Best Once-a-Year Events in Pittsburgh

Our list of can’t-miss annual happenings you should put on your calendar right now.



There’s never a shortage of things to do in Pittsburgh. But there are some things you can only do once a year, and if you miss them, you have to wait 12 months for your next chance. We’ve compiled a list of those you’ll want to put on your calendar now.
 


photo by anthony musmanno

Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Chances are you won’t miss this, as it runs for 10 days every June, but it gets bigger and better every year, so you want to make sure you don’t miss it. Get a new piece of Pittsburgh-themed artwork for your walls, check out local and national vendors and view the art installations that take over Point State Park. Keep an eye on the music schedule so you know which day you’ll want to grab a blanket, take advantage of the food trucks and park on the lawn to enjoy a summer concert.

When it (usually) happens: Beginning the first Friday in June
 


photo by Richard cook

 

Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon
Even if you’re not a runner, the Pittsburgh Marathon is a major city event everyone can take part in in some way (even if it’s just walking out your front door to cheer on those running through your neighborhood). The marathon has turned into a whole weekend of events, so there are lots of ways to participate (take your pet out on Saturday to join in the fun at the Pet Walk!). Put off griping about the road closures for one year and make a funny sign to hold up while runners make their way through those hilly 26.2 miles.

When it (usually) happens: the first Sunday in May
 


Austrian Nationality Room/photo provided by university of pittsburgh

Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House
Each December, the University of Pittsburgh’s grand Cathedral of Learning plays host to an international extravaganza: the Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House. Cultures from the 30 Nationality Rooms are represented in an afternoon of music, ethnic food and traditions. The charming, 91-year-old Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs Director, E. Maxine Bruhns, is sure to get up and dance with at least one musical group. Get some Indian food with a side of pierogies and buy a unique holiday gift for a friend — part of the proceeds from sales benefit the Nationality Rooms Summer Study Abroad Scholarships.

When it (usually) happens: the second Sunday in December
 

Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants Party
Come hungry. Not to toot our own horn, but our Best Restaurants Party each June is quite the event. Winners from our annual list of Best Restaurants (chosen by an independent panel) as well as other fan favorites from around the region each bring a delicious — and usually adventurous — dish or custom drink for patrons to try. If you think your stomach can handle it, aim to hit all of them. Plus, part of the proceeds benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

When it (usually) happens: The second Monday in June
 


Photo by John Altdorfer
 

Light Up Night
This is one can’t-miss event with many can’t-miss aspects. You’ll want to catch one of the many tree-lighting ceremonies. The Macy’s windows (they may still be decorated this year even though the store itself has closed). The gingerbread house display inside PPG Place Wintergarden. The crèche at the U.S. Steel Tower. The carriage rides. Ice skating around the Rink at PPG Place. The list goes on. Yep, there’s nothing like Christmastime in the city.

When it (usually) happens: The Friday before Thanksgiving
 

 
photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh cultural trust

 

First Night
If, despite our warnings, you missed Light Up Night, you can still experience a beautiful, wintry downtown evening just a few weeks later at First Night, presented by Highmark. There’s a host of events for the whole family, food trucks are prevalent and fireworks show is a must. This year, catch the Wailers as they headline the event.

When it (always) happens: New Year’s Eve
 

Art All Night
Proving Lawrenceville was hip before Lawrenceville was hip, Art All Night is a showcase of local artisans. In an abandoned brewery. With beer. All night long. Catering to the non-staying-up-all-night crowd, the event also includes daytime activities for families and children with a youth-friendly section of art, but go in the middle of the night for a different vibe.

When it (usually) happens: the last Saturday in April
 


Steel City Big Pour
Tickets for this event sell out very, very quickly after they go on sale, so chances are this is one event you may miss — but that makes it all the more enticing. Construction Junction’s largest fundraising event held at their Point Breeze warehouse features samples from local craft breweries, food, music and more.

When it (usually) happens: September
 


photo courtesy of bricolage production company

 

B.U.S.
The Bricolage Urban Scrawl is a theater event where six playwrights hop on a city bus, write a 10-minute show about their experience and direct said show in front of paying audiences — all in 24 hours. The event is a fundraiser for Bricolage with several ticket options. Pay the “Double Decker B.U.S.” fee to attend a VIP reception and actor parade on Friday night as well as the VIP reception, shows and after-party on Saturday night; a “Party B.U.S.” fee to attend all Saturday events or a “Mini B.U.S.” fee for the performances and Saturday night after-party.

When it (usually) happens: April
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

A Pittsburgh preservation group says there are approximately 30 unused churches in Allegheny County.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

The beloved Pittsburgh institution will serve its last meal in April.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

Married couples talk hashtags — and why they used them at their weddings.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

The Carnegie Museum of Art’s new exhibit features the works of architect Arthur Lubetz and Front Studio, including the vibrant Glass Lofts Building in Garfield.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments