Christmastime In Pittsburgh: Why We Love The Peoples Gas Holiday Market

The century-old tradition of heading Downtown to buy holiday gifts is alive — and quite festive — in Market Square.


Ask any Pittsburgher (at least any Pittsburgher old enough to remember the Super Steelers) about Christmas, and you’ll likely hear a story about Downtown shopping.

In decades past, it was an annual tradition to head to towering department stores in the Golden Triangle to buy gifts, holiday decorations and a few things for yourself. Add in a meal and perhaps a peek at the model trains and it became a daylong outing — yuletide hustle and bustle in the heart of the city.

The department stores may be gone, but the tradition endures and thrives at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, a pleasant pop-up held annually in Market Square.

Each year, Downtown’s charming town square becomes a reasonable facsimile of a European village, with wooden faux-chalets arranged throughout the square. Pick your way through the newly created alleys and you’ll find handcrafted and local wares, including a bevy of beautiful holiday decorations — the kind of treasures that used to adorn the family tree at your grandmother’s house (and a welcome variation from the plastic whatsits on the shelves at big-box stores).


You can, of course, still buy some treats for yourself — the smell of confections will lead you to the Holiday Market from blocks away — as well as take in some live music, likely with a warm beverage in hand.

Above all, you’ll see why going Downtown at the holidays became a tradition in the first place — there’s something about the city in winter that stays with you.

While You’re Here:
As Santa said in “Miracle on 34th Street:” “It’s cold — a man’s gotta do something to keep warm.” Pop into The Speakeasy, above Market Exchange, for a cocktail.

Insider’s Tip
Want holiday fun? Head down on the weekend, when there’s more going on — and the crowds are the largest. Want to actually get some shopping done? Go during the week, when the throngs are lighter.

Categories: Places We Love