🎁 The Incline’s 2022 Pittsburgh gift guide

A smiling couple stands near a table with neatly arranged skincare goods.

We’re focusing this year’s guide on all things hyperlocal, handmade and hassle-free!

The region is loaded with maker markets at the moment. The second weekend of the Black Market is coming up Dec. 10 and 11 and features 65 makers of color at 623 Smithfield Street. Wilkinsburg will also see makers take over the revitalized train station on Sunday, Dec. 11. The following weekend, I Made It! Market is popping up in the Strip with a wide range of last-minute gift options.

Keep scrolling for more ideas! We’re rounding up local boutiques, spas, pet shops, authors and so much more below.

🕯 Local shops and handmade goodies

Even if you don’t go to Pittsburgh’s many maker markets, there are still lots of places to buy handmade. Small Mall in Upper Lawrenceville is full of local art and ceramics. Contemporary Craft just up Butler Street has even more, plus classes (like spoon carving, which we checked out) in a variety of media if you’ve got creative friends and family. Songbird Artistry on Penn Avenue offers a more maximalist selection of local artwork.

If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, apparel or Pittsburgh ephemera, Workshop offers goods and classes. Wildcard and Kards Unlimited are overflowing with cards, enamel pins, stickers, hand-poured candles and other goodies, and of course Love, PGH is bursting with Pittsburgh-centric gifts like ornaments, jewelry, fiber goods and more.

Candles could be an entire newsletter unto themselves — if North Ave. Candles or Spring Hill Candles don’t have the scents you’re looking for, PGH Candle just opened a storefront in East Allegheny, and the shops above all offer candles from these and/or other Pittsburgh brands.

Want Pittsburgh photos like the ones we feature in our newsletters? City Life Aventures has an Etsy shop dedicated to them. Lastly, the Steel City Craft Emporium and Artsmiths are one-stop shops for all manner of handcrafted gifts in Brookline and Carnegie, respectively.

🧀 Neat treats and culinary classes

Got a foodie at home? It might sound a little cheesy, but a gift card or cheese-tasting class at Chantal’s (Lawrenceville/Bloomfield) or the Cheese Queen (Mt. Oliver) could be just the thing. Salty Pork Bits remains in local hands if your giftee is a charcuterie connoisseur. On the sweeter side of things, Mon aimee chocolates keeps things scrumptious in the Strip, and La Gourmandine sells gift cards valid at their multiple Pittsburgh patisseries.

A cheese spray with nuts and sausages.
Give the gift of fromage this holiday season. (📸: @chantalscheese)

📚 Local literature

If you’re shopping for a bookworm, two of our Locals to Know published works earlier this year. Patrick McGinty’s novel Test Drive is out now via Propeller Books, and Catherine Raphael’s feminist fantasy novel Journey to the Heart Stone is available wherever books are sold. Local writer staci backauskas has published a self-care journal great for those taking time to look inward, and area educators Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr have a Mr. Rogers-inspired book available called When You Wonder, You’re Learning about raising curious kiddos.

Not sure which title to get? You can still shop local with ease — Belt Publishing recently relocated to Pittsburgh and prints books on the Rust Belt and Appalachia, and both White Whale and City Books have well-stocked local sections overflowing with Pittsburgh authors.

🐾 Four-legged fun

Need a gift for an animal lover (or your favorite fur baby)? Lawrenceville Pet Supply sells high-quality pet supplies of all kinds on Butler Street. Petagogy does the same over in Point Breeze, selling their own merch as well as treats, food and toys, as does Wagsburgh on East Ohio Street in Deutschtown.

Soap that looks like the Grinch.
You can feel like a Grinch but still smell good with Hip Modern Soap. (📸: @hipmodernsoap)

🧼 Self-care solutions

Personal care and cosmetics can make good gifts for just about anyone, especially if those items are locally made. Pittsburgh has numerous soapmakers including Pip & Lola’s, a family business with storefronts in Shadyside and the Strip that specializes in pleasant scents that won’t overpower. Hip Modern Soap, available at Lawrenceville boutique Boheme and elsewhere as well as online, is another local soap option featuring funky scents and bath bombs. If you’re looking for sustainable shampoo and deodorant, Trail Botanica makes those in addition to soaps, while Wilkinsburg-based Lovett Sundries and Lawrenceville-based Una Biologicals make a wider range of cosmetics, including face cream, beard oil, scrubs and more.

Buying local soaps and toiletries not only cuts down on plastic waste; most of these makers use organic ingredients in their products, often making them both gentler and more effective for people with sensitive skin and hair!

💆 Spa day

Sometimes, the last thing people need for the holidays is more stuff. If you’re buying for someone with one of everything (or simply too much crap), consider buying them a rejuvenating spa day!

Pittsburgh is studded with locally owned massage businesses. LaVida in Shadyside is one option in the middle of town, while Massage Pittsburgh is another option for residents farther south. On the North Side, Pittsburgh Acupuncture & Massageworks offers those services, plus cupping and hot stone massages. Kneaded Tranquility offers a diverse array of massage services in the West End.

For a less conventional spa day, why not spring for a float at Victory Float Lounge or a relaxing Sacred Self sauna day at Sneha Collective, run by Local to Know Eva Trapp? There’s also cryotherapy and red light therapy at Restore Hyper Wellness, a chain of spas in the area including McCandless Crossings, where Local to Know Shelby Park works.

A hand cupping fresh compost near food scraps.
Cut out the middleman and get the one you love a composting service. (@carboncompostpgh)

♻️ Going green

Buying an experience not green enough? Help your environmentalist giftee turn their food scraps into fertilizer with a gift card from Carbon Compost, a Pittsburgh business that provides residential and commercial composting services. The Refillery also sells gift cards recipients can use to pick up zero-waste handsoap, laundry detergent and personal care products like the ones we covered above. 

Some of our local green nonprofits have a strong merch game and great gift options, too. Sponsor a butterfly or pick up some merch from the Parks Conservancy, or shop at Tree Pittsburgh or BikePGH for cool local swag. Lastly, why not gift your green commuter a year of POGOH rides?

😲 Exciting experiences 

Last, but certainly not least, membership at area institutions can be even more rewarding than more stuff. Got a Phipps fan sharing Chanukah with you? Get them farther afield with a Pittsburgh Botanic Garden membership. A kayak trip from 3 Rivers Outdoors is another way to connect with nature (and the store has lots of goodies for camping and more). Local vacations can also be a delight — why not book a dinner and hotel somewhere nearby? Polymath Park is great for a day spent with Frank Lloyd Wright & co., or Hipcamp & REI have a bundle that’s a good option for more rustic accommodations, too.

That wraps up our 2022 gift guide! Thanks for shopping local, Pittsburgh. Let’s do it again next year!