Bloomfield is a vibrant neighborhood nestled in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East End, is steeped in history and offers an eclectic mix of old-world charm and modern amenities. Fondly known as Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, Bloomfield is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, and a testament to the city’s rich multicultural heritage.
A Glimpse into Bloomfield’s Rich History
Bloomfield’s history dates back to the Pre-Revolutionary War era when the land was home to the native Delaware tribe. The neighborhood derived its name from the abundant wildflowers that once bloomed here.
The land, originally claimed by pre-revolutionary war settler Casper Taub, was later purchased by his son-in-law, Joseph Conrad Winebiddle. Post the city’s annexation of the land in 1868, the Winebiddle family subdivided the land into plots and sold them off, leading to the establishment of the neighborhood of Bloomfield.
German Catholic immigrants were the first settlers, followed by Italians from the Abruzzi region, who gave the neighborhood its present-day moniker, “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy”. Despite the diversification of the community over the years, the descendants of these early settlers continue to contribute to the neighborhood’s distinctive character.
The Neighborhood Layout
Covering a total area of 449 acres, Bloomfield is conveniently located in central Pittsburgh, sharing its borders with Shadyside, Friendship, Garfield, and Lawrenceville. The neighborhood’s major corridors include Liberty, Penn, Centre, and Friendship Avenues.
The Bloomfield Bridge, constructed in 1914, offers direct connectivity to Oakland, a neighborhood renowned for its medical complex, universities, and cultural centers.
Today, Bloomfield also is home to other individuals of European descent as well as many college students. The neighborhood is close to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. It is also home to West Penn Hospital, a top medical institution in the region and part of the Allegheny Health Network. Bloomfield definitely hasn’t forgotten about its roots though, as they host Little Italy Days every year.
The Thriving Business District
Bloomfield’s business district, centered along Liberty Avenue, is a bustling hub of activity. Residents and visitors alike have access to a full-service grocery store, several Italian markets and bakeries, a butcher shop, coffee shops, a major hospital, pharmacies, banks, salons, bookstores, gift shops, art galleries, clothing stores, and a plethora of restaurants serving diverse cuisines.
For more information about local businesses, the Bloomfield Business Directory offers a comprehensive list of establishments in the area.
Today Bloomfield is a thriving community with hip art galleries, coffee houses and restaurants to satisfy anyone’s craving… if you’re a burger lover… stop by Tessaro’s!
A Foodie’s Paradise
Despite its Italian roots, Bloomfield’s culinary offerings span a broad spectrum of global cuisines. From the spicy chicken wings at Station to the vegan Central and Eastern European dishes at APTEKA, the neighborhood’s food scene is a gastronomic delight.
For casual eats and excellent coffee, the Big Idea Cooperative Book Store and Cafe is a local favorite.
A Vibrant Bar Scene and Breweries
Bloomfield’s nightlife doesn’t disappoint. Classic neighborhood hangouts like Sonny’s Tavern, Nico’s Recovery Room, and Lot 17 mingle with newer establishments like Froggy’s Bar. For a fantastic selection of craft beers, Caliente Pizza & Draft House is a must-visit.
Unique Shops and Markets
Bloomfield is also home to unique shops like White Whale Bookstore. Independent food merchants such as Chantal’s Cheese Shop, Paddy Cake Bakery, Linea Verde Green Market offer a range of delectable treats.
The Bloomfield Saturday Market is a popular venue for fresh farm produce during the summer months.
Celebrating Italian Heritage: Little Italy Days
Bloomfield’s Italian heritage is celebrated annually during the Little Italy Days. This weekend-long festival in August transforms Liberty Avenue into a vibrant hub of live entertainment, food vendors, and cultural displays.
Recreational Spaces and Music Venues
Despite its urban setting, Bloomfield offers recreational spaces for residents and visitors. The park under the Bloomfield Bridge features a public pool and several bocce courts, a nod to the neighborhood’s Italian roots.
The Future of Bloomfield: A Community Vision
In 2011, the Bloomfield Development Corporation completed a vision planning process for the neighborhood, involving numerous community members in focus groups and community meetings. The resulting vision plan outlines the community’s aspirations for the future of Bloomfield.
With its rich history, cultural diversity, thriving business district, and vibrant community, Bloomfield is not just a neighborhood; it’s a lifestyle. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there’s always something to explore in this dynamic corner of Pittsburgh’s East End.
So, welcome to Bloomfield — a place where the old and the new harmoniously coexist, and where every street and corner tells a story.