First Night Pittsburgh 2019 Guide: Silver Anniversary Events

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Events

Christmas 2018 isn’t even here yet and already I’m thinking about First Night Pittsburgh 2019. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Christmas. But I can’t help but think about New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh. This year to celebrate its 25th Anniversary, First Night Pittsburgh 2019 is having a Silver Jubilee and that means bigger and better than ever. From where to park, what to see and eat, and where to get admission buttons, here’s our guide to First Night Pittsburgh 2019

First Night Pittsburgh: Guide to fun


I’ve been lucky enough to attend several First Night Pittsburgh nights and each is always better than the year previous. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I adore Pittsburgh no matter what day of the year it is. But this year, this year, is its Silver Jubilee (if you’ll be in town earlier, here’s our 2018 Pittsburgh Holiday Guide). Taking over the entire Cultural District, the fun events and shows are not to me missed! Here’s the scoop. 

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Where to Buy Buttons

Let’s start with First Night Pittsburgh 2019 Admission Buttons. you have two admission button options this year (as in the past years):

Admission Buttons are $10 each (kids 5 and under FREE) and grant access to all indoor and outdoor events in the Cultural District on New Year’s Eve.

$40 First Night Friend VIP experiences are also available and provide priority access to seating, parking, and a private lounge. We have had VIP buttons the past several years and they really are worth the investment. We had a warm respite from the weather, snacks and drinks all night, and a great location to watch the New Year’s Eve Parade. 

As for where to buy buttons, this year you can purchase them these ways:

  • Online at
  • 412-456-6666
  • Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue)
  • Participating Giant Eagle stores (you’ll need to visit to register them.)
  • Groups of 10 or more can call 412-471-6930

You can also visit any of these Box Offices to purchase First Night admission buttons:

  • Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Ave)
  • Benedum Center Box Office (237 7th St)
  • August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Ave)
  • Welcome Pittsburgh Information Center & Gift Shop (Fifth Avenue Place)
First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Jordan Callahan will be at Fifth Avenue Place from 6pm to 11pm for caricature portraits.
Jordan Callahan will be at Fifth Avenue Place from 6pm to 11pm for caricature portraits. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: How to Reserve Seats for Shows

If you purchase your admission buttons online, you’re immediately registered. you’ll then have the chance to reserve seats to popular shows. FYI: there is no additional cost to attend any of the shows, but you will need to reserve them ASAP. They sell out fast!

If you want to purchase admission buttons at any of the select Giant Eagle locations, you’ll need to head to to register them. 

You can also visit the following Box Offices for seat reservations:

  • Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Ave)
  • Benedum Center Box Office (237 7th St)

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: fireworks schedule

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Fireworks Schedule

You’ll have two opportunities to see First Night 2019 fireworks. Here are the times and locations:

Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks – Located at the Dollar Bank Stage in the Cultural District from 6:00pm to 6:15pm. They’re the official kickoff to the night’s events! 

Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale – Located at the Highmark Stage. The event officially kicks off at 11:55pm with the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh ball. 

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Parking

This one can be tricky, especially if you’re coming into the city right before 6pm. If you’re purchasing a First Night Friends VIP Experience, you’ll receive priority parking in a Cultural District Garage. If not, you’ll need to drive around and look for any available parking you can find. I know, it’s very vague, but my recommendation is to park near the PPG Paints Arena and hop on the T or walk to the Cultural District. You can also park on the North Shore and take the T over to the fun, too. 

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Food Trucks

Food trucks are always a popular dining choice at First Night Pittsburgh compliments of the convenience and delicious dishes (SNL, anyone?) you can try. Of course, with popularity comes having to wait in line, but it’s worth it. 

At the time this post was written, the Pittsburgh Food Truck lineup hasn’t been announced. As soon as it is, I’ll add them below. 

Of course, you can always reserve indoor dining in the Cultural District. Here’s a list of recommended foodie spots by PCT.

First Night Pittsburgh 2019 fun includes family-friendly performances from Penny Arcade
First Night Pittsburgh 2019 fun includes family-friendly performances from Penny Arcade. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

First Night Pittsburgh 2019: Events

There are so many fun, family-friendly events for this year’s First Night Pittsburgh that it would be very hard to list. So, head here for the current list of performances, stage shows, and events for First Night Pittsburgh 2019

Having written that, there are several that have made my short list:

Lee Terbosic Live – part magic show, part comedy show, he’s popular with celebrities. He can also be seen on the last Monday of every month on Pittsburgh Today Live. He’ll be at the O’Reilly Theater for three shows.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School – Performing excerpts from Act II of “The Nutcracker”,  the talented troop gives me motivation to get up and dance. In the comfort of my own home, of course. Performance will be at August Wilson Center.

Staycee Pearl Dance Project – I had the chance to see a duet sneak peek during a press event and I can’t wait to see more. If you like soul music from the 50’s through the 70’s, go. Shows are at the August Wilson Center.

Stephanie Keyes – Stephanie’s a local author and will be reading pieces from “The Star Child”, her latest fantasy-style book release. She’ll be at Fifth Avenue Place.

ZuZu African Theater – Like circus acrobatics & dance? You’ll love this troop. They’ll be performing at Pittsburgh CAPA School.

Always Popular First Night Performances:

New Year’s Eve Parade – From 8:00pm to 8:30pm, the Cultural District has one of the coolest parades I’ve ever seen. Filled with local talent, the giant puppets are always a hit with watchers. 

Williams Sing-Off Finalists –  One local student gets the prestigious title of winner for the Williams Sing-Off. He/She will be performing at The Benedum Theater from 6:00pm to 6:05pm. The competition is judged this year by King George of the national traveling tour of Hamilton, Peter Matthew Smith. 

CLO Mini Stars – Musical selections from Broadway shows. Enough written. You can catch the performances at Greer Cabaret Theater.

Player One – At the Arcade Comedy Theater, each show has a Second-City style with improvisation and audience participation. 

Penny Arcade – Located at the Arcade Comedy Theater, these shows are all about the kiddos. 45-minutes long, both shows are interactive and encourage creativity. 

Disclosure: Photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust unless otherwise noted. 

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