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December amps up the entertainment volume for Pittsburgh kids, with holiday events taking center stage. Bundle up the gang and head out to family-focused attractions that appeal to all ages.
Be sure to pack your masks and visit each organization’s website and social media to stay updated about Covid safety protocols and guidelines.
1. Dec, 4: AWCommunity Day: Holiday Edition, August Wilson African American Cultural Center
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center hosts the AWCommunity Day: Holiday Edition on Dec. 4. The lineup of family-focused entertainment includes a Kwanzaa celebration and a visit by the jolly man in the red suit. Many activities will be held outside the August Wilson Center on the plaza and sidewalk. Click here to view the final schedule when it is released later this week. Admission is free.
2. Through Dec. 31: A Very Merry Pittsburgh, Heinz History Center
The Heinz History Center revisits A Very Merry Pittsburgh for a holiday season full of nostalgia. Take the grandparents along to add their own memories to the displays of Kaufmann’s Department Store windows and the original Santaland throne. The exhibit includes artifacts and photos of Chanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations, too. Catch a visit with Santa and pose for socially distant photos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 18. The exhibit is included in museum admission ($18 for grownups; $15 for seniors), but kids are free through the end of December.
3. Dec. 1-22: Holiday Laser Show, North Park
Allegheny County’s Holiday Laser Show returns for another season of razzle-dazzle in North Park. Watch from the cozy confines of your car or bring chairs and blankets to view outside. The 45-minute show is synchronized to holiday music; just tune in to 87.9 FM on your car radio. The laser show runs multiple times Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are $20 per vehicle for Allegheny County residents and $25 for others. Book early to prevent disappointment.
4. Dec. 3: “A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage,” Byham Theater
Good grief! Charlie Brown is feeling down even though Christmas is coming. Trying to find a deeper meaning to the holidays, he takes up Lucy’s suggestion to direct the school play. Will his scraggly little tree help the Peanuts gang find the true spirit of Christmas? The show includes the classic Vince Guaraldi music and a concert of Christmas carols. Tickets start at $32.
5. Dec 4-19: “Gift of the Ice Queen,” Gemini Theater Company
The creative team at Gemini Theater is excited to offer its first in-person show in a long, long time. With extra precaution in mind, “Gift of the Ice Queen” features a smaller cast and a special production without an intermission to allow time to clean the theater between shows. The story begins when Lumi, Queen of the Ice Fairies, discovers that a villager is stealing her snow. She turns to her goblin pals and fairy friends for help. Tickets are $10 for weekend performances running Dec. 4-19.
6. Dec. 4-19: Gift Making Workshops, Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art educators will help kids create lovely handmade gifts during workshops running on weekends through Dec. 19. The workshops include all the supplies needed, plus inspiration from the museum’s collection. After the workshop, stop by The Café Carnegie for hot chocolate and holiday cookies. The workshop fee of $35 includes museum admission. While on-site and full of holiday spirit, check out the Carnegie Trees in the Hall of Architecture — and the elaborate Neapolitan Presepio, located for the first time in the Scaife Galleries.
7. Dec. 17-23: “A Musical Christmas Carol,” Byham Theater
Richard Thomas returns to Pittsburgh to reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Pittsburgh CLO’s annual family favorite. “A Musical Christmas Carol” weaves song and dance, special effects and a touch of holiday magic into Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption. Tickets start at $15.
8. Dec. 26: Harlem Globetrotters, PPG Paints Arena
Since the team’s first game in 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained families in more than 123 countries and territories around the world. Their newly reimagined Spread the Game Tour amps up the usual jaw-dropping skills and thrills. The Globetrotters head to PPG Paints Arena for two shows on Dec. 26. Tickets start at $31. Add-ons include a VIP Celebrity Court Pass and Player Meet and Greets.
9. Dec. 28-Jan. 2: Winterfest, Frick Pittsburgh
The Frick Pittsburgh is throwing a six-day outdoor party full of family fun. The inaugural Frick Winterfest includes a temporary ice skating rink outside the Clayton mansion. Families can hop aboard horse-drawn carriages for an old-fashioned tour around the grounds. Plan to catch magical winter appearances of the Frost Fairy with her icy sleigh horse and an enchanted wagon. Soulful carolers will stroll the site and a Frosty Tales storytime is planned for the Playhouse Porch. Some activities require paid tickets. Catch the entire schedule on the Winterfest website.
10. Dec. 31: Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, Downtown
Ring in the new year with family-focused excitement at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Following last year’s virtual event, First Night returns to a free, in-person festival with safety in mind. The expanded outdoor footprint includes four performance stages, the Family Tent of hands-on fun, the Fire and Ice Plaza and the First Night Parade of giant puppets. The night begins with fireworks for kids with early bedtimes at 6 p.m. and ends with the grand finale fireworks at 11:58 p.m. The complete schedule will be announced in early December.
Through Dec. 30: Zoo Lights Drive-Thru, Pittsburgh Zoo
Through Jan. 2: Holiday Lights, Kennywood Park
Through Jan. 9: Holiday Magic, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Through Jan. 20: Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, Big Butler Fairground
Dec. 2: Black Violin Giving Thanks Tour, Byham Theater
Dec. 3-4: Handmade Arcade, David Lawrence Convention Center
Dec. 4-Feb. 27: Penguins on Parade, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Dec. 10-29: “The Nutcracker,” Benedum Center
Dec. 30: “Hip Hop Nutcracker,” Benedum Center
For more family fun, check out these 6 model train exhibits that are up and running throughout the month.