Located in in western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is home to several Gilded Age landmarks that hark back to the city’s heritage as a major industrial centre during the early 20th century. Add to that the presence of contemporary cultural sites such as the Andy Warhol Museum and it all amounts to a city in which old and new exist in harmonious juxtaposition.
Pittsburgh also has a buzzing commercial scene that is evidenced in the large number of shopping opportunities available across the city, making souvenir and gift hunting a breeze. For stores and boutiques that won’t necessarily have made it into the shopping guide books, we’ve dug deep and picked out 12 of the best.
Toll Gate Revival
The go-to store for those keen to add a dash of industrial Americana to their abode, Toll Gate Revival is jam-packed full of vintage furniture and home accessories, all handpicked from across the US. Regularly used for photo and video shoots and other events, the beautifully decorated store also offers its own interior design service and can source custom pieces on request.
LOCATION 224 Braddock Avenue, Braddock
One of Pittsburgh’s most innovative retail concept, 4121 Main is a small shop with big ideas. Part coffee shop, part flower shop and part events venue, the space sells a wide assortment of original gifts, artisanal chocolates, blooming flowers, and plenty more, while tripling up as a fine arts gallery and artisanal coffee house, too.
LOCATION 4121 Main Street
Vintage Grace Boutique
Handcrafted women’s jewellery and a curated selection of on-trend apparel adorns the sumptuous interior of this acclaimed and ultra-modern boutique. With a nod towards all things vintage, the brands designs all of its jewellery in-house as well as creating custom jewellery at its Pittsburgh store along with its other US outposts. With female empowerment all the rage right now, Vintage Grace is at the vanguard of the independent fashion sector’s efforts to make dressing well simple, whether you’re a time-stretched mum, a career woman or an Insta-fashionista.
LOCATION 2991 West Liberty Avenue
One of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets, for almost 30 years Allure has attracted a loyal group of customers who cherish the atmosphere and how the brand’s graceful clothing enhances their personality. Allure is a feast for the senses, with the shop giving its visitors an unexpectedly wide variety of colours, flattering styles and many natural fabrics, all tastefully blended with a treasure trove of exciting handmade accessories. The artist and owner, Ellen Levick, displays several of her personal creations intermingled with objects de art/crafts she has gathered from around the world. In addition, the gallery, style lighting and beautiful music help to make Allure a fun, stimulating, and truly unique boutique.
LOCATION 4730 Liberty Avenue
Specialising in small-batch canvas and leather bags, all designed and hand-crafted in their chic downtown studio-cum-retail space, Moop are the people to visit for all of your bag-related needs. Whether it’s a tote, messenger bag, shoulder bag, clutch, or backpack that you’re seeking, Moop’s combination of impeccable design, values and warm and personalised customer service help them stand out above the crowd among their city competitors. As well as an extensive bag collection, the store also sells a wide array of gifts and goods made by other small batch makers.
LOCATION 429 First Avenue
For many years Pittsburgh’s skateboarding, graffiti, and hip-hop scenes have been the inspiration behind a number of local clothing brands, and among the most acclaimed is Daily Bread. In their flagship store – which also serves as a shared workspace with two other lifestyle brands – voguish streetwear with a creative edge connects the dots between style, music, art and culture. The space also hosts regular events, concerts, art gallery exhibitions, graffiti contests, and more.
LOCATION 5450 Penn Avenue
Von Walter and Funk
Whether it’s home goods, candles, gifts, books, glassware, antiques, artwork, or eclectic vintage furniture that you’re after, this quirky lifestyle boutique has it all. The highly curated, constantly changing stock guarantees there’ll always be something new to peruse whenever you pop your head in, making it the perfect place to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir.
LOCATION 5210 Butler Street
A mecca for Pittsburgh’s hip fashionistas, Pavement sells a curated selection of women’s clothing and jewellery in an inviting and intimate setting that is more akin to a social hangout than a conventional retail space. All of the items sold here are handpicked and manufactured in the US, and the store also has a strong community and eco-spirit, serving as a platform for a number of local, independent, and sustainable designers to sell their creative wares.
LOCATION 3629 Butler Street
Hot Haute Hot
Stocking a mix of vintage, modern, and travel inspired items handpicked from across the globe, Hot Haute Hot is a treasure trove of furniture, jewellery, local art, and plenty more. The store’s items changes on a weekly basis, helping attract a dedicated band of local customers down the years. As well as their in-store products, they also offer an interior design service for both residential homes and commercial premises.
LOCATION 2124 Penn Avenue
Gallery on Penn
Created to support local business owners by providing a platform for them to showcase and test run their products in front of consumers, Gallery on Penn is a community-minded retail venture operating out of an incubator space in the city’s East Liberty neighbourhood. Products on display range in everything from art, lingerie, and accessories, to decorative items and apparel, with visitors able to purchase them on site and offer feedback that will go some way to determining whether or not the items go to market.
LOCATION 5935 Penn Avenue
Style Exchange Boutique
There are many people who would love a sprinkling of designer labels in their wardrobe but simply can’t stretch to the cost. Step forward the Style Exchange Boutique, a contemporary, upscale women’s resale store that sells pre-owned designer apparel, including formalwear and a variety of accessories. The store offers a walk in service, while pre-booked appointments are available for special occasion outfits and general style consultations appointments.
LOCATION 4211 Saw Mill Run Boulevard
Hats have always been a uniquely personal accessory, and without doubt the best person to reach out to in Pittsburgh for quirky, unusual and distinctive headgear is Juliane Gorman. Working out of her home studio (so not technically a shop or boutique!), the experienced ‘milliner’ (the technical name for a maker of women’s hats) makes a wide range of handcrafted, felted hats featuring colourful fibres and inspired by a mix of fine art, fairy tales, and the natural world. Though there is no bricks and mortar store, the hats can be delivered both locally and worldwide.