(Photos of Aspinwall Beans ‘N’ Cream, One Brilliant clothing store, and Lynlott Miniatures Dollhouse Junction; Kate Buckley)

A walk through the quaint streets of Aspinwall is like a delightful trip back in time, when corner markets served everyday needs and neighbors stopped to chat on roomy front porches.

The lovely architecture—well-maintained rowhomes and Victorians abound here—reflect the borough’s history, when young upper-middle-class families settled in and developed the area in the late 1800s. In the early 20th century, architect Frederick Sauer let his imagination run wild on his personal property in Aspinwall, creating fantastical buildings inspired by castles and his own creative expression. Sauer’s whimsical efforts in his community have been preserved as a historical district.

Located east of Pittsburgh, this tiny borough packs a powerful punch of retail variety on Commercial Avenue, Brilliant Avenue and Freeport Road. At 0.4 square miles, Aspinwall is a hub of pedestrian commerce, boasting independent groceries like Patty’s Farm Market and gourmet adventures like Labriola Italian Market and Feast on Brilliant. Dining options range from upscale to more casual fare at Franco’s, Marisqueira Mediterranean Bistro, Cornerstone Restaurant, and Tavern in the Wall.

Nestled between Route 28 and the Allegheny River, downtown Aspinwall is a flat little pocket, making it perfect for bikes, strollers and foot traffic. Closer to the waterfront, plans are underway to extend the Three Rivers Heritage Trail from Pittsburgh’s North Shore through Aspinwall Riverfront Park and into neighboring O’Hara Township.

All in all, Aspinwall is a charmer of a community—gracious, vibrant and full of quiet surprises.


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Things to do in Aspinwall – Pittsburgh

Aspinwall Riverfront Park (photo courtesy of Environmental Planning & Design), Beans ‘N’ Cream and Lynlott Miniatures Dollhouse Junction (photos by Kate Buckley).

Filled with Victorian homes, neighborhood shops and an awesome park, the tiny borough of Aspinwall packs a lot in less than half a square mile. 

Stats (from Niche)

  • Population: 2,724
  • Size: 0.4 sq. mi.
  • Median Rent: $1,051
  • Median Home Value: $286,400

Don’t Miss

For an itty-bitty suburb, Aspinwall has plenty of spots to shop for food. Check out specialty food store Feast on Brilliant and Labriola’s Italian Market.

In addition to the coffee and ice cream referred to in their name, the cozy Aspinwall Beans ‘N’ Cream (ABC) serves up a variety of soups, sandwiches and specialty drinks. And smack in the middle of town is Tavern in the Wall. This inviting neighborhood restaurant offers regular drink specials, hearty pub food and the occasional live band.

Cornerstone on Freeport Road is a great place to grab brunch, lunch or dinner. You can even bring your dog with you and eat on the patio.

On Commercial Ave, Luke and Mike’s Front Porch is just as it sounds — a friendly neighborhood spot to enjoy with friends. Its menu covers everything from small bites and salads to soups and more.

For traditional Indian flavors, check out Spice Affair on Brilliant Ave. The lunch buffet and dinner menu will satisfy vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

After dining out, satisfy your sweet tooth with a trip to Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique for a specialty cupcake, cookie or chocolate-covered treat.

The neighborhood is ideal for shopping, too. One Brilliant is a fashion-forward boutique with a special selection of women’s clothing, accessories and jewelry, and Kristi Boutique is a trendy shop that offers darling pieces for both women and girls.

Sage Farmacy, Green Heiress Holistic Health and EsSpa Organic Skincare and Salon are all perfect places to indulge in some self-care.

Aspinwall Riverfront Park adds 11 acres of beautiful green space to the community. Built around the existing marina, the park includes riverside walking and biking trails, an amphitheater and stage, gardens and a wetlands area, and a playground. A huge bronze sculpture doubles as a slide for kids. Every community should be so lucky.

In the summer months, Kayak Pittsburgh offers access to the water for an iconic experience along the Allegheny River.

And if you’re a Pittsburgh history buff, be sure to swing by the Sauer Buildings Historic District. Located on Center Avenue, this collection of 10 buildings was the eccentric pet project of noted German architect Frederick Sauer. The quirky, castle-like structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fast Facts

The Borough of Aspinwall was officially incorporated in 1892.

Frederick Sauer also designed many of Pittsburgh’s most iconic churches, including St. Stanislaus Kostka in the Strip District and St. Mary of the Mount in Mt. Washington.

River otters, deer, beavers and even a bear have been spotted in Aspinwall Riverfront Park.

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