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Five Different Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh

First Night downtown promises to be a spectacular evening, but if you’d prefer to usher in 2015 with hubbub of your own making, here are a few ideas beyond the official hullabaloo.

photo by adam fagen via flickr


Just across the river at the Carnegie Science Center you can find all of Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania—in miniature. Celebrating its 90th season, the Miniature Railroad & Village conjures up the region as it was from the late 1800s to the 1930s. This tiny wonderland originally was built by Charles Bowdish on the second floor of his Brookville home. It features the Monongahela Incline, Forbes Field with 23,000 cheering fans and even a teeny-tiny Punxsutawney Phil. Admission to the exhibit is included with entry to the science center, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on New Year’s Eve.


Photo by Tsuji via flickr

No need to BYON (Bring Your Own Noisemaker) to Arsenal Bowl: There’s the growl of the ball, the crash of pins and the exuberant tones of a DJ spinning from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. to mark the acoustic ascension of the new year. For those 21 and older, bowling is unlimited, and the house will offer various drink specials; a Champagne toast and snacks will be offered at midnight. And if Dec. 31 just isn’t the same without noisemakers, Arsenal will be handing those out, too.


photo by Allessandro Valli via flickr

Though many visitors choose to make their pilgrimage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in spring or summer, the house built for Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann family takes on an even greater fairy tale cast in winter. Wrapped in frost or mist, the house seems to emerge slowly from the landscape, fulfilling Wright’s vision of a building in harmony with its surroundings. The last tour of the house departs at 3 p.m.; make a night of it by dining at one of the many restaurants at nearby Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Advance ticket purchase at Fallingwater is recommended.


Photo courtesy of pa department of conservation and natural resources

While we’re thinking outside the box, why not go way outside the box? Pack your thermals, some snacks, bubbly and four or five good pals into the car and head for a cabin in the woods. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PADCNR) offers reservations for a slew of cabins and unique houses across the state parks system. Modern and rustic cabins offer different amenities, such as restrooms complete with showers or fireplaces for the backwoodsman or -woman in the crew.


photo by john altdorfer

Then there’s the option of doing whatever one pleases, with nary a thought for the reactions of grown-up pals come Monday. At Kickback Cafe in Lawrenceville, pay $2 to BYOB and blow your whole allowance on tokens to feed the pinball machines that pack the upper gallery. Though the cafe closes at 10 p.m., there are plenty of bars nearby to offer a spot to rendezvous with friends less in touch with their true New Year’s Eve desires.



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