A shiny new decade filled with brand-new experiences awaits you. Start with these top 12 Pittsburgh events.
1. Polar Bear Plunge at the Mon Wharf: January 1, 9 a.m.
Because who doesn’t want to wake up to 2020 by jumping into the frigid Mon? The new decade will literally take your breath away as you join adventure seekers to help raise funds for families in need. Don’t have thick skin? Watch in awe as Polar Bear plungers brave the chilly waters and continue what’s been a beloved burgh thing for 75 years and counting. Pro tips: Arrive before 9 a.m. because this popular ritual gets crowded, and bring lots of warm layers like blankets, towels and robes. All proceeds from event t-shirt sales will benefit WTAE’s Project Bundle-Up.
2. Fun A Day Pittsburgh: January 1-31
If you could create art every day, what would you make? This simple premise is the motivation behind the national Fun A Day movement. In other words: Do something fun every day, document it and exhibit it in an art show for all to see. Last year, artists recorded music, wrote haikus and made mosaics using foraged materials. Some artists work with their children, others create art based on imaginative themes, while others use the month to learn new skills. It all culminates with an art exhibit in February. No rules, no juries, no fees. And no excuses. January’s a gloomy month – why not have some fun?
3. Art Til 8 at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 2, 9, 16, 23& 30, 5-8 p.m.
Make a standing happy hour date at Carnegie Museum of Art on Thursday nights, where you can enjoy after-hours fun and half-priced admission. During the new series, the galleries will be activated by a rotating lineup of interactive art-making experiences, live entertainment and special artsy guests. Meet local makers in the CMOA Store, participate in art chats and docent-led tours and pop into open studio sessions on the Hall of Sculpture balcony. The Cafe Carnegie’s bar will be selling all your beverage and snack needs. Buy tickets.
4. Food Truck A Palooza at Monroeville Convention Center: January 4, 12-5 p.m.
Calling all street fare fans to the country’s only indoor food truck festival, where you can nosh on everything from savory crepes and filling falafel, to crispy taquitos and delicious dishes from Japan. The tasty showcase of Western Pennsylvania’s finest mobile restaurants will include 30 food trucks, along with an ice bar, beer and spirits, live global music, a vendor marketplace and hands-on activities. Buy tickets.
5. Downstairs at City Theatre: January 11-31, various times
City Theatre is ushering in a bold new decade with Broadway’s most produced female playwright. See what secrets are lurking in the basement when local favorites Martin Giles, Helena Ruoti and John Shepard star in this provocative play confronting “family secrets, regrets and the threat of madness in the search for the good life.” Penned by award-winning writer Theresa Rebeck, “Downstairs” follows the story of Eileen, whose brother Teddy decides to move into her basement. In the director’s seat for his first mainstage show since returning to run the company last year is City Theatre’s own Marc Masterson. Don’t miss the post-show panel discussion Jan. 26. Buy tickets.
6. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: January 13-19
What will 2020 taste like? Take a seat at the area’s hottest restaurants to savor fixed-price, multi-course meals showcasing “New Dishes For The New Year.” From Pittsburgh’s first Uzbek restaurant and the hip new Cinderlands Warehouse to Braddock dining outpost Superior Motors and Downtown’s chic fl.2 — this is your chance to see why our region’s culinary scene has garnered international acclaim. Savor breakfast, brunch and dinner specials, revisit old favorites and discover new surprises and spin the “Restaurant Week Roulette Wheel.” View a map and list of participating restaurants.
7. Matewan screening and Q&A with Will Oldham at Rangos Giant Cinema: January 17, 7 p.m.
Be the first to see the new 4K restoration of “Matewan” on Pittsburgh’s largest theater screen. John Sayles’ 1987 film dramatizes the true story of the Battle of Matewan – a deadly coal miners’ strike that rocked a small West Virginia town in 1920. The riveting film features Oscar-nominated cinematography by Haskell Wexler, a title track sung by bluegrass icon Hazel Dickens and an ensemble cast including James Earl Jones, Chris Cooper and Will Oldham. At the one-night-only screening, Oldham will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A. An accomplished singer-songwriter with 20-plus releases, Oldham is also participating in events at White Whale Bookstore and the Harris Theater. Buy tickets.