Thanksgiving Plans in Pittsburgh

Events, Dinner Options, and Volunteer Opportunities

Turkey dinner
Getty Images/​LauriPatterson

If you are in Pittsburgh or the general area, check out some of the events and fun things you can do with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Topping the list are the Thanksgiving parade, dining out at restaurants featuring a Thanksgiving menu, volunteering, or getting a jump on Christmas.

Thanksgiving Events

Looking for something to do either on the big day or over the weekend that follows? Check out a roundup of Pittsburgh's Thanksgiving events from the annual Turkey Trot to the Holiday Parade.

You may not make it to New York's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, but just as popular in Pittsburgh is the annual WXPI Holiday Parade, which is fun for the whole family featuring fabulous floats, high school bands, equestrian units, and some of your favorite radio and TV personalities.

Before you gorge yourself on Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and pies, join the YMCA on Thanksgiving morning at PNC Park for the annual ​Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot race for charity.

The day after Thanksgiving is opening day for the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Built around a winter theme, the displays feature artful LED lights, detailed props, decorated fir and pine trees, amaryllis, orchids, and more than 2,000 poinsettias.

Restaurant Options

On Thanksgiving, a majority of families may be gathered around a dinner table to enjoy a family feast, but about one in 10 Americans will be heading to a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Many Pittsburgh restaurants are serving Thanksgiving dinner offering several-course prix fixe menus or buffets. Some annual favorites include chain restaurants like Atria's and The Capital Grille, and a Thanksgiving buffet offered at The Chadwick.

For a unique Thanksgiving experience, you might want to try the Thanksgiving dinner cruise on the Gateway Clipper's Majestic. You and your family can enjoy a riverboat tour and feast as you sail past Pittsburgh's festive city skyline.

Order Thanksgiving Takeout

If you want to eat in, but instead of Chinese takeout on your Thanksgiving table, you would prefer a Thanksgiving feast, you can order Thanksgiving in. You may even want to host a party, but do not have the time to cook or you are not culinarily inclined, there are plenty of places where you can buy your entire Thanksgiving meal ready-to-go in Pittsburgh.

Thanksgiving Cooking

If you plan on making that pumpkin pie or apple pie from scratch, then a trip to a local Pittsburgh-area farm where you can pick your own pumpkins or apples might be a fun family activity as well as your freshest options for your Thanksgiving table. Most of the farms have fresh corn and other veggies grown throughout the year that you might want to pick up. Better yet, some of those pies may already be assembled and ready to pop into an oven for Thanksgiving Day.

Nothing says Pittsburgh more than an offering of haluski on the Thanksgiving table. Haluski is a Slavic egg noodle dish popular in the region. For those new to the area or visiting for the holidays, a traditional Pittsburgh Thanksgiving might not be complete without it.

Volunteer Opportunities

On a day to give thanks for all you have, perhaps giving back to the community during Thanksgiving week or on the day of Thanksgiving can help others feel loved, welcomed and cared for during a time when they are down on their luck or less fortunate. There are a number of holiday volunteer opportunities if you have a few hours to spare.

Get Your Christmas Started

Get yourself into the holiday spirit by visiting one of Pittsburgh's many beautiful holiday places or holiday light displays, or get a jump on your shopping at an area holiday craft show.

Christmas, Hanukkah and other holiday traditions are apparent around every corner in the greater Pittsburgh area. Some of the top spots for holiday and winter fun include the Miniature Railroad and Village, holiday light displays, and local museums.

The Pittsburgh-area holiday light displays dazzle visitors and residents from the Hartwood Celebration of Lights to the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay.

It is not hard to find a Christmas tree around Pittsburgh. Scouts, civic and booster organizations, garden centers, and home improvement centers all carry a large variety. Some of the best and freshest trees, however, come from the local Christmas tree farms.