Pittsburgh Information on Light Up Night
Fall fades into winter. The hours of daylight
grow short, and darkness appears to reign. For
millennia, people have been "raging against the dying of
the light" by observing various festivals and religious
holidays that center on light overcoming darkness.
The Romans celebrated Saturnalia and the Celts, The
Winter Solstice. Today the ancient traditions of
Hanukkah continue to be observed by the Jews, and
Christmas is celebrated by Christians worldwide-all of
these observances have light as their underlying theme.
Cities too have their own way of fighting the dark
and encouraging the far off return of spring.
Light Up Nights! And while Paris may be known as
the "City of Lights," Pittsburgh is not to be outdone at
least one night per year.
For nearly five decades, The Steel City has been
illuminating the winter night and dazzling visitors with
an incredible, resplendent display of light (stopping
only to take a break during the 1973 to 1982 energy
Pittsburgh's Light Up Night
Light Up Night kicks off the annual holiday season
for Pittsburgh. The city dons its finest and celebrates
the season until it concludes with a final grand
spectacle: First Night Pittsburgh.
Tens of thousands annually flock to the Golden
Triangle for tree lighting ceremonies, caroling, the
unveiling of the window displays at Macy's, and the
arrival of Santa. The party really begins when the
Jolly Old Elf arrives at Point State Park as he leads
the crowd in caroling and sets off a fireworks
At PPG Place and Wintergarden, life-sized Santas are
on display as well as gingerbread houses and model
trains. The gingerbread houses are created by area
chefs, senior citizens and students, and they are
surrounded by a creative train layout. Outside,
the Rink at PPG Place also opens on Light Up Night and
remains in operation for the winter, closing sometime in
March. The 65-foot Christmas tree at the center of
the rink draws skaters to it as if it were a magnetic
pole. There is nothing more magical than skating
at night at PPG Place with the glass spires reflecting
the lights of the Christmas tree and snow gently
Horne's Christmas Tree
Although Horne's Department store is long gone, its
iconic Christmas tree has become a Pittsburgh tradition.
Like an old friend we only get to see once a year, this
tree which graces the corner of the building on Penn
Avenue and Stanwix Street is welcomed back every year
and is loved and cherished by Pittsburghers who as
children were mesmerized by its giant proportions.
While all of these events and displays are each worth
a visit on their own, the glittering cityscape on Light
Up Night is incomparable and breathtaking. When
illuminated, Pittsburgh teems with lights. They
line rivers, climb mountains, illuminate cones, and
outline bridges. With Pittsburgh's unique
geography at the confluence of three rivers, surrounded
by mountains, opportunities for spotlighting the city's
most attractive aspects are endless. Lighted
tracks from Pittsburgh's two remaining inclines-The
Duquesne and The Monongahela--scale Mt. Washington.
Surrounded by so much water, Pittsburgh naturally has
many bridges. It wasn't until recently that the
city began to illuminate its bridges. The first to
receive lighting was the historic Smithfield Street
Bridge. Soon many of the other bridges leading
into the city were lighted. On Light Up Night they
act as lighted portals for entry into our magnificent
electrical metropolis. One unusual light sits atop
the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side.
This cone-shaped glowing weather forecaster, called
"E-motion," changes color with the weather outlook.
The Best Views
There are several vantage points throughout the city
that provide exceptional views of Pittsburgh as it's
decked out in light. Perhaps the most popular is
from high atop Mt. Washington on Grandview Avenue.
This street was aptly named as it provides a panoramic
view of Pittsburgh. From Grandview Avenue, the
illuminated city is spread out before the observer as if
it were a treasure chest overflowing with glittering
amber, ruby, sapphire and diamond jewels.
Restaurants on Mt. Washington are packed on Light Up
Night with patrons who want to indulge the senses not
only with the beautiful sight of the city, but with
gastronomic delights as well. Strolling along the
walkway and overlooks creates memories that last a
Both the North Shore and Station Square provide
exceptional views as well. The lights reflect on
the rivers in puddles of color reminiscent of a Monet
masterpiece. Not to be forgotten is the view from
Point State Park. Towers of lights emanating from
the skyscrapers rising before and surrounding the
visitors gives one the sense of being immersed and
absorbed into the glow of the city.
Less obvious venues for taking in Light Up Night
should not be overlooked. Many river boats ply the
waters on Light Up Night. While enjoying a
relaxing evening aboard ship, guests are treated to an
excursion around the city. Instead of merely
enjoying one view, a riverboat cruise affords the
opportunity for taking in many different vistas.
Finally, nothing emphasizes light more than darkness.
Some spectacular views are available from area
neighborhoods surrounding the city. The same hilltops
that Fourth of July revelers seek out to enjoy the
city's fireworks displays also provide interesting views
on Light Up Night. From the peaceful darkness of
Schenley Park in Oakland on Light Up Night, Pittsburgh
seems to glow even more brightly. Neighborhoods
such as Fineview, Mt. Troy, the West End, and The South
Side are among some of the places outside of the Golden
Triangle where lesser known views of the city may be
No matter where you are, when Pittsburgh ups its
wattage, don't miss it. Light Up Night is for
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