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.