Holiday activities to distract you from finals stress

By Katelyn Kruszewski, Staff Writer

As students approach the end of the semester, Pittsburgh prepares to celebrate upcoming holidays. Though finals season is quickly approaching, there are still many holiday activities that students can participate in to help them de-stress and enjoy festive events before winter break. Here is a short list of some festive activities for students to explore.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Flower and Light Show

Located in Central Oakland in Schenley Park near Pitt’s campus is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The conservatory includes a 14-room glasshouse and 23 distinct gardens.

The holiday show, “Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden,” will run from Nov. 18 through Jan. 18. The show’s theme is “Arctic Adventure” and features a variety of holiday trees, topiaries, props, amaryllis, orchids and 1,600 poinsettias. The conservatory also has a “Winter Light Garden,” where attendees can walk through giant holiday-themed light exhibits.

Pitt students have free admission to the conservatory with a valid student ID.

Peoples Gas Holiday Market

Located in Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh, the Peoples Gas Holiday Market is a market in which visitors can explore more than 30 local and visiting vendors to buy holiday gifts for loved ones. In addition to vendors, the market features live music from Pittsburgh local bands and schools.

The market runs Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free though vendors require money.

Ice Skating at PPG Place

PPG Place in Downtown Pittsburgh is home to the UPMC Rink. Pittsburgh locals can ice skate around the giant Christmas tree located in the center of the rink in one hour or 45-minute sessions. 

The rink opened Nov. 18 and will remain open through Feb. 26. The rink is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight with the exception of special holiday hours.

Tickets are available for purchase online or in-person. Tickets for adults are $11 and renting skates costs $5. Beginning Jan. 1, Wednesdays are half-priced for students who can show a valid student ID or report card.

Cathedral Nationality Rooms

Though you may have had a class or two in the nationality rooms, it’s rare to have seen and learned the history behind every nationality room located within the Cathedral of Learning. 

Near mid-November, the University decorated the Cathedral of Learning for the holiday season, giving each nationality room a decoration that contributes to its rich history. Book a tour to learn about the history behind these rooms or walk through during the week to explore the rooms yourself.

Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights

Kennywood, located outside of Pittsburgh in the West Mifflin area, is a beloved amusement park. Decorated for the holiday season, the park holds more than 2 million lights and the tallest Christmas tree in the state

While visitors can still participate in amusement park rides, they’re also invited to partake in other holiday features. The park offers festive food and drink such as Christmas dinner, homemade donuts, chocolates and more. Entertainment includes local choir groups, petting zoo animals, magic and light shows.

The holiday special will run until Jan. 1 with admission starting at $19.99.