Things to do in Lawrenceville

A formerly industrial neighborhood with a rich history, Lawrenceville has transformed into a hub for innovation, creativity and nightlife.

Stats (via Niche and lvpgh.com)

  • Size: 5 sq. mi.
  • Population: 12,183
  • Median Rent: $732
  • Median Home Value: $88,304

Don’t Miss

There are lots of great places to eat in trendy and much-loved  Lawrenceville, and more are on the way. For something casual, grab meaty tacos at Smoke BBQ Taqueria, gourmet hot dogs at Franktuary or Greek food at Pastitsio.

If you’d like to go a touch fancier (just a touch), try the Thai food at Pusadee’s Garden or handmade pizza and pasta at Piccolo Forno—both are super popular BYOB joints. And though it’s pricey, many would agree that the neighborhood’s best restaurant is Cure, which features Justin Severino’s inventive, meat-focused dishes. Severino recently opened Morcilla, a tapas restaurant in Lower Lawrenceville, in late 2015, to much acclaim.

For breakfast and brunch, check out the perpetually packed Coca Café, which serves up fresh takes on classic breakfast fare and delicious healthy options. French bakery Le Gourmandine is another good bet for breakfast bites, as well as a variety of irresistible breads, pastries and sandwiches.

Lawrenceville boasts at least two excellent, independent coffee shops. At Butler Street’s Espresso a Mano and Penn Avenue’s Constellation Coffee, you can get a perfectly pulled espresso and sip it among an always eclectic and interesting crowd. There’s also The Abbey, opened in early 2016 in a former mortuary. It’s a beautiful space with a warm and welcoming coffee bar and seating area, restaurant, three distinctive bars, and inviting outdoor patio.

Need another place to grab a drink? With the number of bars up and down Butler, you’ll have to be more specific. If you want beer, check out Industry Public House’s extensive draft list or Atlas Bottleworks’ impressive bottle selection and new basement taproom. For margaritas and sangria, try Round Corner Cantina, which has one of the best patios in town. Head to the charming Allegheny Wine Mixer to sample Rieslings and Syrahs in a relaxed, unpretentious setting. There’s even the Grapperia, a bar dedicated to the potent Italian brandy. And if all that is just too much, not to worry—there are still plenty of dive bars (with endearing names like Stinky’s and Hambone’s) throughout the neighborhood.

Speaking of drinking, Lawrenceville also has several breweries. Church Brew Works is the oldest, and continues to draw huge crowds with its unique space in a historic church and its approachable beer. Hop Farm and Roundabout are relative newcomers, but have quickly made a splash with their inventive brews and attractive bars. Full Pint, which brews in North Versailles, recently opened a tap house in Upper Lawrenceville. And if beer isn’t your thing, Arsenal Cider House, which has a small tasting room and “cider garden,” makes exquisite (and boozy) ciders.

Butler Street isn’t just for eating and drinking. When it comes to shopping, you’ll find a little of everything, from designer clothing at Mid-Atlantic Mercantile to locally-made gifts and cards at Wildcard to all things zombie at House of the Dead. A personal favorite is Who New?, an Upper Lawrenceville store that’s jam-packed with all sorts of funky, retro décor and furniture.

For entertainment, you can catch a show at many of Butler Street’s bars, including Thunderbird Café and Cattivo. Or take in a movie at Row House Cinema, a single-screen theatre that picks movies based on a weekly theme. For some analog fun, go bowling at Arsenal Lanes or play one of Kickback’s fifteen-plus pinball machines.

Even with so much going on, Lawrenceville still finds room for some open space. Arsenal Park offers tennis courts and playgrounds, while the 300-acre Allegheny Cemetery is a beautiful place for a jog—and a history lesson.

Fast Facts

Lawrenceville is named for Captain James Lawrence, the naval officer who uttered the famous words “Don’t give up the ship!” during the War of 1812.

Composer Stephen Foster was born in Lawrenceville in 1826, and the neighborhood has held an annual event in his memory since the early 1920s.

Lawrenceville was once home to the Allegheny Arsenal, which manufactured ammunition for the Union army during the Civil War. In 1862, it was the site of a devastating explosion that killed 78 civilians.

CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center, which makes its home in a rehabbed Lawrenceville foundry, specializes in developing unmanned robots for use in dangerous situations.

Lawrenceville is home to a number of quirky annual events, including the Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour, Art All Night and RANT (Rock All Night Tour).

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