Oakland is a bustling college neighborhood on the eastern side of Pittsburgh, home to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The surrounding area is made up of several distinct (and quieter) neighborhoods, including the pleasant districts of Squirrel Hill and Shadyside.
The primary attraction here for visitors and residents alike is the neighborhood of Oakland, home to Pittsburgh's two major universities and several major museums. Once the edge of the city, Andrew Carnegie set it up to be a cultural center with the founding of the Carnegie museums and libraries. The neighborhood continued to grow as Pittsburgh's cultural center with the growth of universities in the area, most notably the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon. Today, the area is full of ethnic diversity, students, and others seeking out culture.
East of Oakland are many smaller neighborhoods which are mostly residential, but some possess business districts and attractions of their own, just at a more laid-back pace than Oakland. Many of these neighborhoods are well-kept, with an educated professional populace and stately homes in good condition. Squirrel Hill, wedged between Frick and Schenley Parks, is one such neighborhood with plenty of lovely homes, shopping, and good ethnic restaurants. While the proximity to several major colleges makes the community a diverse one, the general ethnic identity of the neighborhood is Jewish. During various religious holidays and weekly periods of worship, the prevalence of the culture is obvious. Shadyside, just outside of Oakland, is well known in the city for its shopping. Walnut Street, the core of Shadyside's shopping district, offers a bustling atmosphere of boutiques, shops, lounges, and restaurants designed to suit the discriminating tastes of residents and visitors. Other neighborhoods in the region include Point Breeze, Regent Square, and several others.
The area is directly accessible via the Parkway East (I-376). The interchange on the west end of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel leads you onto Forward Avenue, which takes you directly into Squirrel Hill. From the same exit, you can also head into neighboring Greenfield via Beechwood Blvd. and take the Greenfield Bridge into Schenley Park. The other interchange of note leads into Oakland, although the entry point is different depending on which direction you are travelling. Heading outbound from Downtown, one can exit directly onto Forbes Avenue into the heart of Oakland. Heading inbound, however, the exit will put you on Bates Street (Route 885 North) which leads up to the Boulevard of the Allies.
From Downtown, primary streets you can take to get into the district are the Boulevard of the Allies, Forbes Avenue (one-way west), Centre Avenue, or Bigelow Boulevard. Fifth Avenue runs parallel to Forbes Avenue, but is a one-way street westbound (towards Downtown) between Oakland and Downtown. On the east side of Oakland it is a two-way street and one of the primary routes used to reach Shadyside.
The Port Authority has several bus routes heading east from downtown through Oakland, making it a very convenient place to take public transit to. Any of the 61, 67 and 71 routes take you from downtown right into to the center of Oakland, and its only a 15-minute bus ride from downtown. The P3 takes the East Busway from Wilkinsburg directly to Oakland and back. The Airport Flyer 28X goes from the airport through downtown to Oakland. The 54 is a good north-south route through Oakland, taking you to South Side and the Strip District. Many other bus routes also pass through Oakland.
There are several buses routes that run through Shadyside, principally along Fifth Avenue, Ellsworth Avenue, and Centre Avenue. The 71B, 71D, and East Busway routes are all prominent routes that pass through Shadyside. For Squirrel Hill, any of the 61 routes will work fine.
Oakland is heavily congested, especially during school hours, as many are traveling here to either attend class or work at one of the many universities in the area. This is further complicated by a number of one-way streets: 5th Avenue is westbound only through most of Oakland, whereas Forbes is mostly eastbound. Parking can also be fairly difficult to find, unless you're willing to park in a garage. Most of the attractions and restaurants in Oakland are within walking distance of each other, so footing it is usually easiest.
Getting to other neighborhoods can (usually) be done easily by car. Squirrel Hill usually has ample surface parking, while in Shadyside it can be a hassle. Shadyside does have a parking garage, but of course it is more expensive.
If driving is not an option, not to worry- this area is one of the areas of Pittsburgh best served by bus.
- Chatham University Arboretum, Chatham University (just south of 5th Ave on Woodland Rd, in North Squirrel Hill). Free. Estate of the Mellon family, landscaped in part by the Olmsted Brothers (who landscaped Boston Common and New York's Central Park) with many different flowering trees - now part of the grounds of Chatham University.
- Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St, ☎ +1 412 371-0600. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. A complex of museums and historic buildings including: Clayton (the home of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick), the Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, and the Greenhouse. The grounds, museums, and greenhouse are free, tours of Clayton are $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children.
- Frick Park, to the east of Squirrel Hill. A wonderful wooded park (and Pittsburgh's largest) with a network of trails ideal for walking the dog or bicycling. There are several entrances to the park, the main ones being at Reynolds St and Homewood Ave (across the street from the Frick Art & Historical Center) at the north end of the park, Beechwood Blvd just south of Forbes Ave and at Nicholson St on the west side of the park, and at Forbes and Braddock Avenues on the east side of the park. From any of the entrances you'll head down shady, wooded slopes to a small valley which runs south to the Nine Mile Run Watershed, where a small stream flows into the Monongahela River. The Frick Environmental Center, off of Beechwood Blvd just south of Forbes Avenue, hosts nature programs for children and has a small pond and a woodland area for wildlife viewing. There is also a pair of excellent playgrounds in the park, one at Beechwood Blvd and Nicholson St and the other at Forbes and Braddock Avenues, along with softball fields and tennis courts.
- Homewood Cemetery, 1599 S Dallas Ave (north of Frick Park), ☎ +1 412 421-1822. A large cemetery founded in the mid 1800's. While not a tourist attraction like the old cemeteries of New Orleans or Paris, Homewood houses many ornate mausoleums, statues and memorial edifices.
- Pittsburgh Center For the Arts, 6300 5th Ave, ☎ +1 412 361-0873.
- Rodef Shalom Synagogue, 4905 5th Ave, Oakland, ☎ +1 412 621-6566. A biblical-themed garden.
- Roslyn Place, off of Ellsworth Ave just east of Aiken Ave, Shadyside. Turn of the century wood paved street built in 1914, lined with restored houses.
- Schenley Park. A 456-acre park that is a haven for exercisers, sunbathers, and anyone who appreciates beautiful green space. On Sunday and Wednesday nights during the summer, a free movie is shown on Flagstaff Hill in the park, next to the Carnegie Mellon campus. There is a network of trails running through the park, a couple of which run to Panther Hollow Lake, a small lake just south of Phipps Conservatory. A trail runs to the lake from the park visitor center across the street from the conservatory. There's also several playgrounds, a skating rink, a 400-meter track, a swimming pool, several playing fields, 13 tennis courts, an 18-hole disc golf course, and the public, 18-hole Bob O'Connor Golf Course.
- Phipps Conservatory, 1 Schenley Dr, Oakland, ☎ +1 412 622-6914. Sa-Th 9:30AM-5PM, F 9:30AM-10PM. A Victorian glass conservatory with gorgeous indoor and outdoor floral and botanical displays. Dating to 1893, expansion through the years has resulted in 14 indoor rooms and several outdoor gardens, each with unique garden designs and excellent assortments of plants. There's also quite a bit of colorful sculpture throughout, including multiple pieces by Dale Chihuly, that help to decorate the already lush indoor displays. Recent renovations are designed to make Phipps one of the greenest buildings in the world. $15 adults, $14 seniors/students, $11 children, children under 2 free.
- Schenley Plaza (across from the Cathedral of Learning and between the Carnegie Library and Hillman Library). A five acre plaza features features a restaurant, food kiosks, a tent, regular events, free wi-fi internet access, and the PNC Carousel.
- Schenley High School, 4101 Bigelow Blvd. A historic high school built in 1916 and noted for its unique triangular shape. The school is a on the National Registry of Historic Places and was the first school in the United States to cost more than a million dollars to construct.
- Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, 4141 5th Ave, Oakland (across the 5th Avenue from the University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Union near the Cathedral of Learning), ☎ +1 412 621-4253. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Housed in a historic Beaux-Arts temple inspired by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the museum explores the evolution of equipment and technology as well as the effects that military conflicts have had on society, honoring and educating about the sacrifices made during wartime. $10 adults, $5 seniors/children, active military/veterans/children 5 and under free; family of military serving in a current conflict free.
- Warhola House, 3252 Dawson St. This is the home where Andy Warhol lived for 15 years with his family, and where he developed much of his interest in the art that would later make him famous. The house was purchased by the Warhola Family in 2005 after decades of ownership by various other tenants. Since its purchase, it has undergone continuous restoration in order to preserve it as a historic site.
A large complex along Forbes Avenue between Craig Street and Schenley Plaza holds the Carnegie Museums as well as the Main Carnegie Library and a music hall.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main. Andrew Carnegie funded 2,507 libraries all over the world. Today, his libraries here in Pittsburgh comprise the city's public library system. Newly renovated and welcoming, the Oakland branch is Pittsburgh's central library, with vast collections of not only printed matter, but also music, film, photographs, and more.
Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History
Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 622-3131. M-W, F-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM (closed Tu Labor Day-Memorial Day). Museum of Art. Museum of Natural History. $19.95 adults, $14.95 seniors, $11.95 students/children/teens, children under 3 free (admission includes entry to both museums).
A main attraction in Oakland and a highlight for any visit to Pittsburgh, these two museums sit in different wings of the same building, but blend together well and have a wealth of treasures.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has extensive exhibits covering the fields of paleontology, geology, mineralogy, and biology. Naturally, the highlight exhibits are the dinosaur halls on the first floor, which make up one of the best dinosaur skeleton collections in the world, thanks in large part to Andrew Carnegie's funding of scientific field work just as knowledge of dinosaurs became known to the world. Among the many specimens on display are complete skeletons of Diplodocus, Camarasaurus, and the most complete Apatosaurus skeleton in the world. These, along with the museum's Tyrannosaurus Rex, are all the original holotypes - the skeletons used to determine how each species lived. Other fossils include Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Allosaurus, and sea dinosaurs, along with other rare fossils. The museum has recently acquired a currently unnamed species of Oviraptorosaurus, which will be used as a holotype for this species.
Also on the first floor is the excellent Hall of Minerals and Gems, where you'll see many exquisite and beautiful specimens, as well as a hall of fine jewelry. On the second floor, there are rooms full of habitat dioramas with North American and African animals, such as lions, zebras, polar bears, and many others. Of particular interest is a diorama of two lions attacking a man on a camel, a memorable display which predates the museum itself. The third floor has some changing exhibits as well as some interesting anthropological exhibits, with halls dedicated to ancient Egypt, the people of the Arctic, and Native Americans.
Not to be outdone by the Natural History Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art is a world-class exhibit space with a permanent collection of paintings that include Rembrandts, Van Goghs, Cezannes, Picassos and many more. In addition it hosts temporary exhibits from other museums all over the world and funds the Carnegie International, a biennial staging of "the most important and prestigious international survey of contemporary art in North America." Most of the exhibit spaces are on the second floor, but on the first floor are the Halls of Sculpture and Architecture, which showcase other interesting works, both contemporary and classical.
The main campus of the University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as "Pitt", comprises approximately 132 urban acres (0.53 km2), much of which is located in Schenley Farms-Oakland Civic Center National Historic District. The university's centerpiece is the 42-story Cathedral of Learning, the second tallest university building in the world, which serves as obvious landmark for the explorer of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, no matter where one is located. Pitt's campus has been has been termed "a theme park of replica buildings", and contains an eclectic mix of architecture that includes Greek revival, Neogothic, Italian Renaissance, Brutalist, and modern. Many of the University of Pittsburgh buildings are accessible to the public and are within short walking distance of each other. Scattered throughout the campus are many noted works by master blacksmith Samuel Yellin, stained glass artist Charles Connick, sculptor Tony Smith, and sculptor and enamelist Virgil Cantini. The campus is also adjacent to the major attractions in the Carnegie Museum complex and Schenley Park.
- Cathedral of Learning, between 5th Avenue, Bigelow Blvd, Bellefield Avenue, and Forbes Ave. The 42-story Charles Klauder designed Gothic Revival skyscraper, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, serves as the symbolic and physical heart of the University of Pittsburgh. Construction began in 1926 and took a decade to complete. Visible from almost anywhere in Pittsburgh, it is the tallest school building in the Western hemisphere, and has been described as the "culmination" of Late Gothic Revival architecture. While impressive on the outside, it can be even more spectacular on the inside. On the first and third floors, surrounding its immense Gothic-style Commons Room, are the 29 Nationality Rooms. These working classrooms are each designed, constructed, and decorated in the characteristic style of 29 different cultures which represent the diverse population of Pittsburgh. A self-guided tour of the Nationality Rooms is available for a small fee ($4 for adults, $2 for youth; +1 412 624-6000, M-Sa 9AM-4PM (last tour 2:30PM), Su 11AM-4PM (last tour 2:30PM), audiotape tours only on weekends), while guided tours can be reserved in advance that give in-depth explanations of each room and can allow access to areas normally inaccessible to the public, like the historic Croghan-Schenley Ballroom and Early American Room. The Nationality Rooms on the 3rd floor are sometimes freely open to explore, depending on time and class schedule. Much of the upper floors of the Cathedral are composed of offices and other university facilities, however a trip to the Honors College on the 35th and 36th floors, accessible by most of the elevators, provides marvelous views of the city. Entry is free.
- Heinz Memorial Chapel, ☎ +1 412 624-4157. M-Th 8:30AM-5PM, F 8:30AM-3:15PM, Sa weddings scheduled, Su noon-5PM. Located on the grounds of the Cathedral of Learning, this chapel was built with funds left to the school by H.J. Heinz (of ketchup fame). The French Gothic Revival nondenominational chapel features 23 amazing stained-glass windows by Charles J. Connick, the largest single collection of his work. The windows total approximately 4,000 square feet (370 m2) and contain nearly 250,000 pieces of glass with 391 identifiable people from religion, history, science and the humanities, and the transept windows are reputedly the world's tallest such windows. Free tours may allow one sample the acoustics of the 3,770 pipe organ, and concerts and recitals are typically held on Sundays. See the website for calendar. Free.
- Stephen Foster Memorial, ☎ +1 412 624-4100. M-F 9AM-4PM. Serves as a memorial, museum, and archive of the works of American folk songwriter Stephen C. Foster ("Oh! Susanna", "My Old Kentucky Home"). The Gothic Revival building also houses the two primary theaters for the university's Department of Theatre Arts. A schedule of shows is available on their website. Admission is free and guided tours are available for a small fee when reserved in advance ($5 adults, $2.50 seniors and children).
- Forbes Field, though it no longer stands, you can visit what remains of the former home of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1909–1970). Inside Pitt's brutalist-styled Posvar Hall, open to the public, you can see the old home plate in a glass case embedded in the floor near its original location. Of note, and hanging nearby on the ground floor of Posvar Hall, is one of two surviving Langley Aerodromes, Aerodrome No. 6, which in 1896 became one of the first heavier-than-air powered craft capable of sustained flight. Outside and just south of the building, you can see what remains of the left field wall and the stadium's flagpole, a replica of one of the stadium's gates and ticket windows, as well as a marker where Bill Mazeroski hit the 1960 World Series winning walk-off home run against the Yankees. Every year in October, Pirates faithful will come out to the wall to listen to a recording of the game.
- Frick Fine Arts Building was designed to reflect an Italian Renaissance villa and contains in its cloister a large collection of scale reproductions by Russian artist Nicholas Lochoff of 15th-century Italian Renaissance masterpieces, considered to be among the best copies in the world. The building is open to public and free to explore. It is also home to the University Art Gallery, which contains rotating exhibits and is free to the public. (M-F 10AM-4PM; +1 412 648-2423) There are also several sculptures on the grounds around the building, including the popular photo spot of the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, titled A Song to Nature, by Victor David Brenner.
- William Pitt Union, originally the historic Schenley Hotel, is a 1898 beaux-arts building that was Pittsburgh's premier luxury hotel in its day. As a hotel, it hosted many dignitaries including four Presidents of the United States, a slew of Hollywood celebrities such as Lillian Russell and Katharine Hepburn, along with many of the visiting baseball teams that played across the street at Forbes Field. The turn-of-the-century grandeur of the main floor lobbies and ballrooms have been restored by the university and can be freely accessed by the public. In addition, the Union serves as the home to the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame as well as the small Conney M. Kimbo Art Gallery. The Millennium Panther statue outside the building serves as a popular photo spot.
- Alumni Hall, freely accessible to the public, is a restored former Masonic Greek Revival temple completed by Benno Janssen in 1915. The facility contains many of its original elements, the University's Legacy Gallery of electronic kiosks in its lobby, a gallery of portraits of the university chancellors stretching back 200 years on the Connolly Ballroom's balcony, and an exhibit of “365 Views of the Cathedral of Learning” by renowned Spanish artist Felix de la Concha on the 7th floor.
- Salk Hall, now the home of the schools of pharmacy and dental medicine, is an Art Deco building on the upper campus that was home to Jonas Salk's lab which produced the world's first polio vaccine, considered to be one of the most significant accomplishments in medical history. The building contains two small museums, the Dental Museum, on the first floor of Salk Hall's reception area, as well as the Pharmacy Museum, located on the fourth floor. Tours can be arranged (Pharmacy Museum: +1 412 647-8494, 8AM-6PM; Dental Museum +1 412 383-7544).
- Petersen Events Center, ☎ +1 412 648-3078. Is the campus' basketball and concert venue. On non-event days, the facility's 6,000 square foot, 90'-high lobby is open to the public and contains the McCarl Panthers Hall of Champions which showcases artifacts from some of the university's championship teams (Free; M–F, 9AM–5PM). Also inside are the Panthers Team Store and a food court. Pre-arranged tours of the center are available for groups of 10 or more.
Carnegie Mellon University campus
The Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) campus lies just to the southeast of Oakland between Oakland and Schenley Park, and has some sights to see and nice architecture to take in. With a few exceptions, most Carnegie Mellon buildings are in the neoclassical style, with tan brick walls, hardwood doors, and iron railings. Nearly all the buildings demand a certain amount of exploration, with many hidden corners and interesting spots.
- The Cut. Starting from the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Morewood Avenue, the Cut is a greenway which runs through the middle of the campus. The Cut was originally a small valley which was eventually filled in to be used as green space. The entrance to the Cut is clearly marked by the Walking to the Sky statue, a copy of the original by Jonathan Borofsky which shows a group of people walking up a steel pole. In the middle of the Cut is The Fence, a hand-painted fence which is adorned by various student messages and announcements on an ever-growing coat of paint.
- Miller Gallery, in the Purnell Center for the Arts (on the Cut just off Forbes Avenue), ☎ +1 412 268-3618. Tu-Su noon-6PM. A very nice and often intriguing contemporary art gallery with constantly changing exhibits. Free.
- Turning right at the Fence, you will see Hammerschlag Hall at the end of the greenway. Its distinctive tower, which makes it one of the more visible buildings on campus, was built for an interesting function - to hide a large smokestack which emerges from the building (Carnegie was a titan of industry, after all).
- Wean Hall, a Brutalist-style building just north of Hammerschlag Hall, which is home to the School of Computer Science. Inside you will find some unique features, such as displays on the history of computers and the world's first internet-enabled soda vending machine. The building to the north of Wean Hall (and down a very steep hill) is Newell-Simon Hall, home to the Robotics Institute. If you can find the main entrance to the building, you may come across their "Roboceptionist", a computer program that greets you and answers questions.
- On the eastern side of the Fence is the College of Fine Arts building, which holds some reproductions of classical sculpture inside. To the east of the Fine Arts building is a labyrinthine garden atop Posner Center and just down the street is Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, home to the Carnegie Mellon School of Design, with an nice entrance rotunda and interesting artwork inside.
- The Frame, 5200 Forbes Ave (at the southeastern corner of Forbes and Margaret Morrison Street). A student-run art gallery featuring the work of Carnegie Mellon students.
- University of Pittsburgh Panthers (Pitt Panthers), University of Pittsburgh upper campus, Oakland, ☎ +1 412 648-7488. At one time, Oakland once was home to all of Pittsburgh's major sports teams. Although their vintage stadia have been demolished, and the University's football team now plays its games in Heinz Field on the city's North Shore, one can still cheer the remainder of the school's teams, including its nationally regarded basketball program, in its on-campus sports facilities. The Petersen Event Center is home to both the men's and women's basketball teams which play schedules against the nation's top collegiate competition and command a large fanbase in Western Pennsylvania. Adjacent to the Petersen is the Fitzgerald Field House and Trees Hall, home to the gymnastics, swimming, wrestling and volleyball teams. Behind Trees Hall is the Petersen Sports Complex, home to the baseball, softball, and soccer teams.
- University of Pittsburgh Stages (lower level, Stephen Foster Memorial), ☎ +1 412 624-PLAY (7529). M–F Noon–5PM and 1hr prior to performance. Throughout the year, "Pitt Stages" peforms various productions and student laboratories ranging from classic revivals to cutting-edge contemporary pieces. Venues include the historic theaters located in the Stephen Foster Memorial, the department's primary facility, to the black-box Studio Theatre located in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning.
- University of Pittsburgh Department of Music Performances (Various locations on campus, typically Bellefield Hall or Heinz Chapel). The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music has multiple performance groups including the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, String Quartet, Carpathian Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, African Music and Dance Ensemble, Gamelan Ensemble, Women's Choral Ensemble, Chamber Music, and the renown Men's Glee Club and Heinz Chapel Choir.
- Emerging Legends Concert Series (In the Cup and Chaucer Café on the ground Floor of Hillman Library on the Pitt Campus). The Pitt Library System and Calliope (The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society) have combined to present a musical series showcasing various folk and ethnic musical performers. Occurring almost weekly throughout the school year, the performances are free and open to the public.
- Ionsound Project, ☎ +1 412-422-8042. Performs innovative concerts, commissioning works of new music, collaborating with artists in a variety of disciplines, and exploring the boundaries between concert and popular music.
- Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave, ☎ +1 412 392-8000. Home to The REP, a professional theatre company and three student companies of Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts.
- Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theater, ☎ +1 412 561-6000. An acclaimed theatre company, frequently ranked among the city's best, that regularly performs in the Stephen Foster Memorial.
- Friday Nite Improvs, Studio Theatre, basement of the Cathedral of Learning, e-mail: email@example.com. 11PM. Pittsburgh's longest-running theatrical/comedic production is also the city's only all-audience participation comedy improv show. Takes place, you guessed it, every Friday night during the school year. $3.
- Check for rotating professional performances and events scheduled at the Carnegie Music Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in addition to major concerts at the Petersen Events Center.
- The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, held in July, is a vintage car festival that includes parades, a vintage car show along Walnut Street in Shadyside and a road race through Schenley Park.
- Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar & Concert. Held each fall for over 40 years, the four-day Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert combines the best in scholarship, performance, community involvement, cultural diversity, and musicianship with some of the nation's biggest names in jazz.
- Walnut Street Jam, hosted the last Saturdays of June, July, and August. Local bands play on Walnut Street in Shadyside, which is closed to vehicular traffic, and beer is allowed on the street.
- Ellsworth Arts Festival, hosted the weekend after Labor Day. Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside is closed to vehicular traffic, and local artists set up stalls along the street.
Oakland is a book lover's dream. Sample any of the many used book stores to see what treasure you can find.
- Caliban Book Shop, 410 S Craig St, ☎ +1 412 681-9111. Buy, sell, and appraise books, autographs, photographs, printed material, and original art.
- Irish Design Center, 303 South Craig St, ☎ +1 412 682-6125. M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Offers a wide variety of knitwear, clothing, gifts and jewelry from all over Ireland and Scotland.
- Maggie & Stella's Cards & Gifts, 209 Oakland Avenue, Sennott Square, ☎ +1 412-648-1353. M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su closed. Located on the Pitt campus, Maggie & Stella's features an eclectic range of merchandise including jewelry, accessories, frames, kitchenware, bags, cards.
- Nationality Rooms Gift Center (located in the Cathedral of Learning, first floor, directly inside the Fifth Avenue entrance), ☎ +1 412-624-1282. M-Sa 9AM-4PM, Su 11AM-4PM. A selection of gift items imported from the countries represented in the Nationality Rooms of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. The inventory constantly changes based on availability and includes seasonal merchandise.
- Pitt Paraphernalia. As with any college or university, check out the university's Campus Bookstore and The Pitt Shop, near the Cathedral of Learning for t-shirts, hoodies, magnets, and other souvenirs. The Pitt Shop is well known for $2.99 Pitt t-shirts while the Bookstore prides itself as being one of the largest independent book stores in the city. On the upper campus, near the medical center, a different selection of merchandise can also be obtained at the Pittsburgh Panthers Team Store inside the lobby of the Petersen Events Center. The Team Store is the only place you'll find retro "Script Pitt" merchandise.
- rue21, 3800 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 682-0353.
- Selection Boutique, 3602 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 681-6619. Women's clothing and accessories.
- Snowlion Imports, 201 S. Craig St, ☎ +1 412-687-5680. M-F 11AM-5:30PM, Sa 11AM-4PM, Su closed. Specializing in Tibetan arts, artifacts, handicrafts and religious items acquired from the countries of the Himalayas. They offer beautiful jewelry, clothes, handicrafts and accessories from Nepal, Tibet and India.
- Touch of Gold, 3800 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412-687-3867. M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa by appointment, Su closed. Caries the most popular fine jewelry products; such as diamonds, colored stones, gold and silver finished jewelry, while catering to all tastes and budgets. Also has lines of accessories, handbags, unique designers and local artisans.
Shadyside has two shopping districts: the Walnut St. district specializing in apparel, and variety stores, and the Ellsworth Ave. district specializing in art galleries.
- La Feria Gift Shop, 5527 Walnut St. #2, ☎ +1 412 682-4501. A gift shop selling Peruvian handicrafts, as part of the La Feria restaurant.
- Kards Unlimited, 5522 Walnut St, ☎ +1 412 622-0500. An unusual store which sells novelty books, stationary, toys, etc.
- Kawaii Store, 5413B Walnut St. #B, ☎ +1 412 687-2480. This little shop sells Japanese stuff. It has a lot of Choco-Cat, Totoro, etc merchandise.
- Maser Galleries, 5427 Walnut St, ☎ +1 412 687-0885. Much of the art is contemporary, but the collection is eclectic, including sports art, traditional oil paintings, and work by the finest national and international masters.
- Schiller's Pharmacy, 811 S Aiken Ave, ☎ +1 412 621-5900. Great pharmacy with upscale bath products and cosmetic lines. Friendly staff.
- Shadyside Variety Store, 5421 Walnut St, ☎ +1 412 681-1716. Another variety store.
- Tokyo Japanese Food Store, 5855 Ellsworth Ave, ☎ +1 412 661-3777.
- Brand stores on Walnut St. include Apple Store, Banana Republic, and the Four Winds Gallery (Native American art).
- Jerry's Records, 2136 Murray Ave. More vinyl of all genres than you've probably ever seen in one place.
- Tea Pittsburgh Margarets Fine Imports, 5872 Forbes Ave (near the intersection of Forbes and Shady), ☎ +1 412-422-1606. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 12-5PM. A vast assortment of loose and bagged teas, over 400 at last count. A wonderful place to buy gifts mostly imported: teapots, chocolates, coffees, cookies, aprons, even cosmetics and corporate gift baskets. The best smelling store in Squirrel Hill.
Put some twenty thousand college students in a small urban area and you can be sure you won't go hungry. Or thirsty. If you've outgrown college food and college bars there are also a number of very good restaurants in the area. There is always The O, the place for some of the best fries in Pittsburgh. All along Craig Street and Forbes Avenue are restaurants ranging from Chinese and middle eastern to Subway. Here is a small sample of what's there:
- Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop, 3901 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 621-0435. Daily 10AM-3:30PM. Better known as "the O". Originally opened across the street from Forbes Field, this place is notable for its cheap, extremely greasy food. You can get giant piles of greasy french fries for cheap, and the hot dogs and pizza are great too. If you are in Oakland, you should at least try the fries to say you have been there. The place is pretty cramped and quite filthy; you don't want to use the bathroom. It has a reputation for being dangerous (a lot of people come here after drinking), but there is always at least one cop there at all times. Cash only.
- Dave & Andy's Homemade Ice Cream, 207 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412 681-9906. 11:30AM-10PM. Their ice cream, made right on the premises, is continually ranked as the best in the city.
- Pamela's Diner, 3703 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412-683-4066. M-Su 7:30AM-4PM. This local chain has been in Oakland for years. It is the place to go in the neighborhood for breakfast. They are famous for, well, many things, but particularly their crepe hotcakes, decadent waffles and pancakes, and omelets. Barack Obama was so impressed during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, he had Pamela's cater at the Whitehouse. Be aware that the wait on weekends can get very long.
- Uncle Sam's Subs, 210 Oakland Ave, ☎ +1 412 621-1885. This classic Pitt sub shop specializes in cheesesteaks. Originating at this location, Uncle Sam's has expanded to across the city.
- Union Grill, 413 S Craig St, ☎ +1 412 681-8620. Classic American Food - burgers, desserts and other American food. This place can get really crowded at lunch time.
- The Porch, 221 Schenley Dr (In Schenley Plaza across from the Cathedral of Learning), ☎ +1 412 687-6724. American bistro serving locally sourced food. Also has a walk-up window.
- India Garden, 328 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412 682-3000. India Garden is probably the most famous Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh. The food is really good, but the service isn't always the best and the servers aren't always fluent in English. The restaurant is generally loud, with two TV sets playing Bollywood music videos while Hindi pop music blasts from the speakers. The half off specials between 4PM-6PM, 10PM-1AM, are just awesome and they have a buffet at lunch from noon-3PM.
- Tamarind, 257 N Craig St, ☎ +1 412 605-0500. Closed Mondays. Further away from the campuses in an old Victorian house, specializing in south Indian fare. They offer a very good lunch buffet daily.
- Legume, 214 N Craig St, ☎ +1 412 621-2700. French restaurant focusing on locally-sourced ingredients. On the shortlist for best restaurant in the city, with a great bar serving craft cocktails. Menu changes daily. $2 valet parking in the garage across the street.
- Mad Mex, 370 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412 681-5656. Great food. Food is half off from 11PM-1AM. Decent Mexican food but it's not too authentic. The employees are mostly punk types while the crowd is usually yuppie. Warning: one of the only restaurants in the city to refuse to serve alcohol to anyone at a table with someone under 21.
- Primanti Bros., 3803 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 621-4444. Su-W 10AM-midnight, Th-Sa 10AM-3AM. A local chain, Primantis offers the quintessential Pittsburgh sandwich. No trip to Pittsburgh is complete without experiencing one of their coleslaw and french fry topped extravaganzas. Profiled in numerous national programs and articles, if you only have time to eat at a Primantis once during your trip to Pittsburgh, than Oakland has this location ready for you.
- Spice Island Tea House, 253 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412-687-5821. M-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su closed. South East Asian cuisine featuring a selection of beer wine and exotic teas.
- Fuel & Fuddle, 212 Oakland Ave, ☎ +1 412 682-3473. Good food. Vegetarian friendly. It has a hipster crowd. The prices are about $10 for a meal.
- Hello Bistro, 3605 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412-687-8787. Specializing in salads and burgers, but also has a breakfast menu of mostly scrambled eggs available all day.
- Quaker Steak & Lube, 3602 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412-381-WING (9464). This chain started locally but has begun to go national. If you are itching for wings or onion rings are your thing, this express location along Forbes Avenue in Oakland may hit the spot.
- There are also many restaurant chains along Forbes Avenue southwest of the Pitt campus, including Chipotle, Q'Doba, Five Guys Burgers, McDonald's, Arbys, and Panera Bread.
Squirrel Hill is home to a diverse assortment of cafes and restaurants - from kosher to Asian to Middle Eastern - along Forbes and Murray Avenues.
- Aiello's, 2112 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-9973. In contention for the best pizza in the Burgh, along with Mineo's next door. It's a local favorite, and is a common hang out for many nearby high school students. The pepperoni rolls are to die for, loaded with parm. It has a classic Italian pizzeria atmosphere with friendly and personable staff. They are open till 2AM so you can always grab a cut to go.
- Mineo's, 2128 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-9864. Another local favorite pizza place, rival of nearby Aiello's.
- Bangkok Balcony, 5846 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-0728. Pittsburgh has many Thai options; this, along with sister restaurant Silk Elephant (around the corner at 1712 Murray) is probably the best in this part of the city.
- Chaya Japanese Cuisine, 2032 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 422-2082. Amazingly good sushi, worth every penny. One of the few places in the country where you will find wasabi made from fresh wasabi root instead of powder; the waiter will proudly show you the root if you ask.
- Eat 'n Park, 1816 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 422-7203. Open 24 hours. Family-friendly local chain. Fair prices, friendly service, and their trademark smiley cookie. Many only eat here when they have to (i.e. after the bars close) but others eat here by choice.
- Gluuteny, 1923 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-4890. A not-to-be-missed bakery for those with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or dairy allergies. Their brownies are among the best in the city. They also sell bread, pizza crusts, cupcakes, coffee cakes, tarts, and baking mixes. Call ahead for special requests; popular items sometimes sell out before the end of the day.
- Milky Way, 2120 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 421-3121. This vegetarian restaurant has an assortment of pizzas. They have many salads and make a great falafel. The best part about it is that it is kosher. For any people who keep religious eating habits, this would be the place to go.
- Mediterranean Grill, 5824 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-5505. A nondescript entry hides a hole-in-the-wall restaurant below the street level. The menu is predominately Lebanese, but contains a variety of foods in a range of prices. BYOB.
- Rose Tea Cafe, 5874 1/2 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 421-2238. Taiwanese cuisine drawing a sizable Chinese clientele. Excellent and inexpensive, though seating is limited. Delivery available within a small radius.
- Bites and Brews, 5750 Ellsworth Ave, ☎ +1 412 361-4425. Just across the street from Harris Grill is this pub, which--as the name implies--has a pretty good draft beer selection as well as excellent New York-style pizza slices.
- Buffalo Blues, 216 S Highland Ave, ☎ +1 412 362-5837. M-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 4PM-midnight. A good neighborhood wings/pizza/beer/pool joint. $8-$18.
- Harris Grill, 5747 Ellsworth Ave, ☎ +1 412 362-5273. Try the pork shank. The unique and occasionally controversial urinals in the men's washroom are also worth a visit (for female patrons, perhaps just a quick peek inside).
- Mercurio's Mulberry Creamery, 5523 Walnut St, ☎ +1 412 621-6220. Outstanding gelateria. Recently started serving delicious wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza and antipasti.
- Prantl's Bakery, 5525 Walnut St, ☎ +1 412 621-2092. Excellent baked goods, low prices.
- Soba, 5847 Ellsworth Ave, ☎ +1 412 362-5656. Part of the popular Big Burrito fine-dining empire, serving pan-Asian cuisine.
- Hemingways, 3911 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 621-4100. $1 Miller Lites, microbrew selection, combined with the food, great place to drink. A lot of girls. Usually so packed during the school year it's hard to order a drink...or even move. As with many places in the U.S. don't be fooled by the $1 draft drink specials as you're getting a small plastic cup of beer, not a pint. Pay attention to happy hour specials. Half of food (on a special menu) 11AM-11:45AM, appetizers 2PM-4PM, half of food (on a special menu) 9PM-Midnight.
- Gene's Place, 3616 Louisa St, ☎ +1 412 682-9213. Really cheap drinks ($3 mixed, $2-3 22oz beers, $5.50 pitchers). Some microbrews. No food. College neighborhood bar. If you are looking to drink cheap, here is the place.
- Mad Mex, 370 Atwood St (Atwood and Bates), ☎ +1 412 681-5656. Excellent beer selection (9 or so microbrews on tap, extensive bottle selection). The frozen margaritas are great. Expensive unless you come during a drink special (4:30PM-6:30PM for happy hour, 9PM-11PM for evening special). Great food if you like to eat while you drink.
- Peter's Pub, 116 Oakland Ave, ☎ +1 412 681-7465. Quintessential and legendary college bar on Pitt's campus. Daily food and drink specials. Kitchen is open from 11AM-10PM daily.
- Fuel and Fuddle, 212 Oakland Ave, ☎ +1 412 682-3473. The crowd is hipster. They have a large microbrew draft selection (12 or so) and an extremely extensive bottle selection. Half price menu items are offered after 11PM (until about 1AM) every night. As a result there are large crowds of underage college students waiting outside for tables. If you're 21+ you can cut though the crowd sit at the bar and eat there.
- Garage Door Saloon, 223 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412 621-4842. College dive bar in the heart of Pitt's campus.
- Sphinx Cafe, 401 Atwood St, ☎ +1 412 621-1153. Su-Th 4PM-1AM, F-Sa 4PM-2AM. Aims to provide an authentic Egyptian hookah experience including floor-seating and over 40 different flavors. Drinks and food available as well.
- 61c Cafe, 1839 Murray Ave, ☎ +1 412 521-6161. Named for the bus of the same name that stops nearby. Pretty good coffee, friendly baristas - one of the hipper spots to hang out, usually full of grad students. Free wifi. Warning: there are only 2 outlets for laptops, and they are in high demand.
- Coffee Tree, 5840 Forbes Ave (Squirrel Hill), ☎ +1 412 422-4427. 5524 Walnut St. (Shadyside), +1 412 621-6880. A combination coffee wholesaler/café, with a relaxed atmosphere and particularly good cakes, but it's a little pricey. The internet is also only available in hour increments.
Since Oakland is a "college town", as well as a center of research and technology, there are some accommodations including most of the big name chain hotels. In addition the area has very frequent bus connections to Downtown which is only a ten or fifteen minute ride to all the large downtown hotels.
- Hampton Inn Pittsburgh University Center, 3315 Hamlet St, ☎ +1 412 681-1000. Situated on the west end of Oakland closest to and Carlow University and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
- Hilton Garden Inn University Place, 3454 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 683-2040. Borders the Pitt campus and closest hotel to the University's Medical Center's Oakland hospitals.
- Inn on Negley, 703 S Negley Ave, ☎ +1 412 661-0631.
- The Mansion at Maple Heights, 5516 Maple Heights Rd, ☎ +1 412 586-7940, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Quality Inn University Center, 3401 Boulevard of the Allies, ☎ +1 412 683-6100. Most likely the cheapest accommodations in Oakland and located across the street from UPMC's Magee Womens Hospital.
- Residence Inn Pittsburgh University/Medical Center, 3896 Bigelow Blvd (on the north end of Oakland), ☎ +1 412 621-2200.
- Shadyside Inn Suites, 5405 5th Ave, ☎ +1 412 441-4444. In the heart of Shadyside, with bike borrowing and full kitchens.
- Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 100 Lytton Ave, ☎ +1 412 682-6200. In the heart of Pitt's campus and the closest hotel to the Cathedral of Learning and Carnegie Museums.
In addition to the many cafes in the area with wifi for their customers, there is also free wifi available along Walnut Street in Shadyside and in Schenley Plaza.
The branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh also offer free wireless.
- Main Library, 4400 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 622-3114. Su 12-5, M-Th 10-8, F-Sa 10-5:30.
- Squirrel Hill Library, 5801 Forbes Ave, ☎ +1 412 422-9650. Su 1-5, M, F-Sa 10-5, Tu-Th 10-8.