Top 10

The 10 best things to do in December.




Light Up Your Life
Through Dec. 30 / This region is chock-full of holiday light displays. Still, where could you combine Christmas cheer with rides? Well, Kennywood. For people who have only enjoyed the theme park during the warmer months, the Holiday Lights display feels like a completely different world. Not only can you relish the sight of a million-light marvel and the taste of seasonal treats, but you can also listen to full-fledged local choirs, decorate cookies and enjoy a model train display. Though Kennywood is normally just open on the weekend for Holiday Lights, this year will also include Christmas light shows on Dec. 26 and 27. Don’t forget to have your picture taken with Santa and Kenny Kangaroo!

(4800 Kennywood Blvd.,West Mifflin; mostly on weekends, except Dec. 26 and 27; 412/461-0500, kennywood.com; photo by Dave DiCello)


Where the Wild Things Are
Through Dec. 31/ It’s hard to do nature justice. Animals in the wild have a special power that can never be replicated. But thanks to IMAX, Born to be Wild attempts to capture the breathtaking beauty of the terrestrial wilderness and the astonishing creatures that call it home. This picturesque documentary follows world naturalists who have dedicated their lives to returning at-risk mammals to their proper habitats. Catch this standout Warner Bros. film at the Carnegie Science Center’s Rangos OMNIMAX Theater.

(One Allegheny Ave., North Shore; 412/237-3400, carnegiesciencecenter.org)


Lens Crafter
Dec. 1 / Teenie Harris became a mythic Pittsburgh figure as a photojournalist, but also as an artist in his own right, as he documented life in the Hill District with a painterly eye. Presented by BNY Mellon Jazz, “Hill District BEAT: A Tribute to Teenie Harris/Jazz & Fashion” is an original musical tribute to the man who froze his era in film. Enjoy the work of composers Jay Ashby, Mike Tomaro and Stanley Turrentine in this world-premiere event.

(Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, 1815 Metropolitan St., Chateau; 412/322-0800, mcgjazz.org)


Pick-Up Game
Dec. 26 / There’s nothing quite like the Harlem Globetrotters. They’re skilled basketball players, to be sure — but they’re also witty, slapsticky and good-natured. When you hear a bunch of guys whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown,” you know that Globetrotters will soon appear. Not only is this event kid-friendly, but little ones actually get to make up the rules. The Globetrotter World Tour is the perfect way for families to recover from Christmas madness.

(CONSOL Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown; 800/745-3000, consolenergycenter.com)


Nerd Up
Dec. 21 / Everybody knows that nerds are awesome — or at least they should. During the Geeks Rule! series, the ToonSeum has celebrated everything nerd. The final installment of this mini festival includes “Geek to the Future,” a blend of fortune telling and prognostication, and the Geek Wrap-Up Post Prom Party, where outrageous outfits are hotly encouraged (and no football stars can try to steal your date). If you’re the kind of person who can recite Starship Enterprise serial numbers but you haven’t been able to attend, visit the ToonSeum for the Geeks’ final chapter.

(945 Liberty Ave., downtown; 412/232-0199, toonseum.org)


Stop the Presses!
Through Jan. 6 / As newspapers vanish, so do their ostentatious front pages. A blog can never rival the giant fonts and arresting images that helped sell old-school papers for 200 years — and you can’t draw on, fold or line birdcages with a newfangled e-pub. Andy Warhol loved to doodle all over his newspapers, and he used press images as a basis for some of his prints. Now you can see how Warhol tampered with editorial layout, thanks to “Warhol: Headlines,” an archival exhibit now showing at (where else?) The Andy Warhol Museum. Colorful and subversive, “Headlines” explores how the great Pop artist responded to daily news.

(117 Sandusky St., North Side; 412/237-8300, warhol.org)


Emerald Voices
Dec. 3-4 / Some of the most beautiful folksongs in the world come from Ireland, like “Danny Boy,” “She Moved Thru’ the Fair” and “Isle of Inisfree.” But Celtic Woman is more than a hodgepodge of Irish ballads; the four singers celebrate the powerful spirit of Irish women through their astonishing voices. Like a female answer to Celtic Thunder, Celtic Woman has toured the world and inspired audiences from Dublin to Florida. Catch this remarkable tribute to the Emerald Isle, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

(Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org)


Holiday Rock
Dec. 16 / Like a metal band on steroids, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a tsunami of sound, light and shooting flames. The long-haired guitarists take old-timey carols and amp up the volume — and man, do they rock out. Lasers flood the stage, smoke effects abound, and pretty much everyone is deaf and yelling by the end of the show. “The Lost Christmas Eve” tells a story of New York City inhabitants who were ready for a humdrum holiday until a rockin’ enchantment took the reins. The show’s second half will feature favorite tunes as well as new music from TSO’s upcoming EP release.

(CONSOL Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown; 800/745-3000, consolenergycenter.com)


Cool Runnings
Dec. 8 / Serious runners are always hungry for a new race, no matter what the weather. As December descends, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk is a nice excuse for veteran racers to stay in shape — and for social walkers to support a good cause. As the local edition of a national event, this early-morning run benefits the Arthritis Foundation. The gun goes off on the North Shore, where participants (some of whom sport holiday garb) make a relaxed 5K loop.

(The Great Lawn, North Shore; jinglebellrunpittsburgh.kintera.org)



Hear That Train a Comin’
Through Feb. 24 / Model railroading is one of the great American pastimes. Some aficionados even create model trees out of lichen, model lawns out of plastic turf, and painted backdrops of forests and fields. But at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the vegetation is real: Locomotives huff their way through tiny forests, to the delight of modelers young and old. In the spirit of industrial Pennsylvania, the Garden Railroad rekindles that vintage atmosphere, interweaving tracks and trolleys with living flora.

(One Schenley Park, Oakland; 412/622-6914, phipps.conservatory.org)
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

After 60 years of supplying Pittsburgh oddities and party favors, the staff of Feinberg’s in the Strip District says they’ll miss the love the city has shown them.
Friday Night Sleep Out to Raise Money for Homeless

Friday Night Sleep Out to Raise Money for Homeless

If you’re on the hunt for Friday night plans with a purpose, consider sleeping outside to benefit those in Pittsburgh who have to spend every night on the streets.
The Fascinating History of the David McCullough Bridge

The Fascinating History of the David McCullough Bridge

More than 80 years after its demise was erroneously reported, the David McCullough Bridge still stands as an engineering and architectural highlight among the city’s many spans.
Gone Viral: Duquesne Students Score Big With Rat Slapshot

Gone Viral: Duquesne Students Score Big With Rat Slapshot

Their tic-tac-toe passing would impress Mike Sullivan.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

In a year when youth-hockey participation is expected to increase, Pittsburgh Penguins players weigh in on the role of the hockey parent.
Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

There’s a magical, snowy landscape right in your backyard.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

After 60 years of supplying Pittsburgh oddities and party favors, the staff of Feinberg’s in the Strip District says they’ll miss the love the city has shown them.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
CSA Day Reminds Pittsburghers (and Beyond) To Support Local Farms

CSA Day Reminds Pittsburghers (and Beyond) To Support Local Farms

It's the third year running for the concept, which was created by Simon Huntley of Pittsburgh's Small Farm Central.

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


Adventure Bingo Returns at the Ace Hotel

Adventure Bingo Returns at the Ace Hotel

The one-of-a-kind night of bingo, trivia and madcap monologues returns in a new spot.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Dave Hanson and the Enduring Legacy of Slap Shot

Dave Hanson and the Enduring Legacy of Slap Shot

The Hanson Brothers and other stars of the classic hockey film will return to Johnstown this weekend for a 40th anniversary celebration.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Chalk It Up

Chalk It Up

Doodle while you dine, or let your imagination run wild, with chalkboard placemats from Pittsburgh-based Chalk Lots.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Our Full 2017 Oscar Predictions (Wherein La La Land Wins Everything)

Our Full 2017 Oscar Predictions (Wherein La La Land Wins Everything)

Breaking down what we know and only think we know about the 2017 Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Columbus-based store, where you can customize your own candle fragrance, is expected to open in March.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

An art director from Warner Bros. Studios will visit La Roche College to talk about the Oscar-nominated film with ties to Pittsburgh.

Comments