Pittsburgh's Northside: So Much to Eat, Drink, See and Do
The North Side of Pittsburgh is a quiet neighborhood, home to historic buildings, local businesses and nationally-lauded institutions. For a perspective of the city you may have never seen, spend a day in this storied neighborhood.
Start your morning at Lake Elizabeth, in the west side of Pittsburgh’s oldest park, Allegheny Commons (W. Ohio St., pittsburghparks.org). The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy calls the park the “front yard” for the neighborhoods in the North Side; unlike most front yards, which tend to belong to other people, this is one where you can spend time without getting in trouble.
Gus and YiaYia’s
It’s never too early in the day for sugar, so, during the summer, hit up Gus and YiaYia’s (638 W. Ohio St.) while you’re in the park. Although Yia Yia passed away in 2016, you can still find owner Gus Kalaris selling ice balls, popcorn and peanuts at the stand, just as he has since 1951.
Once you’ve had your fill, cut through the park and head to the National Aviary (700 Arch St., aviary.org). This is a great place (unless you’re afraid of birds) to get an up-close look at more than 500 birds, many of them threatened or endangered.
When you’re done, exit the Aviary on Arch Street, walk down to Ridge Avenue and continue until it turns into Children’s Way. It’s time to check out the strange creatures of a different species — children. Opened in 1983, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (10 Children’s Way, pittsburghkids.org) features hands-on, interactive exhibits such as water play areas, a garden and a makeshop.
It’s safe to assume that you’ll be hungry by this point. Grab lunch at Federal Galley (200 Childrens Way, federalgalley.org), the sister food hall to Smallman Galley in the Strip District. Located one block from the front entrance of the museum, Federal Galley offers four rotating restaurants inside one building, so you’re sure to find something that even the pickiest eater in your group will enjoy.
With your stomachs full, a relaxing activity is your next best bet. Next door to the Children’s Museum is the New Hazlett Theater (6 Allegheny Square East, newhazletttheater.org); stop in and catch a matinee. The nonprofit theater was built in 1889 as the first Carnegie Music Hall and continues to offer a diverse range of performing-arts events.
If you’re lucky, your next stop will include the second show of your day; if not, it will certainly include craft beer, which is good enough. The historic Park House (403 E. Ohio St., parkhousepgh.com) bar and restaurant was built in the late 1800s, survived Prohibition, and remains a great spot to kick back and enjoy live music.
The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers
You’ve eaten. You’ve drank. Now it’s time to shop. While Lauren Work Phillips and her team at The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers (431 E. Ohio St., thefarmersdaughterflowers.com) are known for their beautiful flower arrangements bursting with color, their brick and mortar shop is a great hidden gem overflowing with gifts such as apparel, home decor and house plants.
After a day full of activities, an energy boost is in order. Grab a coffee or a cup of tea to go from Arnold’s Tea (502 E. Ohio St., arnoldsteapittsburgh.com), then walk down the street and choose from a selection of sweets such as cookies, cupcakes and pastries at Priory Fine Pastries (528 E. Ohio St., prioryfinepastries.com).
End your day with a trip back in time at the Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History (531 E. Ohio St., photoantiquities.org). Founded in 1993 to preserve and present the history of photography, the museum contains archives of more than 500,000 photographic images from all over the world.