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9 Best Neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA

By: Susan Finch
July 26, 2021

Pittsburgh grew to prominence as a booming industry town that was known for its steel and soot. Today, it's home to Fortune 500 companies Kraft-Henzi, US Steel, PNC Financial, and its mega-employer, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. There's also plenty to see, do, and eat as you settle into your new city. Perhaps best of all, Pittsburgh is affordable considering its size and available amenities, giving you more disposable income to spend on your favorite pastimes.

Ready to move to Steel City? Discover some of the best neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA.

1. Shadyside

Shadyside, Pittsburgh, is quaint, walkable, and eclectic. The neighborhood got its name in the 1800s from its farmland and shady, tree-lined streets. Today, it's the perfect neighborhood for young professionals and college students looking for a lively bar scene with nightlife entertainment, gay clubs, craft brewers, and trendy eateries. Despite all the nightlife, the area still boasts an upscale vibe. There's also a quirky shopping scene with everything from specialty grocers to antiques and consignment to homeware finds.

Shadyside is ideal for dog lovers, as it’s home to over 50 dog-friendly businesses. On weekends, take in the art scene at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, walk over the vibrant pedestrian bridge to the East Side, or dine at a trendy restaurant outdoors. Shadyside is also home to Roslyn Place, thought to be the only wooden street in the U.S.

2. Squirrel Hill South

The city eventually divided the area into two for municipal purposes. Most locals lump together Squirrel Hill South and Squirrel Hill North into one, sizable neighborhood. You'll find the core of businesses, shops, and restaurants along with Forbes and Murray Avenues.

The Southern part of the neighborhood offers a high concentration of renters in apartment complexes and duplexes within single-family homes, while the Northern side consists of large Victorian houses and apartments. Both areas are considered upscale, family-friendly, and boast well-regarded public schools for the littlest locals.

3. Squirrel Hill North

As one of the best neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill North is home to Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University. College students and staff flock to indie boutiques, bookshops, and ethnic eateries along Forbes Avenue.

Squirrel Hill North is a traditionally Jewish neighborhood, although there aren't scores of kosher eateries you might expect. However, NU Modern Jewish Bistro is a neighborhood favorite with dishes like potato latkes, and there are a few kosher grocers that line the streets. Pubs, hip restaurants, and boutiques are peppered throughout Squirrel Hill North. Frick Park and Schenley Park offer acres of green space, guided walks, and seasonal live entertainment on weekends.

4. The Strip District

Situated outside of Downtown Pittsburgh, the Strip District was home to wholesale produce shops and commercial warehouses during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The neighborhood was also where George Westinghouse invented air brakes and AC current. He was also responsible for introducing paid vacations and half-days on Saturdays for his workers.

Over the years, The Strip transformed into a hip, mixed-use space with converted warehouses and shops. You'll find old-school street stands selling T-shirts alongside upbeat bars and eateries. This Pittsburgh neighborhood is lively and quirky, where old meets new. You can just as easily find an authentic Italian eatery as you can a trendy bar selling bespoke cocktails.

The vibe around The Strip District is gritty and full of flavor. The neighborhood is also home to the Senator John Heinz History Center, with culture and sports exhibits. For classical and contemporary works, locals often head to the Pittsburgh Opera.

5. Bloomfield

Live in the heart of Pittsburgh's Little Italy in Bloomfield. The eclectic neighborhood is famous for its pizzerias, Italian eateries, and trendy cafes and restaurants. You'll also find dive bars, record stores, and thrift stores, as well as local watering holes. Although more shops and eateries are moving in, it's still decidedly an old-school neighborhood.

Locals take the Bloomfield Bridge over to Oakland for the cultural attractions and nearby universities. Both areas are ideally situated for college students and young professionals looking for an old-world, cultural, and urban vibe. Whether you want to eat fresh cannolis on the weekend or down some beers while watching a Steelers game, you can find it in Bloomfield.

6. Mount Washington

Mount Washington is a charming enclave of Pittsburgh known for its upscale seafood and Italian restaurants. The neighborhood offers stunning, panoramic city views from Grandview Avenue's Restaurant Row, where diners ask for window seats. Historic funiculars climb the Monongahela and Duquesne Incline for a view from the Grandview Outlook.

If you want to live near the action, look for apartments along Grandview Avenue, Shiloh Street, and Bailey Avenue for views, restaurants, bars, and shopping. Some of the areas are quieter than others, like Chatham Village. Whether you want to live within walking distance to a bar or away from it all, you can find a spot in Mount Washington.

7. North Oakland

North Oakland is ideally situated for college students, young professionals thanks to its proximity to the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. This landmark institution boasts a Gothic Revival style. North Oakland is also known for cultural hotspots, like the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Locals gather at Schenley Plaza on the weekends to enjoy the garden park, the carousel, and food.

Like any urban neighborhood, it's also wise to exercise caution in areas like North Oakland. Late-night bars with college students and tourists looking to explore the neighborhood museums are the norm.

8. Beechview

Beechview is known for its colorful murals. It also has a central location and has relatively affordable rent and housing prices. The neighborhood is also among Pittsburgh's most diverse neighborhoods. Beechview is the only neighborhood in the city where the light rail travels down the main business strip. You can walk or take the light rail to ethnic eateries and shops.

The diverse neighborhood of Beechview is undergoing development. The central business district of Broadway Avenue has seen its share of revitalization efforts with help from neighbors, city organizations, and private developers. More restaurants and clubs are opening as locals come to the neighborhood searching for affordable prices in a growing city.

9. Southside Flats

Locals who want to live amongst the nightlife find their way to Southside Flats. Brewpubs, wine bars, dance clubs, and live music spill onto East Carson Street. There's always a place to sing karaoke or bar hop. Beyond the nightlife, this Pittsburgh neighborhood is home to vintage and quirky boutiques and global restaurants.

Despite the urban epicenter of SouthSide Flats, there are opportunities to get back in touch with nature. Southside Riverside Park offers trails for biking and walking. The park is thought to be the birthplace of the regional Three Rivers Heritage Trail system. Bike your way down the Riverfront for gorgeous views, a picnic space, and canoe launches. You can also connect to South Shore Riverfront Park at the SouthSide Works retail center.

Which Pittsburgh Neighborhood is Right for You?

Moving to Pittsburgh and ready to start looking for your new home? Browse Apartment List to find your next Pittsburgh apartment and consider the cost of living.

If Pittsburgh doesn't seem like the best Pennsylvania city for you, check out the best places to live in Pennsylvania!

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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