Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Jeremy
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Squirrel Hill is one of those Pittsburgh neighborhoods you can't help but love. It is primarily residential with tons of gorgeous houses and has two business streets that are among the most vibrant in the entire city.
We lived in Squirrel Hill for many years and enjoyed visiting the shops and eating at the plethora of restaurants that call this neighborhood home. To share some of our favorite places to hit during a visit, this guide was born!
It is worth noting that the following is not a collection of every business in Squirrel Hill. This article only features businesses that we personally visit when we explore the neighborhood. As such, it should only be taken as a starting point and is certainly not a list of every establishment.
If you see an interesting business while exploring Squirrel Hill, do yourself a favor and go inside!
Note: Squirrel HIll is a neighborhood whose businesses are often in flux. As such, businesses may change faster than we can keep up with. If you spot a place that has closed please contact us.
Squirrel Hill History and Map
The origin of the name Squirrel Hill is under dispute, but is likely due to the large number of squirrels that called the area home when it was first settled in the mid-1700s (and since we lived there for a while, we can attest there are still plenty around today, so we're going with this one).
The neighborhood grew in prominence over the generations that followed, with many of the city's most famous residents owning significant estates in the neighborhood well before Pittsburgh's urban sprawl made its way east.
Over time many of these estates were donated to the city, and significant portions became what we know as Schenley Park and Frick Park– two of the largest parks within the city limits.
Squirrel Hill is also home to a large Jewish population (which is reflective in the neighborhood businesses and restaurants) and is an education hub with Carnegie Mellon and Chatham Universities calling the neighborhood home (although some would argue that Carnegie Mellon is in Oakland due to its border with this neighborhood).
All of these come together to make Squirrel Hill a unique and thriving neighborhood that is a must visit when exploring Pittsburgh.
Squirrel Hill is located in the east of Pittsburgh and is made up of two neighborhoods- Squirrel Hill North and Squirrel Hill South. As most locals would consider these both as simply Squirrel Hill, we have combined them for this guide.
This would make the generally accepted boundaries of what we are calling Squirrel Hill as Fifth Avenue to the North, Carnegie Mellon and Schenley Park to the West*, Dallas Avenue and Frick Park to the East, and Saline Street/Nine Mile Run/the Monongahela River to the south.
The main business district in Squirrel Hill is found on Murray and Forbes Avenue, and the vast majority of businesses featured in this guide can be found on these two connecting streets (the remaining segments of the neighborhood are primarily residential).
All of the businesses featured below are included in the above map. To read our review or visit the shop's site, either click the link in the map above or in our post below when available!
Map pins used via Creative Commons by Maps Icons Collection
*According to the city, Carnegie Mellon and Schenley Park are technically part of Squirrel Hill, although most would consider them Oakland. For this guide, we are including Schenley Park for completion; however, we will discuss more about Carnegie Mellon in our Oakland guide.
Bars and Restaurants in Squirrel Hill
Squirrel Hill is home to one of the city's largest international food scenes, and although you can find a number of cuisine styles here, the most common are Asian or Jewish inspired- the latter being due to the fact that Squirrel Hill is home to one of the city's largest Jewish populations.
So whether you have a craving for a Reuben and some potato latkes, Malaysian laksa, Turkish kebabs, or even Tawainese soup dumplings, the neighborhood has something for everyone.
Although the following list is not a complete selection of restaurants in Squirrel Hill, it is a great starting place for visitors. To read more, click the link in the restaurant name which will either point to our review (when available) or the restaurant's website itself:
- Chengdu Gourmet – A Sichuan style restaurant that serves authentic, spicy Chinese food. Perfect for those who want to try the real thing!
- Coriander India Grill – Offering a wide spectrum of cuisine from all over India.
- Tan Lac Vien Vietnamese – Home to a number of specialities from Vietnam.
- Green Pepper – Squirrel Hill's premier Korean restaurantnt.
- Sichuan Gourmet – A second Sichuan style Chinese restaurant in Squirrel Hill, very similar to Chengdu Gourmet.
- Silk Elephant – A selection of Thai food as well as sushi and dumplings.
- Diners 2+1 – A delicious Japanese restaurant with a strong sushi menu.
- Kiin Lao and Thai Eatery – Food from Thailand and Laos in Squirrel Hill.
- Took Took 98 – Thai street food with a large menu.
- Turkish Kebab House – Home to an incredible assortment of kebabs and gyros.
- Ramen Bar – Focusing on the iconic Japanese noodle dish- ramen.
- Everyday Noodles – House-made noodles and dumplings at this Taiwanese establishment.
- How Lee Chinese – A large assortment of Chinese dishes- well known and not.
- Sakura Teppanyaki – Sushi and hibachi style entrees.
- Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33 – A large assortment of Taiwanese dishes.
- Jian's Kitchen – Chinese restaurant with a large menu and a strong focus on Northeastern China.
- African Cuisine – A Nigerian and West African restaurant with a huge menu.
- Pigeon Bagels – A former pop-up bagel company that now calls Squirrel Hill home. Some of Pittsburgh's best!
- Commonplace Coffee – One of Pittsburgh's newest coffee chains, and one of our personal favorites.
- Hidden Harbor – A tiki bar with impressive drinks and themed nights on weekdays.
- Independent Brewing Company – A local bar serving up many Pittsburgh and regional favorites, plus a spectacular international list you'll have a hard time finding anywhere else!
- Bull River Taco – A short order taco joint.
- Mineo's Pizza House – A local favorite pizza shop.
- Aiello's Pizza – A second local favorite pizza shop just a few doors down from Mineo's.
- Berry Fresh – Yogurt shop in Squirrel Hill (previously known as Razzy Fresh).
Shopping in Squirrel Hill
In addition to dining in Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood is home to a thriving shopping district that is found on Forbes and Murray Avenues.
Much like the restaurants featured above, the neighborhood has a high concentration of Asian and Jewish themed shops, as well as larger chains, boutique shops, and more- all within walking distance of each other.
Like the restaurants, the below list is not a complete collection, and is instead a listing of some of our favorite spots to get you started.
- Ten Thousand Villages – A fair trade artisan shop featuring decorations and artwork from around the world.
- Global Market Retail– A second import shop featuring beautiful pieces from around the globe.
- Paititi inti – An artisan shop featuring clothing, fabric, and other decorations from South America.
- Dobra Tea – Home to an incredible selection of loose-leaf tea
- Pink Box Bakery – Featuring international baked goods with a focus on Asian delights.
- Prantl's Bakery – Squirrel Hill location of the popular Pittsburgh bakery known for the burtn almond torte.
- The Chocolate Moose – Squirrel Hill's resident chocolate and candy store.
- Gaby et Jules – A French pastry shop focusing on macarons.
- Allegro Hearth Bakery – A corner Pittsburgh bakery known for their incredible bread selection.
- Five Points Artisan Bakeshop – A bakery at the edge of Squirrel Hill serving up breads and an array of baked goods!
- Murray Avenue Kosher – An affordably priced grocery store with a large focus on Jewish specialties.
- Panda Supermarket – A large Asian grocery store right on Forbes Avenue.
- Acoustic Music Works – All things musical instruments.
- Games Unlimited – Perhaps the largest board game store in the city.
- It's Dogg'n It – A massive beer cave with cases and mix-and-match to go.
- GreenLight Juice – Looking for a juice cleanse? This small shop will have what you need!
- Littles Shoes – One of the city's most iconic shoe stores, right in the heart of Squirrel Hill.
- Blue Monkey Tea – Tea lovers will do right by visiting this one for their vast assortment.
- Jerry's Records – One of the largest record stores in Pittsburgh- you'll get lost here!
Frick and Schenley Parks
Squirrel Hill is very fortunate to be home to not one, but two incredibly large city parks within its boundaries.
Frick Park was once part of the Frick family estate, and the estate still stands and is open to the public with daily home tours and public spaces available on the grounds.
The park itself is one of the largest parks in the city (and until a new addition in 2016, it was the largest) and is home to numerous hiking trails that go up and down the hills in a wooded environment- perfect for walkers and runners of all skill levels.
Schenley Park is a second beautiful city park in Squirrel Hill and offers numerous wooded trails as well as several grassy areas with gorgeous views of the Cathedral of Learning, and ample amenities such as playgrounds, disc golf course, a swimming pool, and more.
Information for Visiting Squirrel Hill
The most important thing we always tell visitors to Squirrel Hill is to be careful when driving. The neighborhood is not terribly congested outside of rush hour, but the lights are setup with odd timings and you almost always have pedestrians jay walking across the main roads.
As such, it is good to be vigilant when on the roads- especially when college is in session as this neighborhood is a hub for students.
Parking on Forbes and Murray is metered during the week and on Saturdays, and parking is free on Sundays. Most all of the side roads from there are residential, and parking can typically be found after circling the block a few times.
Much like everywhere else in the city, keep in mind that several of these streets (but not all) are permit parking with limited hours for free and street cleaning limitations may apply too.
Squirrel Hill in many ways is similar to the Strip District in that it is most vibrant during the day, despite the fact that many restaurants and bars are open well into the night (and even on Sundays).
So if you are struggling to find something to do in Pittsburgh on Sunday this one is always a reliable option.
Overall, Squirrel Hill is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, and is worth a visit time and time again to eat at a delicious restaurant, go shopping, take a walk in the incredible parks, or simply visit a new business you've never checked out before.
Hotels Near Squirrel Hill
When it comes to accommodation options in Squirrel Hill proper, your options are limited with the only hotel in the official boundaries being The Mansions at Maple Heights located just at the boundary of Squirrel Hill and Shadyside.
The main business district itself does not have any dedicated hotels; however, many apartment rentals have popped up within walking distance of all the action.
If you are looking to stay near Squirrel Hill during a visit, the neighborhoods of Oakland, Shadyside, East Liberty are nearby and have numerous hotel options available. East Liberty is home to the Ace Hotel and Hotel Indigo. Shadyside is home to the Shadyside Inn, Mansions on Fifth, and The Inn on Negley. Oakland is home to the Quality Inn University Center, Wyndham University Center, and Hilton Garden Inn University Place to name a few. Many of these are a short car or bus ride away from all of the action and Squirrel Hill, and can be a good Pittsburgh hotel option if you have this neighborhood high on your list during a visit.
Now that we’ve shared all of our favorite spots in the Squirrel Hill, it is your turn to head over and check it out for yourself! Find a spot we didn’t feature in this list that you love? Comment below to let us know about it!
Are you a local business in Squirrel Hill that would like to be featured in this guide? Please comment below or contact us!
Looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh? Click the previous link to check out some of our favorite spots!
Read Our Latest Squirrel Hill Posts
Check out our latest posts from Squirrel Hill at the following links:
8 thoughts on “A Shopping and Eating Guide to Squirrel Hill”
Grew up in Squirrel Hill in the 50s. Only remember Mineo’s and Littles shoes. Spent many a Friday night stopping for a hot dog on a heel and then the Manor for the movies. Our favorite pizza was Beto’s near the Forbes Field. Pizza and off to the game. In those day’s someone always had extra tickets they would gladly give and did. By the we hitched there. Yes you could get a ride then.
I’m looking for the place that sold William Winstein drawings I don’t know if it was in Squirrel Hill or Oakland or nearby
I think they have a place Ellsworth Ave close to the bridge ( a walking bridge ) that goes to Whole Foods ..
Worked at Waldorf Bakery till the day they closed in late 80’s. There will never be a bakery like it. Who remembers the waldorf special or dobosh torte cakes? This was the best bakery around and always packed with customers out the door.. have lots of memories about Squirrel Hill. Really cool place to see in Pittsburgh!!!
🤗Kathleen, I have been diligently searching the internet for the past year hoping to find the recipe for the cake “The Waldorf Special” from the Waldorf Bakery in Squirrel Hill….from the 1980s. I’ve tried to make things similar based on my memory but nothing does it. The only thing close is the Tres Leches from Whole Foods. Somebody anybody PLEASE DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THIS CAKE RECIPE?!!
grandparents lived on wightman st forever spent many weekends w/ them today at age 64 still remember the thill of finally being allowed to go “upstreet” alone to shop they always had an angel food cake from the waldorf waiting for me when grandfather took me upstreet he had to go to a special store (for a drink) and left me with the paperman which was ok then back to school shopping at newmans was a tradition even thoujgh we lived in churchill squirrel hill is a pit treasure
Check out T-swirl crepes. They have meal crepes, beef, chicken, fish, etc. in addition to the dessert ones. They are delicious.
Thank you for the memory. I thought only I remembered the Waldorf’s wonderful angel food cakes that my mother purchased in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry iced varieties. But everything they made was beyond delicious: their petits fours, tea cookies, baby lady locks, apricot Hungarian pastry. Waldorf was the best but the bakeries at Horne’s and Kaufmann’s were incredible too.
Lutz’s was good too but the Walforf was the best. Sweet memories, both literally and figuratively. Thanks for your memory.