Last Updated on June 15, 2021 by Jeremy
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When it comes to boutique shopping in Pittsburgh, it is really easy for us to simply direct you to the Strip District and (almost) call it a day. This neighborhood has so many specialty stores that you can find a great number of products all within a ~10-block shopping district.
That being said, leaving the shopping discussion to purely the Strip District would be doing you a disservice as there are many other boutique and specialty stores in the Pittsburgh area.
In this one, we wanted to share a few of our favorites all with one thing in common- none of these are located in the Strip District. So if you're looking for a store to go deep into a particular style or item, these are a few great places to start!
Note: We know that there are way more than the following in the metro area. As with everything on this site, we will add more great stores as we visit them!
Playthings Etc. is such a wonderful toy store. First and foremost because it is shaped like a stealth bomber. Second, it has an amazing collection of toys ranging from retro to modern, toddler to adults, to board games and electronics, and everything between. Suffice it to say, whether you want a doll or a drone, this one has something for you. But the best part about this particular store is that the employees are more than happy to open most every toy, show you how they work, and play with them!
With all that, it should be no surprise that this one brands itself as the world's coolest toy store. It just might be.
Playthings Etc. is located at 2483 William Flynn Highway in Butler, PA.
Chantal's Cheese Shop
Everyone needs a personal cheesemonger, and Anais from Chantal's Cheese Shop is ours. This one-room shop in Bloomfield may not look like much on the outside, but on the inside is home to one of the finest curated selections of cheese you'll find in Pittsburgh. Even better about this one is the ability to sample just about everything, and the team's willingness to cut cheese into smaller-than-standard sizes (so no 1/2 lb requirement here!).
One of our favorite parts about this one is the Little Bits Bin in the refrigerator in which little chunks of the cheeses can be found (as small as 1/10th a pound) for just a few dollars, and is really a great way to sample many premium cheese types without breaking the bank!
Chantal's Cheese Shop is located at 4402 Penn Avenue in Bloomfield.
Salty Pork Bits
Like many Pittsburghers, we were distraught when Justin Severino closed his acclaimed charcuterie restaurant, Cure. But missing his prized salami was only temporary as shortly thereafter he opened up Salty Pork Bits to sell all his wonderful products.
First the store started out as a subscription service (think charcuterie of the month club) and once the brick and mortar shop was ready opened for online orders with local pickup as well (first it was in the Strip District then moved to a larger space in Lawrenceville). So if you've been craving his Negroni, Fernet with Cured Lemon, Lamb Harissa, or Padron Pepper salamis (among many others), you can now place an order to pick up. And, take it from us, these go remarkably well with Chantal's Cheese- we always hit both to make a cheese and charcuterie board at home!
Salty Pork Bits is located at 5308 Butler Street in Lawrenceville. At the time of publishing they were online order with local pickup on select days, but this could change in the future.
Appalachian Rock Shop & Jewelry Emporium
If fine gemstones are something you like to shop for, a trip to Appalachian Rock Shop & Jewelry Emporium in Harmony is a must. This is a rather large store with all varieties of gems, rocks, stones, and more. Some of these are loose for display, like in the image above, and others are crafted into some really beautiful jewelry to wear.
While we are personally not collectors of this particular kind of item, we have to admit, their collection is impressive.
Appalachian Rock Shop and Jewelry Emporium is located at 508 Perry Highway in Harmony, PA.
After hitting up the rock shop, be sure to head just down the road to Baldinger's Candy Store. This shop boasts an impressive collection of candy in individual packages, in bulk containers sold by the pound, and even some retro candy that you may be hardpressed to find anywhere else. Suffice it to say, if you have a sweet tooth, this one will certainly have you making a few purchases when you visit.
Baldinger's also has non-edible candy products as well including a pretty robust section of cookie cutters and is also attached to a Mazza Vineyards storeroom as well!
Baldinger's Candy is located at 519 Perry Highway in Zelienople, PA.
Wildcard is one of our favorite stores in Lawrenceville, there is no doubt about that. While this one brands itself as a general gift shop (and indeed does have a wide array of items from books, to shirts, locally made/branded products, jewelry, and even unique gift wrap), one of the highlights of this one to us is their card wall. We've found some incredible gems at this one over the years, including some Pittsburgh themed ones as well!
While Pittsburgh is home to many, many record stores, one will stand out to you for its sheer size alone. That is Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill. This massive shop is said to have over 500,000 records in their collection, ranging from LP's to 45's, and more. We love perusing the collection here and just seeing what kind of offbeat and unusual records we can find, and over the years we have found some real gems.
If you are looking to pick up some new vinyl in the near future, or just want to check out the collection volume, take a trip to Jerry's next time you are in Squirrel Hill!
Toll Gate Revival
We are fortunate to have many antique stores in Pittsburgh, and to be honest, we love a number of them. But as far as specialty stores are concerned, Toll Gate Revival goes one step further in having products that are both vintage and high-end. We'll be the first to admit that their price tag is outside of our budget, but this is one store that we absolutely love to peruse for seeing their unique and unusual offerings.
Toll Gate Revival is located at 224 Braddock Avenue in Braddock, PA. This photo was taken at their former Lawrenceville location.
In a way, Artifacts is quite similar to Toll Gate Revival above. Their products are high-end, they have numerous vintage products, and also have been known to have many mounted game trophies as well. But where Toll Gate Revival may hit the vintage side of things, Artifacts skews towards the high end. So beyond all this you are able to find works of art, an impressive rug collection, and so much more.
To be honest, this one could just as easily be a museum as it is a store. The only difference is that everything here has a price tag on it!
Artifacts is located at 110 S Main Street in the West End.
We couldn't have a list of great specialty stores in Pittsburgh without having a few that focus on Pittsburgh products, and Commonwealth Press is one that we can't get enough of. This one offers an array of products including t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, koozies, cards, bananas, pins, and more, all with clever Pittsburgh slogans and designs on them.
If we had an unlimited budget and a big enough closet, our t-shirt collection would almost exclusively be comprised of CWP's Pittsburgh shirts. They're just that good.
Commonwealth Press has several stores around the city including 4707 Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield and 691 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.
Our final store featured in this one is the local shop love, Pittsburgh. This one does for all Pittsburgh products like Commonwealth Press does for clothes, and has an array of locally made goods. Some of these are Pittsburgh branded items (like shirts and cards) and others are products and gifts made from local artisans (local salts, soaps, tea, and so much more). Suffice it to say, if you're looking for a Pittsburgh gift that just screams the Steel City, a trip to love, Pittsburgh is a must.
Do you have a favorite specialty store in Pittsburgh? Comment below to let us know about it. We'll go check it out and perhaps include it in a future update of this guide!