6 holiday activities around downtown Pittsburgh to get into the winter spirit

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

With only just a little less than three weeks left in the semester, it’s as crucial as ever to make them the best they can be. While getting schoolwork done is important, taking the time to enjoy the holiday season is just as important. Lucky for you, Pioneers, living in the middle of downtown provides a number of fun winter and holiday activities with some just a block away from the dorms. Here’s a list to keep these last few weeks fun, relaxing and worth all the school stress.

1. The UPMC Rink at PPG Place – As with every student who makes weekly Starbucks and Chipotle runs, you’ve probably noticed the overwhelming amount of people in PPG Place right by Market Square all due to the ice skating rink. While ice skating surely isn’t for everyone, it is a great way to get into the winter spirit, and you can check out the huge Christmas tree while you’re there. Admission will cost you $11 to $12, and skate rentals are $5 to $6 but with it being so close to the school it’ll save you on transportation costs.

2. The Peoples Gas Holiday Market – Another short walk from campus, each holiday season there are a number of little wooden booths set up in the middle of Market Square filled with vendors. Open daily through December 23, these shops carry a number of homemade gifts, food and more. Not to mention Santa even makes an appearance at certain times. The market is free to walk through but be sure to bring some cash for those amazing strudels.

3. Krampus Fest – This one is a personal favorite of mine that I make sure to attend each year. Krampusnacht is a European holiday where the creature Krampus punishes the bad children before the Feast of St. Nicholas. While Europe is a long ways away, Pittsburgh actually holds its own Krampus Fest each year to celebrate the holiday right in Market Square. The event is December 6 this year and free to attend. It starts at 7 p.m. as Krampus arrives with his parade of Krampuses. Sit on Krampus’ lap and even enjoy the satirical cover band, Sleigher, at 7:30 p.m. for some unique holiday fun.

4. The World’s Largest Pickle Ornament – Pittsburgh is known for many things; its rivers, sports teams, music venues, museums and yes…even the world’s largest pickle ornament. At EQT Plaza on Liberty Avenue, you can view the 3-story tall ornament every day till 9 p.m. What better way to celebrate the holidays than being able to brag to your family that you saw the world’s largest pickle ornament in person.

5. Holidays at the Carnegie Museum of Art – For those who love the art museum and want to see something new, it’s currently featuring a couple of different holiday themed displays. One of the displays is an annual installation titled “BEDAZZLED: Celebrating the Diamond Anniversary of Carnegie Trees.” This installation takes the beloved Hall of Architecture and turns it into a winter themed tree display. It features five fir trees that are decorated and lit up. The other installation is the Neapolitan “Presepio” nativity scene, which will be featured in a new spot in the museum. The museum is free to attend for Point Park Students — just make sure you have your ID handy.

6. A Creepy Christmas at ScareHouse – Last but not least for you Halloween lovers out there who refuse to give into the winter holidays, ScareHouse has just the activity. The haunted house that’s popular during spooky season is back with a holiday themed house featuring terrifying toys and evil elves. The haunted house warns that those who still believe in Santa need not attend but for those brave enough to face this creepy winter wonderland, admission is $20 and runs December 10, 11, 17 and 18. It’s a bit of a drive from campus but worth the commute if you can get there.

These three weeks of December are going to fly by, so why not take a chance to enjoy a winter in Pittsburgh? There’s plenty more to do around the city, but these are just a few ideas to bring that holiday spirit right to our Point Park campus. Even if you don’t feel like attending an event or activity, just taking a walk around the city while the beautiful snow falls from the sky can make your holiday season just as magical. Happy holidays, Pioneers!