Pittsburgh’s 60th Light Up Night Has Enough Holiday Spirit for Two Nights This Year

The main event is Saturday, but festivities will take place on Friday as well, and we’ve got the highlights.


With tree lightings and firework displays, Light Up Night marks the beginning of Pittsburgh’s holiday season. But this year, its 60th anniversary, the tradition will look a little different. 

The event, which usually happens the Friday before Thanksgiving, will take place Saturday, Nov. 20. For those who want some extra holiday spirit, or want to get a head start on their usual seasonal activities, there are festivities on Friday as well. 

Here are the main attractions you’ll want to see when you head Downtown during the weekend of Light Up Night. 

Friday, Nov. 19

Peoples Gas Holiday Market Opens
Starts at 11 a.m.; Market Square

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market — 35 wooden cottages filled with vendors selling handmade crafts and seasonal gifts — will open at 11 a.m. on Friday, giving visitors the opportunity to do some of their holiday shopping in advance. The market will open daily at 11 a.m. until Dec. 23, with the exception of Thanksgiving. 

Caroling for a Cause
6 to 8:30 p.m.; Peoples Gas Holiday Market

Sixteen vocal teams will compete for a grand prize of $5,000, to be split between the team and a nonprofit of their choosing, in the Merry Karaoke Team Tournament. The event, hosted by YaJagoff’s Rachael Rennebeck and John Chamberlin, will begin with KDKA’s Heather Abraham and David Highfield leading their Pittsburgh Today Live colleagues in a rendition of a surprise holiday tune. 

Zoom with Santa
Starts at 11 a.m.; Market Square

It’s time for Santa to start checking his list, and nothing will stop him — not even COVID-19. Families can virtually interact with Santa, who will Zoom in from the North Pole, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. Don’t worry if you don’t see Santa during the Light Up Night festivities — he’ll be around and every day afterward until Dec. 23, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Zoom visits are free with a $5 suggested donation and come with a free downloadable photo keepsake.  

World’s Largest Pickle Ornament
Starts at 11 a.m.; EQT Plaza

New this year to Pittsburgh’s holiday celebrations is “the world’s largest pickle ornament.” The 35-foot-high Heinz pickle balloon, converted into an ornament, will make its debut in EQT Plaza. You can see the ornament until 9 p.m. daily. 

Tree Lightings
With festivities taking place over two days, there will be no shortage of tree lightings, the first one taking place at noon at the Allegheny County Courthouse. Catch another at 5:30 p.m. at the Rink at PPG Place, where the American Cancer Society will have a Tribute of Light Ceremony to honor those who have been impacted by cancer. For more information about the ceremony, go here. 

Saturday, Nov. 20

Dedication of Pittsburgh Crèche
Noon; U.S. Steel Tower Plaza 

Light Up Night will begin at noon with a prayer service at the Pittsburgh Crèche at the U.S. Steel Tower Plaza. 

Musical Performances
This year’s main musical performance features New York-based rock band the American Authors, known for their 2014 hit “Best Day of My Life.” The American Authors will take the BNY Mellon Allegheny Overlook Stage located on Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Stanwix Street from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Other stages — located in Market Square, Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue, EQT Plaza and 414 Grant St. — will have music throughout the day. For a complete list of performers, go here. 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Concerts
6:30, 7:15, and 8 p.m.; Heinz Hall

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform holiday tunes in free, 30-minute concerts at Heinz Hall. For health and safety guidelines, go here

Tree Lightings and Fireworks
To celebrate Light Up Night’s 60th anniversary, fireworks this year will be bigger than ever. You can catch them at 5 p.m. at the City-County Building and at the Highmark Christmas Tree Lighting at Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue. The main fireworks show will take place at 9:30 p.m. at Allegheny Overlook on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

Categories: The 412, Things To Do