Bonnie Pfister

Whether it’s because of — or in spite of! — the presence of family, to enjoy four seasons amid distinctive topography, or to advance a career, Pittsburgh is increasingly a place that people come back to.

And why not?

PensStanleyCupmemeThere’s plenty going on in the Pittsburgh region to keep you busy and happy in terms of career and fun. We’re affordable enough that you won’t be a slave to your rent or mortgage. Got an idea for a new product or service? Our entrepreneurial ecosystem — including such incubators and supporters as  AlphaLab, AlphaLab Gear, TechShop, the Three Rivers Venture Fair and the SBDC (at Duquesne University, but open to all) – is notable for its camaraderie. As AlphaLab alum and Jazz Founder Don Charlton puts it, “if you can get a bit of momentum, you’ll have an entire city trying to help you.” The annual Thrival Innovation + Music Festival has grown into a not-to-miss event. And our restaurant scene is awesome.

Cool jobs. Hot industries. Longstanding employers doing cutting-edge R&D in healthcare and with materials and metals that will make airplanes and autos faster and more fuel-efficient.

With more than 20,000 jobs open today across southwestern PA, surely there’s one — or many — that would be winners for you. Come on; the if the Pens could bring the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh, isn’t it time for you to come back, too?

Find your new job at



Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Amanda Waltz

It’s time to head outside for some fun family activities. From a children’s theater festival to a week long celebration of innovation in learning, there’s something for everyone this month.

Kids Day at PNC Park.
Kids Day at PNC Park.

Kids Day at PNC Park: May 1

Baseball season will go into full swing with Kids Day at PNC Park. Little ones can have some fun before the game at the #1 Cochran Family Fun Zone on Federal Street. Inside the park, fans age 14 and under will receive a commemorative Andrew McCutchen Silver Slugger Plastic Bat with paid admission. After the final inning, kids can pretend to be their favorite players when they rush onto the field for a chance to Run the Bases.

Federal Street activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit the Pirates website for more details and ticket prices.


Mother’s Day Weekend in Lawrenceville: May 6—8

The whole family should head to Lawrenceville for the neighborhood’s Mother’s Day Weekend. Mom can indulge in discounts and freebies at 54 participating businesses all along Butler Street. For the foodie mom, there are brunch deals, wine tastings and sweet treats at various restaurants, bars and bakeries. Take advantage of special deals on gifts and services at Wildcard, Love Bikes and Metamorphosis. The event will also offer activities for kids and moms to enjoy together, including Mom and Me make-up classes at The Gilded Girl, Mommy and Me Yoga at Shining Light, and puppet shows at the Teddy Bear Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Mother’s Day Weekend in Lawrenceville will begin on Friday, May 6 and continue through Sunday, May 8. Some activities require registration.


Photo by Kate Buckley.
Photo by Kate Buckley.

Millvale May Days:

May 6—7

The Business Association of Millvale (BAM) will present a weekend full of activities for Millvale May Days. The free event will feature self-guided tours of 30 stops in Millvale’s business district, where guests can check out sales, specials and raffles. Also included are horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, and opportunities in GAP Park to learn about Millvale’s plan for a sustainable future. BAM will also provide tour maps to mark off for a chance to win one of three grand prizes.

Millvale May Days will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 6 and at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. Grand prize winners will be announced at 5 p.m. during the Saturday Post Party at the Millvale Library.


Pittsburgh Vegan Festival: May 6—7

Vegan and non-vegans alike can attend two days of food and fun at the North Hills Unitarian Universalist Church during the Pittsburgh Vegan Festival. The all-ages event will begin on Friday, May 6 with an opening party and the RE-Model Gala, an art and dance fashion show featuring belly dancers modeling designs by local artists who work with recycled materials.

The event continues on Saturday, May 7 with a full day of vegan cuisine, live entertainment and over two dozen vendors offering everything from handmade jewelry to astrology consultations. Among the available food items are vegan hot dogs from Onion Maiden, Indian fare from Sree’s Foods, and empanadas from Salud Pgh. Especially for kids, there’s story time, an art activity, play time, and more.

The Pittsburgh Vegan Festival will kick off on Friday, May 6 with an opening party from 6 to 9 p.m. The event continues on Saturday, May 7 from 12 to 7 p.m. Tickets for the opening party are $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door, and free for kids 12 and under. Admission to the Saturday main event costs $5 at the door (free for kids 12 and under).

At the Children’s Museum.
At the Children’s Museum.

Remake Learning Days: May 9 – 15

During Remake Learning Days, a first for Pittsburgh, kids and families can experience first-hand the revolution underway in the future of education in our region. With hundreds of events on tap, all categorized by audience (children and families, for one), this is your chance to explore the world of hands-on and technology-based learning including STEM and STEAM – that’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math. From STEM all hands on tech at the Carnegie Library to Family Maker Night, there’s plenty  to do in this  weeklong celebration showcasing everything that makes the Pittsburgh region a  national leader in innovative teaching and learning.

Find events everywhere from schools and museums to universities and tech startups, all free and open for you to explore. Check the schedule and plan your week!


EQT Children’s Theater Festival in the Cultural District: May 12—15

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will celebrate 30 years of bringing outstanding children’s programming to Pittsburgh with the latest EQT Children’s Theater Festival. Organized by the Children’s Theater Series, the event will roll out productions by eight award-winning theater companies from Canada, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Peru and Scotland. As part of the festivities, the Cultural District will also offer a wide array of hands-on activities, public art and music at a variety of outdoor, pop-up green spaces and indoor lobbies.

Performances will take place at the Byham TheaterEQT Plaza at 625 Liberty Ave., the August Wilson Center and the Trust Arts Education Center.


Pizza from Driftwood OvenSteel City Pizza Fest in Arsenal Park: May 14

Enjoy a slice or two at Steel City Pizza Fest, Pittsburgh’s premiere pizza and music festival. The annual event returns to Arsenal Park to serve up offerings from 11 area pizza shops representing Millvale, Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. Spirit’s Pizza Boat, the Driftwood Mobile Pizza Oven and the Pittsburgh Pizza Truck will also appear.

In addition to gorging on some cheesy, doughy goodness, guests can also listen to live performances by bands The Turpentiners, Allegheny Rhythm Rangers, Strange Monsters and Turbosonics, or shop for local, handmade goods at the Spring It On craft show.

The 2016 Steel City Pizza Fest will take place from 12 to 6 p.m. The event is free to attend and open to everyone, including dogs.

Touch-a-Truck in the Strip District: May 14

The Junior League of Pittsburgh, an organization of women committed to improving communities through volunteerism, will host a Touch-a-Truck fundraiser in the Strip District. Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to explore fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and other vehicles, and meet the men and women who drive them. Food trucks will add to the mix by selling food and beverages. Proceeds from the event will support the Junior League of Pittsburgh.

Touch-a-Truck will take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at 15th and Smallman Street in the Strip District. Tickets are $4 online, $5 at the door. VIP tickets are $10 for adults, $15 for children (includes early access at 9 a.m. and a t-shirt). Parking is free.


Noah’s Ark whale at Kennywood.
Noah’s Ark whale at Kennywood.

Noah’s Ark Grand Opening at Kennywood: May 25

Families visiting Kennywood this year will discover some major surprises. The historic theme park begins its 118th season with the much-anticipated return of the Noah’s Ark whale. Twenty years after its removal, the majestic creature returns to celebrate its 80th anniversary serving as the entrance to the classic ride. The park will commemorate the occasion with a grand opening event.

Other changes include a new and improved Potato Patch, and the addition of a 4-D Theater, which will run the animated short Ice Age: No Time For Nuts 4-D every 12 minutes. The theater is free with park admission.


Free Family Fishing Day at Fort Pitt Museum: May 29

Point State Park and the Fort Pitt Museum will provide fun and educational activities in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Fish-for-Free Days, a state-wide event allowing people to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways with or without a license. Point State Park staff will provide plenty of modern fishing equipment and teachable moments for the 21st century. The Fort Pitt Museum will have costumed interpreters with period 18th-century fishing equipment to demonstrate how people fished at Fort Pitt 250 years ago.

The Free Family Fishing Day at Fort Pitt Museum will take place in the Amphitheater along the Monongahela Wharf. While participants are not required to have a fishing license, all other fishing regulations still apply.


Image courtesy of PyroFest.
Image courtesy of PyroFest.

PyroFest at Cooper’s Lake: May 28-29

Now in its fifth year, PyroFest returns to Cooper’s Lake to unleash an epic Memorial Day weekend fireworks display. For the first time ever, the event will feature four highly renowned international pyrotechnic companies. On Saturday, May 28, the Chinese company Vulcan will present their action-packed show Road Trip Ramble, followed by Ricardo Caballer Ricasa. On Sunday, May 29, the Canadian company Sirius Pyrotechnics and Pyrotecnico, the largest fireworks company in America, will light up the sky.

PyroFest will also have a choreographed special effects production set to a live performance by the band Rusted Root. Other offerings include music on the main stage, food vendors and a Kids Zone.

Tickets for PyroFest are available for purchase at Showclix.

Honorable mentions:

Waves Party at Assemble: May 11

Penny Arcade at Arcade Comedy Theater: May 14

Zooperheroes Family Game Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo: May 15

Venture Outdoors Festival: May 21

3 Rivers Comicon at Century III Mall: May 21-22


*   *   *

Wondering about your career future? Check out to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers, industries and the more than 20,000 jobs open now on our custom-built aggregator, updated nightly.

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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Jennifer Baron

From extreme adventure films and Japanese anime, to beer mania and Jewish cinema, April has arrived to revive your mind, body, soul and palate.


1. PIX: Pittsburgh Indie Comix Exposition at 10 S. 19th Street: April 2

Pittsburgh is home to numerous noteworthy and emerging comic book artists and cartoonists as well as a museum dedicated to the art forms. PIX serves as a creative convergence for Pittsburgh’s local community and its connections to an international scene. The free event is a must-see, one-stop-shop for makers, producers, publishers and fans alike. Setting up shop on the South Side, the region’s first-of-its-kind expo of creator-owned, self-published, small press and handmade comics is the brainchild of Copacetic Comics Company owner Bill Boichel, co-presented by Pittsburgh’s own ToonSeum . PIX-goers can peruse and purchase works from 50-plus exhibitors, hear artist presentations, attend creator panels and more. This year’s lineup of literati features everyone from Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith and author Derf Backderf, to RAW alum Kaz and Blammo creator Noah Van Sciver. You can even channel your inner cartoonist at workshops led by artists Frank Santoro and Juan Fernandez offered concurrently at Carnegie Library’s South Side Branch.

2. Banff Mountain Film Festival at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall: April 2 & 3

If you can’t be snowboarding or propelling down a steep peak, then the next best thing is this high-octane showcase of 17 top new titles in action, environmental and adventure filmmaking. Adrenaline, extreme sports and cinematic wizardry collide on the big screen, when this one-of-a-kind film tour rolls into cozy Homestead to celebrate its 41st anniversary and its 14th year in the Burgh. Cling to the edge of your seat as you as you embark on exhilarating expeditions to exotic landscapes, experience remote cultures and leave inspired to embrace the sheer power and beauty of the outdoors. See Natasha Brooks swim naked in the frigid mountain lakes of Wales, watch pro kayaker Rafa Ortiz paddle over deadly Niagara Falls  and follow four courageous men and 16 wild mustangs on a 5,000 kilometer trek from Mexico to Canada. Ready to exhale? Purchase tickets now before they sell out.



3. Jazz Appreciation Month: April 5—26

Adding a Pittsburgh flair to national Jazz Appreciation Month (dubbed JAM), multiple Cultural District venues are hosting concerts, jam sessions and special appearances by established and emerging vocalists, instrumentalists and bandleaders. If you’re eagerly awaiting the JazzLive International Festival in June, this hot series is a great first course. Don’t miss the kickoff concert when jazz powerhouses team up to present “4 Generations of Miles” at Cabaret at Theater Square. Witness history in the making when award-winning drummer Jimmy Cobb teams up with Grammy-nominated guitarist Mike Stern, bassist extraordinaire Buster Williams, and alto sax giant Sonny Fortune. It will be hard to sit still during this eclectic homage to Miles’ profound legacy. The series continues April 9 at the August Wilson Center, where soulful singer Maysa will woo audiences with her smooth jazz stylings and impressive vocal range. On April 12, Grammy-winning saxophonist Gary Bartz will heat things up at Cabaret. Jazz Month culminates on April 26, when Grammy Award-winning  Jesus “Chuchito” Valdes will dazzle crowds with the Latin jazz sounds of his talented trio. View all JAM events.


4. Tekko at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: April 7—10

Move over Furries, Tekko‘s in town. April will bloom with anime when this leading Japanese pop culture convention sets up shop downtown. Presented by the Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society, Tekko bustles with fashion shows, gaming, dance contests, 150 vendors, cosplay, educational workshops, panel discussions and more—all creating an immersive and welcoming environment. Bigger than ever, Tekko’s 14th edition boasts lots of new twists and expanded offerings. Head into The Escape Room—if you dare—to compete in themed environments decked out with robots, ninjas and alchemy. Next, check out all of the action via the new live streaming TeamTekko TV. Featured presenters include L.A.-based actor Matt Mercer and voice actors Marisha Ray, Chris Patton and Austin Tindle. Pop culture figures will abound at Tekko, including fashion models Misako Aoki and Lynda Leung,  Japanese rock band, Back-On, and Tokyo-based DJ Bass. For those curious, the event’s original moniker, Tekkoshocon, blends the Japanese colloquialism meaning “steel mill” with the suffix for “con.” Even Mayor Peduto is getting in on the fun, proclaiming “Tekko 2016 Week” in Pittsburgh.


Atomic Falafel. Photo: Merav Maroody
Atomic Falafel. Photo: Merav Maroody

5. JFilm Festival: April 7-17

Featuring 21 Pittsburgh premieres from 9 countries, 15 special guests and 11 days of programming, the 23rd annual JFilm Festival is your hot ticket for independent and foreign cinema. Spanning award-winning documentaries, dramas, narratives and comedies, films are augmented by sessions with visiting filmmakers, producers and artists, receptions, “Film Schmooze” discussions and a short film competition. The diverse festival explores and celebrates Jewish culture, independent filmmaking and cultural tolerance. JFILM kicks off with a documentary about one of the most prolific figures in 20th-century television. From Archie Bunker to George Jefferson, he created iconic characters and hit sitcoms, and now directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady turn their lens to Norman Lear himself. A Sundance favorite, Just Another Version Of You pairs firsthand accounts from the 94-year-old producer and activist with insights from George Clooney, Amy Poehler and Rob Reiner. Not to miss is JFILM’s closing night film, A Tale of Love and Darkness, when Natalie Portman makes her writing and directing debut in a dazzling adaptation of the celebrated 2002 memoir by Israeli author Amos Oz. View a schedule and purchase tickets.


6. Bridal Revival at the Hotel Monaco: April 8

Say yes to the dress—again. This time around, without the exorbitant costs and guest list anxiety. If you’re one of the countless brides who looked longingly in the mirror asking: “But will I ever wear it again?” then this event is for you. The brainchild of Glitter & Grit bridal boutique, the first-of-its-kind Pittsburgh event invites one and all to dig out and reimagine those gowns—wedding, bridesmaid, prom and formal alike. A downtown Hotel Monaco, Revivalists will be treated to a jitters-free evening complete with hair and makeup touch-ups by Hannah Conard Beauty Collective, party stations, signature cocktails and light bites, music by DJ Chaz and plenty of dancing. Brides can make DIY floral jewelry with Mt. Lebanon Floral, pop into The Farmers Daughter photo booth, add to Paint Monkey’s “Community Canvas,” and participate in restyling contests judged by Style Social. You’ll rock that frock for a great cause, because all proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hospital. You can even donate your dress on-site to Brides for a Cause and Project Prom. The $100 price tag makes this one wedding that won’t break the bank. The Monaco is even offering discounted rates for attendees wanting to make a night of it.


Courtesy Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week
Courtesy Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week

7. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week: April 15—24

We agree with NEXTpittsburgh‘s own Eat.Drink.Do editor Drew Cranisky when he encourages springtime beer drinking. The best place to tap into new brews on the horizon is at Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week’s epic fifth anniversary. In January, Saveur called Pittsburgh a “beer and spirits destination,” and these 10 fully tapped days are your chance to find out why. The hoppy happening overflows with a staggering menu of beer release bashes, IPA challenges, tap takeovers, tastings, brewery tours and more. There are hundreds of creatively designed beer-themed events. Sample Guinness cupcakes, beer-washed cheeses and milkshakes made with Full Pint’s new Rye Rebellion Stout. Chow down at the first-ever “Beer and Soup Pairing,” drink for charity at “Cans for a Cause” and learn new recipes at “Baking with Booze” workshops. Thirsty yet? View a calendar of events.



8. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents Alec’s Playlist at Heinz Hall: April 16

Whether you love him best as Jack Donaghy or Jack Ryan, fans of Alec Baldwin shouldn’t miss this unique one-night-only concert experience. He’s nabbed multiple Emmys, Golden Globes and an Oscar nomination, has his own talk show and is a columnist for HuffPo—but what’s on Alec’s playlist? Find out when the award-winning actor, director and producer—who is also an outspoken supporter of the arts—teams up with PSO Maestro Manfred Honeck to share his favorite performances and moments in music. Audiences will discover how and why classical music is so significant to him, and which musical pieces have impacted his own life, as Baldwin hosts and co-curates the intimate evening. Expected on Baldwin’s uplifting playlist are selections by iconic and innovative composers, such as Beethoven, Berlioz, Stravinsky and Mahler. Underscoring Baldwin’s interest in passing on his passion with new generations of classical music fans, the actor has generously donated tickets for youth and Pittsburgh Promise students. Purchase tickets.


Courtesy Prevention Point Pittsburgh
Courtesy Prevention Point Pittsburgh

9. Prevention Point Pittsburgh’s 20th anniversary at the Ace Hotel: April 16

Prevention Point Pittsburgh‘s (PPP) beginnings date back to 1995, when James Crow, Caroline Acker and dedicated volunteers began providing needle exchange services in the Hill District to prevent the spread of injection-related blood-borne disease. Fast-forward two decades and the grassroots nonprofit now operates three county-authorized needle exchange sites and provides a host of critical prevention services to 5,000 injection drug users. Help the local org celebrate 20 years of life-saving work—and hit the dance floor in the newly opened Ace Hotel gym—at PPP’s first large-scale benefit bash. The night kicks off at 7 p.m. with a reception hosted by Tony Silvestri and Mike Sutherland honoring PPP’s co-founders, where attendees will be treated to a private concert by Pittsburgh’s favorite neo-Americana band, The Beagle Brothers and delish hor d’oeuvres crafted by the Whitfield. At 10 p.m., PPP turns it up a notch with a dance party featuring the D.C.-based DJ collective The NeedlExchange. Proceeds will support PPP’s work preventing infection transmission and overdose fatalities, and providing comprehensive case management services and counseling, health education, overdose prevention, free screenings, and more. PPP is also expected to announce the launch of a campaign to secure a permanent facility. Buy tickets.


10. FULLTIME Festival: April 20–24

Crowdsourcing is not just for the internet anymore. One of Pittsburgh’s newest festivals, FULLTIME draws on the innovative models of open- and crowdsourced content to showcase independent Pittsburgh-based artists, designers and small businesses. A five-day convergence of hard working people, creative enterprise and entrepreneurialism, the citywide celebration takes you behind-the-scenes to experience artistic projects taking root. Designer Discard will present a yard sale featuring handmade printed matter and vintage collectibles, while Row House Cinema is hosting a Monster Movie Fest curated by Alternate Histories. The public can also meet Lawrenceville-based makers during studio tours and pop-up shops at Sapling Press, Bootstrap Design, Garbella and Moop. At “Legalize Eating,” Legume’s chef Trevett Hooper will host a dinner highlighting food politics at the home of artist Kim Fox of Workerbird. Additional highlights include the Troika Skate competition, Commonwealth Press Beer Barge and In Bed By Ten dance party at Carnegie Museum of Art. Music fans won’t want to miss the new Open Book series kicking off at East End Book Exchange, where singer-songwriter Brooke Annibale will perform live and discuss her career and creative process. New events are coming soon, so check the festival website for details.


Courtesy Pittsburgh Earth Day
Courtesy Pittsburgh Earth Day

11. Pittsburgh Earth Day: April 21–24

April is a time of renewal, and what better way to recharge your karmic batteries than Earth Day? Thanks to Pittsburgh Earth Day‘s Steel to Sustainable series, you’ve got not one, but four, great days to do so. Spanning multiple locations with many free events, the citywide celebration showcases the region’s rich steel history, cutting-edge eco-innovations and goals for an even more sustainable future. The green scene kicks off April 21st with the Ecolution fashion show and cocktail soiree at the Fairmont. See how recycled and reused materials are transformed into haute couture with a conscience as local designers present runway-ready wares. On April 22nd, fuel up on local grub at the solar powered Food Truck Festival, enjoy live music by Molly Alphabet, the Armadillos and Beagle Brothers in Mellon Square and peruse earth-friendly products and services in Market Square. On Friday night, don’t miss the all-ages “Art and Local Showcase” at the convention center. On April 23rd, head to Carrie Furnace for a festival featuring Soundwaves Steel Band, Colonel Eagleburgers HighStepping Goodtime Band, Daily Grind, food trucks, craft brews, and the Hard Hat Art Project. Cap it all off at the TEDxPittsburgh Sunday brunch to hear inspiring talks exploring sustainability. View all Earth Day events.


12. Art All Night at Arsenal Terminal: April 23 & 24

The last Saturday of April is synonymous with Art All Night. Rolling into a new home wearing their staunchly populist motto “No Fee, No Jury, No Censorship” on their sleeve, the 19th annual Art All Night is setting up shop at Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Terminal. This means that anyone can submit one work of art to be featured and for sale in a free public exhibition. Always refreshing and unexpected, the event pairs work by professional fine artists alongside pieces created by teens, teachers and grandparents. What hatched in 1998 with 101 artworks and 200 all-nighters is now a cult showcase with 850 artists and 8,000 attendees. You’ve got no excuse to skip this celebration since it runs from 4 p.m. on Saturday until 2 p.m. on Sunday—you can pre-game your evening, swing by in the witching hour, or gather the kids for the family-friendly portion. While perusing massive amounts art, attendees can check out live music and performances and participate in hands-on activities. Art All Night is heroically run by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, so if you’re inspired to help, sign up here. Have artwork to show? Go here to submit your work. A catalyst for community development, Art All Night also spotlights Lawrenceville’s unique neighborhood assets and empowers makers of all ages and backgrounds.


Check out more events every week in NEXTpittsburgh, including these coming up in April:

After Hours: London Calling at Carnegie Library’s Main Branch: April 1
Dreams of Hope’s Absolute Disco fundraiser at PPG Wintergarden: April 2
Out of Hand at Society for Contemporary Craft: April 2
Pittsburgh Opera’s The Barber of Seville at the Benedum, April 2, 5, 8, 10
Quantum Theatre’s The Master Builder at Nova Place: April 8 –  May 1
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Le Corsaire: April 15 – 17
Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s Great Gatsby Affair at the Pittsburgh Golf Club: April 16
barebones productions’ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the New Hazlett Theater: April 21 – May 7
Pittsburgh Rock ‘N Roll Legends Awards at Stage AE: April 28

*   *   *

Wondering about your career future? Check out to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers, industries and the more than 20,000 jobs open now on our custom-built aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love:


Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Sandra Tolliver

Maggie Negrete rented a house in Lawrenceville for three years but knew it was time to go.

The popular neighborhood stretching eastward from the Strip District along the Allegheny River is experiencing a phenomenon: rehabbed homes now cost $325,000 to $450,000 and a new townhouse can top $500,000. Many rentals are $2 a square foot, and going up.

“I saw the writing on the wall. I wasn’t going to be able to live there much longer. Everyone I knew, their rent was going through the roof,” Negrete says.

Maggie Negrete at home in Allentown. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Last March, she moved to Allentown, where she bought a two-story frame house built in the 1900s near Grandview Park with a porch, fenced backyard, and half-finished basement for her artist’s studio. The home was move-in ready, though she’ll update the kitchen and, with a loan from the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, replace the boiler.

She chose Allentown because “I knew that Lawrenceville, Bloomfield – those were out of the question.”

Paolo Pedercini, 34, Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, thought the same thing when he bought a house in Garfield and moved with his girlfriend last October after four years in a Bloomfield rental. They were priced out of the neighborhood, he says, and liked Garfield’s diversity.

“I’m not interested in being in the next Lawrenceville or East Liberty if that means that the people who are living here are going to leave,” Pedercini says.

The three-story late Victorian he bought from the city had been boarded up for five or six years and needed “significant investment” to renovate. And now?

“We are definitely happy,” he says. “It’s a lively neighborhood, across from Bloomfield and Friendship. We didn’t have to change our habits.”

Negrete, 28, can take a bus from her hilltop neighborhood to her job Downtown at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Her neighbors are “very nice, inviting,” and she has befriended the business owners along East Warrington Avenue. Mornings, she walks with neighborhood kids to their bus stop.

“From my second-floor window I can look out over the top of hills and I can see for miles and miles. It’s beautiful,” she says. She laughs, thinking back to the one house for sale in Lawrenceville for $55,000 that caught her eye, until she found it had no utilities. “There weren’t even walls.”

Lawrenceville, she says, “is changing so fast. The old cast of characters, who had been there their whole lives, are becoming the minority. It just doesn’t feel the same.”

Inside Paolo Pedercini’s renovated Victorian in Garfield. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Inside Paolo Pedercini’s renovated Victorian in Garfield. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Though most homes for sale in Pittsburgh are priced under $100,000, new construction and renovated older homes in Lawrenceville are listed for $300,000 to $500,000, says Kyra Straussman, director of real estate with the URA.

People who can’t afford pricey neighborhoods such as Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, East Liberty and Lawrenceville are looking in Morningside, Polish Hill and Stanton Heights, says Straussman. She recommends they also explore buying in the West End – Elliott, Sheraden or Chartiers – or in South Hills neighborhoods such as Allentown, Mt. Washington, Beltzhoover, Beechview, Brookline or Dormont.

“There is incredible housing stock, greatly undervalued, particularly for families,” Straussman says.

Most neighborhoods have bigger footprint homes, built when the city’s population of 305,000 was double its size. Other areas have smaller homes, such as Carrick, which was built for middle class millworkers, and Stanton Heights, developed in the 1950s and ‘60s.

A buyer can find, “if not bargains, certainly reasonably priced homes in reasonably good condition,” says Straussman.

Arabella St. in Knoxville. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Arabella Street. in Knoxville. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Matthew Galluzzo, executive director of Lawrenceville Corporation, acknowledges “profound market pressure does exist in our neighborhood, for a lot of different reasons.” He cites the Children’s Hospital of UPMC and a bustling business district with shops, restaurants, a movie theater, pinball arcade and bowling alley.

“We saw it by the end of 2012,” Galluzzo says, recalling a home needing work that sold for $411,000. “We realized the market was turning much more quickly than we’d seen.”

To address the need for permanent, affordable housing, Lawrenceville Corporation last year “green-lit what will become the first community land trust in the city,” using its equity and money from philanthropy and the URA, he says.

Galluzzo doesn’t want to discourage the wealth creation that’s happening – “there are clear benefits to having a stable real estate market,” he says – but none of the new housing units coming online will be affordable.

“That’s a crisis for us,” he says.

Carroll St. in Lawrenceville. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Carroll Street in Lawrenceville. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Exploring options

These days when Greg Panza visits Lawrenceville for a night out with friends, “I feel like I’m on vacation,” he says.

Panza, 44, a realtor with Northwood Realty Services, suggests prospective home buyers look at his neighborhood of Mt. Washington.

“Some people are real diehards and they want to be out that way,” he says of Lawrenceville, “but I’m trying to communicate to people there are other options that are half the price with just as cool homes and with growing amenities.

“So before you spend $400,000 on a house, come to Mt. Washington to see the same house for $250,000, with parking (and) a little more elbow room.”

The Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation bought and renovated homes in the Estella micro-neighborhood during the past five years. “What was our poorest performing neighborhood has dramatically increased in value,” Panza says. “The highest priced home that sold in 2010 was $100,000; in 2015, the highest priced home was $230,000 and that was a remodel, gutted and flipped. Even the median price went from $38,000 to $75,000.”

Nearby, Joe Calloway, owner of RE 360 development company, is committed to erasing Allentown’s decline. In the 1990s, before the Zone 3 police station moved there, “it was one of the worst” neighborhoods for crime, he says.

But Calloway, 35, of Pine took the risk and began buying properties. He owns around 40 parcels in Allentown, including 11 commercial storefronts and two warehouses, and his construction company helps offset his remodeling costs.

He convinced the Birmingham Foundation to invest in his project to buy low-cost, rundown homes and fix them up for sale at $125,000 to $150,000 – or more.

“Allentown is on the cusp – an up-and-coming neighborhood like South Side Slopes,” Calloway says. “You get an amazing amount of house in these neighborhoods, considering Allentown is one mile from Downtown. This is a great community.”

Unlike Lawrenceville’s obvious transformation from industrial past to a shopping and dining destination, it’s too early to track real turnaround in Allentown, Calloway acknowledges. But he and Panza and Josh Lucas, with the Work Hard Pittsburgh small-business incubator, have faith in its eventual transformation.

Photo of Allentown by Zos Xavius
Warrington Avenue in Allentown. Photo by Zos Xavius.

“You can see the change already – a lot of young people,” says Lucas, of Duquesne Heights.

Some Allentown homes Calloway bought for $30,000 or $40,000 and invested around $10,000 in cosmetics to make them more livable. Others required $50,000 or more to modernize.

Pittsburgh’s median income of around $55,000 doesn’t support homes costing $400,000, he says. “It’s not realistic. It’s not affordable for a lot of people. Not everyone works for Google or a big law firm Downtown. They’re looking to buy in that $150,000 range.”

Calloway made available a warehouse for the Hilltop Alliance’s program, Industry on Industry, which offers discounted studio space to makers and artists. The program is part of the thrust to lure businesses by offering 50% rent abatement for their first year.

Lucas’ incubator and Academy Pittsburgh boot camps aim to help people become self-reliant by learning marketable skills.

“We’re hoping to attract people who fall in love with the community, buy a house and raise a family,” Calloway says. “When we started up here three years ago, everyone thought he and I were crazy. But then came the coffee shop, and tenants in the warehouse who make reclaimed artisan goods, and Leon’s Caribbean, and Spool, the boutique fabric shop.

“We’re getting a ton of people coming. They’re being forced out (of higher-priced neighborhoods) or they’re losing their places to work. We’re saying come over and get good quality space.”

*   *   *

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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Lauri Grotstein

Sherree Goldstein moved to Regent Square in the late ‘90s when there wasn’t a lot happening in the business district. “There was a pizza place and a lot of bars, but it wasn’t thriving. Everybody was just getting by.”

For five years, she searched the city for a space to open a restaurant but couldn’t find just the right fit. Then in 2003, a storefront opened in her neighborhood. She signed a lease and six short weeks later, The Square Cafe opened its doors.

Neighbors came in droves to the colorful breakfast and lunch spot to try the breakfast quesadillas, veggie scrambles and brussels sprout hash. And they’ve been coming ever since.

Sherree Goldstein at Square Cafe. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Sherree Goldstein at Square Cafe. Photo by Brian Cohen.

“When The Square Cafe opened, that definitely changed things. It gave us a place to come together for breakfast,” says Joe Davis, owner of the newer coffee shop Biddle’s Escape, down the street. As word spread, the Square Cafe made Regent Square a destination for diners.

Today, the café is but one of many destination spots in the neighborhood.

Four municipalities make up the vibrant and now highly desirable Regent Square—Swissvale, Edgewood, Wilkinsburg and the city of Pittsburgh—with Frick Park bordering this rectangle-shaped plateau on one side. Because the neighborhood is less than one square mile, every house in Regent Square is within walking distance to the 644-acre park.

“Making the park better changed everything,” says Joely Heidinger, a resident for 17 years, who refers to the massive cleanup that began in 1995. “Frick Park is what makes people love Regent Square.” In addition to nature trails, the park features baseball fields, a playground, the city’s only red clay tennis courts and a fenced-in dog park with a creek.

People also love the walkability of the town. Large sycamores shade the appealing streets lined with Pittsburgh four squares, Craftsman bungalows, Victorians and Colonial Revival homes. “It’s like a small town in the city,” says Heidinger. “I call it Mayberry. It’s got all the perks of the city but few of the problems.”

resized_750EGidley-Regent-Square-4 erika gidleyIt also has a bohemian and intellectual flair that sets it apart. Consider: The restaurants cater to vegetarians, the highly regarded Environmental Charter School resides here the award-winning Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing offers a host of wellness therapies like massage, Reiki and acupuncture. Around 46% of the population holds a master’s degree—or higher. And to cap it off: The shopping district boasts no chain stores or chain restaurants.

One favorite, D’s Six Pax & Dogz, has built a loyal following over the years. D’s—which opened in 1999 by the owners of nearby McBroom’s beer distributor—serves dogs in beef, turkey, brat, kielbasa or veggie varieties with unexpected toppings like Sriracha slaw, mac and cheese and avocados. When one of the 27 kegs kick, they replace it with a new variety. You can drink—or make mix-and-match six packs at The Beer Cave—from more than 1,200 craft beers and microbrews. And kids can indulge in root beer, always on tap.

At Root 174, opened to acclaim in 2011, chef Keith Fuller has helped put Pittsburgh on the national food map with his creations of locally-sourced and seasonal meals with outstanding vegan offerings, such as the popular vegan meatloaf.

“Because we are a small restaurant, Keith can experiment,” says business partner Patrick Bollinger, drummer for the band Anti-Flag. “We were doing a bone marrow creme brûlée—that type of creativity and bringing old world things to the mainstream is what Keith does amazingly well.”

Further aloft at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and S. Braddock, Istanbul Sofra opened in 2013, and “it just boomed,” says Kelsey Williams of the Regent Square Civic Association. With the owner, chefs and much of the staff hailing from Turkey, their Mediterranean fare is the real deal.

Kebabs with lots of vegetables takes center stage at Istanbul Sofra. Photo by Brian Cohen.

The Sofra Mixed Grill is a feast of lamb and chicken kebabs, grilled lamb chops and grilled veggies, with plenty of vegetarian options, such as Turkish dumplings, stuffed grape leaves and, of course, falafel. While the restaurant is BYOB, note that both the sweet Turkish coffee (served in a demitasse cup) and strong tea (poured piping hot into a tulip-shaped glass) are worthy of celebration. Colorful mosaic chandeliers and textiles create an authentic atmosphere.

Next door, Park Pizza & Cream serves regionally-made Kerber ice cream.

For coffee on Braddock, in the space that Katerbean used to occupy, the 61B Cafe—sister to the long-established 61C Cafe in Squirrel Hill—provides a warm and comfortable place to hang, with half-garage doors that open to the street.

Coming soon is Ease, which will take the space of the former Dunning’s, a destination that recently closed shop after a decades-long run. Opening later this year, the plan is to serve high-end comfort food. When another town favorite—the Green Mango—moved away in 2012, the Thai Cottage quickly and admirably filled the Thai food void.

Another long-standing institution and destination is Regent Square Theater, one of the last single-screen theaters in the region—run by Pittsburgh Filmmakers—that features indies, documentaries, foreign films and Sunday night classics with offerings such as the recent Alfred Hitchcock series.

It’s a gem located near another venue that draws art lovers, Concept Art Gallery.

Across from the baseball fields, Glenn Greene opens his colorful stained glass studio to the public where he creates custom pieces, restores older stained glass, and sells small—and affordable—signed originals. Be sure to call before a visit to make sure he’s there.

Where everybody knows your nameOn the bar scene, The Map Room serves East End Brewery beers on tap and food that’s a step above pub fare with a baked brie appetizer and smoked salmon flatbread. A few doors away, Murphy’s Tap Room offers darts, pool tables and shuffleboard. Closer to Forbes and Braddock, Ryan’s Pub & Grill gets crowds for sports, karaoke and the pub food.Just a few blocks from the main business district, Joe Davis opened a coffee shop tucked away amidst houses and tall trees. “People told me it was doomed to fail—nobody would ever find it.” But Biddle’s Escape is a hit. “It’s not a shop where people come in, sit on their laptops and don’t talk to anybody. It’s a place where people communicate,” he says.Biddle’s hosts many fun events: food truck Wednesdays, drum circles in the summer on their large deck, gatherings of the Steel City Ukes, open mic nights, poetry readings, book clubs and Sunday brunches featuring dishes such as basmati rice bowl with roasted veggies.Davis started a Water Balloon Pelting Fest three years ago the same day as Run Around the Square, the annual 5K. “They fill an insane amount of water balloons that week leading up to it—thousands and thousands,” says Williams.Look for the town-side yard sale in May, where Biddle’s hosts a food-truck roundup.Resale is big in Regent Square. Fashion Fix sells upscale consignment: a recent visit turned up Manolo Blahnik shoes and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. “We have great consigners who buy their clothes outside of Pittsburgh and their wardrobes revolve frequently,” says owner Kelly Pezze.Le Mix specializes in mid-century items such as bar ware, vintage holiday decorations and various and fun kitsch.Housed in a former gas station, with its former bays lit with hundreds of lights, Typhoon Lighting sells new upscale and antique fixtures, specializing in bringing life—and light—back to old fixtures.

Next door, the bakery Vanilla Pastry wins awards for their cupcakes and serves up whimsical sweets like chocolate-dipped Ho-Ho lollypops.

Regent Square is first a neighborhood—so there’s a dry cleaners with seamstress, an exceptional florist in Hepatica, an eye doctor and dentist, dog groomer, yoga studio and three hair salons. Not to mention a corner newsstand, Braddock Ave. Express. On the outside of the newsstand, a Sprout Fund-financed mural depicts the neighborhood from a bird’s eye view —and the mural is true-to-life with the actual street grid and rooftop views.

“Regent Square is diverse, pretty, political, safe,” says Davis. “The neighbors are warm and welcoming—it’s just really a brilliant area.”

*  *  * 

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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Leah Lizarondo

According to CNBC, almost 13 percent of the U.S. working-age population was in the process of starting or running a new business last year — a 67-percent jump from 2010. Forbes notes that “an increasingly diverse cross-section of individuals is leaving large organizations and pursuing the creation of their own businesses.”

This year, you may be one of the new crop of individuals looking to make your mark. If so, you’re in luck—Pittsburgh has a rising number of coworking spaces and shared resources that will help you launch your new venture with less risk and a growing community of like-minded individuals that will provide inspiration and support. These facilities offer month-to-month leases and turnkey amenities that allow you to plug-and-play from Day 1.

Entrepreneurs and freelancers of all kinds—from coders to cooks—have access to a wide range of options all over the city. To start you off, here is our comprehensive guide to Pittsburgh’s coworking spaces.


The Beauty Shoppe in East Libery- Photo by Rob Larson
The Beauty Shoppe in East Libery- Photo by Rob Larson

 The Beauty Shoppe

Where: East Liberty

6101 Penn Ave.,  Pittsburgh, PA 15206

How much: Starts at  $50/month for students for  flexible membership and  $100 for non-students.  Private offices start at $350.

Why: The Beauty Shoppe’s  tagline “Work Beautifully” says it all. Founders Rabih Helou and Matt Ciccone are obsessed with the way people work, and it shows in the thoughtful design.


Cube Creative Space

Where: East Liberty

5877 Commerce St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206

How much: Private offices start at $350/month.

Why: Cube in East Liberty offers affordable, short-term lease office space for companies that have outgrown the shared spaces. With communal kitchens, lounges and amenities, Cube offers the best of communal and private office spaces.

The X Factory

Where: Point Breeze

6901 Lynn Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

How much: Pricing is flexible. Contact Howard Eisner at 412-855-3353 or howardeisner [at] gmail [dot] com.

Why: At five stories and 250,000 sq. ft. it is one of the largest shared spaces in the city.

Revv Oakland

Where: Oakland

3710 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, PA, 15213

How much: Desks start at $150/month.  Private offices start at $500/month.

Why: In the heart of the neighborhood with Pittsburgh’s top universities, Revv Oakland boasts a distinctive lineup of startups, including Uber, NoWait and StitchFix.


Where: Lawrenceville

4327 Butler St, 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

How much: Catapult starts with$10 day passes and flexible desks at $50/month. Offices start at $250.

Why: Located in Lawrenceville, the coworking space offers not only desks but regular networking events through its Meetup group and an open device lab where developers can test their work on multiple devices.


Where: Uptown

1936 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How much: Rates start at $150/month.

Why: StartUptown launched before “coworking” was a thing—the space is bright and cozy and houses companies ranging from design to bio-engineering startups. Mentorship is available for companies who are interested. The space is located in the Keystone Innovation Zone, which makes companies eligible for a number of benefits, including tax credits.

StartUptown @PFEX

Where: Uptown

1727 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How much: Rates start at $150/month.

Why: The beautifully redesigned old building goes back to its roots with a movie-themed aesthetic. There are offices on two floors and conference rooms for small to large meetings.



Where: Downtown

945 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15219

How much: Rates start at $50/month for students to $250 for full membership.

Why: Right in the heart of downtown, real estate innovator Eve Picker’s coworking space was born out of the desire to optimize excess space. The product is a beautiful, lofty workspace with amenities that include office and art supplies plus photo backdrops and light kits.

21st Street Coffee

Where: The Strip District

2002 Smallman St. Pittsburgh PA 15219

How much: Desks can be used daily for $10, weekly for $30 and $100 per month.

Why: Everyone’s coworking entry point has been coffee shops. 21st Coffee has formalized that by devoting a section in the loft space of the café where coworkers get the basic amenities plus a 20% discount at the coffee shop.

Work Hard PGH

Where: Allentown

744 E. Warrington Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15210

How much: Memberships start at $45/month.

Why: Work Hard PGH is a coworking space that fosters deliberate collaboration—members are welcome to mine the expertise of its community of digital and freelance professionals. Work Hard PGH offers desk space and basic amenities as well as production facilities such as a green screen room, podcasting and VO booths.

PGH Green Innovators CoWorkshop

Where: Lower Hill District

Energy Innovation Center (EIC), 1435 Bedford Ave., Suite 140, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How much: Furnished desk space rates range from $300 to $425/month.  Email for more information.

Why: PGH Green Innovators welcomes individuals and non-profits working on green economic development. Located in the Energy Innovation Center, PGI is part of the Keystone Innovation Zone, which makes companies eligible for a number of benefits, including tax credits.

Alloy 26

Where: North Side

100 South Commons, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

How much: Membership starts at $99/month

Why: Alloy 26, the largest space of its kind in Western Pennsylvania with 50,000 square feet of flexible workspace, is opening its permanent location in April. Part of the massive urban renewal project Nova Place, Alloy 26 occupants will find themselves in an emerging technology space only minutes from downtown.

Whetstone Workgroup

Where: Sharpsburg

2310 Main St., Pittsburgh, PA 15215

How much: Access to space starts at $125/month

Why: The newly opened Whetstone Workgroup marries coworking for freelancers with on-site childcare for entrepreneurs with kids. In addition to office space, Whetstone offers workshops, software access and special events tailored to freelancers. Located in the same building as La Dorita (see below).

Soon to come:

Think Tank Pittsburgh

Think Tank’s website indicates that they are currently looking for space in the downtown area.

Maker Places


Where: East Liberty

192 Bakery Square Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

How much: Membership starts at $95/month for students and $125 for individuals.

Why: TechShop is a workshop and prototyping studio that provides access to an impressive array of tools and maker technologies. The 16,000 square-foot Bakery Square location is equipped with world-class tools and equipment including computers with design software. TechShop also hosts classes and networking events for makers, creatives and innovators.

Hack Pittsburgh

Where: Uptown

1936 5th Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How much: Membership dues are $30/month plus three hours of volunteer work.

Why: Hack Pittsburgh is as much a community as a coworking space. Members get 24/7 access to the shop, all tools and resources. Additionally, Hack Pittsburgh hosts classes, workshops, Meetups and field trips to Maker events.

Open Floor

Where: Millvale

2 Sedgwick Street Millvale, PA 15209

How much: Spaces are $250/month.

Why: Open Floor is exactly what it says. Housed in an old ammunition factory, makers have access to space for work. Tenants supply their own equipment, and Open Floor provides utilities. There are currently about 15 makers whose projects range from metalwork to cut & sew manufacturing.

Shared Kitchens

The Pittsburgh Public Market- Photo by Brian Cohen
The Pittsburgh Public Market- Photo by Brian Cohen

 The Market Kitchen at  Pittsburgh Public Market

Where: The Strip District

2401 Penn Avenue,  Pittsburgh, PA 15222

How much: Members pay a  $100 annual membership fee  along with an hourly rental  fee of $17.50. Cold and dry  storage are also available for  rent.

Why: The Market Kitchen is the largest, state-of-the-art, fully licensed, multi-station kitchen facility in the city. Members have 24/7 access to equipment that ranges from a 40-quart mixer to a 60-gallon kettle, combi ovens, reach-in refrigerators and mentoring services.

La Dorita

Where: Sharpsburg

2312 Main Street, Sharpsburg, PA 15215

How much: Members pay a $200 security deposit, a monthly membership fee of $20 and a tiered hourly rental rate that starts at $15.

Why: La Dorita has a licensed and fully equipped commercial kitchen designed for caterers and small businesses. Equipment includes a Southbend six-burner range with standard oven, full-size imperial convection oven and a single door refrigerator & freezer.

Soon to come:

The Grange in Millvale

Where: Millvale

524 Grant Ave., Millvale, PA 15209

How much: TBD

Why: Millvale is creating a “restaurant cluster, local production and specialty processing” facility for food entrepreneurs. When fully operational, The Grange will house a fresh food market and shared office space for agricultural-based DIY businesses.

*   *   *

Wondering about your career future? Check out to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers, industries and the more than 20,000 jobs open now on our custom-built aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: