Be there or be square. Better yet, be at the Market Square!
The Market Square has diversified and gone through many changes since its establishment back in 1784. It started out as just a space for lots and streets, but soon became one of the central pieces of Pittsburgh’s livelihood and difference.
The Square represents the old Pittsburgh mixed with the modern version of it as well. A European-style plaza coupled with historic landmark itself gives it an old-school, but hip feel to it.
It has many events that happen right in the middle of the square for people to experience. And not just a certain group of people.
The mixture of business and local people in the Square is what really makes it so accommodating to the folks that go there because of the shops and restaurants nearby.
Alex McCanna has been living in Pittsburgh’s Market Square for three years, back from her freshman year at Point Park University. After walking on campus, she knew Point Park was the school for her.
“It was nice to come to a school or a city even that just gave me that welcoming vibe,” says McCanna. “I could see myself being here after that.”
She said what makes living in Market Square is the convenience opportunities.
“My life takes place in a three block radius – not joking!” says McCanna.
She has school, her apartment, and her job all within walking distance.
“It’s like a little community in the middle of the city,” she said.
If there is anyone who knows about Market Square, they know about the fun events that the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) hosts right in the center. There are numerous things to look at, try out, eat, hear, smell, touch, etc. Every Thursday there is a farmer’s market where vendors vary from normal fruits and vegetables to artisan yarn and dog treats.
James Hill, Special Assistant to the Mayor, discussed the rapid economical and social growth of or near the Square.
“The number of jobs has changed a lot and with more spending in the Market, it has benefitted the economy there largely,” said Hill.
Hill said the jobs there create more networking with different districts in the Pittsburgh area. Each and every one of them benefit off each other which builds the business and amount of consumers.
Hill said, “Unfortunately though, it does make traffic a bit tighter.”
“There is always something going on in the Square,” McCanna says. “Companies really utilize it [ Market Square] because it is the center of Pittsburgh.”
Market Square isn’t just a hang-out spot for a certain group, said McCanna. It appeals to all types of people and is somewhere where any kind of people can congregate. Whether it be an older couple, a family, group of teenagers, or just businessmen and women, the Square is a sure symbol of integration.
Hill explains that the amount of people that have come to the Square has risen dramatically.
“It’s risen by around 20-30%,” he said, adding that this improvement has helped the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership expand their ideas on the programs that the Square hosts.
“It brings thousands of people and made a huge jump to a greater infrastructure. It even helps go to school systems,” said Hill.
“There isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t see someone you know. It’s like a little town within a big city,” said McCanna.
Since it is so quaint and local, the Square comes with many benefits and conveniences that keep having consumers come back for more.
“For me and the people, it is convenient because the Market Street Grocery is one of the first grocery stores that downtown has had in awhile,” said McCanna.
There are many restaurants to choose from as well. “The restaurants are what really thrive in the Square,” said Hill. “The European styled market gains a lot of attraction and there is actually going to be a new restaurant at the sixth PPG place in the fall.”
When asked about new programs being created, Hill said, “There’s not much new stuff coming in. It will mainly be an expansion of our previous Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) programs.”
But do not fret! There is a new cultural showcase being brought to the Square around July 9th of this summer.
“It’s to show how culture basically created our city,” said Hill.
Having the Square be so convenient with business people also brings many opportunities and welcoming jobs. McCanna recently received an internship that she soon hopes to start this summer. And all from working in a local coffee shop.
So whether you need a bite, want to relax, searching for opportunities, are looking for some new music to listen to, or just want to hang out with friends and family, Market Square is the right place for you.
Hill said, “Market Square is truly becoming the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Times have changed and Market Square has taken up the mantle. Rebuilding the Square is also helping rebuild the life around it.”