First Night Pittsburgh

Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Back in 1994, relatively few U.S. cities staged big public art-focused New Year’s Eve festivals; the best known among them was Boston. Pittsburgh joined the list that year with its very first First Night, and it’s become a tradition. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust event marks its 25th anniversary Tuesday.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

New Year's Eve traffic in and out of Pittsburgh for the First Night celebration might not so bad.

Parkway East will reopen at 2 p.m. Thursday, earlier than expected following Monday's implosion of the Greenfield Bridge.

Mark / Flickr


Roughly 40,000 people are expected to make their way downtown this year for Pittsburgh’s annual New Year’s celebration.

Kevin McMahon, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said the events offered at “First Night 2016” are going to be more diverse than ever.

“Our theme this year is ‘Around the World, Around the ‘Burgh’ and so we’re telling people that you can experience all kinds of art and culture from around the globe without ever leaving Pittsburgh,” McMahon said. “So that’s our big, new thing this year.”

Wednesday night marks the end of one year and the start of a New Year and downtown Pittsburgh will be celebrating with the annual First Night.

The event will start at 6 p.m. with a performance from the funk sax group Beauty Slap, fireworks and much more.

“The great thing about Highmark First Night Pittsburgh is the fact that there is so much diversity," said Ken McCrory, chair of the First Night Board. "I mean dance, music, comedy, magicians, fireworks. You name it, and we have it at First Night Pittsburgh.”

Jess Lasky

This year’s First Night will be jam packed with events for the New Year right in the heart of Pittsburgh. Tens of thousands of celebrants are expected to crowd Downtown to enjoy events including fire dancers, musical performances, magicians, a parade and a lot more.

The event kicks off at 6 pm December 31st with a performance from funk group, Beauty Slap, and fireworks.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

The Cultural Trust is inviting Pittsburghers to spend the last few hours of 2013 getting lost in a 90,000-pound ice labyrinth.

“In honor of the 20th anniversary, we are building this fantastic ice labyrinth,” Darcy Kucenic, Director of First Night Pittsburgh, said.  “It is a 30 by 40 maze made of blocks of ice, it is five feet tall and the walls will eventually be lit up with LED lights.”

Rich Bubin of Ice Creations in Churchill and his 12-person team are carving and assembling the labyrinth’s 300 blocks.

Haldan Kirsch / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s biggest New Year’s party is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in a big way with a variety of musical and visual attractions.

First Night Pittsburgh will be ringing in the New Year with more than 150 art-focused and family-friendly attractions to commemorate two decades of festivities. The attractions will be spread throughout the Cultural District, starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 until a fireworks celebration and the raising of the “Future of Pittsburgh” ball at midnight.