A Winter Wonderland

It's beginning to look a lot like...well, you know what time of year. Especially now that the holiday season is officially here. And while we hope that all Downtown merchants enjoyed a very, very Black Friday last week, we want you to know that every day and night in and around Market Square is going to be a very, very bright throughout the holiday season. Now that a few snowflakes are falling, it's the perfect time to visit the Square to get into the Spirit of the Season.

If you just happened to be one of the couple of hundred thousand or so people who passed through the Square during the two-day 50th Anniversary Celebration of Light Up Night, then you were probably dazzled by the towering, sprawling luminary display of the magnificent Market Square Season of Lights, the brilliant LED light creation from Blachere Illuminations. Through early January, the Market Square Season of Lights — sponsored by the Colcom Foundation — will delight holiday revelers with musically synchronized eight-minute shows every half hour. In it's first few days of brightening the City, the Market Square Season of Lights is already a brilliant crowd favorite.

Now, we know that Downtown offers the finest shopping experience around, with first-class retailers such as Larrimor's, Macy's, the shops at Fifth Avenue Place, Oxford Centre and Saks — just to name a few. But did you know that the Square hosts high-end fare at the Nettleton Shoe Shop, Heinz Healy's clothing for gentlemen and the oh so chic Serendipity Accessories? And just in case, you venture outside the Square on your shopping expedition around town, you can rest your feet as your travel in style — for FREE — on the Holly Trolley shuttle service, with a stop conveniently located by Heinz Healy's, at the entrance to Market Square. This is one sweet ride thanks to Fifth Avenue Place, located adjacent to Market Square.

If you prefer a more leisurely mode of sight-seeing, then hop on the free horse-drawn carriage rides that are sponsored by the Shoppes at Oxford Centre.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can sign up for a ride time at One Oxford Center and spend the interval roaming the shops in your quest to find that special something for everyone your holiday gift list. Saturday evenings, Market Square hosts free carriage rides from 4 - 8 p.m. There will also be free rides on Friday Dec. 31 and Saturday Jan. 1 from 4 - 8 p.m. for First Night and the Winter Classic. With a driver at your service, a carriage ride around the city is a return to a bygone era of elegance.

Maybe you're looking for a way to work off a few calories from that big Turkey Day dinner. Then glide on over to the Rink at PPG Place for a leisurely skate around the ice. Not only is the rink a the perfect spot for a brisk bit of exercise, it's also the ideal location for a romantic moment during this most wonderful time of the year. And in case you didn't already know this, the PPG ice is actually bigger than the renowned rink at New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. So take that Big Apple.

If you're looking for a nearby watering hole to catch a bite to eat or quench your thirst, the Square offers many fine eating and drinking establishments around the Square, like The Original Oyster House (a hometown favorite for 140 years), the cozy Bella Sera, Primanti Brothers, Moe's Southwest Grill and the new Chipotle location, which opens next week.

Okay, we're only stopping here because we're on our way to the Square to get our holiday season off to a holly, jolly good start.  See you there!

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