Green Pittsburgh

Green Pittsburgh is a tour of Pittsburgh’s history, from the old mill communities of Glen Hazel and Hazelwood, up through the immigrant destinations of Greenfield and Squirrel Hill and finally to the mansions of the industrialists in Shadyside. It’s also a story of the birth and rebirth of our city: students and young professionals flock to Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, adding vibrancy that radiates from top universities. Meanwhile, redevelopment in Hazelwood and Glen Hazel aims to reclaim lost potential and offers new chances for affordable housing and a blossoming community.

photos by kristi jan hoover

What's Here?

Shadyside is the long-standing city neighborhood for the hip and wealthy among us. Even if you’re neither, you always can poke around the shops on Walnut Street or stroll through the tree-lined avenues.

Squirrel Hill North
The upper half of Squirrel Hill houses Chatham University and portions of Carnegie Mellon University. The leafy residential streets will make you feel as if you’re not in a city at all.

Squirrel Hill South
The bottom half of Squirrel Hill lays claim to some of the city’s finest green spaces, including the majority of Schenley and Frick parks.

Growing up in Greenfield seems to guarantee toughness; no fewer than half a dozen sports figures hail from the neighborhood as well as a couple of mayors. Don’t mistake success for pretension; the neighborhood is as unassuming as it’s always been.

If you want to talk up-and-coming, Hazelwood is slated by many to be the next big thing. And now that it’s no longer obstructed by mill pollution, it affords a beautiful view of the Monongahela River.

Glen Hazel
Get on the banks of the Mon in Glen Hazel, where you’ll be across the river from the likes of Sandcastle and the Waterfront. The area is part of the Almono redevelopment plan alongside its neighbor, Hazelwood.


You don’t have to be in Pittsburgh long to know that parking in Shadyside is a challenge frequently unmet. We want your adventure to be worth it, which means you’re headed to Girasole for a celebratory night on the town. The menu is seasonal, but if it happens to be fall, you can’t go wrong with the pumpkin ravioli with brown butter, pancetta and walnuts.  733 Copeland St.,

Dylamato’s Market in Hazelwood has grown from a graduate student project to a local venue for quality groceries, as well as a café. We recommend stopping in when Mee Mee brings by treats from Tis So Sweet (try the nut-less brownies).  5414 Second Ave.,

Off the grid of Forbes and Murray, you’ll find Food Shoppe in Squirrel Hill North. Its Deluxe Italian is the kind of hit-the-spot sandwich that will fill you up in a matter of bites. Recommended for afternoons when your boss won’t notice you’re in a food coma.  5878 Northumberland St., 412/521-0718.


You can be whoever you want to be at 5801 in Shadyside, the East End’s premier gay bar. You especially want to be there for their stellar happy-hour specials, including $3 well drinks and domestic beers.  5801 Ellsworth Ave.,


When you think of Squirrel Hill South, surely your first thoughts are of tiki bars. At least they will be if you’ve visited Hidden Harbor. Visit on Weird Science Wednesdays, where unexpected carbonation, liquid nitrogen and decomposing zombie (cocktail) cubes all come out to play.  1708 Shady Ave.,

Photo by John Altdorfer

Drink your own! With the help of Greenfield’s Copper Kettle Brewing Company, of course. From measuring ingredients to designing a label, this beer is all you. You’ll have to be patient as you wait three weeks to discover how good your creation tastes, but good things take time.  557 Greenfield Ave.,


A visit to Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill South yields fair trade, artisanal items (household goods, accessories, art — almost anything you can think of) from developing countries. The store’s more than 70 employees all are volunteers and will help you buy a lifetime’s worth of presents.  5824 Forbes Ave.,

The book fates have been treating the East End well these past few years. One of the many recent additions is Classic Lines in Squirrel Hill North. The store has found a way to cram both new and used books into every last nook and cranny. The staff is helpful but not hover-y. What more could you want?  5825 Forbes Ave., 412/422-2220.

Murray Avenue Apothecary in Greenfield is a welcome throw-back alternative to chain pharmacies. The clinical pharmacists do their own compounding and work to better the health of the whole family (including the four-legged members) at life’s many stages.  4227 Murray Ave.,


Though the entry point to Duck Hollow Trail is in Squirrel Hill South, most of it lies within the borders of Glen Hazel, offering a nice walk along the Mon. It’s also a good spot to spend a morning fishing or to take your dog for a swim.  Second Avenue between McFarren Street and Old Browns Hill Road.

Unfortunately, the pool at Glen Hazel’s Burgwin Park has been closed for years. But renovation has brought a multi-apparatus Spray Park that allows the whole family to cool down together in Pittsburgh’s hot summers. Get wet and cool off while staying on your feet! Johnston Avenue and Mansion Street.

History nerd alert! You can find one of the oldest surviving houses in Pittsburgh — the John Woods House — in Hazelwood. It’s tucked among the other houses on the street as if there’s nothing weird about having a 200-year-old-plus neighbor. Look from the street; it’s not a public building.  4604 Monongahela St.

Photos by Adam Milliron


Food Critic's Pick

What happens when you take a classically trained chef who once ran one of Pittsburgh’s most celebrated restaurants and get him focused on sweet treats? You end up with Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, the outstanding ice-cream parlor from chef Chad Townsend and his wife Lauren. Line up — the queue at this Shadyside spot moves quickly and the wait is worth it — for year-round standards such as Chad’s vanilla and salted caramel, plus seasonal treats including rhubarb sorbet and saffron apricot. (232 S. Highland Ave., — Hal B. Klein

Signature Event

What could be better than an event that consists of dogs dressing to the nines to benefit their less-fortunate brethren? Put your pooches on parade at the annual Bark Shadyside Pup Walk, an annual fundraiser in Shadyside for the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center. Local pet shop Petagogy and Think Shadyside sponsor the 1-mile walk through the neighborhood, which features vendors, giveaways and goodie bags for your faithful friend. (  — Lauren Davidson


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21 Great Communities

Around the Point

With exciting options for work, play and attractive new housing – these Pittsburgh neighborhoods are the places a rising number of urbanites want to call home.

The New North

If you venture to this neighborhood only to attend a sporting event or concert at PNC Park or Heinz Field, you’re missing out; the area is full of restaurants, museums, cultural landmarks and churches, as well as some lovely historic homes.

The Old Allegheny Slopes

No matter where you drive or walk in The Old Allegheny Slopes, you are probably going up or down a hill. This makes for a lot of good views, along with hidden surprises tucked into these city neighborhoods.

The Northern 'Burbs

The area commonly referred to as the North Hills maintains its long-held status as a fine suburban place to live or go for a walk in a nature park, but the area also offers plenty of shopping and dining and play options.

The Near East

There’s a reason all of the out-of-town trend pieces praising Pittsburgh’s 21st-century rebirth seem to focus on these neighborhoods. This thriving part of the city is where design, the arts, restaurant culture and high-end shopping are integrated into Pittsburgh’s working-class bones.

Where 8 Meets 28

The river communities that have been home to many families with histories in steel- and glass-making have a wealth of quaint, independent retail stores, restaurants and businesses, as well as much-loved libraries, festivals and community days.

Allegheny River Communities

Each borough and municipality in this northeastern corner of Allegheny County contains surprises. To those who live along the river’s edge, they’re familiar, hometown destinations and sights; to visitors, they’re spots worth making the drive out along (the finally construction-free) Route 28.

College Town

When people talk about the revitalization of Pittsburgh, it usually involves the tagline meds and eds — and meds and eds it is in College Town. You’ll find the sprawling buildings of Carnegie Mellon University, Carlow University and the University of Pittsburgh as well as several UPMC medical complexes.

Green Pittsburgh

Green Pittsburgh is a story of the birth and rebirth of our city: students and young professionals flock to Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, adding vibrancy that radiates from top universities. Meanwhile, redevelopment in Hazelwood and Glen Hazel offers new chances for affordable housing and a blossoming community.

The Hidden East End

The Mellons, Fricks, Carnegies and Westinghouses built their mansions in this most-stylish part of town. But their departure for greener and more secluded pastures — and the mass relocation of families here after the razing of the Lower Hill — left much of this area economically depressed for decades. Now the long-awaited renaissance of East Liberty is beginning to bring major reinvestment here, too.

The Eastern Border

Most of these communities, which lie to the east of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels, are residential suburbs with small business districts. There also are tons of beauty in these hills, which are packed with historic homes, parks, schools and churches, as well as evidence of Pittsburgh’s steel-making and industrial past.
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The Sprawling Suburbs

Roadways, which prompted the construction of shopping malls, always have played a key role in this region’s growth. Research labs for U.S. Steel, Westinghouse and others attracted engineers from around the world, particularly India, and the new immigrants often built temples — one of which is a familiar sight perched on a hillside overlooking I-376

The Mon and Beyond

Past meets the present in the communities making up Pittsburgh’s eastern and Mon Valley regions. Here you’ll encounter reminders of where we started as leaders in the steel industry and — while plenty of these small towns still face challenges — you’ll find glimpses of where we’re going in neighborhoods moving towards revitalization.

Scaling the Mountain

There’s a lot happening in the area between the South Side and the Hilltop, and every time you visit, it seems a new business has cropped up. The communities around Mount Washington enjoy beautiful views of the city as well as parks, strong neighborhood associations and ethnic restaurants.

The Reborn 'Burbs

This is where the city’s southern suburbs begin, at the edge of the city limits and drifting into the areas closest to Pittsburgh proper. Along the south bank of the Monongahela River — in an area with heavy industrial roots — you’ll find neighborhoods in the midst of revitalization, with plenty of business and more quaint places to live.

Far Down the River

Pittsburgh loves its blue-collar industrial history, and at the heart of that are the communities that make up the Mon Valley. Where the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers meet is the beginning of a network of proud, tight-knit communities with lots of trails and woods to explore, plenty of fishing spots and — important for any community — a wealth of beloved soft-serve ice cream stands.

The Southern Suburbs

With their abundance of green spaces, thriving business districts and walkable sidewalk communities, Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs offer plenty of incentive for families looking for a peaceful place to call home. Though mere minutes from Downtown, these neighborhoods make residents feel as though they are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The Midwest

The neighborhoods west of Downtown were among the region’s first. Most were part of Chartiers Township, which (like the creek) was named for Pierre Chartier, a local trader of French and Shawnee parentage who later became a chief. Formerly farmland, most of this area was transformed by industry into working-class neighborhoods, a legacy which persists today.

Down the Highways

While driving southbound on Interstate 79, don’t be scared to take an exit and explore. These townships and boroughs range from scenic farmland to busy main streets. Regardless of the surroundings, the areas in this region all offer plenty to experience.

The Far-Flung 'Burbs

These primarily residential communities have spent the past years growing — and becoming more and more popular. With Pittsburgh International Airport nearby and increasing economic development, it’s easy to see why so many call this end of the region home.

The Ohio River Valley

The lands north of the Ohio River became part of the Depreciation Lands used to pay Revolutionary War veterans for their service. The numerous small boroughs and townships along Ohio River Boulevard are collected into slightly larger (but still compact) school districts, befitting their continued status as popular hometowns to raise families generation after generation.
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Getting Around & More

Your Guide to Getting There

How to make your way through construction, inscrutable directions and traffic and (quickly) get to everything Pittsburgh has to offer.

Six More Things You Might Not Know about Pittsburgh

The thing that annoyed a young Andy Warhol. A typo broadcast over the city skyline. And how our first mayor outwitted hostile natives at age 13. All of this and much more in the latest edition of Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh!

The Easy and Practical Newcomer's Guide to Pittsburgh

Here's everything you need to know about getting settled in the Steel City.
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