Things to do in Squirrel Hill

The affluent neighborhood of Squirrel Hill boasts rich history, a vibrant business district and easy access to two great parks.

Stats (via Niche)

  • Population: 12,567
  • Size: 1.2 sq. mi
  • Median Rent: $1,316
  • Median Home Value: $367,332

Don’t Miss

When it comes dining in Squirrel Hill, the options are dizzying. The neighborhood is home to a diverse and impressive array of casual eateries. Want Chinese? Try Everyday Noodles or Chengdu Gourmet. Middle Eastern? Naya and Aladdin’s have you covered. Hankering for a pizza? Choose wisely between famous rivals Aiello’s and Mineo’s. We could go on like this for days, but in the easily walkable neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, the best thing to do is explore it yourself. Whatever you’re craving, it’s here.

Though Squirrel Hill is a historically Jewish neighborhood, there isn’t much in the way of authentic Jewish food. At least there wasn’t before NU Modern Jewish Bistro opened in 2013. Owned by the same folks who run the popular breakfast spot Pamela’s (there’s one of those next door), NU offers traditional Jewish dishes like potato latkes and matzo ball soup.

For dessert, try a liege waffle with ice cream from Waffallonia or a few French macarons from the gorgeous Gaby et Jules.

Though there are plenty of chain coffee shops in the neighborhood, grab a cup at The Commonplace Coffeehouse instead, which roasts their beans just a couple miles away. Or if tea is more your speed, check out the vast selections at Dobra Tea and Té Café.

Squirrel Hill has a handful of divey neighborhood bars, including Silky’s and the Squirrel Hill Café (affectionately known to most as the Squirrel Cage). But one of the coolest spots to drink is Independent Brewing Company. Don’t be misled by the name—no beer is brewed here. But IBC does boast an entirely local tap list, refined bar food and an always-interesting array of events.

Jammed in among all of the restaurants along Murray and Forbes is a grab bag of independent shops. Find unique gifts at stores like Ten Thousand Villages and Contemporary Concepts, vintage clothing at Avalon Exchange, or a mind-boggling amount of vinyl at Jerry’s Records.

Squirrel Hill is home to the Manor, one of Pittsburgh’s oldest and best movie theaters. Recent renovations, which added a bar and upgraded the seats and projectors, made their eclectic film selections even easier to enjoy.

The neighborhood is sandwiched between Frick Park and Schenley Park, giving residents and visitors easy access to acres upon acres of beautiful green space. And one more thing this neighborhood has going for it:  it’s one of the most diverse communities in town.

Fast Facts

It’s believed that early settlers named the neighborhood after its large and extremely bold population of gray squirrels.

An array of famous folks have called Squirrel Hill home over the years, including Willa Cather, Myron Cope and Fred Rogers.

Squirrel Hill has long been a hub for Jewish life in Pittsburgh and, according to the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, nearly half of Pittsburgh’s Jewish population lives in the neighborhood. Squirrel Hill boasts a JCC, kosher food stores and over twenty synagogues.

Located among a number of universities and hospitals, Squirrel is one of Pittsburgh’s most affluent and well-educated neighborhoods.

Some historians believe that the first skirmish of the Civil War actually took place in Squirrel Hill, not at Fort Sumter.

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