It’s officially the holiday season in Pittsburgh and we are celebrating by visiting many small businesses scattered throughout Downtown! Supporting small is something so important to us, especially with the hardships that many local businesses have, and continue to experience as the pandemic remains. Supporting local is always a fun way to meet small business owners, but this year there is an added bonus….the DOWNTOWN ELF HUNT!

So you’re thinking, what exactly is this? The Downtown Elf Hunt is a fun and exciting way to visit different shops in the city each week. Loosely based on the holiday tradition, “Elf on a Shelf,” this initiative encourages shoppers to pop into participating businesses and search for the festive elf! Once you discover the elves at each shop, you can scan the elf’s QR code for a chance to win exclusive prizes!

The Downtown Elf Hunt kicked off this year on Small Business Saturday with over 20 participating retailers. The elves are rehidden each week so you can go back to visit on Saturdays as new hunts commence! If you locate all of the elves each week, that’s 22 chances per week to win prizes. The dates for the remaining Downtown Elf Hunts are December 11th and 18th, so gather your crew and head out with your eyes peeled!

Weekly prizes include $500 in Downtown retail and restaurant gift cards, and trust us when we say these spots are good ones. Candy shops, clothing boutiques, and even specialty yinzer gift shops are among the 22 businesses participating. By finding the elf in each shop, you’ll receive an entry to the prize drawing, but that’s not all! If you make a purchase at any of these stores which meets a minimum dollar amount (varies by store), you will receive a MYSTERY GIFT CARD. When you head to the check out just be sure to mention you located the hidden elf and they will hook you up. These mystery gift cards range in value between $10 and $50 and can be used at many restaurants throughout the Downtown area! Be sure to arrive early each Saturday, because mystery gift cards are limited.

As if the perks of the Downtown Elf Hunt aren’t enough, several participating small businesses are also offering holiday specials! Shops include Inkwell at Oxford, Larrimor’s, and Steel City. At Inkwell at Oxford, you can score 20% off all Village Candles in stock on Saturdays while searching for their elf. Larrimor’s offers free gift wrapping with all purchases, taking your stunning shoe or clothing purchase over the top! Steel City is running weekly small business sales, so keep an eye out in-store and on their social media channels. Even subscribe to Steel City’s emailing list to never miss an announcement!

Whether you’re shopping for a niece, brother, coworker, or a friendly secret Santa, the participating businesses in the Downtown Elf Hunt offer a variety of options. Looking for a unique toy or game for a kiddo in your family? Head to S.W. Randall Toyes & Giftes! This specialty toy store stocks thousands of items from the coolest new Lego set to action figures to classic card games like Magic. And let’s be honest, it’s not just kids who love toys. If you’re looking to style yourself in the latest trends this holiday season, stop by one of the many boutiques on the list of participating businesses! There’s 306 Forbes, Boutique La Passerelle, Fresh Nostalgia, and more all carrying the most up-to-date trends for Christmas family photos or a New Year’s Eve party. Looking for a piece of jewelry for that special someone? Jewelers including Diamonds by Rothschild and Brooks Diamonds are both on the list.

Of course, any shopping day isn’t complete without a sweet treat pit-stop! This is where The Milkshake Factory and Kelly’s Sweets & Greets come in. Treat yourself to one of the limited-time shakes at The Milkshake Factory. Seasonal flavors include Candy Cane, Peppermint Cookies & Cream, and Hot Fudge Peppermint Brownie. If you’re more of a buy now, enjoy later person, you’re going to want to stock up on fine chocolates and holiday-themed treats from Kelly’s Sweets & Greets. You can’t go wrong with either of these tasty stops.

There’s no time to waste! With only TWO, that’s right, TWO Saturdays left until Christmas, it’s time to kick it into high gear when shopping! Be sure to bring friends and family with you to support the small businesses the Golden Triangle. Oh, and for an extra set of eyes to look for those hidden elves, too!!

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Francesca Ferrante

Francesca Ferrante aka The412Franimal is a Blogger/Influencer for travel and ALL things Pittsburgh. Typically you can find her all over the US exploring the best food, views and adult beverages, or at a local PGH brewery watching whatever sport is in season. Passionate about helping others make the best memories, she loves sharing recommendations and tips for restaurants, events, happy hours & more!

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