90 Neighborhoods and What We Love About Them
Explore the ins and outs of Pittsburgh’s incredible, diverse neighborhoods with fun things to do in every part of town.
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Central North Side
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh provides a temporary home for international writers in exile; it also hosts literary events.
Spring Hill-City View
Everybody could use a good backrub. But what kind? At Pittsburgh Massageworks, the list of options is extensive. You can opt for a chair massage, a hot stone massage or a regular old table massage (in Swedish or Thai styles). Your session can last an hour or two. Just ask. But the most unique offering at Pittsburgh Massageworks is its “sensory deprivation tank,” a compartment that allows you to float in warm saltwater and removes all other stimuli — no noise, no scent, not even a glimmer of light. This concept might sound panic-inducing, but the idea of the isolation tank is to help guests relax, meditate and become one with their own minds. Without the noise and intrusions of the everyday world, the tank offers a chance to drop out and tune in for 90 full minutes. Don’t worry about falling asleep: Should you do so, you’ll sleep much more deeply in the chamber, and it’s physically impossible to drown, says founder Amy Green. It makes sense that the enlightened Pittsburgh Massageworks would stand high in the Spring Hill-City View neighborhood, a rolling crest that overlooks the Allegheny River valley. The quiet residential district isn’t well-known outside of its environs, but the area boasts beautiful German-style homes and safe streets, owing to strong community initiatives. Thanks to Pittsburgh Massageworks, overworked visitors can get some muscular relief — or take a break from the busy world altogether. — Robert Isenberg
[1517 Hetzel St.; pittsburghmassageworks.abmp.com, 412/626-2648]
Troy Hill (Washington's Landing)
Once you’ve arrived on Washington’s Landing, park by the tennis courts, hop on your bike and let the tires rumble on the dirt path past all those boats docked along the Allegheny River. Look up and see the bottom of the 31st Street Bridge. Grab a bite to eat at dockside restaurant Redfin Blues. Keep pedaling, and watch as the trees part and the city’s skyline opens up to you on a clear day where river meets steel and steel meets blue sky. Pass all the townhouses, and you’ve reached the end of Washington’s Landing — but feel free to cross the car-free bridge onto the North Shore Trail and let this urban oasis continue to wash over you. — James Santelli
[Access via 30th Street Bridge at River Avenue]
Team Pittsburgh DekHockey is truly a Pittsburgh creation: From coaches to concession to referees, it’s entirely staffed by volunteers. Dek hockey is a version of ball (or street) hockey. Team Pittsburgh’s rink is NHL-regulation size. Located in Marmaduke Park, Team Pittsburgh is open to children ages 4-19 from across the city. Boys and girls play together in five age-determined divisions for in-house teams. Eight traveling teams (two per age group) are available for children ages 7-19. Registration is $75, and participation requires (limited) mandatory fundraising. The fall season kicks off with the annual Sportsman’s Bash at the Butler Farm Show grounds. — Amy Whipple
[3915 Oswald St.; teampittsburgh.net]
Deutschtown institution (and past Best Restaurants honoree) Legends of the North Shore knows how to make mouths water.
What’s that? It’s 8 a.m., you’re hungry and you have only the change from your couch cushions? Make a beeline for Spring Garden, where you can pick up the $2.99 breakfast at Tracy’s Deli — a mountain of hash browns with eggs and toast. — Sean Collier
Long ago, the Marshall-Shadeland area was known as “Woods Run,” and names don’t get much more pastoral than that. Today, some folks have started calling it “Brightwood.” Whatever it's called, this sizable slice of Pittsburgh is tranquil, tree-lined and neighborly. Just beyond California Avenue, you’ll find the Riverfront Trail, a continuation of the North Side foot and bicycle route. Along the Ohio River, you can find beautiful views of downtown and Brunot Island, plus healthy solitude right in the heart of the city. Feeling ambitious on a sunny day? The trail can take you all the way to Millvale and back. — Robert Isenberg
[Trail access and parking at the intersection of Island and Preble avenues]
We thought we'd seen the city skyline from every dramatic view imaginable — then we found the breathtaking Fineview Overlook.
It’s no secret that Northview Heights, the small North Side neighborhood developed as a public housing project in the late 1950s, has faced challenges as a community throughout its history. So the success of Bethany House Academy, which celebrated 50 years in 2012, is one of Pittsburgh’s most inspiring stories. The nonprofit organization is home to a preschool, daily after-school programs, summer education and more, teaching subjects ranging from computer literacy to African drumming for neighborhood children and teens. Area churches also prepare hot dinners for students every night. These programs and offerings are free, supported by the United Methodist Church as well as other donors and foundations, such as the Heinz Endowments. Many staff members are also Northview Heights residents; some grew up in the community and attended Bethany House as children, further tying the organization into the fabric of the neighborhood. Executive Director Keith Murphy has run Bethany House for 20 years; he began as a consultant and “fell in love with the place,” he says. “We’ve served generations. Bethany House has been a mainstay and never closed its doors — even though economic times are tough on all of us. Our success has always been in hiring community mothers and community fathers to serve in capacities that exist even [farther] than our doors.” — Sean Collier
It's so important that they named the neighborhood after it. Stargazers have been peering skyward at the Allegheny Observatory since 1858.
Who else? Our friends at WPXI-TV. Take a look over at the new studios while passing on Interstate 279. We’re not sure we’ve ever printed the phrase “good-looking TV studio,” but it definitely applies here. — Sean Collier