City of Pittsburgh
Lawrenceville combines the old and new for a vibe that is eclectic, cutting edge and down-home all at once. Grandmothers who take pride in their front porch stoops live right next to medical researchers, artists and entrepreneurs. Newer, younger residents are opening galleries, restaurants and cafés, next to long-time shopkeepers selling pizza, fixing shoes, polishing antiques and repairing wristwatches.
Its historic, somewhat still-affordable row homes add to the charm and are part of what's making this city neighborhood a white-hot destination for newcomers from Brooklyn, Washington, D.C. and beyond. Historically known as Arsenal – for the Civil War-era gunpowder factory in what's now Arsenal Park – this neighborhood was home to Stephen Foster, whose “Oh Susannah!” was the first American pop song.
UPMC moved its world-renown Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh here in 2009, attracting many leading physicians, star researchers and other medical staff to the neighborhood. Other major businesses, such as the leading edge Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, sit among row houses of old timers, artists' lofts, recording studios, a church converted into a restaurant, city schools and a range of nonprofits, including Bike Pittsburgh.
The Lawrenceville Development Corporation and Lawrenceville United are two of the groups that ensure new ideas come to life while the character is preserved through community watches coupled with support for business and such community activities as Art All Night, the annual garden tour, cookie tour and blossom tour (where businesses give packets of seeds to patrons) and Summer Celebration camps for kids ages 4-14.
As both a neighborhood and a destination for other Pittsburghers, day and night, Lawrenceville has more than dozen of restaurants and cafes and increasingly, bars. Some long-timers fear the neighborhood may suffer the nightlife excesses of the South Side, and community-led pushback is underway against he construction of cavernous bars in this largely residential, parking-scarce neighborhood. It's a magnet for hipsters, but the future of Lawrenceville is still being written.