Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Where 8 Meets 28

The completed construction on Route 28 makes access to these northern neighborhoods a breeze — which is great because these boroughs increasingly are becoming destinations. The river communities that have been home to many families with histories in steel- and glass-making have a wealth of quaint, independent retail stores, restaurants and businesses, as well as much-loved libraries, festivals and community days enjoyed by locals since well before their neighborhoods were starting to buzz.

photo by chuck beard

What's Here?

This little borough has an industrial history of manufacturing iron, brick and glass — notably glassware for the H.J. Heinz Company, which got its start here. Even though the borough is under 1 square mile, Sharpsburg claims some prime riverfront real estate with a public boat launch at James Sharp Landing.

Shaler Township
Home to smaller villages (the designations between an official municipality and something called a “census-designated place” are murky) such as Cherry City, Bauerstown, Elfinwild and Glenshaw, tree-covered Shaler Township is home to approximately 29,000 people.

Reserve Township
Covering 2 square miles of hilltop real estate, Reserve is a township that mixes quiet suburban living with hillside farms. The township was founded on lands “reserved” for Revolutionary War veterans.

The secret of Millvale is out; the borough that lies across the 40th Street Bridge from Lawrenceville has become a destination for artists, craft-beer enthusiasts and those who enjoy outdoor recreation. Millvale is nearly 150 years old, and in that time, the former industrial community has retained its rural feel, brick roads and small, independent businesses.

This small town is the gateway to the communities along Route 8 as you head away from Pittsburgh. Plenty of variety can be found among Etna’s businesses and restaurants; you’ll find charming shops such as old-school hardware store Winschel Hardware (346 Butler St., 412/781-0593) and institutions such as the fabled Halloween attraction The ScareHouse ( 118 Locust St., scarehouse.com).

This charming, tiny borough is home to many narrow, brick, one-way streets, beautiful Victorian homes and a vibrant, upscale business district perfect for a Sunday stroll.

photos by kristi jan hoover


If you’re serious about quality desserts, visit Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery in Millvale. The croissants and macarons are sublime — but make don’t leave without a fruit tart for yourself and another for your amour.  213 North Ave., jeanmarcchatellier.com.

Seafood is the star at Luke and Mike’s Frontporch Grille in Aspinwall. While there, take time to observe the historic building and the colorful neighborhood mural outside.  235 Commercial Ave., frontporchgrille.com.

You’ll wish you thought of the brilliant omelet-ingredient combos on the menu at Cafe on Main in Sharpsburg. If you aren’t in the mood for a savory breakfast, the cafe offers delicious, decadent waffles, too.  914 Main St., facebook.com/cafeonmainstreet.


Try a sour beer — and then try an even more sour beer — at Draai Laag in Millvale. Draai Laag brews an array of Belgian-style beers which you can enjoy while playing board games in the taproom.  501 E. Ohio St., draailaag.com.

Take advantage of the new patio area at Cornerstone Restaurant & Bar in Aspinwall to enjoy an old-fashioned cocktail with a twist. The bar also has happy-hour specials every weekday and touts an array of classic American beers, microbrews and international wines.  301 Freeport Road, cornerstonepgh.com.

Alioto’s in Etna is an ideal neighborhood spot for catching a Pens game. The bar has survived two major floods since it opened in 1965; the drinks and pizza will make you glad it endured.  17 Grant Ave., aliotos.biz.


Get ready to win a reputation as the best houseguest ever when you show up with a decorative plant from McTighe’s Garden Center and beer from the adjacent McTighe’s Drive Thru Beer Distributor in Shaler.  1609 and 1607 William Flynn Highway, 412/486-1909.

It’s a bit of a pilgrimage scaling the steep and winding Mt. Troy Road to Brenckle’s Farms & Greenhouses in Reserve, but claiming a lush hanging basket at the end makes it all worth it. Make sure to “like” Brenckle’s budding Facebook page for fresh updates on what the greenhouse is growing.  3814 Mt. Troy Road, brenckle.com.

Who doesn’t love receiving an elegant card? Nota Bene fine-paper boutique in Aspinwall stocks an array of beautiful stationery, paper products and gifts, as well as albums full of customizable invitations to life’s big events. 9 Brilliant Ave., notabenepaper.com.


Rent a pontoon boat from Boat Pittsburgh in Sharpsburg with up to seven of your closest mates for half a day — or a full day if you want more time to explore the three rivers. Test out your skills as a captain, or simply relax on the water without the hassle of boat maintenance or dockage fees.  James Sharp Landing, boat-pgh.com.

Enjoy a concert at Mr. Smalls in Millvale, where you can see bands play in a converted, desanctified Catholic church. The popular venue recently opened a second event space, The Funhouse @ Mr. Smalls.  400 Lincoln Ave., mrsmalls.com.

Take advantage of the outdoor recreation facilities at Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township, which has three tennis courts, two basketball courts, two baseball fields, two playgrounds and a pool.  Kiwanis Road, shaler.org/355/kiwanis-park.

Food Critic's Pick

If you’re looking for a light bite in a part of the region that generally tilts toward heavier food, head to Randita’s Organic Vegan Cafe in Aspinwall. You’ll find a solid selection of lunchtime choices such as African peanut stew and an outstanding mixed-greens salad (go for the lime vinaigrette). The menu expands on Friday and Saturday evenings for weekend dinner specials. (207 Commercial Ave., randitas.com) — Hal B. Klein

Signature Event

For the last 10 years, Millvale has been celebrating breweries with its annual Brew Fest. Held at Millvale Riverfront Park in August, the fundraising event for the Millvale Community Development Corporation features more than 175 craft, micro, nano and specialty brews, picnic-style barbecue and vegetarian and vegan offerings. Spring for the VIBD (Very Important Beer Drinker) tickets, which include a T-shirt, special beer tastings, a private tent and special beer-food pairings.
(millvalepa.com) — Lauren Davidson


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Guide to Pittsburgh

Family City Guide: A to G

A is for Aviary, B is for Baseball, C is for Carousel, D is for Dinosaurs, E is for Earth, F is for Flowers and G is for Glass.
Read More

Family City Guide: H - M

H is for History, I is for Ice Skating, J is for Jumping, K is for Kayaking, L is for Laughter and M is for Museum.
Read More

Family City Guide: N to T

N is for Nature, O is for Outer Space, P is for Pumpkins, Q is for Quiet, R is for Roller Coasters, S is for Swimming and T is for Theater.
Read More

Family City Guide: U to Z

U is for Universities, V is for Volunteering, W is for Water, X is for Xylophones, Y is for Yinzer and Z is for Zoo.
Read More

Choosing A Family

Frequent PM contributor Amy Whipple always intended to become a foster parent. Now the adoptive mother of a 3-year-old boy, she shares the story of her new family.
Read More

Eat, Do, Shop, Play and Learn

In and around Pittsburgh, the offerings for families looking for food, fun and more go so much deeper than the expected family outings. From places to outfit and entertain to natural wonders and city treasures, here are some of our favorites.
Read More

City Guide: The Best Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

We scour Allegheny County (and beyond) and visit the region’s neighborhoods and municipalities to bring you our favorite things to do, eat, drink, buy and more.
Read More
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Two Ceremonies? Why Two Pittsburgh Couples Celebrated Twice

To follow their church’s traditions, these couples honored their relationship with God as well as their own wedding wishes.

The Lights Are About to Go Out on the Rachel Carson Bridge

The wind-powered LED lighting display will end its 18-month run in April.

Living Legacy: “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas" at The Frick

Mais, oui! A major Mellon collection of éblouissant French art comes to The Frick Pittsburgh with pieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas.

Downtown to Add Art Installations, Music Nights and More

"Yinz Going Dahntahn?" Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership strives to transform the area into a more engaging and vibrant neighborhood.

Tomb Raider Promises Little and Delivers Less

Reviews of "Tomb Raider," "Love, Simon" and "7 Days in Entebbe."

A Repurposing Recipe for Leftover Vegetables Soup

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein shares a quick recipe for reducing food waste.

Jackie Page-Heidelberg is Catering to a Culinary Quest

The caterer's midlife career shift brings a new sense of purpose.

8 Places You'll Want to Discover Not Far From Pittsburgh

Point a compass north, south, east, west and everywhere in between. We chose eight destinations, each within a few hours' drive of Pittsburgh, with lots to explore at every step.

From PIT: 5 Easy Destinations for International Travelers

This year, the city’s vacation horizons are wider than ever, thanks to an array of easy new flights from Pittsburgh International Airport.

Restaurant Review: Acorn is Ready to Grow

Scott Walton's restaurant plants a much-needed seed on Walnut Street in Shadyside.

Pittsburgh Drag Queen Doesn't Care What You Think

Jezebel Bebbington D’Opulence discovered her place in the world through taking to the stage in drag.

Competitive Obsession is The Standard For Sid

The Penguins’ late-season advantages spring from a seemingly unquenchable desire to compete that begins with the captain.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Grant Bar & Lounge

The Millvale neighborhood meeting place is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Embracing March Madness: The Only Constant is the Drama

Pittsburgh is blessed this week to host Duke and Mike Krzyzewski, Villanova and Jay Wright, and Oklahoma and freshman sensation Trae Young, among others, at PPG Paints Arena.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: Phipps Legacy – The Fulton Building

With its distinctive seven-story archway, the Fulton Building (now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel) remains a beloved Pittsburgh landmark.