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Experiences, Not Things: Your Pittsburgh Adventure Gift Guide

We rounded up a few only-in-Pittsburgh experiences you'll want to share with loved ones.

Whether your intended Secret Santa target has an overflowing closet or claims he or she “doesn’t need anything,” sometimes the best gift isn’t a thing. Calmly back away from the wrapping paper and tangled ribbons and check out our guide to gifting experiences around Pittsburgh.


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Catch a Show

If your giftee enjoys theatre and human interaction, take them to a showing of Pittsburgh CLO’s “Game On” — they’ll get both at the same time. Running through the end of January, this is a game show-inspired musical where every seat is the hot seat. Snag two tickets for a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee and, if you really like the person, throw in a gift certificate to Meat & Potatoes (which sits directly beneath the theater) for a pre-show brunch.


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Get Test Kitchen Crazy

Instead of getting your favorite foodie a gift card to a new restaurant, consider gifting a cooking class such as these at Chop, Wok and Talk in Bloomfield. Choose a class based on ethnic themes so your giftee can learn techniques to make a favorite dish, whether it’s Thai, French or Tex-Mex. If you get lucky, they might even try their new skills on you.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

Sip Your Way Through the City

For the recipient whose typical role at holiday gatherings is setting a few bottles of beer or wine down among the side dishes and desserts, they may appreciate a day’s exploration of Pittsburgh’s libations. City Brew Tours offers several craft beer tours around the city, complete with a personal driver. A tour of the Strip District’s Wigle Whiskey or wine tasting at the Pittsburgh Winery are other options for less beer-inclined folks.


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Take a Spin with Pottery

Instead of painting pottery and drinking wine, give the experience of shaping the pottery itself. Gift a seat at the potter’s wheel (like these at Muddy Rose Pottery in Aliquippa or Katie’s Clay Studio in Allison Park) where recipients can make a bowl or other clayware to use year-round.

Go on a Family Adventure 

Take advantage of the few extra days off over winter break and spend some time exploring Pittsburgh as a family. A ticket (or membership, if you’re up for it) to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh offers plenty of interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. If your children are animal lovers, consider gifting tickets or a membership to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

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