Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: The Strip District

A Brief History of the Strip District

history of the strip district
St. Stanislaus Kostka In The Strip

The Strip District is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that is only a half a square mile, running between 13th and 33rd Sts. with Smallman St. Penn Ave. and Liberty Ave. as its main streets. The Strip, as it’s affectionately called, was home to mills and factories over the years including the Fort Pitt Foundry, which made cannons during the Civil War era. Many famous companies were housed in the Strip at some point over the years, including Heinz Ketchup and U.S. Steel.  The history of the Strip District is important to Pittsburgh.

In the early 1900s, the Strip became known for its wholesale of produce, meat and poultry. The 1920s saw the Strip as the economic hub of the ‘burgh.  Today the strip is best known as an outdoor marketplace and weekend destination for Pittsburghers, young and old alike.  Visiting Pittsburgh is also not complete without a trip to the Strip for good food, coffee, shopping and mixing with the local atmosphere.

Facts About the Strip District

history of the strip district
Exploring The Strip District

Pittsburgh’s Strip District, often referred to simply as “The Strip,” is an area steeped in history, rich in culture, and bursting with flavor. Once a bustling industrial hub, this vibrant neighborhood has redefined itself as an epicenter of culinary delights, an incubator for tech startups, and a hot spot for nightlife.

A Glimpse into The Strip’s History

Strip District Terminal

The origins of the Strip District can be traced back to the 19th century when it was a thriving industrial neighborhood. The proximity to the Allegheny River made it a prime location for factories, mills, and foundries, such as the Fort Pitt Foundry, known for manufacturing large cannons during the Civil War.

Innovators like George Westinghouse set up their factories here, adding to the industrial prowess of the area. Westinghouse not only invented air brakes and alternating current, but he also introduced the concept of paid vacations and half-days off on Saturdays.

However, with the decline of manufacturing and the shift in transportation methods, the Strip District underwent significant changes in the latter part of the 20th century. The once-bustling factories and warehouses were abandoned, paving the way for a new era of transformation.

The Strip District’s Revival

Strip district pittsburgh

The 21st century marked the beginning of an exciting revival for the Strip District. The empty warehouses were gradually repurposed into unique boutiques, ethnic grocery stores, art studios, antique dealers, and sidewalk vendors.

Today, the Strip is a bustling market district, home to an eclectic mix of businesses. It’s a paradise for food lovers, with an array of ethnic food vendors, fresh produce stands, meat and fish markets, and street vendors. The enticing aroma of fresh-roasted coffee blends with the scent of freshly baked bread, making for an irresistible sensory experience.

A Food Lover’s Paradise

In the heart of the Strip District, you will find a melting pot of international cuisines. These specialty grocery stores offer a wide variety of international food items, making it a go-to destination for food enthusiasts.

Strip District

  • WFH Oriental Food Market: This Asian grocery store offers an impressive selection of East Asian food items.
  • Lotus Noodle: Known for its exceptional produce selection and unique Asian items, Lotus Noodle is a favorite among locals.
  • Sambok Korean: Although smaller in size, Sambok focuses on Korean items, making it a perfect stop for those who love Korean cuisine.
  • Labad’s Mediterranean Grocery: Labad’s is your one-stop shop for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare.
  • Salem’s Market: A Middle Eastern grocery store offering a large selection of items, a Halal butcher, and a fantastic restaurant.
  • S&D Polish Deli: A tribute to the city’s love for pierogi, this store offers all things Polish.
  • Reyna Foods: Step into Reyna’s, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered Mexico. The store is famous for its fresh corn and flour tortillas.
  • Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.: Known as Penn Mac, it stocks every Italian product you could need and has one of the most impressive cheese counters in the country.
  • Stamoolis Brothers Co.: Similar to Penn Mac but with a unique collection of items from Greece and Eastern Europe.

The Strip District: A Hub for Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries

Pittsburgh’s wine and spirit scene has been gaining recognition in recent years, and the Strip District is at the heart of this burgeoning industry. A number of award-winning wineries, breweries, and distilleries have made the Strip their home, contributing to its vibrant nightlife.

  • Pittsburgh Winery: Known for their fine wines made from grapes imported from around the world.
  • Maggie’s Farm Rum: Visit this distillery for their national award-winning rum and selection of boat drinks.
  • Kingfly Spirits: A large distillery producing vodka, rum, limoncello, and more.
  • Wigle Whiskey: One of the most awarded distilleries in the USA, Wigle Whiskey is known for its delicious whiskey and gin.
  • R Wine Cellar: Located right in the heart of the Strip District, this wine cellar offers a wide selection of wines.
  • Courtyard Winery: A tasting room for a winery located on the shores of Lake Erie.
  • Cinderlands Warehouse: An expansion by popular brewery Cinderlands into the Strip District.
  • 1700 Penn Avenue: A collaboration between Pennsylvania Libations and Helltown Brewery.
  • City Winery: A wine bar and event venue space in the Terminal Building.
  • Aslin Beer Company: Pittsburgh’s first location for the DC-area based brewery, Aslin.
  • Bonafide Beer Co.: A cozy brewery in the heart of the Strip District.
  • The Beerhive: A dive bar serving up a great selection of Pennsylvania beers.

Coffee and Tea Galore

The Strip District is also home to a collection of cafes offering coffee, espresso, and a wide selection of tea.

  • La Prima Espresso Bar: For a smooth, rich, Italian espresso, head over to La Prima. They roast their own beans for a truly authentic experience.
  • De Fer Coffee: This modern coffee shop and roastery is located right in the heart of the Strip.
  • Soluna (formerly Cafetano): A Honduran coffee roaster offering a full coffee and food menu.
  • Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange: This store offers a wide selection of in-house roasted coffee beans and teas. Don’t miss their nitro coffee.
  • Prestogeorge Coffee & Tea: Another fantastic option for freshly roasted coffee beans and loose leaf teas.
  • Colombino: A stall serving up Colombian coffees imported directly and roasted locally.

The Heinz History Center

Heinz History in the Strip District

Located in the Strip District is the Heinz History Center. This museum showcases the rich history of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, with exhibits ranging from the early settlements in the region to modern-day inventions and personalities.

Key Information for Visitors

If you’re planning to visit the Strip District, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Strip District is most vibrant in the late morning to mid-afternoon on weekdays and especially weekends. This is when most businesses are open. However, the crowds can be quite large during these hours.

Parking can be a challenge during peak hours. However, there are several parking lots and garages in the area. The garage at the Cork Factory and The Hub on 27th both offer reasonable hourly rates.

The Strip District is a testament to Pittsburgh’s ability to reinvent itself while maintaining its rich history and authenticity. It offers a unique urban experience that caters to a variety of interests, from food and drink to shopping and history. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something new to discover in the Strip District.


1 thought on “Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: The Strip District”

  1. Terry Connerton

    I like the redevelopment of the Strip, but there are now so many more people living, working and visiting there that it is hard to get around(and park). The sidewalks are small and many filled with vendors and the roads are narrow and cannot accommodate all the shoppers.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top