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. He and his tribesmen helped defeat George Washington in the Battle of Fort Necessity, sparking the French and Indian War. Formerly farmland, most of this area was transformed by industry into working-class neighborhoods, a legacy which persists today.

photos by kristi jan hoover


What’s Here?

McKees Rocks
An alternative location considered for what would become Fort Pitt, this industrial town was named for Alexander McKee, a guide who, like Chartier, married a Shawnee woman but who stayed loyal to the British — so loyal he had to flee during the Revolutionary War.

Stowe Township
Railroad yards and industry along the Ohio River and in nearby McKees Rocks fueled the boom of this hilly working-class neighborhood where Mancini’s Bakery (601 Woodward Ave. #1, is located.

Kennedy Township
An appealing vantage of the Downtown skyscrapers peeking over Mount Washington can be spotted from the hilltop shopping center near Ohio Valley Hospital in Kennedy Township.

Local springs made the area a popular retreat in the mid-1800s. Attorney James Craft liked it so much he bought the land — then built a railroad from Pittsburgh to Steubenville, Ohio, through it. Today, the neighborhood mixes city and suburban elements for its approximately 6,000 residents.

This borough, now more than 100 years old, began life as a Native American settlement called Killemun. Thomas Ingram, an Irish immigrant, bought the land in the 1820s. 

​Thomas Thornburg, another Irish immigrant, bought this area for farmland in 1806. The small borough is the longtime home of the Thornburg Village Players and the Thornburg Community Club (

West End
The Old Stone Tavern (434 Greentree Road) built around 1780 is the city’s oldest still-standing commercial building. It has survived the Whiskey Rebellion, numerous floods and fires, and the decades during which this town was known as Temperanceville (before Pittsburgh snapped it up in 1873).

The dramatic Downtown panorama as seen from West End-Elliott Overlook Park adorns Pittsburgh postcards and refrigerator magnets throughout the tri-state area. 

Crafton Heights
You can look out over Crafton from the hills of this city neighborhood where John Obey built a tavern in 1823; they still serve drinks at the Obey House (see next page) today.

​Soldiers from Fort Pitt suffering from smallpox once were treated at an isolation hospital on the creek here, currently home to operations facilities for ModCloth and Amazon.

​This far-flung city neighborhood is one of several annexed by the city in 1921, gobbling up the last bits of the former Chartiers Township. Residents beat the heat at old-fashioned Remember When Ice Cream (3860 Chartiers Ave.,

Chartiers City
University of Pittsburgh researchers recently singled out this small residential neighborhood for its stability and low poverty rate.

​Scottish immigrant Henry Esplen was a school director and church elder. His son John, supervisor of the steamboat landing in McKees Rocks, settled here on the narrow virgin flatland created after railroad blasting caused a landslide.

​Tranquil Sheraden Park isn’t the only impressive bit of nature here: An old house on Bergman Street has a romantic archway over its sidewalk made by two maple trees fused together.

Named by developers in the early 1900s, this neighborhood is home to the John Frew House (105 Sterrett St.), one of five city buildings built before 1800 that still are standing.

East Carnegie
A slice of suburban living 10 minutes from Downtown, the home of Bishop Canevin High School picked up its name from the neighboring borough, which in turn took its name to honor the steel baron who kept local coal mines and rail lines busy.

The Idlewood station now on the West Busway was served by 14 trains a day in the late 1800s, carrying vacationers to the Idlewood Cottage Hotel, a country resort with amenities including riding trails, tenpins and amateur theatricals.

Plans are in the works to redevelop the site of the nearly shuttered Parkway Center Mall, which dominated this small neighborhood next to Green Tree since its opening in 1982.


Roadside diner Mary Anne’s Breakfast &-Lunch in Stowe Township was established more than 30 years ago especially for hungry truckers. The hoagies are a good choice, with plenty of options from which to choose.  1460 Island Ave., 412/331-2322.

The fresh gnocchi and ravioli at Sarafino’s Homestyle Italian Cuisine in Crafton is simply one of the family-kitchen secrets. The sous vide cooker they use for brisket and veal chops is another.  40 E. Crafton Ave.,

Workers bake 10,000 loaves a day at Mancini’s Bakery in Stowe Township, and it doesn’t get any fresher than eating a hand-turned twist right there at the counter. Owner Mary Mancini Hartner, niece of the original owner, can show you the hearth that dates back to the opening of the shop in 1926.  601 Woodward Ave. #1,


Bartenders will whip you up a New Orleans-style Hurricane at Rocks Landing Bar and Grille to go with your jambalaya. Stop in to this McKees Rocks spot for live jazz on Sundays.  506 Chartiers Ave.,

The Village Tavern and Trattoria in the West End is the most recent in a string of bars occupying this building for a century. A portion of the space can be opened to the street so you can breathe fresh air while you sip a drink.  424 S. Main St.,

The sign outside the Obey House Tavern in Crafton Heights says the tavern was built in 1823. Inside, it’s a typical neighborhood pub like your grandpa sometimes took you to when you were a kid (if you were lucky). 1337 Steuben St., 412/922-3883.


Even if you’re not ready to redo your whole countertop, visit Pittsburgh Marble in Esplen to pick up a cutting board or rolling pin. The stone yard contains rows of interesting rock. 2421 W. Carson St.,

Place a bid at the Dargate Auction Galleries in McKees Rocks. One lucky recent buyer got a rare ’50s Fornasetti cabinet and bar for under $33,000, which (depending on your budget) could qualify as a steal. 326 Munson Ave.,

Visit the office-furniture showroom and learning center at Workscape in the West End’s warehouse district for creative inspiration to make your workplace more attractive, ergonomically friendly and productive.  1900 Lowe St.,


Take an oil-painting class with Joyce Werwie Perry at Le Poire in Crafton and learn her signature Impressionistic impasto style. Or, browse her impressive gallery of streetscapes and nostalgic portraiture.  11 E. Crafton Ave.,

Play Connect Four or another of the board games available at Top That Yogurt Bar in Kennedy Township. Or make a sweet mosaic of lychee popping pearls, blueberries, candy bar and cookie bits, or an all-gummi menagerie on your fro-yo.  1827 McKees Rocks Road, 412/458-5633.

Compete with your friends (or strangers) at Pittsburgh Paintball Park in East Carnegie. In addition to woods and castle scenarios, the park has a regulation NXL turf field where local pros come to train.  1403 Idlewood Road,

Food Critic’s Pick

When legendary Pittsburgher and Pittsburgh Magazine columnist Rick Sebak raved about the cake doughnuts at Better-Maid Donut Co. in Crafton Heights, I figured I had to give it a try, too. The shop — it’s a pink house — opens at 6 a.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and closes when it runs out of treats to sell. That often happens in as little as two hours, so this really is a case of the early bird gets the … doughnut. You’ll be happy you made the effort. (1178 Steuben St., 412/921-9526) — Hal B. Klein

photo courtesy mckees rocks community development corporation

Signature Events

What began in 2013 as a pop-up event now is a neighborhood celebration that draws thousands. FEASTival in McKees Rocks is an all-day festival that includes lots of food, music and art. Hosted by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corp. in conjunction with many other sponsors and supporters, the event’s highlight is the food, with between 10-20 vendors (expect food-truck favorites Oh My Grill, the Mac & Gold Truck and Dream Cream Ice Cream). There also are kids events, the I Made It! Market and a 21+ over area with a full-service cocktail bar. Truly something for everyone. ( — 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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