Friendsgiving feasts to light shows: A guide to Pittsburgh’s Thanksgiving activities

By Madilyn Cianci, Staff Writer

Whether your plans before Thanksgiving break include completing last-minute assignments or packing to go home — campus has you covered. The University is offering Thanksgiving events and services before campus closes on Saturday.

Thank-Ful Event

For a Thanksgiving celebration on campus, students can check out Thank-Ful, a Friendsgiving event hosted by Pitt Eats

Thank-Ful will be held on Wednesday from 4-9 p.m. in both The Eatery and The Perch dining halls. The event will offer holiday dishes including BBQ-roasted turkey and gravy, a build-your-own sweet potato bar and vegan-friendly Quorn roast with mushroom gravy. 

The Thank-Ful event is not limited to the feast — chefs from Pitt Eats will host live “teaching kitchens” where students will learn to create “delicious treats in a jar they can take with them.” 

If students want to share gratitude this season, Thank-Ful provides opportunities for students to give back to the community. Students can help benefit Pitt Pantry with a canned food donation or a 150 meal voucher donation. A festive activity planned for Thank-Ful includes creating gratitude cards to spread positivity. 

The UPMC Rink at PPG Place

The UPMC ice skating rink is open from Friday through Jan. 8 and is a great way for students and faculty to spend some time skating around the Pittsburgh Christmas tree. Tickets can be bought online or at the rink. The rink will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $12 for adults.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Holiday Exhibit

Phipp’s holiday garden is back starting on Friday, featuring a Winter Flower Show with holiday trees, more than 1,600 poinsettias, topiary reindeer and thousands of lights to kick off the holiday season. This year’s theme is arctic adventure and will feature water features and a polar bear display. Pitt students have free admission to the exhibit, which will run until Jan. 8.

Other services on campus

Thank-Ful is one of the last Pitt Eats events before the dining halls close on Saturday. If you are a student staying in Oakland this Thanksgiving, make sure to stock up on groceries — The University Club and Forbes Street Market will be the only dining locations open during break.

Aside from Thanksgiving activities, holiday services are also offered to students throughout the break. For those spending Thanksgiving off campus, Pitt’s Buses Home for the Holidays program will provide rides out of Oakland. The deluxe motor coaches will take students to cities including Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Washington, DC. Buses depart on Friday and return to campus on Nov. 27. 

The University will also continue to offer mental health resources and services during Thanksgiving breaks. According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people find their anxiety, depression, and substance misuse increasing during the holiday season. Whether at home or on campus, students can access 24/7 support from the University Counseling Center throughout the holiday break.