8. I Made It! for the Holidays at The Block Northway: Nov. 13
This holiday season, skip the mall, ditch Amazon and pledge to buy local. Find all of your handmade gift needs — and some cool loot for yourself — when I Made It! returns with its indoor holiday marketplace. More than 100 local artisans, makers, resellers and craft food purveyors will set up shop at the North Hills retail complex from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours to accommodate shoppers. Can’t make it to the event? Don’t miss the market’s new pop-up retail storefront at The Mall at Robinson featuring handcrafted items along with vintage wares that will be open Thursday through Sunday during November and December. View the list of vendors and start making your list today.
9. Food Truck A Palooza at the Monroeville Convention Center: Nov. 13
Cooler weather does not mean food truck season is over! Before they dock for the winter, Pittsburgh’s favorite mobile eateries will pull into the Monroeville Convention Center for a day of delivering local and global cuisine. One of the country’s only indoor food truck festivals makes its comeback to nourish Western Pennsylvanians from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s so much to feast on — from sammies, crepes and chili, to ice cream, chicken and waffles. New this year is a giant inflatable snow globe outfitted with festive holiday décor and an artificial snow play area that attendees can step into for creating winter wonderland photos. Additional offerings include a tailgate zone with free games, live music, roving entertainment, and a holiday marketplace. Buy tickets.
10. Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps: Nov. 19
The holidays just weren’t the same last year without the Winter Light Garden (not to mention every pandemic-related reason). Phipps is pulling out all the stops — and switching on all the lights — to revive its beloved tradition. It’s dazzling, it’s bigger and brighter, and it’s energy-efficient. With all-new indoor exhibits plus glistening outdoor displays, it’s the perfect place to banish the winter doldrums. Be transported to December 1893 — when Phipps first opened — to see giant ornaments, an 8-foot rotating tree and a chiming music box. Encounter topiary reindeer, enter an ornate rotunda where holiday trees float on a reflective pond and check out whimsical displays inspired by colorful iridescence found in nature. Search for exquisite props, marvel at 1,600 poinsettias and strike a pose in front of a colossal mirrored wreath. For your grand finale, stroll through supersized toys under a canopy of colorful lights. New this year will be a glowing ice palace in the Discovery Garden pavilion. Buy tickets.
11. Horror Realm Convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh South: Nov. 19-21
George Romero launched an entire genre of horror film here (and now his archive has been immortalized locally thanks to Pitt’s University Library System) when he gave birth to the first cinematic zombies. So it’s no wonder that this city is home to its very own long-running Horror Realm Convention. Coming back to life after the pandemic shutdown, the fear fest is setting up shop just south of Downtown. Run by uber-fans, the convention of creep will showcase specialty vendors peddling everything from DVDs, artwork, apparel and collectibles, to movie memorabilia, books, toys and comics. Gore junkies can also play games, meet celebrity guests during Q&A panels, participate in contests and activities, and attend a horror film festival. Buy tickets.
12. Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh: Nov. 20
Back on a new day of the week, Light Up Night returns to celebrate its milestone 60th anniversary in person. Launching the city’s holiday season on a Saturday will help eliminate some of the Downtown parking and traffic congestion from previous Friday night celebrations, plus add the opportunity for bonus fun the night before. Pittsburgh’s official kickoff to the holiday season will burst with activities and attractions, including the opening of the cherished Peoples Gas Holiday Market and the debut of the Merry Karaoke Team Tournament. Virtually every building in Pittsburgh’s skyline will be illuminated, providing a dramatic backdrop for holiday tree lightings, live music, handcrafted foods, family activities and more. All the excitement will of course be topped off with a fireworks finale from Zambelli Internationale. Read more details about Light Up Night here.
13. Art for Change at THIS IS RED: Nov. 20
After replacing its signature benefit bash with a virtual stream-a-thon during the pandemic shutdown, one of the region’s most significant art auctions is returning in a setting perfectly fit for the occasion. Within a venue that is itself a work of art — the former St. Michael’s Slovak Roman Catholic Church in Munhall — gala-goers will bid the night away on 150 original pieces. Curated by Judy Barie from the Chautauqua Institution, the auction includes fine art in a diverse range of media, fab jewelry and unique experiences. Proceeds support the Persad Center‘s mental health services for the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV/AIDS. Live performances and entertainment will pop up throughout the immersive evening from 6 to 10 p.m. The former church boasts a grotto, a 54-foot hand-built mahogany ceiling, 18-foot Corinthian-topped marble arches, and a 50-foot parabolic mirror with a herringbone-patterned dome. Buy tickets.