To be notified when tickets are available for the 2014 Christmas tour or other Allegheny West Civic Council events please sign up for our mailing list here.
Our tour features restored Victorian homes plus the historic Calvary United Methodist Church, famous for its beautiful Louis Tiffany stained glass windows, all decorated to celebrate a Nineteenth Century Christmas.
These personally guided tours afford a rare opportunity to glimpse a by-gone era and experience the warmth of the season in a truly old-fashioned style. Most homes in Allegheny West are over 100 years old and Victorian in architectural style. Lavishly decorated for the holidays, they recall the late 19th Century birth of the traditional American Christmas: elaborately decorated mantels, towering Christmas trees and pine, holly and mistletoe on stairs and chandeliers. This unique tour is part of Rick Sebak’s Emmy Award® winning documentary, Happy Holidays in Pittsburgh, showcasing the finest holiday celebrations in Western Pennsylvania and is featured in the best selling international travel guide “1000 Places to See in the U.S and Canada Before You Die”.
At the end of your tour, you can visit one of the world’s largest toy train museums-a private collection of hundreds of colorful train sets from the early 20th century; many of them rolling through enchanting miniature villages. There is an additional charge for the train museum. Returning this year, we have the DVD – Tinplate Legends in Action 3, a virtual tour of the train museum, available for purchase.
Tour guides will explain Victorian holiday traditions, provide the history of Allegheny West and its famous Nineteenth Century residents and discuss the individual homes as they are visited.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I purchase tickets?
We do not mail out tickets; you will receive an email confirmation. Tour time availability for mail orders is not guaranteed until you receive a confirmation. The day of the tour you will check in under the name of the person who ordered the tickets. We are unable to accept any reservations by phone.
To be notified when online tickets go on sale for future tours, please sign up for our mailing list here.
2. How do I get there and where do I park?
Allegheny West is located just west of the Aviary and West Park and north of the stadiums on Pittsburgh’s Near North Side. Free parking is available in the specially designated CCAC parking lot on Ridge Avenue with the entrance between Galveston and Allegheny Avenues. This parking lot is at the end of the tour; please allow 10 minutes to walk from this parking lot to Calvary Church, at the corner of Allegheny and Beech Aves. There is no parking available at the church.
For GPS, use 954 Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. This location is directly across from the on-ramp to the Ft. Duquesne bridge. It is the parking lot between the Subway Sandwich Shop and Graybar.
This is a map of the tour locations, including the parking lot, the church and the train museum.
Printable Directions (Download the file from the file menu, or click on the “Print” icon below the View menu).
3. Can I purchase tickets at the door?
4. If I registered in advance what do I need to bring with me?
We no longer send out tickets. You should check in under the name of the person who purchased the tickets. If you are able to, please print out the email confirmation you received, but it is not required. If you did not receive an email receipt, there’s a possibility that your transaction was not completed correctly. Please call (412) 418-2027 if you have questions about your reservation.
5. Can I just visit the Toy Train Museum?
Yes. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased either through Showclix or at the Museum at 719 Brighton Ave. The hours for viewing the trains are:
- Friday: 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 12:30 pm to 9:00 p.m.
The train museum is only open to the public once a year during the this Tour.
6. Is the train museum included in the other tours?
There is an additional $10 charge for the train museum which you can pay in advance or at the museum, which is located in the last house on the tour. The Toy Train Museum at Holmes Hall will close at 9:00 pm on Saturday (although the house will still be open for the tour.) If you have tickets for Saturday tours leaving Calvary Church after 6:00 pm or the Dinner Tour, the Toy Train Museum will be closed before your group arrives at Holmes Hall. Plan ahead and make sure you visit the trains before your tour. Allow at least one hour or more to see the trains and arrive at Calvary Church in time for your tour.
7. Is the tour suitable for children?
The tour is not especially well suited for younger children (under 12) although obviously you know your children and what they would enjoy. The tour involves a fair amount of walking outside on guided tours with other groups of adults, which in our experience, isn’t flexible enough for younger children. It is possible to purchase just Train Museum tickets as well.
8. How long does the tour take?
You should allow about 3 hours for the tour. The houses on the tour are spread over three blocks. You will be walking the entire time. This does not include the optional Toy Train Museum at the end of the tour.
9. Can I take photos?
Unless a homeowner asks you not to, photographs are fine on the tour. The tours are on a tight schedule so please don’t get separated from your group while taking photos.
10. Are the same houses on the tour this year as last year?
One of the houses, Holmes Hall with the toy trains, is always on the tour. We vary the other houses as much as possible.
11. What if there is bad weather?
All tours will take place as scheduled and will not be canceled for weather related reasons. This is Pittsburgh and bad weather is part of the charm.
12. Is there a place to grab a quick bite to eat before or after the tour?
Food is usually available at Calvary Church for purchase. Typical food selections include: roast beef sandwiches, hot dogs, chili, cakes, cookies, coffee, tea, soda, hot chocolate and cider. More information about local restaurants can be found here. Please be sure to check their business hours.
13. What is included in the Brunch, Lunch and Dinner Tours?
These are special tours that include a brunch, lunch or dinner tour hosted in another special house in the neighborhood. These groups will meet at the church, and will be escorted to the brunch. Brunch and Lunch groups will eat first and then take the tour. Guests on the Dinner tour will start with the 3:36 pm tour and then will have dinner around 6:00 pm.
14. Is there a Holiday Shop this year?
This year The Holiday Shop will be at Calvary Church. Vendors will be selling antiques, collectibles, and holiday gift items. We encourage you to come early and allow time for shopping before you take the tour.
To be notified of future Allegheny West Civic Council events including the next summer wine tour please sign up for our mailing list here.
Click here to purchase tickets online.