5 Things to do in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

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When we found out we’d be traveling to the Pittsburgh area for a wedding, our native Pittsburgh friends were our resource for things to do. Since it was December, we wanted a walkable area to enjoy as much as possible. They recommended The Strip District, which is a unique area with old style grocers, street stands, restaurants, historical and iconic places, breweries, and more. We were staying just over an hour out of the city, so we took a Sunday day trip from our vacation rental in Stahlstown. I know I’d love to go back and enjoy more things to do in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. We are happy to share some of the things we experienced, and a couple things we’d love to go back for. 

Pittsburgh Strip District Terminal

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1. Visit One of the Numerous Historic Places

You will see several historic places fall under a couple different things to do around Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Whether it’s a church, shopping market, brewery, or store, Pittsburgh’s Strip District is full of unique historic places. 

Tour Historic St Stanislaus Kostka Church

Established in the late 1800’s, this beautiful, historic church still houses its original stained glass windows. Surviving multiple challenges and tragedies, such as flooding, explosions, the Depression, and families migrating the the suburbs, it’s a beacon of hope. Visiting on a Sunday, we decided to make this our first stop to attend Mass. 

2. Support Local Shops

Even in a big city, we like to find the unique small businesses we can support. Especially when they have either been around a long time, or it’s a place that’s been preserved and restored. 

Street Vendors

Pittsburgh Strip District Street stand

We did happen to be there when the Pittsburgh Steelers were having a home game. Therefore, as we walked around The Strip District, several vendors had Pittsburgh apparel, and novelties for sale. It was fun to see all the locals supporting their team. 

The Terminal

The Terminal in Pittsburgh Strip District

Sadly, this was something we missed, as it wasn’t fully open yet, but in the making. Another historic place in The Strip District, The Terminal was built in 1929, and used by the railroad as the fruit auction and sales building. This 13 block long building is now home to shops, restaurants, businesses, and more. If you’re interested in the history, you can read more about it here.

Love, Pittsburgh 

If you’re looking to get yourself some local Pittsburgh souvenirs, then this is the shop to check out. They have a wide range of your typical souvenir items like magnets, stickers, mugs, shirts, and then some unique things as well. 

Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop

Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop Piitsburgh Strip District

Not sure how we didn’t make it into the candy shop with all the kids with us, but from the outside, I could tell this is a fun, iconic shop. Would definitely like to go there next time to find some nostalgic candies. 

3. Grab Some Favorite Pittsburgh Foods

Pittsburgh Strip District Best Restaurants

Pittsburgh is well known as being a melting pot of culture, just like many big cities in the United States. That being said, not only can you easily find authentic cuisine, but you can also expect dishes to have a special Pittsburgh twist. Here are just a couple suggestions we would like to share. 

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts

Our first stop after Mass was to get some coffee and donuts. Peace, Love and Little Donuts is a cute place where you can get fresh donuts, and choose your flavors and toppings. Best part is you get to watch them do the dips and toppings you pick out. We actually stopped back on our way out of town, and to Michigan so we could take some to family. 

Pamela’s Diner

Seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, we didn’t get to make it here, because the wait was pretty long for breakfast. Pamela’s Diner is known for their traditional American fare and Pittsburgh salad, which includes adding french fries on top. They also boast the best breakfast in Pittsburgh since 1980, so I’d say it’s a place to check out. 

Primanti Brothers 

This was a must on our list, so that’s another reason we only snacked on donuts for breakfast. When it comes to iconic Pittsburgh food, Primanti Brothers is at the top of the list. Just like Pamela’s Diner, Primanti Brothers puts a unique twist on their sandwiches when it comes to fries, and other side dishes. Although you can create your own sandwich, a Primanti sandwich is bread, tomato, slaw, fries, cheese, meat, bread. We did get ours without tomato. I’d say we were all happy with our choices. 

Street Food

After walking around town for a while, we came across a food truck next to some of the other businesses. They were offering Asian food, so we got some egg rolls and fried rice to try. Again, happy we had some room in our bellies to try some food, and support another local business. 

4. Visit One of Pittsburgh Strip District Breweries

There are several breweries within walking distance of each other in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. After our donuts, lunch, and walking around a little, we had time to check a couple of them out. All three were on Penn Ave, and very close together. 

1700 Penn and Helltown Brewery

A mix of brewery, bar, and shopping, we enjoyed this place a lot. Offering beer, wine, and cocktails, there was something for everyone. The kids had fun playing some of the games inside, and also taking pictures with wings on the wall. When weather permits, they also have a large area for outdoor seating. I can imagine it would be fun in summer.

Insurrection AleWorks

Couple at Insurrection AleWorks Pittsburgh

When we grabbed our Asian street food, it was actually just outside of Insurrection AleWorks. Since they don’t serve food, we were able to take it in to eat inside. Matt giving a thumbs up for both the beer and food. 

The Beer Hive

Flight at Beer Hive

Although our group was heading to the next brewery, Matt and I popped into The Beer Hive for a quick flight. Happy we got to check this place out, because the beer was pretty good, and as the Steelers game was ending, attendees were starting to pour into the brewery. So that was pretty fun. 

Best Breweries in Pittsburgh

The Church Brew Works

Put Church Brew Works on your must do list too. A historic Catholic Church turned brewery. Of course I’d like to say that’s why we wanted to visit this place, but it wasn’t the only reason. Our friends also recommended Church Brew Works for the food, and it did not disappoint. So, not only is this a unique historic place, but it’s a brewery with great beer and eats. We had to drive here, because it’s just outside the main walkable area of the Strip District. 

5. Check Out the Authentic Markets 

The Strip District has historically been a destination for families to do their grocery shopping. For this reason, you will find more grocery stores than other kinds of shops. The best part is most are authentic cultural markets with imported foods you can’t otherwise find. If you’re either staying somewhere you can cook a meal, or on a rod trip and can take stuff home, I must say, you need to shop at a market.

S & D Polish Deli

S & D Polish Deli in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is known for being highly concentrated with those of Polish heritage. As we were headed out of town, we were going to Michigan to spend Christmas with family. I wish I had known about S & D Polish Deli so I could have ordered some food to take with us. It was very busy in there on a Tuesday morning with people picking up trays of yummy food. Personally, I went in to buy some Christmas gifts, because they also have imported items from Poland in their gift shop area. 

Parma Sausage

Parma Sausage in Pittsburgh Strip District

Just like the Polish Deli, Parma Sausage was very busy for a Tuesday morning. Grab your number, and wait your turn to shop from the very large variety of sausage and meats. Matt had to come back to grab some food to take with us to Michigan. With a line like we saw, we knew it would be good.

Lotus Food Mart

Our youngest was happy to walk into Lotus Food Mart. She has a list of things she likes to look for when finding an Asian market. This time she found some things she could share with her friends, and introduce them to some Asian food they hadn’t had before. 

Wholey & Co

Wow, this place was super busy too. Although we didn’t go in, if I lived more local, I could imagine I would come here often. This is the place to go for fresh seafood. 

Pennsylvania Macaroni Co

For Italian imports, Macaroni Company is where you can do your shopping. If we had the room, and needed the extra food, I know we would have loved to get something. 

How to Spend a Day in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

Where to Stay in Pittsburgh

Where is Pittsburgh’s Strip District?

Pittsburgh’s Strip District is located in the southeast triangle of where the three rivers meet, in the heart of downtown. Located along the southern portion of the Allegheny River. 

Parking in Pittsburgh Strip District

Plan to pay for parking in Pittsburgh. We did find parking in a big lot on Sunday, and also on the street when we came back on a Tuesday. We parked in the lot right next to St Stans Church, and end of The Terminal. 

Final Thoughts on What to do in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

As you can see, we were actually able to do a lot in just one day in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. But even with doing so much, there was still so much more we’d like to see. Not just in the Strip District, but all around Pittsburgh. And even though I love visiting small towns across the United States, I do also love the history, and preservation of the big cities. Pittsburgh was good to us, and we look forward to going back someday. 

For more things to do in Pennsylvania, check out our visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial

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9 thoughts on “5 Things to do in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

  • April 10, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I have wanted to visit Pittsburgh because I have a couple of friends that live in the outskirts and this guide to 5 things to do in Pittsburgh’s Strip District makes me want to visit even more! What a fun and interesting part of the city…and I love all of the diverse food options too! Thank you for sharing!

  • April 11, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    I love how your niche is breweries even though I don’t drink. LOL I enjoyed reading up on your trip to Pittsburgh because we’ve never been. I like to see that you also support small businesses! Seems there’s plenty to do in Pittsburg.

  • April 12, 2023 at 10:46 am

    It’d be lovely to see the historic church with the stained glass in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. And, stroll around the market. The donuts where you pick your own toppings sound tempting.

  • April 12, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    I’m hoping to make it to Pittsburgh and check out the Strip District. I would love to try the donuts, coffee, and food there!

  • April 12, 2023 at 5:34 pm

    I haven’t been to Pittsburgh yet, but I love to explore a new city, so hopefully, I can get there someday! The food looks so yummy, especially the donuts. I’d love to walk around and explore this area. I’m putting it on my list!

  • April 12, 2023 at 11:50 pm

    Wow! You covered a lot of cool things on your visit to Pittsburgh’s Strip District. I especially love all the history.

  • April 14, 2023 at 12:32 am

    Pittsburgh is a place I’ve never been before, but I’m hoping to make it there sooner than later. The Strip District looks like it has so much to offer – especially when it comes to food. My husband would make a priority to visit Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. He wouldn’t let us leave without making a stop!

  • April 17, 2023 at 1:09 am

    This is a perfect itinerary for exploring the Pittsburgh Strip District. How fun to explore there.

  • April 23, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    The Pittsburgh Strip District sounds so fun! We will have to stop here during our next visit to the city.

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