PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you’re looking for something fun to do to celebrate the holiday season, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, there are lots of great things going on around our area.

The ladies who run LivingPittsburgh.com shared their top five free and affordable holiday activities with KDKA-TV’s Kristine Sorensen.

If you blew all your money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can still enjoy the holidays with your family and friends, without spending much at all.

For just $12 a vehicle, drive through the beautiful “Celebration of Lights,” which is more than three miles of light displays, winding through Hartwood Acres.

“’Celebration of Lights’ at Hartwood is without a doubt one of my favorite things to do at the holidays,” Heather Walsh said. “The kids just love it. The smiles on their faces is unbeatable.”

Pack a thermos, bring some snacks and prepare for what might be a line to get in.

“If you’re sitting in line at end and contemplating going back, don’t do it. It’s so worth it,” Rachel Booth said.

On certain weeknights, you can also take a candlelit tour of Hartwood Mansion, while you’re in the middle of the ‘Celebration of Lights.’

Tours are also offered during the day for just $6 a person and reservations are recommended.

The 45-minute guided, historical tour takes you through each room, from the Russian-themed dining room with hand-made figurines and quilts, to the grand living room with stained glass windows that create artwork with sunlight.

For a ride back in time, hop on a free trolley or horse-drawn carriage on Saturdays in downtown Pittsburgh.

The trolley makes five stops.

“It’s a destination in and of itself. The elf-like tour guides give you fun facts about Pittsburgh as you’re driving around. It’s like a free tour,” Booth said.

The free Saturday carriage rides leave from PPG Place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and at Oxford Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but be sure to go inside Oxford Center to get a ticket.

If you want to get out and get some exercise, skate with Santa at the outdoor rink at Schenley Park on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A family of four will pay less than $25 for skating and rentals.

If you want to be part of the holiday celebrations themselves, make bigger-than-life sized puppets that will be used in the First Night Parade on New Year’s Eve.

There are two more free sessions happening in the Cultural District downtown on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., which includes two free happy hour drinks. The other date is Saturday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is recommended that you register in advance.

If you missed Light Up Night downtown, Dormont and Sewickley have charming, smaller light-up nights of their own.

Sewickley’s is this Friday, with more events planned for Saturday. Dormont’s event is Saturday at 6 p.m. with a parade and other activities.

You’ll find the details on the times and dates for all of these in the holiday guide on the Living Pittsburgh website.


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