A view of the Little's Shoes storefront and sign from the sidewalk.
Little's Shoes at 5850 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill. Photo by Aakanksha Agarwal.

Well-heeled and kitschy, Squirrel Hill is a mecca for diverse food and culture. This quintessential Pittsburgh neighborhood is also dotted with independent boutiques and vintage haunts along Forbes and Murray avenues, making it an interesting shopping destination. 

Fuel up with some caffeine and croissants at Commonplace Coffee (5827 Forbes Ave.) and spend the day wandering through the neighborhood’s lively shopping district, stopping every so often for a bite or a drink at the eateries along your way. 

Whether you’re just window shopping or looking to indulge in some serious retail therapy, here are some shops to hit up that are creative and community-focused in equal measure.

Inside Blue Monkey Tea Shop on Forbes Avenue. Photo by Aakanksha Agarwal.

Blue Monkey Tea Shop 

5872 Forbes Ave.

Channel your inner English royalty at the quaint Blue Monkey Tea Shop. This tea haven offers teas from all over the world, from loose leaf to floral blooming teas to jasmine pearls to Pittsburgh Breakfast, and everything in between. They also sell tea-making accessories, one-of-a-kind artifacts, local wild honey and jam, and delicious tea biscuits to go with that cuppa.

Owner Margaret Harris is often behind the counter and is a veritable wealth of knowledge and information. The shop’s employees are very well-versed in all things tea and can help you find your new favorite blend. To become a bit of a tea connoisseur yourself, take a tea appreciation or pairing class there. 

Photo courtesy of Squirrel Hill Flower Shop.

Squirrel Hill Flower Shop

1718 Murray Ave.

Owned and operated for more than six decades by the Wedner family, the Squirrel Hill Flower Shop is one of the city’s most beloved florists. A jaunt to this vibrant space is a great way to get the happiness hormones flowing. Dinner parties, celebrations or condolences — there are fresh blooms for every need. Whether you want spring flowers in an elegant vase or a bunch of boisterous dahlias wrapped up in paper, get your flowers personalized to your whims and fancies. 

Can’t find the perfect flowers? This divine smelling shop offers plants, plushies and home decor items too. Shop at this local business to brighten someone else’s day (or your own). 

Riverstone Books

5841 Forbes Ave.

With its multiple rows of neatly lined books punctuated by little reading nooks, Riverstone Books on Forbes Avenue is a bookworm’s paradise. The shop carries an impressive selection of titles, ranging from hard-to-find collectibles to gardening guides to true crime thrillers. 

Riverstone also hosts local authors and often produces engaging events with local luminaries. Alternately, you can simply meet and talk in the space, or join a “sip and stitch” session with fellow book lovers while enjoying a hot beverage and working on your latest craft project. 

Avalon Exchange

5834 Forbes Ave.

Need to spruce up your summer wardrobe? Heads-up: there is no cookie-cutter clothing at Avalon Exchange. Instead, this family-owned and operated vintage boutique offers new and pre-loved clothing and accessories that have oodles of personality, and are sold at a fraction of the original price. 

Come here to buy, sell or simply browse through well-curated fashion selections that run the gamut from cutting-edge Alexander McQueen pieces to bohemian Anthropologie dresses. 

The Birkenstock display at Little’s Shoes. Photo courtesy of Little’s Shoes.

Little’s Shoes

5850 Forbes Ave.

A decade shy of being a century old, Little’s is Pittsburgh’s largest full-service family shoe store offering popular brands like Nike, Cole Haan, and lesser-known European labels as well. While the store is called Little’s Shoes, it has something for everyone and for every season (and reason) — pretty spring sandals, warm winter boots, cozy home slippers, you name it. The kid’s collection is the true highlight though — think unique shoes like baby Birkenstocks and toddler leather boots. 

Confused by the sheer variety? The longtime staff can walk you through the different styles, pun intended. 

Paititi Inti

1823 Murray Ave.

Charming tie-dye dresses and Llama fleece stuffed toys are displayed proudly at Paititi Inti, giving passersby a small glimpse into the wonderful Latin American treasures housed inside. The unassuming store on Murray Avenue showcases Peruvian specialty items like velvety alpaca sweaters, cloud-soft scarves, handcrafted jewelry, painted chess boards, and a myriad of gift items. The artisanal pieces make for conversational buys, and the shop itself is a lesson in crafts and culture. 

Photo courtesy of The Chocolate Moose.

The Chocolate Moose

5830 Forbes Ave.

The heady, delicious scent of chocolate wafts outside this Squirrel Hill chocolatier long before you see the store. Once inside you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store, both literally and figuratively. There’s something for every sweet tooth — crocodile gummies, Godiva truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, dark chocolate espresso bars, and so many more goodies. 

Global Market Retail

2016 Murray Ave.

Global Market Retail offers decor and gifts that are carefully curated from souks and artisans all over the world. Hit up this store for products that have a story to tell, and accent pieces that infuse living spaces with authentic character. The inventory is multicultural and eclectic — Moroccan carpets, Indian lamps, hand-blown Egyptian glass ornaments, antique musical instruments, hand-painted Turkish plates and so much more.

Photo courtesy of Jerry’s Records.

Jerry’s Records

2136 Murray Ave.

Music lovers should run, not walk to Jerry’s Records for superb records at prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. This Squirrel Hill institution was named one of the best record stores in the country by Rolling Stone. They have a fantastic secondhand collection spanning multiple genres and it’s easy to spend long-drawn afternoons browsing music memorabilia. If you’re hard-pressed for time, just go through their “bestsellers” selection for your vinyl fix. For more wax, see our guide to the 10 coolest record shops in Pittsburgh.

Dobra Tea

1937 Murray Ave.

Technically, Dobra Tea is a tearoom, and a fabulous one at that, but a little-known secret is that they also sell some fabulous pottery. Head here when you need a break from it all. The restorative Oolong Tea and meditative ambiance are just what the doctor ordered. Stay for the delicious mezze, and leave with some beautiful, small-batch ceramics for your home. Pro tip: Buy their Tea Starter Kit if you’re a newbie in the world of loose leaf teas!  

Aakanksha Agarwal is a wine, travel and lifestyle writer from India. Formerly a Bollywood stylist, she now resides in Pittsburgh, embracing full-time writing while juggling family life and indulging in her passions for cuisine, literature and wanderlust.