Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, native Perry Como sang the Christmas classic, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” and having your family home for a holiday visit to Pittsburgh is one of the reasons we love this time of year so much. But Benjamin Franklin, another famous Pennsylvanian, also cautioned that, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Let’s be honest, there’s something to what Franklin said. You can only enjoy so much “togetherness” before you begin to get nuttier than that horrendous fruitcake Aunt Mildred keeps trying to feed you.
The key to keeping the season merry and bright is to carve out some alone time — even if it’s just to retreat into the bathroom
for a while or volunteering to take out the trash. Another key is to get everyone out of the house periodically. We all know about the standard holiday destinations like Phipps Conservatory, The Children’s Museum, The Pittsburgh Zoo, The Carnegie Science Center, The Rink at PPG Place, and the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh, etc. You may have been to those already, so the following is a list of other places to take your visitors when they come home to Pittsburgh. We’ve arranged it by age because the twenty-somethings in your family have a vastly different idea of fun than their toddler cousins or great-grandpa.
Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark
When Tom Cruise slid across the floor in his socks and undies in the movie Risky Business, didn’t you envy him, remembering all the fun you had as a kid slipping across the floor in your stocking feet? You and the kids in your clan can indulge that urge at Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark, where you strap Fun Slides onto your athletic shoes and skate on the carpets, ramps, and slides. With two locations to choose from, Greensburg and North Hills in the Pines Plaza Shopping Center, Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark will help burn off the sugar from all the treats the kiddos have been eating and make loads of memories. To learn more, visit: www.funslidespark.com.
Snapology Discovery Centers provide a mixture of activities for children ages 1-14 that combine building toys with technology. Snapology is a Pittsburgh-based company with four franchise locations in the area: Irwin-Greensburg, Indiana-Johnstown, Pittsburgh-East at Monroeville Mall, and Pittsburgh-Bethel Park. This activity combines fun with learning. Visit the website to learn more at: https://snapology.com.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Does having the kids cooped up in the house have them bouncing off the walls? If so, a trip to Sky Zone Trampoline Park should be on your list. Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. Located in Leetsdale, the park separates jumpers by age and size, so if you can jump, you can have fun at Sky Zone. Learn more about Sky Zone at: http://www.skyzone.com.
If you’ve got twenty-somethings visiting Pittsburgh, chances are they are looking for some nightlife. What used to be the hometown of many steelworkers, the South Side of Pittsburgh has, in recent years, become the center of Pittsburgh’s nightlife. The South Side is the area of the city across from downtown Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River and takes in Station Square and the shops and businesses along East Carson Street. There area numerous bars and restaurants from the Hard Rock Café to the Hofbrauhaus.
Whether your visitors are gamblers or not, you can still have a great night out at the Rivers Casino on the North Shore. The casino has a wide variety of dining spots and lounges as well as entertainment. For those who do like to gamble, there are slots and table games. Find out more at: http://riverscasino.com/pittsburgh.
By day, the Strip District is a Mecca for foodies, but by night, it becomes a popular destination for drinking and dancing. Located just northeast of downtown Pittsburgh, you can find numerous night clubs where you can break out your latest moves. And if you and your visitors dance enough of the night away, there are several great places where you can get a hearty early breakfast before heading home.
If you’ve got visitors who like to golf, YNOT Golf in the South Hills can get your gang out on the links even though it may be cold and snowing outside. With four state-of-the-art simulators and a plethora of prestigious courses on which to simulate play, your visitors will have a grand time and can keep their game finely tuned. Learn more at: http://ynotgolf.com.
Paint Nite Pittsburgh
Paint Nite Pittsburgh hosts painting parties throughout the area. Instructors help your “artists-in-residence” to create a keepsake painting. Why not spend a relaxing evening with your visitors by unwinding with refreshments and creating a holiday masterpiece. Book your party at: www.paintnite.com/pages/events/index/pittsburgh#date:1
Puzzled about what to do with your visitors? Being locked in a room with them may not be your idea of fun, but that attitude will surely change when you spend an evening at Escape Room Pittsburgh. There, your team will test their wits and problem-solving skills in order to beat the game and unlock your escape room. To find out more, visit the website at: www.escaperoompgh.com.
Roberto Clemente Museum
Located in Lawrenceville, the Roberto Clemente Museum will enthrall seniors in your family who enjoyed the legendary Clemente’s days as a Pittsburgh Pirate. The walking tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and is by appointment only. Find out more at: http://www.clementemuseum.com/museum.
Most likely Grandma or your Aunt Winifred grew up playing tea party. Why not help them to relive their childhood memories in style by enjoying a high tea? Several places in the area offer high tea. The Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh offers winter tea every day at 2:30 pm in its lovely Terrace Room.
Even Grandpa or Uncle Clarence may be too young to remember the last time whiskey was distilled in the city of Pittsburgh (prior to Prohibition), before Wigle Whiskey revived the distillery business in the city in 2011. They will certainly get into the holiday spirit with a whiskey tasting at Wigle. Wigle has several holiday tours scheduled at their distillery located on Smallman Street. To book yours, visit: www.wiglewhiskey.com.