African Penguins
Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, Nov. 21-27 ? Find out here. Visit each organization’s website and social media for Covid protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, Nov. 21: Reza Aslan at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
5 p.m.

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh welcomes bestselling author and religious scholar Reza Aslan, who will discuss his newest book, “An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville.” Joining Aslan for an audience Q&A will be Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise and World Affairs Council board chair. Register for free.

Monday, Nov. 21: “Meet Me in the Bathroom” at the Harris Theater
5 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Start your week off rocking through the aughts. Inspired by Lizzy Goodman’s bestselling book, the “immersive archival journey through the explosive New York music scene of the early 2000s” is presented against the backdrop of 9/11 and defining political, technological and cultural shifts about to rock the globe. Any fan of The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Moldy Peaches can’t miss this documentary screening for. Buy tickets.

Steve Hofstetter. Photo courtesy of Steel City Arts Foundation.

Tuesday, Nov. 22: Steve Hofstetter & Friends Comedy Show at Hop Farm Brewing
7:30 p.m.
After doing stand-up comedy for 20 years and amassing 2 million followers on social media, internationally acclaimed comedian Steve Hofstetter moved to Pittsburgh to establish the Steel City Arts Foundation — aka Steel City AF — in a former Stanton Heights church. Tonight he’s headlining this stellar lineup of local comedians featuring Asher O’Briant, Eben Parker, Ronnie Flemming, Rebecca Canterbury and Addy Petschke-Haas. Event host is Learnmore Jonasi, a Steel City AF resident and award-winning comedian from Zimbabwe. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Wednesday, Nov. 23: “Les Misérables” at the Benedum Center
7:30 p.m.

Nope, Les Miz mania is not slowing down, and yes, it’s still the most popular musical on the planet. Cameron Mackintosh presents the acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony-winning musical phenomenon. Set against the dramatic backdrop of 19th-century France, “Les Misérables” weaves a captivating story of broken dreams, unrequited love and human resilience that’s augmented by prolific staging, magnificent music and dazzling scenery inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. There are only seven shows left, so get tickets soon.

Photo courtesy of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. 

Thursday, Nov. 24: YMCA Turkey Trot at North Shore Drive
8 a.m.

Think turkeys can only waddle? Think again because this large bird can actually “trot” up to 25 miles per hour! Emulate one, get fit before getting stuffed on Thanksgiving and do your part to end food insecurity. Trotters can sign up to run 5 miles, the 5K or both — do the Double gobble! — or participate in the 1-mile Family Fun Run. A beloved Burgh tradition, the 32nd annual event supports YMCA food pantry programs and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Register here.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

Friday, Nov. 25: Hot Cider Hike at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
2-3:30 p.m.

Forgo the shopping frenzy and relax in the flora, fauna and wildlife of Fox Chapel. Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels are invited to enjoy the scenery of Beechwood Farms. After a leisurely 1-mile trek like led by Venture Outdoors, hikers will warm up with a cup of hot cider. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Lightwire Theater.

Friday, Nov. 25: A Very Electric Christmas at the Byham Theater
2 p.m. & 7 p.m.

What if a holiday light display could be turned into a live theater show? Your family will treasure this mesmerizing tale of family, friendship and hope performed by Nola-based Lightwire Theater. As Santa’s helpers put the final touches on presents, a migrating bird named Max ends up lost at the North Pole. Follow his adventures with caroling worms, dancing poinsettias, Nutcracker soldiers, mischievous mice and the evil Rat King. Set to timeless holiday hits, the show combines puppetry, theater and dance while showcasing a menagerie of high-tech moving light characters. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Savoyards.

Friday, Nov. 25: “A Christmas Carol” at Savoyards Studio Theatre
7:30 p.m.

Charles Dickens’s beloved Christmas ghost story will cure the Scrooge in you. Revisit this cherished holiday tradition as part of the Pittsburgh Savoyards’ 85th season in Bellevue. Adapted and directed by Robert Hockenberry, the production features costumes by Megan Kelly. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Heinz History Center.

Saturday, Nov. 26: Free Admission for Kids at Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and Fort Pitt Museum
10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Want to be entertained AND educated without breaking the bank? The Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and Fort Pitt Museum have a holiday gift for kids with free admission for visitors aged 17 and under. Snap a selfie with Santa in a replica of the Kaufmann’s Santaland chair and see objects from the iconic department store, including the mailbox where Pittsburgh children sent their Christmas lists to the North Pole. Explore how Western Pennsylvanians celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali and Kwanzaa and check out rare artifacts added to the Super Steelers exhibition such as Franco’s “Italian Army” football helmet. Find Pittsburgh-themed gifts for everyone on your list and don’t miss your last chance to see the John Kane exhibition.

Saturday, Nov. 26: Season’s Greetings Saturdays at the National Aviary
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The holidays are literally for the birds on the North Side. Sing along to some very bird-y holiday carols, join a cozy story time featuring special feathered friends and meet jolly Kris Kringle. Make festive crafts, warm up in the tropical habitats and don’t forget to drop your letter in the North Pole-approved mailbox. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Nov. 26: Small Business Saturday and Light Up Night on The Hilltop
2-6 p.m.

Head up to Hilltop to kick off the holidays, shop local and vie for prizes. Mt. Oliver and Allentown team up to host Small Business Saturday and Light Up Night festivities, launch a Passport Program and present a Cookie Tour. Mt. Oliver heats up with a holiday craft vendor market from 2 to 6 p.m. in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Road. There will be a visit from St. Nick, a tree-lighting ceremony and music by Caleb Smith. Welcome tables will be stocked with shopping passports highlighting 50 participating businesses, cookie tour maps and free swag.

Saturday, Nov. 26: Symphony Splendor: Holiday Fantasy Tour at 6101 Fifth Ave.
5-8 p.m.

Visions of sugar plums will dance in your head when this local holiday tradition returns to a resplendent Shadyside mansion. The rooms have been redecorated and a new collection of heirloom glass ornaments are on display for the Pittsburgh Symphony Association’s holiday fundraiser. Tonight’s candlelight tour makes the experience more magical. Buy tickets.

Anita Levels. Photo by Kitoko Chargois courtesy of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

Saturday, Nov. 26: Suite Life at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater
8 p.m.
Lush jazz mingles with energetic choreography when the theater honors its two iconic namesakes and Pittsburgh natives. The concept for the milestone 15th-anniversary tribute to jazz composer Billy Strayhorn and performer Gene Kelly was created by guitarist and Con Alma co-owner John Shannon. Anchoring the fall performance season at the community performing arts center, Suite Life is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition. Directed by multidisciplinary artist Monteze Freeland, the illuminating performance showcases vocalists Anita Levels and Billy Mason. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Buchholz.

Sunday, Nov. 27: Crafts and Drafts at East End Brewing
12-4 p.m.

Shop and drink local shop local this Thanksgiving weekend when Alternate Histories presents the latest edition of its Crafts and Drafts holiday market. For the first time, Julius Street in front of the brewery will be closed, providing space for the event’s largest market yet. Find a handmade gift for everyone on your list, with more than 15 local makers selling everything from upcycled goods, floral arrangements and holiday cards, to screen-printed goods, unique jewelry and calendars.

Sunday, Nov. 27: Art Chats: Neapolitan Presepio at Carnegie Museum of Art
1-2:30 p.m.

Warm up on a chilly Sunday with a visit to one of the city’s most breathtaking holiday displays. Pop into the Scaife galleries for a docent-led Art Chat, experience the ornate tableau through the eyes of artisans and collectors and discover why the presepio is one of the world’s finest nativity scenes. Be among the first to see this year’s five Fraser firs — aka the beloved Carnegie Trees — trimmed with festive baubles, gingerbread and glistening snow. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

Sunday, Nov. 27: Dazzling Nights at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
5:30-9 p.m.

There’s a new holiday light attraction in town. Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a natural destination to be experienced during all four seasons and now it’s the place to make winter memories. As the daylight hours diminish, you’ll traverse 65 acres of light experiences within landscapes that were once damaged from coal mining. Ready to embrace your inner hygge and welcome the coming winter solstice? Imagine what it would be like to walk into the aurora borealis as you trek through a forest of light and fog. Snap a selfie in front of a 30-foot holiday tree, activate lights on the ground and head into a 65-foot-long tunnel. Making the evening complete will be holiday tunes, toasty drinks and decadent nibbles. Buy tickets.

Sunday, Nov. 27: Mark Milovats in Concert: Christmas Wonderland at Byham Theater
7 p.m.

Fresh on the heels of his nationwide television Christmas special, international entertainer Mark Milovats brings his family holiday show to the Cultural District for just one night. The Santa Belle Dancers, Holiday Pops Orchestra, live penguins and celebrity guests will get you ready to stuff stockings and sip spiked eggnog. Buy tickets.

For more things to do, read Top 10 Pittsburgh events in November. For live music, check out The 17 best concerts in Pittsburgh this November.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...