Fireworks above a bridge during Light Up Night in Pittsburgh, PA.

Things to Do in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving

Discover captivating light displays, exciting attractions, delectable meals and more

Traverse across Pittsburgh with an action-packed itinerary for Thanksgiving. Whether you’re looking for things to do in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving weekend or seeking holiday-inspired activities with family, you’ll find a wide range of fun events for this turkey-centered day.

Phipps decorated with colorful holiday lights

1. Stroll Through the Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden

Held at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, you’ll marvel at a green winter wonderland with stunning displays of lights and lush nature. Be immersed in an indoor winter-themed flower show and an outdoor dazzling garden. Wander through trees that sparkle with vibrant lights and floral arrangements that gleam with vivid colors. This event’s features include LED-based fireworks over a field of poinsettias, a “singing tree” that reacts to visitor’s tunes, and holiday-decorated gnomes. 

  • Date: Nov. 17, 2023- Jan. 7, 2024
  • Location: 1 Schenley Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

2. Skate Your Way Through UPMC Rink at PPG Place

Seeking outdoor date ideas? Glide around a sparkling Christmas tree and take in a lively ambience. The UPMC Rink offers an ice-centered experience with glowing lights and picturesque scenes of downtown Pittsburgh. Enjoy amenities such as skate sharpening services and coin-operated lockers for your belongings. Expand your skating activities with an array of other rinks in Pittsburgh, including outdoor and indoor spots. 

  • Date: Nov. 17, 2023-Feb. 25, 2024
  • Time: Available hours depend on the day, but times for Nov. 17-26 will run from 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Location: 2 PPG Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

3. Celebrate the Holiday Season with Highmark Light Up Night

Create unforgettable memories with family and friends, enjoying a breathtaking showing of fireworks, live music, and mouth watering eats. The 62nd annual Highmark Light Up Night features a holiday extravaganza with exciting activities for all ages the Saturday before Thanksgiving, where you can experience family-friendly fun with tree lightings, food truck adventures, upbeat concerts and a block party in downtown Pittsburgh. If you're coming out Thanksgiving weekend, Downtown will be aglow from all of the tree lightings, you can visit the giant creche and gingerbread displays, and even visit Santa at EQT Plaza to share your wish list and get a festive photo op.

  • Date: Nov. 18, 2023
  • Time: 4-10 p.m.
  • Location: Throughout Downtown Pittsburgh
a person shopping at a vendor booth carrying children's toys at Market Square marketplace in Pittsburgh

4. Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market

Plan for a shopping-filled Thanksgiving weekend and attend this annual Pittsburgh tradition with an assortment of local businesses and vendors. Whether you’re finding gifts for Christmas or seeking holiday decorations for your home, the Peoples Gas Holiday Market is a shopping hub for all visitors. Walk through German Christmas market-inspired stalls that are bursting with handcrafted keepsakes and goods and savor the wafting aromas of comforting pastries and roasted nuts. 

  • Date: Nov. 17-Dec. 24, 2023
  • Time: Monday to Thursday - 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving day) | Friday & Saturday - 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. | Sunday - 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Location: 28 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 

5. Watch a Pittsburgh Penguins Game

Hockey fans will enjoy watching the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers play a game at the PPG Paints Arena. Take a seat and enjoy the new scoreboard and upgraded sound system, and cheer along with the roar of the crowd. Before heading to the game, make a stop at nearby dining spots such as the Commoner and the Bigelow Grille. Browse through our guide to the PPG Paints Arena, finding parking spots, the best bites at the concession stands and more. 

  • Date: Nov. 22, 2023
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Location: PPG Paints Arena

6. Participate in the YMCA Pittsburgh Turkey Trot

Run through Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving day while supporting YMCA food pantry programs and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The 33rd annual YMCA Pittsburgh Turkey Trot aims to bring community members together in battling food insecurity. This event offers a variety of races for beginner and advanced runners, ranging from a one-mile run to a five-mile race. Enjoy a stroll-friendly race during the one-mile run, or sprint to the finish line during the 5k run. Don’t miss looking for more heart-pumping marathons in Pittsburgh after this event. 

  • Date: Nov. 23, 2023
  • Time: 8 a.m.

7. Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with a Variety of Culinary Options

Indulge in sumptuous meals with classic fall ingredients and flavors. For an enthralling day on the water, make your way to Gateway Clipper Fleet’s Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise and Tour, enjoying a tranquil afternoon or evening with buffet dining, live entertainment and scenic skyline views. This boating adventure will be held Nov. 23, 2023 with available hours varying from different timed sessions of the day. For a comforting dinner at home, explore a catering service like Bistro To Go which delivers autumnal dishes such as apple cider-glazed meats and a pecan-topped sweet potato casserole. With a burgeoning culinary and bar scene, Pittsburgh offers various ways to savor your food and drinks for Thanksgiving. 

trees decorated in hundreds of sparkling holiday lights at Kennywood

8. Bring Your Little Ones to Holiday Attractions at Kennywood Park

Looking for family-friendly activities during Thanksgiving weekend? Swing by the Kennywood Holiday Lights event, where millions of glimmering lights and classic rides await, including Kennywood Park’s Merry-Go-Round, Jack Rabbit, Kangaroo and the Kiddieland Rides. Must-try snacks and drinks at this event include decadent fudge from Kandy Kaleidoscope and a seasonal brew from the Beer Garden. 

  • Date: Nov. 24, 2023-Jan.1, 2024
  • Time: 5-9 p.m.
  • Location: 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin, PA 15122

9. Listen to Thanksgiving-Inspired Orchestral Music

Settle into the grand and opulent interiors at Heinz Hall and engage in string-led performances. Classical music lovers will be serenaded by rich sounds and autumnal melodies from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Featuring Randall Goosby, a talented violinist and student of Itshak Perlman, Thanksgiving with the Symphony dives into whimsical harmonies and moving selections including waltzes and polka.

  • Date: Nov. 24-26, 2023
  • Time: 8-9:30 p.m.
  • Location: 600 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

10. Meet Santa’s Penguin Helpers at the National Aviary

Embark on a holiday-themed wildlife adventure with a Season’s Greeting Saturday at the National Aviary. Families will enjoy features such as taking pictures with Santa and a penguin, as well as writing a letter to the North Pole and listening to bird-themed holiday songs. Enhance your zoo outing with this event before spotting the National Aviary’s array of different bird species. 

  • Date: Nov. 25, 2023
  • Time: 700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  • Location: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Find a variety of activities with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a sports aficionado, Pittsburgh features many autumnal things to do.