Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Squirrel Hill, a photo essay

While the college I attended was technically in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, it was in adjacent Squirrel Hill where I spent most of my free time. Squirrel Hill was easier to get to (well, there were no hills involved and one of Pittsburgh’s nicknames is the “city of hills”) and it also had everything my arts loving, book nerd self could possibly want-a Barnes and Noble bookstore (sadly, this is no longer there) and a movie theater that actually showed indie and foreign films (these types of theaters in Pittsburgh are a rarity). So for someone without a car who could walk to a bookstore, movie theater, supermarket, and more-it was just the perfect neighborhood to be so near to.

Squirrel Hill is primarily a residential neighborhood but Murray and Forbes Avenues are replete with a slew of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The area is very much an ethnic melting pot-walking down its streets you will hear many different languages being spoken and its food offerings also reflect this. Everything from Malaysian to Mexican to Thai to Mediterranean to even a French patisserie can be found here. It’s also home to the city’s largest Jewish population which began in the 1920s when Jewish residents moved there from other Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Kosher butcher shops, delicatessens, Jewish day schools, and synagogues can all be found here. If you’re in Squirrel Hill on a Saturday, you will see scores of Orthodox Jews out and about walking on the Sabbath.

To me, Squirrel Hill is just a mesh of everything which is one of the things I like most about it.


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More like this!

Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Bloomfield, a photo essay

Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Shadyside, a photo essay

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  • Reply
    Jo Ann M. (@JoAnn0924)
    June 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I always enjoy your blogs about neighborhoods! Squirrel Hill is such an unusual name. Do you know where it came from?

    Beautiful architectural details in this post! I especially liked the Shaare Torah sculptural relief and the blue and white arch.

    We don’t have any bookstores in my neighborhood anymore and the closest theater that shows foreign films isn’t close by.

    Always love seeing the colorful macaroons!

    • Reply
      June 21, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Walking through a neighborhood and snapping away with the camera is always a great way to show it off to outsiders 🙂 I’m not quite sure about its origins but I think it had to do with it being nothing but an area of fields (and hills) at one time.

      The one synagogue is truly quite lovely (the one that dates from the end of the 19th century). I would love to see the inside sometime. And yes, the macarons are fantastic-both taste wise and appearance wise!

  • Reply
    How to make your own macarons - The Red Headed Traveler
    March 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    […] Later on, a French patisserie opened up (Gaby et Jules) in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Squirrel Hill, and just about every time I’m in the area, I always stop by and pick up a macaron […]

  • Reply
    Restaurant Review: Curry on Murray (Pittsburgh) - The Red Headed Traveler
    May 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

    […] of the ethnic eateries found in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood (a very ethnically diverse locale) are cute but extremely small, nothing fancy to […]

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