Highmark Light Up Night returns to Pittsburgh


Jocelyn Allen (unsplash.com)

Families walk through Market Square during the holiday season.

The holiday spirit is up and running in Pittsburgh and surrounding area. The 61st annual Highmark Light Up Night will return to downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 19.

A popular holiday tradition for many families around the Pittsburgh area, this family friendly event is a festive opportunity to experience everything from live entertainment to beautiful fireworks displays. With free admission, it truly is a wonderful way to welcome the holiday season. 

With the first Light Up Night held on Nov. 21, 1960, the event has had plenty of time to expand and modernize into the festival that it is today. While the lights have stayed relatively the same, the event options have truly evolved and provided much more for the community to do. 

Come Saturday, the first events start up around 11:30 am and the night ends with the Xfinity Fireworks Spectacular with Supersized Zambelli Finale at 9:30 pm. 

One of the biggest attractions at Light Up Night are the various music acts. With seven different stages and music locations (Highmark Main Stage, Xfinity Riverside Stage, Cultural District Stage, Sounds of the Season Stage, City of Pittsburgh Grant Street Stage, Oxford Center Stage, and Heinz Hall), there is enough diversity between the acts that music lovers of all types can find something to enjoy. The Little Mermen: The Ultimate Disney Tribute Band for the kids, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for classical lovers, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts for those who are rockers at heart. With as many as 18 musical acts scattered throughout the day, there most definitely won’t be a lack of sound in the downtown area. 

Pittsburgh is known for its wide variety of food, and that is expected to be the same at Light Up Night. Undoubtedly, there will be plenty of hot food and drinks available to stay warm throughout the event. Various food vendors will be scattered throughout the downtown area, especially around Penn Ave, Ft. Duquesne Blvd, and Grant St. 

Besides watching the various ceremonies and firework displays, there will also be countless other things to do. For those who love taking pictures, there will be a photo opportunity with Santa Claus, Prantl’s one-ton cake, the Santa Display at Two PPG Place, the Pittsburgh Crèche, and countless Christmas trees. Visitors can also participate in the 20th Annual Gingerbread House Display & Competition, Highmark Holiday Block Party, and The Pirates’ Mini-Fest. 

For those wishing to get into the gift giving season before December even starts, the Peoples Gas Holiday Market will be open for shoppers to walk through the different booths and purchase various items for the precious people in their lives. There is also the option to donate food to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at Stanwix St. and Ft. Duquesne Blvd. 

As always during the holiday season, Ice Skating at the UPMC Rink at PPG Place will be open and tickets are available for reservation on the PPG Place website

Additional events, times, and locations can be found on the Downtown Pittsburgh Holiday website