City Breaks, Photo Essay

Holiday Travels: Pittsburgh at Christmas

I dare you–get a room in New York City any day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.  Go ahead.  Try it.  I’ll wait.

Drums fingers.

What’s that, you say?  You can’t find a room for less than $500 per night?  Not even for next year?  Please hold while I feign shock.

Feigns shock.

The truth is, holidays are prime travel times.  Flight prices may be high–depending upon your destination–and hotel prices will likely be high, also depending upon your destination.  But there are places you can go for a fraction of the price–and one hundred percent of the same holiday spirit.

For example, did you know that the ice rink at PPG Place in Pittsburgh (pictured above) is larger than the one at Rockafeller Center?  And that, at $7 per adult, it is less than half the price?  Did you know that it is surrounded by an awesome, mirror-fronted skyscraper complex that reflects the twinkling lights forever and forever into the horizon? Because it is, it is, and it does.

Did you also know that the entire city wraps itself in tinsel and poinsettias for the entire holiday season?  And that, during my visit at least, it snowed slowly but steadily for the entire weekend, like some sort of Norman Rockwell painting meets 1940’s Bing Crosby Christmas movie?  And that you can holiday shop to your hearts content at quaint boutiques, street-side craft stalls, or in major department stores?  The Macy’s on Pittsburgh’s 5th Avenue has heart-warming, music-filled holiday window displays as well.

In short, Pittsburgh–yes, Pittsburgh–is a fantastic yuletide destination.  Still don’t believe me?  Then check out my photos from my late-December visit…

Poinsettias and Evergreens at the Phipps Conservatory

The Architecture Room at The Carnegie Museum

The Lobby of the Omni William Penn

The Nationality Rooms and The University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning

Holiday Decor and Wintry Weather at The Frick and Clayton


Market Square and PPG Place

If you’re not in the holiday spirit after all of that, well, you might require all the Whos down in Whoville to hold hands and start singing.  Pittsburgh during the holiday season was simply stunning.  And–full disclosure–I visited after Christmas day, in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve.  Not a single poinsettia leaf was drooping, and all stockings were still hung with care.

Where is your favorite unexpected holiday destination?  Share in the comments section below!

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