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North Hills Monthly

Cookie Tour Brings Thousands to Lawrenceville for Shopping, Snacking

Nov 01, 2016 06:48AM ● By Vanessa Orr

Who doesn’t love cookies? And when you can combine eating dozens of them with a walk around one of the most exciting parts of the city, it’s a great way to spend the day. 

Now in its 17th year, the Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour attracts almost 7,000 people into Lawrenceville between 34th and 54th streets to shop local while dining on homemade delicacies that range from Russian tea cakes to vegan double chocolate chips to Sugar and Spice N’ats—as well as more traditional offerings.

“This year, 40 shops are opening their doors to welcome customers in for holiday shopping and free, sample-sized cookies of all kinds,” explained Genevieve Barbee-Turner, marketing and communications coordinator for the Lawrenceville Corporation. “The sample size is great, because those little bites allow you to eat a lot more!”

Visitors follow a map that has all of the cookie sites noted, or they can just stop in at any store where a three-foot gingerbread man marks the spot. There are also “Take a Break” locations flagged by little red stop signs at cafes, breweries and restaurants, where guests can enjoy libations such as specially brewed cookie beers, as well as full-sized meals.

The four-day, family-friendly event, which begins on Thursday, Dec. 1 and lasts through Sunday, Dec. 4, features something for everyone of every age. On Thursday at 6 p.m., Lawrenceville United will be hosting Light Up Lawrenceville to kick off the tour, which will include a tree lighting, carols and treats. Friday is a full-on cookie tour day.

“Saturday is our most busy day, and features the Cookie Mall at 4600 Butler Street, as well as visits with Santa from noon to 2 p.m.,” said Barbee-Turner. “Busy Beaver has been kind enough to open their parking lot to visitors, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the Foundry on 41st are sponsoring two wheelchair-accessible Molly’s Trolley’s to help people get around.” Lawrenceville also boasts two Healthy Lives stations so that people wanting to ride bikes instead of drive have that opportunity.

“On Saturday, for the first time, we’re also working with Edward Marc Chocolatier, who will be creating ‘snappers,’ which are little dessert clusters for the event,” added Barbee-Turner. 

People come from all over the tristate region, and even from out-of-state to attend the Cookie Tour, which gives Lawrenceville a chance to show off everything that it has to offer. “It’s a really big deal for our neighborhood,” said Barbee-Turner of the event that kicks off the holiday season. “Lawrenceville was built on small businesses, and there are so many cool things here to do.”

This year’s tour will include nine new businesses as well as old favorites. And as always, it will include a wide variety of cookies. “Some people do the same cookies every day, and others do different cookies on different days,” said Barbee-Turner. “People use their favorite recipes from all over the world, or from beloved holiday traditions. It’s really a journey through the world of baked goods. 

“It definitely gets bigger every year,” she added. “But what I love more than anything is to watch how all of the neighbors come together to make it happen.”

Visitors can vote for their favorite cookie by tagging the business and using #cookietour2016 on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The business with the most votes wins the Cookie Cup, a trophy created by local jeweler and this year’s Cookie Tour Stop #39, Paul Michael Designs.

For more information on the Cookie Tour, follow lvpghcookietour on Facebook or visit