Pittsburgh often falls behind Pennsylvania's other major city of Philadelphia when people are considering their travelling plans at any time of year, and new year is no exception, but for those prepared to take a chance on a slightly less predictable option then Pittsburgh won't let you down, with friendly locals and an inclusive atmosphere helping add to the appeal.
This is another US city that have embraced the tradition of a First Night event to mark the end of the old year and arrival of the new, and here it has been taking place each year since 2002 and is organised annually by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, a nonprofit organisation focused on the development and ongoing regeneration of the city's downtown area.
The main event is the Highmark sponsored First Night Pittsburgh celebration, a range of events centred around the downtown Cultural District and featuring live performances, plentiful food and drink options and of course the fireworks display at midnight. which is preceded by a ball raise (like it sounds, a ball drop in reverse basically!) featuring an illuminated orb made entirely from recycled materials and weighing in at 100 pounds.
The event starts at 6pm and you do need to buy "buttons" which act as passes to most of the attractions. One of the main features is the First Night Parade at 8pm. Among the performer this year will be The Swon Brothers and the River City Brass Band, while Smokey Robinson will be the guiest judge at this year's sing-off competition.
For those with younger children who may not be willing or able to stay up until the climax of the main party at midnight, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will be holding a family fun event with music and kid-friendly entertainment prior to an early new year countdown at the unorthodox time of 8.45pm.
Elsewhere in town, the bars and clubs of Pittsburgh will be doing their bit to keep the younger crowd going into the small hours with a wide selection of NYE parties. Places to look out for are the Stage AE, Cavo, Static, MiXX Lounge, AJ Palumbo Center and the increasingly pervasive NYE Til The Ball Falls Bar Crawl - ticket details to follow.
With a setting at the conjunction of 3 different rivers - the Ohio, the Monongahela river and the Allegheny - then as you would expect there are water-based choices for the new year here too. The city's famous Gateway Clipper Fleet of riverboats host several new year parties.
For your new year dining options then Pittsburgh has plenty to choose from too, with highly regarded venues such as Nine On Nine, Tamari Inc, Spoon, Point Brugge Cafe, Legume and Centi Anni Alla Famiglia. See the full range of eateries, with reviews and online booking here.
Places to watch live online - there are several live webcam feeds of the city that you can access online, including some skyline views that should capture the midnight fireworks nicely:
If you're planning on visiting Pittsburgh over the New Year period, then the local hotels and guest houses tend to fill up very quickly, so an early reservation is strongly recommended. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
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