Pittsburgh at Christmas

After my husband and I left Kauai, it was time to head home to PA for ten days! Rather than going over Christmas and New Years, we went home from the 10th-21st so I could attend my cousin’s college graduation on the 12th. With being home for just a few days, my mom and I wanted to cram as much Christmas activities as we could before I had to leave.

It is funny how your perspective of where you grew up changes as you age. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to leave. Now, I can’t wait to get back. I am from a very small town in rural PA. It has its disadvantages.. the popularity of hunting, ignorance, and not many places to shop. However, we are only 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh, so with a short drive, you can have everything you want and more. I love that is rural with the rolling Pennsylvania hills, the abundance of wildlife, and slow-pace. I also love that I can hop in my car and go to a museum or the ballet a short trip away. Its the perfect balance.

Which brings me to our first Christmas activity… Pittsburgh at Christmas. 🙂  There are so many things to do in Pittsburgh during the holidays. Here are some links with everything-  http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/holidays/tp/holiday_places.htm, http://www.visitpittsburgh.com/events-festivals/holidays/, http://theodysseyonline.com/duquesne/11-things-to-do-in-pittsburgh-during-the-holidays/214632.

Throughout the years, I have attended the Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, A Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater, the Christmas display at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and other holiday activities.

This year we kept it pretty simple with the Downtown basics. A visit to the Holiday Market at Market Square is a must! This marketplace has numerous vendors with handcrafted items, jewelry, and food. I love the booth with the knitted mittens and hats! There is also a cookie booth with ginormous, delicious cookies!

Right beside the marketplace is PPG Place- home to the outdoor ice skating rink and the Winter Garden. The rink is larger than the one at the Rockefeller Center in NYC!! Below is a picture of the beautiful tree you get to skate around while on the rink. The Winter Garden is a great place to warm up after walking the streets. It is home to a Santa and Gingerbread House display. The Santa display shows Santas from all over the world and gives a short brief on the tradition in the country of origin. It is really interesting! The hundreds of Gingerbread Houses are from all over the Greater Pittsburgh area. They are so impressive. I fail miserably at making them, so it amazes me to see the detail and imagination that the builders put into them.

The next stop was the large Nativity Scene on Grant Street. This is pretty self-explanatory. It is HUGE and beautiful! There is Christmas music playing softly in the background. Its a short ride on the T from PPG Place or a nice walk through the city. By the way, the T is free in Downtown Pittsburgh and the North Shore, which is an awesome perk!

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After that, we just walked around and I just took in what I could. I love Pittsburgh so much. I have so much pride for this city that went from one of the dirtiest to the one of the Greenest. There are so many parks throughout the city. Aside from being Green building-wise, it is green in color. When you are on the river in the summer, the entire city is tree-lined. It is just so beautiful. Pittsburgh is a city with so many activities to do in all seasons. Please come visit and see for yourself. 🙂