Pittsburgh’s Overlooked Neighborhoods: Allentown

Allentown is on the come up. There’s no denying that.

Any doubts you have will be wiped away by a day trip to this neighborhood, nestled between Mt. Washington and the Southside Slopes. And if you’re wondering what to expect, you’re in the right place.

You could enjoy a latte and some live music at the local coffee shop. Stop by the neighborhood diner for some killer old-fashioned pancakes. Or get your DIY on at the fabric and sewing shop on East Warrington Avenue. There’s even a pop-up music festival working to shine an even bigger spotlight on this up and coming Pittsburgh neighborhood. See for yourself starting with this look at what’s happening in Allentown.

Eat & Drink

Black Forge Coffee House

image via black forge coffee house
image via black forge coffee house
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Hungry for a side of darkness with your morning coffee? If so, Black Forge will be your new go-to spot for caffeine, treats, and one-of-a-kind shows. You can catch a wide variety of local and touring bands most nights, and it’s an awesome opportunity to get cozy with a date and a latte. Sometimes it’s even BYOB! (Don’t forget to double-check, though.) We really can’t recommend this Allentown spot enough — you get the chance to shop local, eat local and listen local.

Alla Famiglia

image via Alla Famiglia
image via Alla Famiglia
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The Hilltop might not be the first thing you think of when you decide it’s time to treat yourself to some fine Italian cuisine. But the next time you’re in the mood for some authentic Italian food, forget East Liberty and Shadyside — it’s all about Alla Famiglia. It’s been praised for its excellent service, and its menu will make your mouth water. The best part? The homemade sauces, of course.

Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant

image via @allentown_pgh
image via @allentown_pgh
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The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, and you’re probably missing summer already. If you want to take your taste buds on a vacation to sunny Jamaica, Allentown has just the place for you. Stop by and grab some jerk chicken and oxtail stew, and don’t forget to wash it down with some Jamaican soda. It might not be the Caribbean beach, but it tastes just like it.

Breakfast at Shelly’s

image via @haggertymedia
image via @haggertymedia
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Sometimes you just want to load up on some good old-fashioned carbs. When you do, stop down at Breakfast at Shelly’s, which is sure to become your new favorite greasy-spoon diner. Don’t pretend you’d prefer a kale salad brunch over a stack of steaming hot chocolate peanut butter pancakes or eggs on thick Texas toast. Don’t worry, you can always head home and take a nap afterward.

Around Allentown

Learn to sew at Spool

image via spool
image via spool
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Whether you’re a seasoned needleworker or you haven’t touched a sewing machine since middle school home ec, you can find a fun project to start at Allentown’s brand new fabric and sewing shop. Maybe you’ve always wanted to make a quilt, or you and your friends have always dreamed of a cozy little knitting circle. Either way, a Pittsburgh winter is en route, and this year, you can have something to do besides binge-watching Netflix.

Work Hard PGH

image via work hard pittsburgh
image via work hard pittsburgh
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Nobody in Allentown works harder than Work Hard PGH. They’re dedicated to helping small businesses and nonprofits grow, flourish and diversify, and you won’t believe how great they’re doing. A free academy that offers intensive boot-camp software and technology training? Yep, they’ve got that. A variety of coworking spaces and funding for all kinds of operations? They have that too. Plus, they offer a huge range of services to people who have been kicking around the idea of that perfect startup — maybe even people like you.

Industry on Industry

image via RE360
image via RE360
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The local art scene is beginning to flourish, and Industry on Industry is one of the main factors. The initiative was developed by the Hilltop Alliance, a group that works on developing neighborhoods including A-town and the surrounding areas, and it’s bringing some really cool local artists into the mix. In exchange for cheaper rents for unique coworking studio space on East Warrington Avenue, the artists will participate in a public works art project, and it’s sure to be absolutely spectacular.

Take a stroll through Grandview Park

image via @ghawn_silson
image via @ghawn_silson
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Green space is an essential part of the ‘Burgh. Sometimes, you just need to get away from the bustle of traffic and the crowds. In Allentown, the place to escape is Grandview Park, and as you stroll along towards Mt. Washington, you’ll get to some great views and a breath of fresh air. It’s a great place to snap that signature skyline Instagram pic — or you could just tuck your phone in your pocket and enjoy the outdoors.

Framework Music & Arts Fest

image via When The Gramophone Rings
image via When The Gramophone Rings
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Pittsburgh is no stranger to music festivals these days. It seems like a new festival is popping up in town once a month, and we love it! Nothing brings better vibes to the city than lots and lots of live music. But Framework, the new annual pop-up Allentown ‘fest that premiered this May, brings a new feel to the format, and it’s shaking things up in the creative world. It’s aiming to foster growth in the arts, and there’s no doubt that it’s been pretty successful so far.  Keep an eye on RE360, Industry on Industry and, of course, the festival announcements, because you’ll have a chance to see (and hear) for yourself just how quickly Allentown is gathering steam.