(All opinions expressed in this guide are solely those of the author.)
As we all know, the plus side to living in a city like Pittsburgh is the amazing shopping we have surrounding us. Unfortunately, unlike New York City, a lot of times we have to rely on public transportation or cars to get us to these fabulous shopping destinations. Isn’t it wonderful that we have the Chatham shopping shuttles and the Port Authority buses to get us everywhere? If you are new to the area, new to shopping in the area, or just want to read up on which malls are worth going to, then this is for you!
1) SouthSide Works
Located on none other than Pittsburgh’s South Side, SouthSide Works is a premier destination for a fun night out with the girls, a boyfriend/girlfriend, whoever! Unfortunately, Chatham does not offer a shuttle to SouthSide Works (boo!), but you can easily take the Oakland shuttle from Chatham and hop on the 75 PAT buses that will take you straight there. Outfitted with a nice movie theater (where they offer student discounts, and tickets tend to be cheaper than at the Waterfront), BCBG, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Hofbrauhaus, McCormick & Schick’s, American Eagle, Aerie, and the Cheesecake Factory (my favorite!) the SouthSide Works is a fun place to stop by and get some side shopping done while going out to dinner or a movie. Might I add, the American Eagle Outfitters at SouthSide Works is extremely plush—understandably so, considering AE’s corporate headquarters is right down the street!
2) The Waterfront
I won’t lie—there are times when I worry about being at the Waterfront, especially at night. Although a nice shopping district in Homestead, the area can get extremely sketchy once it gets dark out. However, the movie theater here is absolutely AMAZING! I’ve never been to such a cool theater before. Shopping is on the more affordable side, as the Waterfront has well priced restaurant options (like Eat N’ Park, Red Robin, Panera, Pittsburgh Burger Company) and a good mix of decently priced clothing stores like American Eagle, Wet Seal, Express, and more. Of course, one cannot forget that there is also a P.F. Chang’s and a Longhorn Steakhouse at the Waterfront, too (not that I’m currently craving either or anything…). Chatham offers a shuttle to the Waterfront every Friday afternoon and night, so I would definitely recommend taking advantage of that and checking out the Homestead area for yourself; it’s fun and very affordable for a girls’ night!
3) Monroeville Mall
I have to say, I’m not too fond of Monroeville Mall, or as I refer to it, Sketchville Mall. Yes, they have some great retail options—PacSun, American Eagle, Express, Forever 21, Abercrombie, Hollister, Victoria’s Secret—yet the mall itself kind of gives me the creeps sometimes. Still worth going to, and still lots of fun. You definitely will have more strictly shopping options than the Waterfront, but if you’re planning on going on a shopping spree for nicer clothes, I would recommend saving the trip to Monroeville and heading out to Ross Park Mall or SouthSide Works. The Chatham shopping shuttle takes students out to Monroeville Mall about once a month. It’s definitely not my favorite mall, and I have to say, the only reason I do like it is because I got a free Auntie Anne’s pretzel one day randomly there. Free food makes anybody like a place more, right? (Don’t quote me on that…)
4) Ross Park Mall
Ross Park Mall, also known as shopping heaven, is…. well…. beyond perfect. You’re going to find a lot of stores that you can’t find anywhere else NEAR Pittsburgh at this shopping mecca, including Nordstrom’s, Madewell, Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, and so much more. On top of that, there is a Cheesecake Factory. Yes, in case you have not noticed, my dear readers, I love the Cheesecake Factory. Overall, Ross Park easily takes the cake for “Best Mall in Pittsburgh”, simply because it has overzealous shopping options. Seriously, almost anything you could want is there. The only complaint I will ever have about this place is that you might just drive yourself crazy and give yourself the spins merely thinking about all the amazing stores and restaurants that are at this mall. The Chatham shuttle takes students out to Ross Park Mall once a month as well.
5) The Mall at Robinson
I actually like the Mall at Robinson. I really do. Not only do they have a decent selection of clothing stores, but also it’s conveniently located rather close to Ikea. Aside from that, even if the mall isn’t as nice as Ross Park, it still does a good job of upholding a solid reputation. You’ll find all the chain brand stores here like Abercrombie, H&M, Forever 21, Aerie, American Eagle, and Hollister, but you’ll also find some extra store options that you won’t even find at Ross Park, like Delia’s. You can get to the Mall at Robinson by a PAT bus plus a rather long walk, or you can let the Chatham shuttle take you once a month.
6) Walnut Street
Okay, so it’s not really a “mall” technically… but the boutique options are just too cute. AND it’s only two blocks away from Chatham. I personally get excited about the fact that a Francesca’s Collections, Lululemon Athletica, and J. Crew are within walking distance, yet my father and my debit card share a rather different opinion. It’s such a fun place to check out for a day with the girls, or even a nice area to walk around with a loved one. Plus, the restaurants are beyond delicious here! They’re a tad overpriced at times, but still yummy. My personal recommendations: Steel Cactus for some good authentic Mexican, and Crepes Parisiennes for authentic French crepes at a great price.
I am completely aware that I left out other malls in the area, but I am making this list off of all of the shopping destinations I have been to. If you know/have been to any malls in the area that I did not mention on this list, then please, feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions on them! Got any suggestions for next week’s column? Once again, leave a comment below!