Winter Magic along the Riverfronts – Sister Bridges Edition

Embrace the Glow: Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Pittsburgh’s Winter Magic along the Riverfronts – Sister Bridges Edition

Bridges in Pittsburgh are not just conduits; they are vital connections weaving communities together across our rivers, giving the city a soul like no other. As colder months approach, even the hardiest of Pittsburghers might hesitate to explore the riverfronts or cross our iconic bridges on foot. However, Riverlife, dedicated to creating, celebrating, and activating 15 miles of Pittsburgh’s riverfront property, challenges this notion.

Six young adults standing side by side in front of the river with a view of the city night sky behind them.

In May, Riverlife announced the “Sister Bridges Experience.” This long-term vision plan aims to transform cherished spaces—the Pop District, and Cultural District—into an unparalleled destination spanning across the Allegheny River, seamlessly weaving neighborhoods across the water. This curated cultural experience challenges the natural boundary of the river’s edge and will be cherished for generations.

While plans for the transformation of the overall experience are underway, a glimpse of what Pittsburgh can expect first illuminated on Highmark Light Up Night and now dazzles from dusk until midnight daily.

A view of a bridge lit up at night with a city behind.

Riverlife’s partners at Allegheny County have completed the much-anticipated addition of decorative lighting to the three Sister Bridges. Over half a million color LED lights turn the already-iconic cables and towers into a mesmerizing canvas of light. These bridges, stunning in daylight, offer a spectacle worthy of savoring under the stars.

Riverlife’s top 5 ways to make the most of the bridge lighting part of your winter plans:

  1. Holiday Dining or Creative Cocktails: Plan a meal downtown, or check out Holiday Pop Up Bars. Afterward, enjoy the bridge lights, take in decorations, and explore the Peoples Gas Holiday Market.Pro tip: Multiple coffee shops are all nearby for a post-meal pick-me-up, great for the walk and to keep cold fingers warm!
  2. Riverside Walk or Run: Break away from bustle with an evening walk or run along the rivers. Enjoy a Riverlife curated playlist while traversing the river trails. A loop of the Sister Bridges is approximately 1 mile, and easy extensions are available.Pro tip: Begin your walk or run just before sunset for stunning views of the bridges lighting up at dusk.
  3. Cruise Along the River: Elevate your experience by enjoying a scenic cruise with the Gateway Clipper. Witness the mesmerizing light display from the water for a unique and unforgettable perspective.Pro tip: A variety of evening weekend cruises are available. Experience Pittsburgh’s rivers from the decks of the Clipper and build traditions with dear ones.
  4. Warhol-inspired Gifts: Explore the Warhol Museum Gift Shop for unique gifts. Enjoy the Warhol-inspired products, and grab a cocoa from the café. Take a stroll to the river afterwards to witness the light show, and ponder your 5 minutes of fame.Pro tip: Fridays at the Warhol Museum offer Good Fridays, with half-priced admission from 5-10 pm. Perfect for a moment to yourself, or with family and friends.
  5. Celebrate the new year in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District: Highmark First Night Pittsburgh is an arts-focused New Year’s Eve celebration in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. As part of the evening, celebrate the Grand Reopening of the Clemente Bridge and the lighting project.Pro tip: There are excellent locations to take in the parade, but you can also roll up your sleeves to be part of the experience.A night view of a river, bridge and illuminated city.

Thanks to the leadership of Allegheny County and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, along with the Downtown Partnership, the Office for Public Art, Riverlife, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks, this project is now a reality.

Embrace the holiday season and spend some time along the rivers this winter!

Story and Photography by Riverlife

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