Light Up Night 2023 brings thousands of people to Pittsburgh to kick off holiday celebrations

PITTSBURGH — The 2023 holiday season kicked off in Pittsburgh with Light Up Night.

PHOTOS: Light Up Night 2023 brings thousands of people to Pittsburgh to kick off holiday celebrations

People from all around the area came out to check out the city’s iconic trees and enjoy some shopping and celebrating.

Light Up Night 2023: Your complete guide to kicking off the holiday season in Pittsburgh

Ellie Cordes, a 7-year-old cancer survivor kicked things off by lighting the PPG Place tree.

RELATED COVERAGE >>> 7-year-old girl who survived cancer will flip switch on PPG Place tree during Light Up Night

“I just love Christmas and I just love seeing lights,” said Jayna Lee of Rankin. “This is so adorable; everything around me is adorable. I love tall buildings and stuff and this is all adorable.”

Hundreds of thousands of people packed downtown, including 8-year-old Antonio Ruiz whose family drove nearly two hours from Erie.

“I’m most excited about Pittsburgh,” Ruiz said. “It’s so big and with all the bridges and how nice it is.”

Many took to the ice, from those who were more experienced to beginners.

“We just went around in circles and I kept falling,” said 10-year-old Ana Basson, who was with her friend, Zoey Guinn, 11. “We were holding hands and I kept bringing her down with me.”

Live music filled the Holiday Market in Market Square as families roamed around looking for that eye-catching, unique gift while soaking in the moment.

“We are trying to make new traditions and new memories,” said Travis Neely of Penn Hills. “It’s really cool. It’s very Pittsburgh.”

Just a few blocks away at Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street, crowds of people came to see the lighting of the Highmark Christmas tree, a long-standing holiday tradition dating back to the 1950s. It was topped off with fireworks.

“It was my first time seeing it,” said 12-year-old Devan Krakowiak of Hampton. “It was pretty amazing. They did talk a lot, but it was actually pretty beautiful.”

The three iconic Sister Bridges on the North Shore lit up in all their glory as a new addition to Light Up Night. The display will now be a permanent feature during the holidays.

And, the big guy in red made an appearance all the way from the North Pole.

“If I could make one kid happy, one kid smile, it’s all worth it,” said Santa “Skip” Claus. “I enjoy my job”

The Holiday Market opens back up at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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