snow tubing.
Stay Indoors. Even if you prefer to stay indoors during the colder weather, you’re in luck. Pittsburgh is home to Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh which includes Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum – four separate properties with unique offerings for visitors.
Visitors to Pittsburgh in the winter will quickly learn what residents know so well – this is a city that comes to life in the colder months, when the hospitality of the people keeps the city warm and always full of life.
About The Author: This is a guest post is by Ingrid Kinsella on behalf of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown, one of the finest downtown Pittsburgh hotels. If you’re on the lookout for some Pittsburgh hotel specials, do check out their website today.
Photo Credit – Flickr cc: jstrak