Ask The Nanny: Holiday Hotspots in Pittsburgh


It’s that holly jolly season and it’s time to find all the activities you can pack into the month between Thanksgiving and New Years. Pittsburgh is a wonderful spot for the holidays and there are so many other places surrounding the city that you can visit. A lot of activities are low-cost or free. In a season where it’s all about spending, I am here to help spend quality time soaking in the season and not breaking the bank.

Cathedral of Learning- This is an amazing (and FREE) activity for kids. The Cathedral entrance is decorated beautifully and it’s a great place for photo ops. I absolutely love the nationality rooms that are decorated with culturally-accurate decorations. It’s a great way to teach children about all the traditions different cultures embrace during this festive season.

Heinz Chapel- A short walk from the Cathedral of Learning, Heinz Chapel is stunning during Christmas. Just taking in the architecture and decor is breathtaking. Over the holiday season, the chapel hosts bell and choir concerts.

Market Square Village- Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh is lovely with a vendor market, Santa, live music and lovely decorations. Get a hot chocolate and walk over to PPG Plaza to watch the ice skaters. It’s like you’re living in your very own Christmas movie.

Omni William Penn Hotel- Located across the street from Mellon Park in downtown Pittsburgh, The William Penn Hotel is the epitome of class. It is child-friendly in the lobby with their giant gingerbread display and christmas tree. The Frank Sinatra in the background makes it an ideal destination on one of those particularly cold Pittsburgh days. Palm Court has a wonderful High Tea for adults and children.

Phipps Conservatory- Phipps is unbelievable during the holiday season. The light show is stunning and huge! It’s not only inside all of the rooms but, they take the magic outside as well. I do suggest pre-ordering tickets if you plan on visiting the exhibits. The lines do get long.

Local Light-Up Nights- Lookup various neighborhood light-up nights around the area. Most have free activities for children, visits from Santa and live music. Another perk is free parking. 

Ogelbay- An hour south of Pittsburgh, Ogelbay is a wonderful place for a family weekend getaway. The rooms are inexpensive, usually include the festival of lights…. the breakfast buffet is BOMB! There’s hot chocolate and roaring fires in the Wilson Lodge. The staff is friendly and it’s a great place to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre- The Nutcracker– I feel like it’s a right of passage for every child to see the Nutcracker during the holiday season. The music is iconic and the set and costumes are whimsical.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland- Located north of the city in Butler, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is unbelievable. The lights, Santa Village, Hot Cocoa and photo booths just to name a few activities…! Load up the car and take the fam to a wholesome and magical holiday excursion.

Overly’s Country Christmas- East of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, Overly’s Christmas Village offers several activities for young and old, alike. It’s a charming volunteer-run village. Santa, lights, horse-drawn sleigh rides, shops and caroling make this a wholesome activity for the entire family.


I hope these suggestions aid in planning a wonderful and memorable holiday season in Pittsburgh! 





Previous articleBuy Nothing is a community gift
Next articleHere’s Comes the Holiday Chaos!
Marie, a native of Pittsburgh, is a career Nanny with over a decade of experience. She been with her current nanny family for nearly 8 years in Fox Chapel. She is also a Pre-K teacher at a local preschool. Her podcast, sheNANNYgans is heard in 40 countries! She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Writing. She is 36 and currently resides in Shaler. Marie spends her days creating various activities for her nanny kids and students. Activities range from messy crafts to educational games. She feels very passionately that children learn best through play. She loves being silly with her nanny kids and students! She appreciates every day knowing she has the greatest job(s) in the world! She makes a point to explore the city of Pittsburgh with her nanny kids and utilize its wonderful resources. Throughout the year, she will travel to museums, landmarks, playgrounds, and tourist attractions. She feels the kids should know and appreciate where they live. Plus, Pittsburgh is an amazing city with a complex history and continual metamorphosis. Marie is Dog Mom to her corgi, Butters. She loves coffee, The Simpsons, and jamming to early 2000s pop music. She is a proud auntie to her adorable 5 year old niece and 2 year old nephew. She may not have any children of her own, however, she has many “nieces and nephews” now that her friends are having children.