Fun in the ‘Burgh: What to do this winter

Emily Fritz | A&E Editor

Jan. 5, 2023

Being back in the Bluff and immediately jumping into the spring semester after a long and much-anticipated break can make for a difficult readjustment to campus life. For those wishing to hold onto the whimsy of winter break, here are some local off-campus events to help revive the life in school-life balance.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo (PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh)

Cirque du Soleil returns to Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena to deliver an exciting tale about the celebration of life and the legacy that each of us leaves behind when our time comes. “Corteo,” an alluring and engaging storytelling experience, showcases Baroque-inspired tumbling and acrobatics designed to honor the passing of fictional clown Mauro.

The show runs from January 5 to January 8 with tickets starting at $59. Not in your budget for this week? Listen to Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” playlist on Spotify to enjoy this masterpiece wherever you are.

Pittsburgh’s Gingerbread Display and Competition (City-County Building, Pittsburgh)

Already missing the holiday season? Fear not, for Pittsburgh’s 20th Annual Gingerbread Display and Competition continues to be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until January 6. This year’s entries feature talents from a broad range of Pittsburgh’s finest, from preschool-aged groups to the culinarily gifted.

If houses are the only gingerbread designs that come to mind, then you are in for a treat. This season’s display includes rocketships, a “Shrek” inspired scene and Roman architecture. Admission is free for this event.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition (Ross Park Mall, Pittsburgh)

If you’ve ever experienced the intrusive craving to get too-close to the artwork in a museum, this experience is perfect for you. Similar to the walkthrough style of The Van Gogh Experience, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition is an up-close, life-sized replication of the Renaissance icon’s work.

Regular adult admission starts at $22.50, but student discounts are available for those who choose to bring their school IDs. The exhibit is accessible through the second-level entrance of the former JC Penney at The Ross Park Mall and is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until January 20.

Disco Sunday Disco (Trace Brewing, Pittsburgh)

Connect with your inner dancing queen at Trace Brewing for the return of “Disco Sunday Disco.” Guests of all ages are invited to bring a friend and make a friend as they dance and jive to live DJs Pretty Tony, Dini Daddy and Jarrett Tebbets.

Although this event takes place in the beer garden, there are no age restrictions. Disco doesn’t stop for the winter, so Trace Brewing will be serving hot drinks fireside to combat the cold. This outdoor, open-air event takes place between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on January 8 and is free to attend.

Outdoor Dining Igloos (Local Restaurants, Various Locations)

Want to spend time outside but can’t face the cold? Good news: the restaurant scene in Pittsburgh has developed an indoor-outdoor hybrid space to solve the winter crisis for diners. Venues such as Hartwood Wine Cave, Bridges and Bourbon, Bella Terra Vineyards and The Foundry Table and Tap have introduced outdoor igloos in lieu of the traditional patio.

We’ll wait while you try to think of something better than eating carbs in your very own dinner bubble surrounded by a small group of friends. Be forewarned that some restaurants require advance reservations to book an igloo. Additional fees may apply.

Cathartic Crafting (Prototype PGH, Pittsburgh)

Maybe you’re looking for something more relaxed, or maybe you have a New Year’s resolution that you haven’t started yet. If you find yourself itching to craft or work on a creative project, consider visiting Prototype PGH on the second Sunday of the month between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to sit with a calming community.

Whether you need an accountability partner or you are looking to learn something new, Cathartic Crafting is offering a space for you. This event is free to attend, but donation-based for those who would like to offer their support.