About a mile away from the Strip District, starts my second favorite area of Pittsburgh, which is Lawrenceville! Lawrenceville is an up-and-coming area with entertainment for all ages. Located predominately on Penn Ave and Butler Street, Lawrenceville has quickly grown into the perfect little village.
Lawrenceville is broken up into three sections: Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. Lower Lawrenceville starts right outside of The Strip District which turns into Central Lawrenceville (where most of the popular businesses are), and finally reaches Upper Lawrenceville as you get closer to Highland Park.
Allegheny Cemetery and Arsenal Park are two of the most well-known attractions in Lawrenceville, but it is also home to Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Consortium and Children’s Hospital UPMC Campus.
One of my favorite draws of Lawrenceville are all of the locally owned small businesses. Whether you are looking for coffee shops, bakeries, a place for a happy hour, or a family dining experience, almost all of your choices will be from the mind of a small business owner.
There are almost 200 business located in the Lawrenceville area and while all of them are worth checking out, I went ahead and planned out a day for you that highlights a few of the unique stops on the Lawrenceville tour.
Important note! Parking in Lawrenceville is 99% street parking. I recommend parking in the residential areas near the 40th Street Bridge off of Butler Street or in the public parking lot by Condado Tacos. It is better to park in one place and walk rather than try to find street parking. Parking on Butler Street will be at a cost, but if you can find a spot of the side streets off of Butler, those are free to park!
9am: Start with a nice cold brew or iced chai at Espresso a Mano (3623 Butler St). If you didn’t already know, I do not function without coffee. When I lived in Lawrenceville, one of my morning routines on a Saturday included starting my day at this coffee and espresso bar. They feature a garage door that is always open during the nice, sunny days. With the welcoming environment and exceptional customer service, Espresso a Mano is the perfect place for coffee.
9:30am: Grab a traditional French bakery breakfast from La Gourmandine (4605 Butler St). La Gourmandine opened in 2010 and has been a staple to Lawrenceville life since they opened their doors. While you have to enjoy your pastries to go, the menu to choose from is worth standing while eating! With selections ranging from bread to danishes, pastries, and tartes, there is a little bit of everything for each person’s taste! It is important to note, that from the time they open at 9am there will be a line! Stay and wait it out though, you will not find a better traditional French bakery around!
11am: Browse the local shops of Central Lawrenceville. Start with Wildcard (4209 Butler Street) a one-of-a-kind store where you can find anything from a homemade craft to a Pittsburgh shirt, or a gag gift for a friend! Fun fact, most items are locally made from a Pittsburgh artist! From there, you can check out some of my favorite boutiques like No 14 (4601 Butler) or Pavement (3629 Butler St) who specialize in trendy teen to middle-aged women’s clothing.
Not feeling like shopping? Then check out the Roberto Clemente Museum (3339 Penn Ave) located in historic Engine House 25. Make sure to take your photo in front of Clemente’s mural. If you are visiting the museum, be sure to book your tour in advance! Tours are not available to those who have not booked their tour in advance. An added bonus, parking is available onsite!
1:30pm: If you are not full yet from breakfast, grab a sandwich to fuel your afternoon from The Deli on Butler (4110 Butler St). Deli on Butler is your traditional local, family-run sandwich shop. When my husband worked in Lawrenceville, Deli on Butler was a in his weekly lunch rotation. If you were to ask him, he would tell you to get their Pasquale sandwich: a roast beef, ham, turkey, cheese, with a house “special sauce” delicious sandwich!
3pm: Take some time to relax and take a float at Victory Float Lounge (3345 Penn Ave). Yes, go take a float! Floating is a new hype designed to help relax, destress, and soothe your mind and body. You, and a partner if you wish, can book a time slot to float in a chamber filled with 12” of water and a ton of Epson salt. For those that are claustrophobic like me, I can promise you that while you are technically enclosed, it does not feel like it! This sensory deprivation chamber feels as spacious as floating in a pool. I highly recommend checking out Victory Float’s website to learn more about floating and to book your appointment!
4:30pm: After your hour relaxing in an Epsom salt bath, have some fun at Mix Candle Co. formally known as The Candle Lab (4409 Butler St)! Mix Candle Co is a great place for those who love all things candles! Create your own unique scent with a Scent Stylist or dip your own candle! Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are allowed when available. The whole process takes roughly 30 minutes but takes an additional 90 for the candle to dry. During that time, you can visit some of the local stores nearby or visit Kickback Pinball just across the street for some old school arcade fun! Arsenal Bowling is also nearby for those who want to try the luck on the lanes!
6pm: Have a nice, sit down dinner at Merchant Oyster Co (4129 Butler St). For those looking for the perfect seafood restaurant, look no further! Merchant Oyster Co is a Northeast Style Oyster Bar and Chowder House who also specializes in lobster rolls and crab cakes. No reservations are needed; however, you can book a seat using the OpenTable app through Merchant Oyster’s website. I will forever recommend their clam chowder or the Clam Stuffies, as seen pictured here, as I have yet to find another place that even comes close to the taste!
8pm: Wind down your night sitting outside in the beer garden at Arsenal Cider House – Original Urban Cider House location (300 39th Street – closer to Penn Ave side). Stop inside and ask the bartender for a nice cider before retiring to the spacious beer garden complete with outdoor tables, a firepit, and live entertainment.
There are so many other great places to visit in Lawrenceville! I hope you can fall in love with it as much as I have and maybe then you can plan your Lawrenceville day trip!