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It can be hard to jump into a new location without understanding the local customs and history. Pittsburgh, with its layers of seemingly impenetrable culture, is hardly an exception. But do not fret: Our occasional web series "New to the 'Burgh" is here to provide a handy guide for newcomers adapting to life in the Steel City.

Local Holiday Markets for Black Friday and Beyond

The holidays are rapidly approaching, so of course you’ve definitely started your gift shopping, right?

Never you fear, as the shopping season kicks off on Black Friday we’ve put together a list of the best local pop-up markets as part of our New to the ‘Burgh series. From the artisanal to the seasonal, to the brand-spanking-new, here’s a rundown of the most interesting markets gracing the Steel City with their presence over the next few months.

I Made It! Market

Strategically placed on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, this year’s holiday iteration of the IMI pops up Downtown on Smithfield Street. Featuring the wares of over 80 artists, I Made It! is a nomadic marketplace that provides opportunities for artists to bring their wares to market.

Later in the season, they’ve even added an extra Last Minute Shopping Event at the Boyd Community Center for those of you who, *ahem* might run out of time to shop.

Handmade Arcade

When: December 6th, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown

Now in its eleventh year, the Handmade Arcade holds bragging rights for its status as “Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair.” Once a year, the Arcade takes over David L. Lawrence Convention Center to feature a collection of some the best local handmade products. If you’re looking for variety, this is the place to find it: this year’s docket of vendors features woodworkers, toymakers, jewelers, musicians, and more.

People’s Gas Holiday Market

When: November 21st - December 23rd, Various Hours

Where: Market Square, Downtown

For the 3rd year in a row, the People’s Gas Holiday Market has taken over Market Square following Light Up Night last Friday. Inspired by the German Christkindlmarkts (say that five times fast), the market features various vendors and products from cultures from around the world. Hand-blown Austrian glass, luminaries from Costa Rica, and Russian music boxes are among the numerous trinkets for sale. At the end of it all, take your child for a picture at Santa’s House right in the heart of the Holiday Market, and hit the ice at the skating rink in PPG Place.

Second Shift Crafters

When: November 29th, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 3401 Liberty Avenue, Downtown

The new kids on the block, Second Shift’s first event this year is their holiday market this Saturday. Though they admit that they are “rough around the edges,” they’ve partnered with an impressive list of local crafters and creators like Most Wanted Fine Art, ModCloth, and the Hollywood Theater to have fun and spotlight small businesses in the process. What’s not to like?

12 Days Til Christmas: A Last Minute Holiday Market

When: December 13th, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Commonwealth Press Warehouse, 2315 Wharton Street, South Side

Courtesy of the folks down at Commonwealth Press, this last minute market will pop up at the Commonwealth Warehouse over on the South Side two weeks before Christmas. If the vendors weren’t enough to draw you out into the cold, they’ll also be collecting for Project Bundle Up and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to help spread the holiday cheer to the less fortunate. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Sweetwater Holiday mART

When: November 30th - December 7th, Various Hours

Where: Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad Street, Sewickley

Sweetwater’s Holiday mART has been going strong for 20 years at this point, giving it the distinction of being the oldest market on the list. Selling wares from a combination of local and national artists, the proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s art programs for children and adults. 

Local Goodness

Finally, if you're honestly more of a "Cyber Monday" type of shopper, is an online marketplace that takes a unique approach to the term "buy local." 

By broadening the definition of local to simply include authentic and unique products produced with sustainable methods, creator Rhonda Schuldt has turned her blog dedicated to telling the stories of local food producers, into a site that manages the marketing and transactions for small scale producers. With minimal fees to these suppliers, all they have to do is focus on making their product and shipping it to customers.

Local Goodness also keeps its blogging-vibe with regular supplier profiles that let customers connect with the people behind the products.