Content by Cameron Reese
Nestled just to the East of Pittsburgh is the quaint neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. NextPittsburgh.com has called Squirrel Hill "one of Pittsburgh's most affluent and well-educated neighborhoods.". The great Myron Cope and Fred Rogers have called Squirrel Hill their home. Bordered by Shadyside, Point Breeze, Greenfield, and Oakland, Squirrel Hill is a hot spot for history, entertainment, and restaurants.
Photo courtesy of The Fred Rogers company
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Beautiful
Photo courtesy of discovertheburgh.com
Most likely names for the excess number of squirrels inhabiting the area, Squirrel Hill was fused into the Pittsburgh territory in 1868. Several of the first recorded houses built in Squirrel Hill still stand today. Situated in Schenley Park, some of these homes are open to the public for tours during the Vintage Grand Prix, which takes place in July. Throughout the years, Squirrel Hill has made great strides in connecting outside neighborhoods to the city. In 1953, the Parkway and Squirrel Hill Tunnel were opened, giving quicker and easier entry to Pittsburgh. Once Squirrel Hill became a major artery into the city, the neighborhood began to build up its cultural life.
According to city-data.com Squirrel Hill is a historically Jewish neighborhood, Squirrel Hill is known for advocating its Jewish heritage. Located in Squirrel Hill is the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Family and Children's Services of Pittsburgh. The Jewish Community Center is a member of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America and is "one of the largest social service, recreational and educational organizations in the region". The center has been around for more than 120 years and has priding itself on fortifying the "physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of individuals and families". The Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh is an independent organization rooted in helping people through life's ups and downs and challenges by providing "psychological, employment, and social services". Other non-profit organizations that can be found in Squirrel Hill that boost its historical culture is the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. Another quality of the neighborhood of Squirrel HIll that makes it so uniques is the abundance of parks.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Oxford Development Company
A Frick Park trail
Photo courtesy of www.frickpark.com
There are two main parks in Squirrel Hill, Schenley Park and Frick Park. Schenley Park was established in 1889 and is 456 acres. There are countless things to do in Schenley Park, including biking, hiking the trails, golfing, concerts, and summer outdoor movies! Annual events that take place in Schenley Park are the Vintage Grand Prix, a ten-daylong event for automotive enthusiasts that features vintage cars, and the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure. Also located in Schenley Park is the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which always makes for a fun weekend visit. To the east of Squirrel Hill is Frick Park. Frick Park opened in 1927 and is almost 600 acres. Frick Park consists of more extensive trails, clay tennis courts, and the only public lawn bowling green in the state of Pennsylvania! Recently Frick Park has been a part of the Nine Mile Run stream restoration. Nine Mile Run is an approximately 6.5 square mile watershed that is currently undergoing the largest urban stream restoration in the United States that is being completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. If these two beautiful parks aren't enough for you, then Chatham University has an amazing arboretum that originally belonged to Andrew Mellon. If nature does not peak your interest, don't worry, Squirrel Hill still has so much to offer!
Shopping and Dining
Squirrel Hill has plenty of diverse places to shop, you're sure to find that unique gift no one else could find or that splurge item you have saved up for. At Ten Thousand Villages, you will find items from all over the world. This fair-trade retail store sells handmade items and are trying to make a change in the global economy by impacting the lives of the artisans themselves. Then there is Contemporary Concepts, a family owned gift market that has over 40 years of experience. Their motto is "if you're looking for it, we carry it". From fine china, to personal items, to furniture, if you're looking for it, they really do have it! Finally, for the music-lover in you, there is Jerry's Records. Known as the world's largest all-vinyl record store, Jerry's just might be the place you find that rare album you have spent so much time searching for. Once you are worn out shopping, surely, you'll want a bite to eat.
Squirrel Hill is so big, there are just too many restaurants, coffee shops, and bars to list. Of these countless places, though, there are several worth mentioning. NU Modern Jewish Bistro is a weekend only brunch restaurant, where you pay one price to get in and experience traditional Jewish recipes in a whole NU way! If you like breakfast, but aren't sure if Jewish food agrees with your palate, check out Waffallonia. Waffallonia is an authentic Liege waffle station, where the sugar is imported from Belgium, and you can add toppings such as ice cream, fresh fruit, Belgium chocolate, or even Nutella. For coffee lovers, the Commonplace Coffeehouse is the place to be. At the Commonplace Coffeehouse, they roast their own coffee beans to feature custom coffee blends and classic espresso drinks. Or if it's just Friday night and you want a great brew, Independent Brewing Company may be the place for you. At Independent Brewing Company, you'll find locally brewed beer served to you in a tavern-like setting, with food and cocktails to offer as well. After you're done filling your stomach and satisfying your taste buds, there is one more place you need to check out if you are in Squirrel Hill, The Manor. The Manor is one of the oldest and best-known theaters in Pittsburgh. A historic theater with a twist, this cinema has been around for 90 year, but has newly updated the movie technology to keep up with the times. They offer upscale concessions that feature signature cocktails, wine, and beer! It will make your night out on the town one to remember.
The Manor Theater
Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures
Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Antwerp Waffle
Photo courtesy of Waffallonia
As you can see there is so much Squirrel Hill offers, it would be hard to choose what to do first. There is something for every person of every age in Squirrel Hill. So, spend a weekend getting to know this historic, culturally-filled neighborhood, where you are sure to have a good time no matter what your do!