It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Surrounded by six different neighborhoods, The Ellis School is in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East End. With museums, parks, restaurants, and coffee shops a short walk away from campus, there are plenty of family-friendly activities, places, and events to discover every day of the week—and they’re all just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Ellis campus. As Mister Roger’s always said, “so let’s make the most of this beautiful day!”




First opened in 1941, The Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty is a permanent, indoor farmers’ market. Open every Saturday from 5:00 a.m. until noon, the market is a good place to go for fresh produce. The vendors range from local farmers selling meat and produce to handmade donuts to hearth-baked breads. The Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty is definitely something you’ll want to add to your Saturday morning routine.


Named after two Pittsburgh legends, Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater is dedicated to showcasing the arts and bringing together diverse communities. The theater brings in musicians, dance groups, speakers, plays, and they host film screenings as well. They also take part in the Penn Avenue tradition of First Fridays with a dance party following the gallery crawl. If you’re ever looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater will have something interesting going on.


One of 19 locations in the city, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-East Liberty is the perfect place to go and grab a book or study. With over 9,000 square feet, this branch has a wide range of books and spaces. There are meeting rooms and workspaces as well as a designated children’s area and a teen space. They also offer classes and events such as yoga, language classes, and storytimes for young kids. So head on over, grab a book, and settle in to read.



Remodeling your home? Looking to embark on a creative art project? Then you’ll definitely want to check out Construction Junction. A warehouse turned store, they have everything you could need to remodel a home from refrigerators to doors to antique sewing machines. Their goal is to reuse household appliances and materials instead of just throwing them away. So if you need to purchase a new door or have one to get rid of, Construction Junction is the place to go.


Located only a block away from Construction Junction, the East End Food Co-op is a locally sourced, sustainable, and organic food market. Their produce, meat, and cheese are all sourced from small operation farms that are within 250 miles of the store. They also have an expansive bulk foods selection which includes things such as lavender, flour, coffee, nuts, and more. You can also stop by their cafe for a fresh pressed juice, hot soup, or freshly baked muffin. To keep in line with their mission of sustainability, the East End Food Co-op partners with local organizations such as 412 Food Rescue, the East End Cooperative Ministry, and more to make sure they aren’t wasting excess food.


Tucked away just off of Penn Avenue, The Climbing Wall has been a Homewood staple for over 20 years. With 14,00 square feet of climbing space, they offer climbs for people of all levels. With classes available for kids and adults, you will be able to learn about all the safety requirements of climbing while having a good time. You can purchase one time passes or become a member if you want to be a frequent climber. If you’re looking to have a birthday party or group event that is unique, The Climbing Wall will happily host.



Located across the street from Ellis, Bakery Square is a convenient and fun spot for Ellis students and parents. Grab a bite to eat at Panera or Jimmy John’s after practice or a cup of coffee at Coffee Tree before school—you’re sure to see Ellis girls in their kilts hanging out. Home to the Google Pittsburgh headquarters, Bakery Square has events year round, including the Google Geek Street Fair, Urban Beach Party, Summer Send Off, and live music throughout the summer! Whether you’re shopping, eating, or meeting friends, Bakery Square has plenty of options.


The Kingsley Association is centered around Pittsburgh families and providing a community space. They offer personal training sessions, swim lessons for kids and teens, and youth programming such as the East End Youth Advisory Council and 4-HCity which is “citizenship and innovation training for youth. They are also home to The Urban Green Growth Collaborative (UGGC), a group of organizations, non-profits, individuals, business, and institutions that are “committed or interested in establishing and educating about sustainability and green growth in inner-city communities.” Learn about how to get involved in UGGC here and make sure to check out the activities at The Kingsley Association.


An internationally recognized organization, Habitat for Humanity works to build homes and create stable living conditions for families. In Pittsburgh, they work to eliminate substandard housing and build strong communities. They organize groups of volunteers to go into communities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and build homes. They are always looking for volunteers to help build so if you have some free time this is a great way to give back to the Pittsburgh community.



Pittsburgh Center for the Arts offers art classes for children and teens and workshops for the whole family right across the street from Ellis’ Fifth Avenue campus. With work from contemporary artists in the region as well as national artists, the Center’s exhibits are engaging, educational, and fun for parents and kids. The exhibits are on constant rotation, so be sure to check the website for new art.


Interested in learning about a Pittsburgh historical figure or taking a stroll through an art collection? You can do both at The Frick Pittsburgh. Once the home of Henry Clay Frick, this house turned museum now holds an art collection, cars and carriages dating back to 1881, and more historical artifacts from the Frick family’s life. Be sure to take a tour of the Historical Center, the Art Museum, and the Car and Carriage Museum!   


Located next door to Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and part of the incredible Phipps Conservatory, the Phipps Garden Center focuses on flora more commonly found in gardens. Located in the carriage house of the old Mellon Estate they have frequent flower shows and serve as a shop to purchase gardening supplies. Phipps also offers classes in floral arranging and garden design that are taught in the Garden Center.



A favorite after-school spot for Upper School Ellis girls, Walnut Street has something for everyone. Only a ten minute walk from the School, Walnut Street is the Shadyside hub for shopping and dining. Stop into The Yard Gastropub for eclectic (and delicious) grilled cheeses or pick up a famous Burnt Almond Torte from the one and only, Prantl’s Bakery. Peruse upscale chains like Lululemon, J.Crew, Williams Sonoma, Apple, and Sephora, and stop into local favorites Kards Unlimited, S.W. Randall Toys, Blick Art Supplies, and Toadflax!


Located right next door to the School, Mellon Park is a good place to take the dog for a stroll, have a picnic, or just spend time outdoors. The park has tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, spray park, playground, a walled garden, and plenty of open green space to hang out in and catch a breath of fresh air.


Feel like going out for a bite? How about some Street Noodle #1 at Noodlehead? Maybe some chips and salsa at Mad Mex? Grab a cup of coffee and a vegan snack at Adda Coffee and Tea House. Or, stop into Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream for a scoop of ice cream in one of their freshly made waffle cones. South Highland Avenue is overflowing with good restaurants and is someplace you don’t want to miss.



Much like Walnut Street, Forbes Avenue is another frequented spot in the Ellis community in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of tennis shoes for your daughter at Little’s Shoes, grabbing a bowl of piping hot ramen at Ramen Bar, stopping for a cup of joe at Commonplace Coffee, or doing some shopping at Avalon Exchange, you’re sure to find something (and run into someone from Ellis) on Forbes Avenue.


A staple in the Pittsburgh community for 120 years, the Jewish Community Center (JCC) is a family oriented organization with strong ties to the Jewish community. They offer childcare and after-school activities, put on theater productions, and have incredible facilities that anyone is welcome to use. With facilities in Squirrel Hill and the South Hills, the JCC is a wonderful place for families to engage with the community around them.


Frick Park is the largest park in Pittsburgh with 644 acres of rolling green space featuring trails, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and an off leash dog park. If the weather doesn’t permit you to use the bike trails, visit the Environmental Center to see one of the greenest buildings in the city. Enjoy concerts on the lawn in the summertime, a game of bocce with your family, or a picnic in the park for some unplugged family time.  
With all of these places and more surrounding Ellis, it’s nearly impossible to have a dull day. From restaurants to farmers’ markets and museums to climbing walls, the surrounding community is one rich with culture and plenty of opportunities for learning.
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