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Pittsburgh City Guide: 12 Great Main Streets Waiting For You

A trip to these well-populated thoroughfares promises access to shops, restaurants and things to do.

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Every Pittsburgh neighborhood has its own identity, trademark quirks and proud residents eager to preserve their town’s colorful history. Among our favorites: these 12 communities in which you can experience the heart of the area on or near well-populated thoroughfares filled with pedestrians, shops, restaurants and things to do. Take a stroll with us.

photos by john altdorfer


This walkable neighborhood long has carried the motto: “Live. Worship. Shop.” Lincoln Avenue has changed over the years, but those commands still hold true — Bellevue has plenty of places to live, houses of worship (and related stores and spots for post-service dining) and charming shops. And we can definitely add “eat” to the above credo. There’s sure to be something for everyone. — LD

Where to Shop

  • Check out the organic offerings for your little one at Happy Baby Company [558 Lincoln Ave., happybabycompany.com].
  • Pick a Christian gift item or book from nonprofit shop The Shepherd’s Door [563 Lincoln Ave., theshepherdsdoor.org], which also sells fair-trade goods.

What to Do

  • Wander (admission is free) through the new home of the John A. Hermann Jr. Memorial Art Museum [318 Lincoln Ave., johnhermannmuseum.org].
  • Taste a sweet from Lincoln Bakery [543 Lincoln Ave., mylincolnbakery.com].

  • Sip the flavor of the day at the charming Muddy Cup Cafe [419 Lincoln Ave., 412/415-3144].
  • Relieve your stress: All classes at Yoga on Fremont [8 S. Fremont Ave., yogaonfremont.com] are drop-in friendly.

Where to Eat

  • Enjoy being treated like part of the family at homestyle restaurant Joe’s Rusty Nail [560 Lincoln Ave., 412/766-9228].
  • Experience some exotic flavors at Thai Tamarind [172 Lincoln Ave., thaitamarindpittsburgh.com].
  • Opt for the meatloaf, fried chicken or another staple at the Bellevue Diner [513 Lincoln Ave., 412/734-4446].
  • Devour selections from the “backyard barbecue-inspired menu” at the Pitt Stop [564 Lincoln Ave., thepittstopbbq.com].


Pittsburgh’s Little Italy is a bit of an anomaly. You have your old-time Italian grocers not far from a self-proclaimed “radical” bookstore. There’s an all-things-Catholic store run by friendly nuns a few doors down from a contemporary art gallery. Old Pittsburgh blends with the new here, and when we say goodbye to some favorites (Fukuda and Del’s Bar & Ristorante DelPizzo), we say hello to soon-to-be favorites (Bread and Salt Bakery and Station restaurant). Walk down Liberty Avenue — one of the longer main streets on our list — and experience it all. — LD

Where to Shop

  • Buy a novel and stick around for a reading or release party at the East End Book Exchange [4754 Liberty Ave., eastendbookexchange.com].
  • Visit Sacred Heart of Jesus Store [4515 Liberty Ave., 412/683-4001] to hunt for hard-to-find religious tomes and gifts.
  • Put in a custom order at family-owned Best Made Shoes [5143 Liberty Ave., bestmadeshoes.com].

  • Discover books and other items that support a broad range of politics and lifestyles at The Big Idea Bookstore [4812 Liberty Ave., thebigideapgh.wordpress.com].

What to Do

  • Catch the latest exhibition at the artist-run commercial gallery BoxHeart [4523 Liberty Ave., boxheartgallery.com].
  • Savor a doughnut and the delicious smells wafting over you at Bloomfield institution Paddy Cake Bakery [4763 Liberty Ave., paddycakebakery.org].
  • Cool off with a cold treat from Scoops in Bloomfield [4806 Liberty Ave., scoopspittsburgh.com].

Where to Eat

  • At Thai Gourmet [4505 Liberty Ave., 412/681-4373], try the pumpkin curry.

  • Order the ’Burgh-famous burger at Tessaro’s [4601 Liberty Ave., tessaros.com], prepared daily by in-house butchers.
  • Be wowed by the popcorn panna cotta, a hit at the 2015 Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants Party, at Station [4744 Liberty Ave., twitter.com/station_pgh]; the new venture from Curtis Gamble, formerly of Grit & Grace, is set to open in August 2015.


Carnegie is a town marked by continued rebirth. Revitalization efforts, sparked by repeated bouts of flooding in recent years, still are going strong; the results are visible in the form of new stores and eateries popping up, as well as the bright blue bridge railings that match both the trashcans on Main Street and the chairs inside the coffee shop housed in the former post office. Business and restaurant owners love their little borough. You will, too. — LD

Where to Shop

  • Scout for locally made jewelry, candles, soap, art and more at Modern Mercantile [233 E. Main St., modernmercantilepgh.com].
  • Browse the large selection of men’s shoes at Hanna’s Clothing Store [311 W. Main St., hannasclothing.com], an area institution since 1903.

What to Do

  • Take in a show at off the WALL Theater [25 W. Main St., insideoffthewall.com], known for nontraditional performances.
  • Tour the Historical Society and Honus Wagner Museum [1 W. Main St., 412/276-7447] for an homage to the Pittsburgh Pirates legend (and the town).
  • Visit the “Carnegie Carnegie” library [300 Beechwood Ave., carnegiecarnegie.org] and its Espy room — once a meeting place for a Grand Army of the Republic post of Civil War veterans.
  • Get fit at Motion on Main [21 E. Main St., motiononmain.com].

Where to Eat

  • Slow down with a latte inside the cozy Carnegie Coffee Company [132 E. Main St., facebook.com/carnegiecoffeecompany], located in a former post office.
  • Indulge in fine Italian dining at PaPa J’s Ristorante [200 E. Main St., papajs.com].

  • Drink an Irish beer (and pair it with a shepherd’s pie) at Riley’s Pour House [215 E. Main St., rileyspourhouse.com].
  • Discover what the chef calls “world-fusion freestyle” cuisine at the lovely One Thirty One East [131 E. Main St., onethirtyoneeast.com].

Next: Lawrenceville, Millvale, & Mt. Lebanon

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