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Fun Things to Do in Squirrel Hill

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor! Although the city officially divides the area into two neighborhoods–Squirrel Hill North and Squirrel Hill South–it’s commonly referred to as one single neighborhood.

Its unique name is likely to have come from the large quantities of gray squirrels in the area, but others suggest it may have been dubbed by the Native Americans who originally lived in the region. 

The first recorded house was built in 1760 by a soldier station at Fort Pitt. The second house was erected during the same decade and still stands today on Overlook Drive. The third, and arguably most recognized, house was constructed by Robert Neill. The Neill Log House still stands today in what is present-day Schenley Park (boarding Oakland).

The neighborhood is proudly home to Pittsburgh‘s largest Jewish population and stands as the epicenter for Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University.

Additionally, the area serves as the birthplace for some of Pittsburgh’s finest including Mac Miller and Myron Cope. Although born in Latrobe, Fred Rogers eventually resided in Squirrel Hill.

Stuff to Do in Squirrel Hill

The main gathering space of Squirrel Hill is located on Murray Avenue and Forbes Avenue. Known as “upstreet” (a Pittsburghese contraction of up-the-street), these two streets host numerous bars, restaurants, and entertainment establishments. 

Entertainment

The Manor Theatre

The Manor Theatre opened in the 1930s. Featuring historic architectural details, the theatre gives current viewers a small taste of what it felt like to attend a movie during the silent film era. As of 2011, it’s the only neighborhood theatre still operational in Squirrel Hill.  

The Waterfront

Although technically not located in Squirrel Hill, The Waterfront is just a short 15-minute drive from Murray Ave. The open-air shopping mall sits on land once occupied by U.S. Steel’s Homestead Steel Works. The open-hearth stacks from the steel plant are still erect to pay homage to the industry.

Food & Drink

From traditional American cuisine to an array of international and kosher options, Squirrel Hill provides numerous choices for its residents!

Highlighted by the beloved Murray Avenue Kosher store, the business district of Squirrel Hill is sure to provide delicious delights to even the pickiest of eaters!  

📷 Commonplace Coffee

Commonplace Coffee

Commonplace Coffee officially opened its Squirrel Hill location in 2010. Commonplace is on a mission to be a “solid ground” for their patrons–as Walt Whitman’s namesake poem states.

With a staff comprised of caring people and coffee enthusiasts, Commonplace is committed to providing a space for growth and optimistic experiences. Over the years, they have established an environment where baristas can serve you coffee and also tell you about a cool event happening later that week. 

The best part is, if you can’t make it to the coffee shop that day, Commonplace Coffee offers wholesale coffee, equipment and more! So you can make your favorites right at home.

Pamela's Diner

Pamela’s Diner is a ‘Burgh treasure. Opening in 1979, the breakfast place is known for its famous crepe-style pancakes. If you decide to stop by for some grub, make sure to bring cash because they don’t accept cards! 

Waffallonia

Waffallonia, is it dessert or breakfast? Why not both! This eatery serves locals with Belgium Liège sugar waffles. What makes this place better is their undoubted dedication to the environment! Check their full list of sustainability efforts here

Mineo's Pizza House

After coming to America in 1955, John Mineo opened his storefront in 1958. Three generations later and Mineo’s Pizza House is still proudly serving Squirrel Hill.

Biting into this pizza is an unreal experience; the dough is made from scratch, the sauce is sourced from Italy’s finest tomatoes and the signature cheeses are hand grated daily. 

Aiello's Pizza

April 5th, 1978. The day Mr. Giueseppe “Joe” Aiello opened his pizza shop, henceforth starting the rivalry of who has the best pie on Murray Ave. Just TWO storefronts separate these beloved pizza shops and locals definitely have their favorite. 

Aiello’s serves a homemade thick, red sauce on freshly kneaded dough. According to their website, “toppings are melted in a traditional Italian fashion, fusing the ingredients into one iconic taste.”

Gluuteny

We all have a sweet tooth and Gluuteny will cater to that! They serve up fresh, handmade delicious treats that are free of gluten and dairy.

They also offer vegan and soy-free options! 

Hidden Harbor

Who doesn’t love a taste of the tropics–especially during the winter! Hidden Harbor serves the cutest tropical cocktails and Caribbean bar food.

More Food & Drink

Coriander India Grill | Offers an array of Indian cuisine.

Chengdu Gourmet | Outstanding Chinese food that offers dine-in, takeout and delivery.

Sichuan Gourmet | Authentic Sichuan-Chinese cuisine.

Everyday Noodles – Taiwanese restaurant that serves homemade dishes.

Murray Avenue Grill | Casual comfort food since 1986.

Independent Brewing Company | Serves independently-owned breweries, primarily from Pittsburgh-based companies.

Bull River Taco | Freshly made and high-quality tacos!

Berry Fresh | Who doesn’t love some frozen yogurt?

Parks

📷 Patrick Robert

Schenley and Frick Parks

Squirrel Hill sits in the center of two beautiful city parks. Schenley Park offers gorgeous views of Phipps Conservatory and the Cathedral of Learning. It also offers 465 acres of wooded trails, playgrounds, and other attractions. It’s the go-to destination for many university students, especially Flagstaff Hill. It also serves as the host for the annual Vintage Grand Prix

Frick Park is a whopping 644 acres of hiking trails, tennis courts, baseball fields, and more. In the summer, children of all ages head to Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park playground and learn about nature at the Environmental Center

Shopping

Dobra Tea | Offers an array of tea leaves sourced directly from tea farmers.

The Chocolate Moose | Serving gourmet chocolate and candy to Squirrel Hill for over 20 years.

Jerry’s Records | Music just sounds better on vinyl.

Games Unlimited | Nothing but wall-to-wall board games!

Global Market Retail | Features beautiful, imported pieces from around the world. 

Of course, we cannot possibly fit all of the fun things to do in Squirrel Hill in this blog but this is a good start!

Now that you know some of the wonderful things the neighborhood has to offer, you can start planning your next visit! If you have any questions, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram!

Plus download the UNATION app for more exciting things to do in Pittsburgh

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Britta Moletz

Britta Moletz

Britta is a City Manager for UNATION and author for the Stuff to Do in Pittsburgh Blog. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Pittsburgh area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinPittsburgh on Instagram and Facebook.

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