My jobs here have been in city neighborhoods and I've loved walking around them and exploring. First was Oakland, home of students, hospitals, and more students. The places to look were never ending. There were people from all over the world, food trucks, every type of restaurant imaginable. Very crowded all the time. And I'm not fond of crowds, so it was (and is still) an adjustment every time I go there.
From there, I went south. Well, to the South Side to be more specific. Known for it's night life more than anything else, I love the quirky shops that dot the landscape. I found a place to learn to knit there and ended up making a very good friend in the process. A trip to Groovy, with it's retro toys and games, takes me back to my childhood. "Oh man! I had those! And my brother had all of those and then some!" South Bank Galleries is two stores in one - the bottom level is packed to the brim with stuff. You name it, it's probably there. Church pews, old telephones, furniture, bar ware, neon signs, records, jewelry (both real and costume). Upstairs is the art gallery where you can look at an buy works from Picasso to Roy Lichtenstein to local artists. They have lay away and I keep saying one of these days I'm going to put something on lay away. Ahh, dreams. . .
Next 'hood was Bloomfield/Friendship. I. LOVE. THIS. PLACE. Beautiful houses, awesome food, great people. The best burgers are there (Tessaro's), the best Italian food is there (Alexander's), and my favorite Thai place is there (the one in the yellow building, not the one further up). I've been trying to get Hubby to move there for four years now. Unfortunately, we've apparently missed our window of opportunity to buy there as now all of the houses for sale are either a) tiny small, b) condos with one bedroom, or 3) OMG expensive.
Now I'm in the Central North Side for work. It's absolutely gorgeous here. The houses are amazing, even if the area is still a little rough around the edges. And by rough around the edges, I mean I don't walk with anything of value on me except my phone and even that I try to keep out of sight. From my job, I can walk to the National Aviary and see the birds, I can walk through a park and check out the lake and watch the ducks swim and the people hang out. Lots of old industrial buildings are being re-purposed into housing. A 20 minute walk from work takes you to this big brick building that was once a warehouse of some sort but is now home to some of the most gorgeous (IMHO, YMMV) condos I've seen in a long time. If I had a spare $400,000 I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
We're looking for a new house and 'hood to move to and while my focus has mainly been in the East End, I'm open to other suggestions! Currently there are two houses on my watch list that are in the running should our house ever sell - one in Squirrel Hill, the other in Morningside. But that's another post for another day. . .