Happy Thanksgiving! Here are some things to do with family while they’re in town

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and the Pittsburgh area is gearing up for Christmas. If you have family visiting, here are some things to do and sites to see.

Holiday

If your family is coming to town early, consider taking them to Light Up Night tonight.

Holiday Events in Pittsburgh
Sure, Steel City is cold this time of year, but there’s still plenty to do!

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market opens in Market Square at 11 a.m. today and runs through Tuesday, December 23. Take your family to eat delicious foods from around the world, enjoy local entertainment, and buy extra special gifts. Adults will appreciate the cultural diversity and kids will be excited to meet Santa! Pictures with Santa are free if you give a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

This weekend is the Castle Shannon VFD Ladies Auxiliary Holiday Craft Show. Parking and admission are free, and the show is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. If you’re looking for a personal, handmade gift, you’ll probably find it at one of the 120+ tables in the CSVFD Memorial Hall and Fireman’s Hall.

The Castle Shannon Library is hosting Be Thankful Story Time at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25. The reading is for kids ages 4-10 and requires registration.

Film

This weekend is the last weekend of the Three Rivers Film Festival, held at various theaters throughout the city. The last films of the festival are all playing at the Harris Theatre. Actress is playing at 7 p.m. tonight, followed by What Now? Remind Me at 9 p.m. Tomorrow, The King and the Mockingbird plays at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Theater

The Contemporary Choreographers show at Point Park University, performed by their Conservatory Dance Company, is in its last weekend. The show through November 23. Their next show—and the last for 2014—is the ballet Romeo and Juliet. It runs December 5-14.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is also in its last weekend at the Benedum Center. Tonight’s performance starts at 8 p.m. an there are matinee and evening shows through Sunday.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Studios is hosting The Nutcracker Holiday Party this Sunday, November 23. from noon to 3 p.m. There will be dance classes, holiday crafts, and performances from the show.

Disney’s Newsies is playing November 25-30 at the Benedum center.

If you’re looking for a musical performance of a totally different nature, the Misfits are playing the Altar Bar on Saturday, November 29. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Museums

The Warhol has a couple of special exhibits on display right now. Chuck Connelly: My America will be on the 4th floor until January 4. 13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair is on display on the 2nd floor, also until January 4.

If you have a history buff in the family, take them to the Senator John Heinz History Center to check out Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia. The exhibit is on display until January 4.

All of these events are conveniently located for residents of several Prudential Realty Communities in the South Hills. Downtown locations are easily accessible via the “T”.

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Things to do in downtown Pittsburgh: Light Up Night

Light Up Night is in its 54th year, and it promises to be a fun-filled evening in downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, November 21.

The festivities start at noon with the Official Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

Pittsburgh Light Up Night
Kick of the holiday season with Light Up Night in downtown Pittsburgh.
  • Noon: City-County Building Tree Lighting and U.S. Steel Tower Dedication of the Creche
  • 5:30 p.m. Allegheny Courthouse Lighting
  • 5:45 p.m. One Oxford Centre Lighting & Santa Lights BNY Mellon Season of Lights
  • 6 p.m. PPG Plaza Tree Lighting
  • 6:45 p.m. Macy’s Holiday Window Unveiling
  • 7 p.m. Highmark Unity Tree Lighting with rooftop fireworks

Music for all tastes will be featured at various stages throughout downtown Pittsburgh:

  • Clemente Bridge BNY Mellon New Music Stage
  • EQT Jazzmasters Stage
  • Market Square
  • Northwest Savings Bank Stage

Plus, Jamie Lynn Spears (Brittany’s younger sister) is performing at the Macy’s Holiday Window Unveiling.

One Oxford Centre is offering fun for the whole family. Santa will arrive at 5:45, just in time for the tree lighting. He’ll be around, along with his reindeer, until 9 p.m. Free horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ride starting at 8:45.

There will be ice carvings and live music by the Roger Barbour Jazz Quartet and the Max Leak Trio at Fifth Avenue Place along with other family friendly activities.

At 9:38 p.m., Zambelli Internationale will set off the BNY Mellon Fireworks Finale from the Warhol Bridge.

The ice rink at PPG Place Plaza will be open until midnight, and $1 of each skate admission will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

All the fun can be accessed via the “T”, Pittsburgh’s light rail system. Residents of several Prudential Realty Communities in the South Hills—Alvern Gardens, Place Seville, and Sleepy Hollow—can join the fun without wasting any time or money on parking downtown.

4th of July events in the Pittsburgh area

There are several events happening in Pittsburgh in honor of Independence Day, so here are some options as you plan for the U.S.’s birthday

4th of July Fireworks
Pittsburgh has some of the best 4th of July Celebrations around.

The EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta is taking place July 2-4 in Point State Park. This is a free event full of all kinds of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. The latest addition: Pogopalooza. The proper Independence Day celebration kicks off at 1 p.m. on the 4th, ending with fireworks at 9:35 p.m. Tenants of Alvern Gardens Apartments, Place Seville, as well as the Sleepy Hollow Townhouses and Apartments can hop on the T (Pittsburgh’s light rail) for a 30 minute ride to the Gateway stop, a short walk from Point State Park.

The Heinz Field Fourth of July Celebration is also a free event packed with concerts. This one starts at 2 p.m. and will give you a prime view of the fireworks in the evening.

History buffs might consider attending Fourth at the Fort hosted by the Fort Pitt Museum. This event is free with museum admission and takes place 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on the 4th. There will be reenactments of the Revolutionary War experience at the Fort, and they will salute the Point State Park fireworks display with their new reproduction 18th century cannon.

Anyone looking for a little something different might consider a dinner cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet. The tickets do cost $65, but the buffet menu looks scrumptious and there will be a DJ. Boarding starts at 6:30 p.m. and the cruise goes from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. so you should have  a prime view of the fireworks.

Who serves the best grilled cheese in Pittsburgh?

Chi’s (assistant property manager of Alvern Gardens Apartments) talk of restaurants in the South Hills has inspired us to compile a countdown of the 3 best grilled cheese sandwiches in Pittsburgh. Why grilled cheese sandwiches? Why not? They’re deliciously simple and yet easy to amp up with extras. From extra cheese to extra toppings, here’s our ranking:

the best grilled cheese in Pittsburgh
These sandwiches ain’t yo mama’s grilled cheese, but they definitely call up that warm, fuzzy, comfort food feeling.

3. Touted by Chi as great place to hang with friends, Cain’s Saloon serves a “deluxe” grilled cheese featuring tomato, a fried egg, and bacon. The sandwich normally comes with traditional American cheese, but the menu recommends trying it with pepper jack (we stuck with the traditional). Who doesn’t love a fried egg and bacon on their sandwich? Unfortunately for Cain’s take on the classic, the Italian bread it’s served on makes for a bulky sandwich that’s a little hard to eat for anyone who doesn’t have the unthinkable jaws of a snake.

2. Cafe io’s grilled cheese is a little more grown up: cheddar and Gorgonzola come standard, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add tomato and/or pickles. For a few dollars more, your sandwich gets a fried egg and/or bacon. This build-your-own concept is fun, but for the purpose of the countdown we taste-tested just the standard sandwich (on wheat rather than white). The amount of cheese was perfect, and the ration of cheddar to Gorgonzola was just right. On top of it, the sandwich was grilled to perfection. With all the fixin’s, it might have claimed the top spot, but the standard is just the PG-13 version of a childhood favorite.

1. For a rated R grilled cheese experience, go to the Blue Line Grille and order their “adulterated” grilled cheese. This one comes with cheddar, Gorgonzola, and Swiss and is topped off with bacon onion jam. What is bacon onion jam? Delicious. It’s caramelized onions mixed with pieces of bacon (real pieces of bacon, not bacon bits). That, combined with the mix of cheeses makes for a grilled cheese of complex, elegantly balanced flavors. This sandwich wins because it’s a true culinary experiences.

Bonus Round: At PNC Park, you can order a 9 cheese grilled cheese sandwich, aptly named “The Closer.” It’s served on 4 slices of sour dough and comes with bacon and all kinds of other goodies. We didn’t get a chance to to try it for this countdown, but our research suggests it might be the real #1 grilled cheese in Pittsburgh.

Looking for an apartment close to public transportation as well as some of the best eateries in the south hills? Contact Prudential Realty Company for the current availability tantalizingly close to the the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Pittsburgh.

What’s it like to live in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh is a pretty cool place, but it doesn’t have the prestigious reputation of the country’s bigger cities. So Chi Quach, assistant property manager of Alvern Gardens Apartments and resident of Pittsburgh for over 35 years, took some time to sing Steel City’s praises.

Prudential Realty: What’s your favorite thing about the city?

Chi Quach: The view of the city coming out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and going to all of the sporting events.

PR: What are some advantages of living in the south hills?

Bridges: That's what it's like to live in Pittsburgh.
The Smithfield Street Bridge crosses the Monongahela River, connecting the historic South Side to downtown Pittsburgh.

CQ: Having access of the “T” [Pittsburgh’s light rail system]. Having that easy commute to the South Hills Village [Mall] and downtown by the “T” is a bonus because you save time and money on finding parking spaces.

PR: Pittsburgh was recently named the next big food town, and you’re a foodie yourself. Where do you like to eat?

CQ: Wow, that’s a hard question there. I have to say Pittsburgh has the best eateries around from the north, south, east, west. I mostly stick around the south hills when I go out for dinner. Here are some of my favorite spots in the south hills:

PR: What do you like to do for fun in the city?

CQ: I enjoy going down to the Strip District. You can find a lot of great places just by walking up and down Penn Avenue. There’s a lot of restaurants, grocery stores, and a few historical landmarks on every block.

PR: Do you have any advice for people who are new to the area?

CQ: Definitely grab the local magazine and read through it. It has a lot of information on current events, entertainment, and places to eat.

PR: Do you have any pointers for renters looking for an apartment in Pittsburgh?

CQ: Yes, make sure you find a place that is close to public transportation.

Contact Prudential Realty Company to find out about our current availability of apartments close to public transportation, restaurants, and fun in the Pittsburgh area.

T schedule for First Night Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s light rail system (the “T”) will run its regular weekday schedule on New Year’s Eve for Highmark First Night.

The Allegheny County Port Authority recommends public transit users plan ahead as detours will be in effect for several bus lines, but residents of Sleepy Hollow Townhouses and Apartments, Place Seville, and Alvern Gardens will be pleased to note that the Blue Line to Library and South Hills Village are running their regular weekday schedule.