One of my absolute favorite places to explore during the holidays in Pittsburgh is The Strip District. This vibrant neighborhood is the best place to find unique gifts, specialty ingredients, and some of the best food in the Burgh! While getting some Christmas shopping done before the holidays, J and I decided to take a walk along the Strip District trail that runs along the Allegheny River to the Point as well as wandering along Penn Ave to all of our favorite shops. The Strip District is quickly becoming a beverage destination and we stopped in the brand new Bonafide Beer Company to warm up after our urban hike! This is your cue to take an urban hike through the Strip District!
THE HIKE: Strip District to Point State Park
Length: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 20 ft
Time: 2 hours
Trail use: Walking, biking, leashed pets
Parking: Street parking at 24th street or lots
This is not your typical hike! The Strip District is in my humble opinion one of the coolest places in Pittsburgh. Although certain sections of it have become more modernized and built-up, you can still find pockets of that classic Pittsburgh Charm. The Strip District is the perfect place to go and explore or to pick up some high quality ingredients for a special meal! We have a couple of shops we go to every time we visit and I’ll share them later on! If you’re looking to turn your visit into more of a hike, head towards the Allegheny River and get on the Strip District trail. This is a paved trail that is popular with bikers, walkers, and more. It leads towards the Point where it meets up with the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. The trip from 24th Street in the Strip to the Point is just under 2 miles.
During its industrial heyday, the Strip District’s location along the river made it a perfect spot for mills and factories. Some of the more famous tenants included ALCOA, US Steel, Westinghouse, and the Heinz Company. As an extension of this thriving business, wholesale grocers and other warehouses began to pop up. Although much of the large-scale industry has since moved out of the area, the Strip District retains some of that history by being home to wholesale grocers, ethnic food markets, artisan shops, and restaurants.
Every time I visit the Strip District, I have a couple stores that I must go to. Firstly, I always have to check what’s on sale at Wholey’s Fish and Meats. One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting our Christmas Eve fish at this long-standing staple of the Strip District. Here you’ll find some of the freshest seafood in the Burgh and high quality cuts of meat. We always have to stop in Mancinis bread too to get something fresh for dinner. Some of my other favorite stores are In The Kitchen, Love Pittsburgh, Penzey’s spices, Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, and Roxane’s Dried Flowers. And what is a visit to the Strip District without stopping for some food? The Strip District is famous for its classic diners, with the most popular being Pamela’s, Kelly O’s, and DeLuca’s. If you’re looking for lunch, one of my favorite hidden secrets is the cafe behind Enrico’s Biscotti. If you didn’t know they had a cafe with brick oven pizza, you’ve got to get yourself right asap! Also if you’re not in the mood to sit, there’s a plethora of excellent street vendors.
Well that just barely scratches the surface of all that the Strip has to offer! Just remember it’s best to visit in the morning or early afternoon and that it can get pretty busy on the weekend. There’s mostly street parking or lots but definitely expect to pay for parking. If you’re looking just to do the walk to the Point, you’d be better off parking near 24th Street on the road where it’s a little less crowded. Enjoy this gem of a neighborhood!
THE BEER: Bonafide Beer Company
Address: 155 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Distance from Trail Head: 0.6 miles, 10 mins walking
Food?: No kitchen, get food in the Strip!
Details: Indoor seating only, full bar
Bonafide Beer Co is the newest addition to the growing brewery community in the Strip District! They join Insurrection, Helltown, Cinderlands, Aslin, as well as Kingfly Spirits and Wiggle Whiskey to make the Strip District a drinking destination! Bonafide Beer Co is the brainchild of the co-owner of Butler Beer Works and the owner of PA Libations, so this place really knows its beverages! The small but mighty taproom is located in the former Chicken Latino space in the Strip, across the street from Pamela’s. They focus on sessionable beers that are easy to drink. Nothing fancy here, just good beer! But that doesn’t mean the digs are plain! No, this taproom is unique in that it has a speak-easy, high class vibe. I loved the dark jewel tones and gold finishes. I felt like I was stepping back in time!
While we couldn’t stay for too long, we really enjoyed our round of beers. The Snug Stout was definitely a stand out, as it wasn’t too bitter and featured a nice chocolatey hint. But if beer isn’t your thing, they also have a full bar featuring lots of PA distilled liquors. Bonafide may not have a kitchen, but there’s no shortage of excellent restaurants and food carts around the area which they highly encourage you to patronize! Overall this is a great addition to the Strip District and we’ll definitely be back!
Hazy 1 – New England IPA – 6.2%
Snug Stout – Dry Irish Stout – 5%