So-called “Rivertown” is nearly 100 neighborhoods strong
Sometimes the biggest surprises are waiting in the places we least expect.
For visitors and travelers alike, and even for those who are longtime local residents, the city of Pittsburgh has a reserve of unexpected delights. And the list of must-see attractions continues to grow every year.
With its 90 distinct and highly diverse neighborhoods, Pittsburgh has evolved from a gritty industrial city into a destination for discriminating diners, curious shoppers, coffeehouse lovers, and aficionados of the city’s vast cultural resources. Many are walk-able districts that are also connected via bike and walking paths, public transportation lines, and major roadways.
Pittsburgh’s ethnic mix and industrial heritage helped shape this web of neighborhoods into today’s distinct enclaves with their own identities. At the city center today, Downtown Pittsburgh teems with things to do. Long regarded as a business district with little activity after 5 p.m., the area now buzzes all day and into the night. Its 14-block Cultural District and surrounding streets are packed with restaurants, public art displays, outdoor parks, and a variety of festivals.
The critical mass filling downtown is a driver behind other recent arrivals—namely residential homes and new retail amenities. A growing mix of new luxury apartments, condominium homes, and mixed-use office/retail developments lure more and more professionals every year from other cities as well as suburban Pittsburgh towns.
And that’s just downtown. Heading east just a few blocks past the city's convention center lies a mix of old and modern Pittsburgh within the vibrant Strip District. Primarily known in the past as a wholesale district with little going on after business hours, today’s Strip is a center of development. The evolving neighborhood offers an eclectic selection of food retailers, specialty shops, restaurants, brewpubs, and other attractions.
While the older wholesale businesses continue to operate side-by-side with these newcomers, the Strip will continue to change even further in coming years. The historic terminal produce building complex is undergoing major redevelopment initiatives to make way for a new mixed-use project.
On the district’s eastern edge, numerous residential developments and professional office buildings are already attracting more professionals and even retirees drawn by the growing list of amenities, including the prime riverfront location and proximity to surrounding neighborhoods. (Quick access to Pittsburgh’s three major sports stadiums and easy connections to major roadways around town aren’t hurting matters either.) New cafes and retailers are opening for business as more residents and office workers arrive.
Next up on the list of neighborhoods to explore is trend-setting Lawrenceville. Often compared to portions of New York City’s Brooklyn for its redevelopment successes, both Upper and Lower Lawrenceville have helped set the pace during Pittsburgh’s revitalization for 10 years and counting. A batch of hot restaurants, coffee shops, craft breweries, and boutiques have opened in recent years along with new condominiums and townhomes now dotting the thriving Butler Street corridor.
Keeping up the pace, an entire day’s worth of discoveries await in the established neighborhood of Shadyside. Luxury shopping options and fine-dining establishments pair naturally with the area’s large, upscale homes at some of Pittsburgh’s highest price points. The Walnut Street strip that cuts through the district continues to offer some of the region’s most sought-after retail outlets and restaurants.
Immediately next door, Oakland offers cultural and intellectual outlets usually found only in much larger cities. Both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh’s main campuses operate here just blocks from each other. A global mix of restaurants matches the international student and faculty population. The collection of museums in Oakland are unmatched in any city close to Pittsburgh’s size. Search for the latest listings in Oakland.
There’s even more to Pittsburgh outside that handful of neighborhoods. An entrepreneurial streak has propelled major redevelopment progress in East Liberty, where residents and business owners are drawn to lower real estate prices as well as proximity to Shadyside, Lawrenceville and Oakland. Squirrel Hill and Regent Square are known for amazing local food scenes and family-friendly shopping. And Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s historic Little Italy district, continues to draw newcomers who live side-by-side with generations of locals.
The list goes on, but that’s a sampling of what modern-age Pittsburgh offers. The momentum is set to continue well into the future. And if the past is any indication, the city’s future is bright.