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happy birthday, schenley plaza


It's hard to believe that Schenley Plaza first brightened the heart of Oakland and became an urban oasis for all to enjoy 14 years ago. Making its debut on June 8, 2006, Schenley Plaza was the result of a community partnership that included the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  
 
Used as a parking lot for decades, the five-acre Schenley Plaza was restored to its intended use by the Parks Conservancy and its community partners in 2006. A second phase of the Plaza's revitalization, the restoration of the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, was completed in 2008.  

The restored Plaza was the result of 10 years of planning and partnership to revitalize and reclaim a prized piece of Schenley Park.

The Parks Conservancy is honored to work alongside the City of Pittsburgh and to have friends like you to support our community and park improvement projects year-round!
 
Continue exploring some of our favorite Schenley Plaza memories by scrolling below. 

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then and now: from a parking lot to urban oasis 

The COVID-19 global health emergency, and the importance of parks in helping the community cope and heal during the crisis, has given the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy an opportunity to reflect upon its long-standing partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and the work we have accomplished together to restore Pittsburgh's park system to excellence. 
 
Operated by the Parks Conservancy, Schenley Plaza is located between the Carnegie and Hillman Libraries, the Cathedral of Learning, and the Frick Fine Arts Building. Formerly an asphalt parking lot, this beloved community greenspace attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, providing gathering places, entertainment, and a grand entrance to Schenley Park.
 
Schenley Plaza continues to serve as a community gathering place for Pittsburghers of all ages. In September 2019, through Let's Play Everywhere Allegheny County, the Parks Conservancy, with the help of the Pittsburgh Penguins, revealed a new, creative play installation called Ping Pong in the Plaza.

Ping Pong in the Plaza enhances the Plaza by building upon the community gathering space, which encourages kids and families to socialize and have fun together. 
 
This installation was made possible through a grant funded by Let's Play Everywhere Allegheny County, which encourages creative solutions to make play a way of life in everyday and unexpected places, including on sidewalks, in vacant lots, at bus stops, in open streets and beyond – especially in communities where kids often have limited options to play.
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lasting memories created in schenley plaza 

The PNC Carousel in Schenley Plaza has a storied past and continues to be a gathering place for Pittsburghers and visitors from around the world. Every year from April through October, visitors of all ages and abilities enjoy the carousel’s lively colors and old-fashioned pipe organ music as they spin around Schenley Plaza. In those moments, lasting memories are created, all because of generous donors and the ongoing partnership between the City of Pittsburgh, Parks Conservancy, and the surrounding community. 
 
For the Frankenberg/ Northup family, taking trips to the PNC Carousel is a summer tradition.
 
We visit the carousel as often as possible during the summer. We have two daughters, but it’s our toddler, Magnolia’s, favorite thing to do! She’ll ask to visit, so we try to make an afternoon out of it as a family. We ride the carousel as many times as she wants because we have the season pass and then we usually get some snacks or lunch and just enjoy the plaza,” explained Caitlin Northup.
 
Magnolia loves the teacup that spins—it’s her favorite part!” Caitlyn continued. “She’ll wait to get on it until it’s open and then she loves to ride it multiple times in a row. She would ride the teacup all day if we let her.” 
 
One of the many reasons why Caitlin enjoys taking her family to visit the carousel is because there are so many things around the carousel and the Plaza.
 
"My husband and I have been visiting Schenley Plaza since we were in college at Duquesne. Since we’ve had children, I would say we visit way more often because it’s such a convenient way to get them outside and have a fun and inexpensive day.”
 
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dining in the plaza

Relax and enjoy alfresco dining during your next Schenley Plaza visit! 
 
The Porch at Schenley is a full-service restaurant located in the Plaza’s northwest corner near the Hillman Library. The Porch is a partnership between the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group and was designed to complement the green space of Schenley Plaza in both structure and style. The menu offers selections of delicious scratch-made foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Other features include a takeout window, a green roof where ingredients will be grown seasonally, and a children’s garden and stage area.
 
If you're interested in a casual dining experience, enjoy two food kiosks: Mesa, which brings a taste of New Mexico to Pittsburgh, and Asia Tea House, which offers fresh sushi and Asian cuisine! 
 
Click here to learn more about dining in Schenley Plaza. 

follow us on social media

To access unique photos from your fellow park lovers and the latest information on park projects, follow the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also follow the Schenley Plaza and Frick Environmental Center pages on Facebook. Have a photo you'd love to share with us? Tag @pittsburghparks or use #pittsburghparks.