Dear Diary,

You don’t have to drive far to experience the magic of Christmas. Pittsburgh is home to the state’s top holiday happenings. Only a short drive away, your family can make new traditions or revisit their favorite holiday. There’s a long list of performances and exhibits taking place now through the New Year. Here are our favorite family outings during the break from school.

Carnegie Museum

What’s a Christmas in the Burgh without checking out the Holiday Tree display at Carnegie? The massive Colorado Spruce trees decorated with handcrafted ornaments are on display now through January 9th in the Hall of Architecture. The trees surround the museum’s 18th-century Neapolitan presepio Nativity scene. You can also check out The Polar Express on the big screen and the world-renowned Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Center.

Downtown’s Pittsburgh Crèche

The Pittsburgh Crèche, the world’s only authorized replica of the Vatican’s Christmas crèche on display in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, is on display now through January 7th in the USX Tower Plaza on Grant Street. The display features twenty life-size figures, including Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Three Kings.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Winter Flower Show and Light Garden is a must-see holiday attraction. The changing exhibits feature topiary penguins, bears and reindeer, LED lights, decorative trees, festive props, colorful poinsettias and more. Children will marvel over the Garden Railroad, which offers interactive buttons for kids to bring the train display to life before their very eyes. The Outdoor and Discovery Gardens are illuminated with orbs, trees and fountains under the star filled sky.

Click here for more holiday outing ideas.


About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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