Light Up Night

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Light Up Night
The ice rink and christmas tree at One PPG Place is unveiled on Light Up Night.
GenreWinter holiday season
Dateslate November
Location(s)Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
FoundedNovember 21, 1960 [1]
Attendanceover 200,000[1]

Light Up Night is a day-long (but more recently two-day-long)[citation needed] family festival in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania coinciding with the unofficial start of the Winter holiday shopping season. Many retailers in Downtown Pittsburgh remain open late, and street vendors and other concessionaires sell food and give away hot beverages, treats and promotional items. The city is decorated with Christmas lights, trees, among other holiday decorations. On Light Up Night, the skyscrapers and buildings in and around downtown keep their lights on throughout the night, lending to the name. Over 200,000 people attend the festivities.[1]

Light Up Night is also a time for free music, including many choirs, street performers, and even rock concerts, downtown and in Station Square.[2] In addition, the city offers free carriage rides downtown.

The event is usually held in November on the Friday before Thanksgiving.

With the increasing popularity of the event, The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has threatened to sue other communities and organizations that fail to pay a small licensing fee for trademark infringement.[3]


The University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning illuminated for Light Up Night.


The lighting of the Christmas tree in the ice skating rink in PPG Place is an annual tradition. When the lights are turned on, the ice skating rink officially opens to the public for the season. At 9,600 square feet (890 m2), the surface is over 2,000 square feet (190 m2) larger than the famous rink in New York's Rockefeller Center.[4][5] Each year, the Wintergarden inside PPG Place features a model train, gingerbread houses, and a collection of life-sized Santa Claus figures in traditional dress representing countries around the world.[6]

The lighting of the electric tree on the corner of the old Horne's department store is an old tradition which continues to this day.[7] A pyrotechnics show accompanies the lighting. Trees throughout the city are also lit with ceremony, including the Unity Tree at Penn Avenue Plaza.[8]

Pittsburgh Crèche[edit]

The Pittsburgh Crèche is a large-scale nativity scene located on the outside courtyard of the U.S. Steel Tower. Since 1999, the crèche appears annually during the winter season from Light Up Night to Epiphany in January. It is the only authorized replica of the nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.[9]

Many performers and mascots frequent the streets downtown, posing for pictures with children, or giving away treats. In recent years, the Kings Family Restaurants Frownie Brownie mascot has made his rounds with samples.[10]

Other events[edit]

Fireworks at Light Up Night 2015.


  1. ^ a b - Traffic to be heavy on Light Up Night - November 20, 2009
  2. ^ Dan Eldridge (17 June 2014). Moon Pittsburgh. Avalon Travel Publishing. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-61238-771-0.
  3. ^ Fontaine, Tom (December 17, 2009). "Group serious about 'Light Up Night' name". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Plaza Ice Rink at PPG Place, Pittsburgh's New Downtown Ice Skating Rink, Debuts December 10". Business Wire. November 18, 2008. Archived from the original on January 17, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center". NYC Tourist. 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  6. ^ Post-Gazette Event Guide
  7. ^ Archived 2008-04-30 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Loriann Hoff Oberlin; Evan M. Pattak (1 May 2008). Insiders' Guide to Pittsburgh. Globe Pequot Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-7627-4796-2.
  9. ^ Moody, Chuck (2003-11-14). "Downtown crèche going on display Nov. 21". Pittsburgh Catholic. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Pearls Before Swine: "Light Up Night '05..." 11/21/2005
  11. ^ The Pittsburgh Channel 11/22/2008 Archived 2009-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Mervis, Scott (20 November 2014). "Cobra Starship prepared to entertain Light Up Night revelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  13. ^ WPXI - Pittsburgh's Light Up Night Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Downtown Pittsburgh | What's New | Light Up Night 2008 Archived 2009-11-13 at the Wayback Machine