’Tis the Season in the Square

Now that the Duquesne Light Light Up Night(R) flipped the switch to "on" for an electrifying Downtown holiday shopping season, you can bet that the city's sidewalks will be busy sidewalks for the next few weeks during this most wonderful time of the year. Which means that every Saturday during the holiday season, Market Square will be at the heart of it all with special events and displays, carriage rides, and some of the newest and most exciting restaurants around town. So while you're checking your gift list a time or two, remember that Saturdays in the Square are a holly, jolly good way to add some cheer to the season.

Once you stash the Turkey Day leftovers in the freezer and recover from the rush and crush of Black Friday bargain hunting, a visit to the Square this Saturday is the perfect place for a little R & R. To help you unwind—and to entertain the youngsters —Eat'n Park's favorite cookie, Smiley, will turn just about any frown upside down this Saturday only, from noon-2 p.m.

  While the kids say hi to Pittsburgh's yummiest mascot, grownups can treat themselves to an al fresco concert with local musicians.  The Pittsburgh Scene and Salvation Army are teaming up make giving even groovier.  Instead of the normal ting-a-ling, the sounds of local musicians will harken ye over to the red kettles. We hope you'll join us as we keep this "pot boiling"— as they say in the Army— to make the season a bit brighter for a those in need.  This weekend they'll be providing come back up music for Smiley from noon - 2 p.m. On the following Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17, the live music will be an afternoon pick-me-up from 3 - 5 p.m.

We hope you don't have to go dashing through the snow to get to the Square this week. But once you do, there's no better way to rekindle memories of holiday seasons past than on a free horse-drawn carriage ride through one of the oldest sections of Pittsburgh.  Every Saturday up to Dec. 17, you can giddy up and go on a mini tour of the town from 4-8 p.m. The line forms just across from the Square near the PPG skating rink. For the early birds, another free carriage leaves the starting gate at Oxford Centre from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for a jaunt in the Grant Street area, the city's political and legal hub.

Speaking of getting around, the Holly Trolley rolls just the way we like— from one shopping and sightseeing destination to another. Circling around town every 15 minutes, the two trollies loop around Downtown from Fifth Avenue Place to the Creche at the U.S. Steel Plaza and back— with a convenient stop in the Square. It's all aboard for the holidays every Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Now, with free parking at city-owned garages on Saturdays for the holiday season, you can stay Downtown all day long. But even if they fill up, others are still only $5 all day.  Which means you'll have plenty of time to relax with a favorite beverage or two and hot meal in the Square, which is fast becoming the dining center of the city. From All-American burgers and a taste of New Orleans to authentic Italian cuisine and zesty Mexican dishes, the Square serves up something for nearly appetite.

And, yes, it's true that even stop lights blink a bright red and green this time of year, but you can catch one of the most dazzling holiday light shows right in the Square every evening from 5-10 p.m.  That's when nearly 150,000 environmentally friendly LED bulbs dance to the music of your favorite holiday songs during the the Eat'n Park Season of Lights. Specially designed for the Square, the 33-foot tall "tree" made of red and white balls flashes in tune with lights on nearby buildings and lamp posts during special shows on the hour and half-hour.

There's no better place to catch the spirit of the season than with special events in Market Square every Saturday through December 17. Let's make this a truly happy holiday season.

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