How to Pack
There’s no way around it, winter in Pittsburgh is bound to be chilly and often snowy as well. The good news is that with a chill in the air comes all the fun and festivities of the winter season. When packing, there are a few things you should be sure to grab.
- Bundle up! Jackets, hats, scarves and gloves are critical, since you’ll likely be wanting to spend a bit of time outside, walking or seeing the sights. If you come prepared, you won’t even remember you’re cold.
- One of the highlights of the winter season in Pittsburgh is the MassMutual Ice Rink at PPG Place! If you are a serious skater, be sure to pack your lucky ice skates. Don’t worry, you can always rent a pair if that’s more your style.
- Even if you plan to keep you walking to a minimum, it’s always a good idea to have the right shoes. Boots that can get wet or snowy will make exploring much easier, and more fun!
What to Do
Embrace the Cold!
Check out the MassMutual Ice Rink and the iconic holiday tree at PPG Place in Downtown Pittsburgh. Open day and night, all season long, you’ll have a blast skating and getting into the winter spirit.
For the adventuresome, why not bundle up and go sledding at one of Pittsburgh’s city parks? Flagstaff Hill at Schenley Park is just asking to be ridden down after a fresh coat of snow. Or, check out Frick Park or Highland Park for the best spots – after all, Pittsburgh is notoriously hilly!
You will love the detail and beauty of the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland around the holidays. Visit to experience holiday decorations from countries around the world.
Winter is the perfect time to check some of Pittsburgh’s amazing museums off your list. The seven-story Andy Warhol Museum will keep you entertained for hours. The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are connected in one large building, so you won’t even have to set foot outside!
Check out more ideas for indoor fun during the winter months!
What to Eat
Staying warm and cozy in the cold weather has a lot to do with choosing the right things to eat and drink!
Cozying up with some curry sounds like the perfect remedy to a cold, wintery day. This list of Indian restaurants in Pittsburgh will warm you up just by reading it! Check out some local favorites this season.
The holidays call for cookies! There are so many shapes, sizes and flavors to choose from, you could stick with old favorites or try something totally new. And, Pittsburgh’s Eat’n Park Smiley Cookies are delicious year-round.
Soup’s up this winter in Pittsburgh! Choose your flavor and your destination and warm up with a bowl of something tasty at one of the many restaurants serving up soups of all varieties.
Let’s face it, pierogies are delicious any time of year and Pittsburghers love them dearly. Something about the holidays makes this traditional dish (and the unique takes on it!) extra special.
Events and Holidays
Pittsburgh for the Holidays
- Every year the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts a fabulous kick-off event to the holiday season. Think fireworks, food trucks, music and more. You’ll enjoy the People’s Gas Holiday Market, open all season, for unique gifts in a German-style outdoor market.
- One thing that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit is the flower and light show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Open throughout the season, with the holiday lights in the evenings through early January, this display is guaranteed to boost your spirits.
- Another spectacular show happens each year at Kennywood Amusement Park. Nearly two million lights and the largest Christmas Tree in Pennsylvania are on display, along with some of the classic rides the park has to offer.
New Year's Eve in the 'Burgh
- First Night is the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s annual event on December 31st to celebrate the new year. Several events, shows, exhibitions and more take place throughout the Downtown area. And, of course, fireworks!
Celebrating Love in Pittsburgh
- Whether you’re celebrating your sweetheart, your bestie or your furry friend, Valentine’s Day is a great time to show you care. Try something new, stay in and do something you love, or get everyone together for a big celebration!
If you’re up for it, make a trek across one of Pittsburgh’s pedestrian-friendly bridges to see the frozen rivers as the temperatures drop. This peaceful view will give you the warm and fuzzies, even if it is chilly outside.
The holiday tree at Point State Park is a sight to behold. Talk a walk to see it up-close, or see it lit up from afar at the Grandview Overlook on Mount Washington.
After you explore the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, head up to the 32nd floor for a view that spans across the neighborhood and beyond.
Two Hours in Pittsburgh
Even if you are short on time during your stay in Pittsburgh, there are a few things worth checking off the list.
- No matter how much time you have in town, you’ll get into the spirit by visiting the People’s Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh’s Market Square. This German-style pop-up brings the festivity with local shops, live music and even special appearances by Santa himself!
- Stop by the Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District to sample some locally-made wine in a beautiful setting. Stick around for a while or grab a bottle or two to go. They make great gifts, too!
- Short on time but want the scoop on the ‘Burgh while you’re in town? The Heinz History Center is the perfect one-stop-shop for all things Pittsburgh. Explore the history, inventions, sports teams and icons that have make this city what it is today.
With the right outfit and a festive attitude, there are so many ways to enjoy Pittsburgh in the winter. So bundle up and make the most of your trip to the 'Burgh in the snowy season. We'll see you there!