Bloomfield:  Pittsburgh's Little Italy

Safe.  Family friendly.  Authentic.  These are all words that can describe the up and coming neighborhood of Bloomfield.

Bloomfield got its name from none other than George Washington, who reported traveling in the area, "the high ground through a field of many blooms".  Settled initially by Germans in the late 1800's, Italians arrived in the early 1900's and quickly grew in population.  Because many of these families remained, it's not uncommon to see second, third, and even fourth generation Bloomfielders. 

The main thoroughfare, Liberty Avenue, bustles with activity, with a diverse and interesting collection of independently-owned retailers, including Sound Cat Records (a top-notch music and record store), Grocery Italiana (offering award-winning homemade ravioli), Boxheart (independent art gallery), and Donatelli's (Italian grocerer and deli).
Bloomfield has become the "go to" place for parades and small festivals.  The season starts each year with the Pittsburgh Marathon in the Spring, where thousands gather on Liberty Avenue (mile marker 22) to cheer on runners, eat food from sidewalk vendors, and dance to live music. 

August features "Little Italy Days".  Each year, this three-day festival celebrates Italian-American culture and heritage with music, contests, dancing, children's activities and, of course, food. Enter a pizza eating contest, try your hand at bocce or just take in the sights and sounds of a genuine Italian festival. 

Bloomfield celebrates Native Son Christopher Columbus in the annual Columbus Day parade that includes high school bands, ethnic dance groups, colorful floats, and local dignitaries. October also features the unique, nighttime Halloween parade, featuring goblins and ghouls and other things that bump in the night.

And did we mention the food?  Of course, Italian cuisine still shines in Bloomfield (most notably Lombardozzi's, Caliente, Pleasure Bar, and Alexander's), but other standouts include Tessaro's (award-winning burgers in a neighborhood pub/eatery setting), Nico's Recovery Room (Greek food and the best Buffalo wings in town), and Thai Cuisine (yep, Thai food).

Bloomfield has become one of the go-to destinations to hear live music.  The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern offers live music (as well as authentic Polish cuisine), Howler's Cafe offers live music from local and national acts Wednesday through Sunday, and hipster hangout Brillobox features live performances, organic pub food, and Trivia Night Wednesdays.