Kennywood Holiday Lights – A Christmas Tradition for Families

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on July 6, 2023.

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When it comes to Kennywood, Pittsburgh's nearest theme park, we often visit in the summer months to ride as many roller coasters and eat as many potato patch fries as we can stomach.

One thing we never experienced was the park's annual Holiday Lights display. So you know when our friends at Kennywood invited us to check them out that we jumped at the chance.

Fast forward a few days to our visit, and it only took a few minutes in the park to realize something very important- it is the perfect Christmas outing for families.

A Festive Holiday Display Near Pittsburgh

Kennywood at Christmas

The Kennywood Holiday Lights event features an abundance of holiday cheer within the park's modest footprint.

The most popular attraction, naturally, is the impressive lights that are strung up throughout the park- be it on the trees, buildings, in the lagoon, around the flower gardens, and more. No matter where you look, thousands upon thousands of lights will be shining brightly in the night (making an impressive scene by all standards).

Kennywood at Christmas

The park goes beyond a simple light display and has many events scheduled throughout the evening, including a light show on the emptied lagoon every 30 minutes, the lighting of their iconic Christmas tree at 5:45 pm, carolers, magician acts, a collection of gingerbread houses, opportunities to meet Santa, and more- enough to keep a family entertained for hours.

Kennywood at Christmas

We will be the first to admit that many of the attractions are tailored towards families with younger children, and couples without kids (such as us) may not get as much out of the experience as those who do. That being said, we'll still take enjoying beautiful Christmas lights whenever we can get them.

Do Not Expect Many Rides to Be Open

Kennywood at Christmas

For those who are visiting Kennywood for their Holiday Lights festivities, it is worth keeping in mind that most of the rides at the park are not opened due to the cold weather (sorry roller coaster fans). Many classics like the railroad and Noah's Ark are open and get into the Christmas spirit with many holiday modifications built right into the rides. Others, especially those in the kid's area, are open as well, further reinforcing the fact that the Holiday Lights festivities are a great event for those with young children.

Kennywood at Christmas

As we always like to look at the upside of everything, during this visit we took the chance to experience many of the rides at Kennywood that we've not been on for a very long time, such as the Merry-Go-Round, and managed to sneak in some photography we normally do not get in the process. (And judging by the number of families doing the same, we know we're not alone in this.)


Overall, the Kennywood Holiday Lights display is a fun outing for families, especially those with young children who can get the full benefit of the park's rides and experiences during the festivities. Couples without kids will still enjoy the impressive light display, but may not get the full experience that this festive tradition provides. But even then, you can warm up by the fire with one last batch of Potato Patch fries for the year, and when it comes down to it, we won't complain about that in the slightest.

Kennywood at Christmas

We'd like to thank our friends at Kennywood for inviting us out to check out the Holiday Lights festivities. As always, all opinions are our own.

Kennywood at Christmas

For more on Kennywood's Holiday Lights promotion, click here.

For more things to do around Christmas in Pittsburgh or other things to do in Pittsburgh in December, click the previous links!

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