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. Scarce are flat spots of land in the area that, indeed, has endless slopes. This makes for a lot of good views, along with hidden surprises tucked into these city neighborhoods.

photos by kristi Jan Hoover

What's Here?

Brighton Heights
If you follow Route 65 north from Downtown and turn right at the intersection of the McKees Rocks Bridge, you will drive straight into this community. The neighborhood has a strip of businesses and several churches.

Perry North
Also called Observatory Hill, this community on the border of the North Hills is home to Riverview Park; the park surrounding the impressive Allegheny Observatory contains a number of tranquil walking trails.

Perry South
Also known as Perry Hilltop, this high-above-sea-level community has the altitude the name implies, along with quiet streets and homes.

This history-laden part of the city is a perfect neighborhood in which to take a peaceful stroll through an old cemetery. Reflect and inspect at Highwood Cemetery (2800 Brighton Road).

This neighborhood is a wedge of land between the railroad tracks at the northern edge of Manchester and a steep hill at the southern edge of Perry South. It’s home to Pittsburgh’s sprawling general mail facility complex.

Summer Hill
Just as California-Kirkbride is the postal headquarters of the region, Summer Hill is the broadcasting headquarters of the region. Three television stations are located here: WPXI, WPGH and WPNT.

Northview Heights
This neighborhood, once part of Reserve Township, is the location of a large public-housing development also called Northview Heights, as well as the city’s No. 38 fire station.

This neighborhood, perched behind Allegheny General Hospital, was known to older generations as Nunnery Hill because of an early-1800s convent. Fineview offers people ... well, a very “fine view” of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Spring Garden
Similar to the bordering East Allegheny neighborhood, Spring Garden has its roots in German and Austrian immigration. This working-class neighborhood retains many houses from the mid-19th century.

Spring Hill-City View
Some have called this bedroom community with a panoramic view one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The neighborhood hosts a longtime neighborhood grocer and butcher, Hamm’s Market (1239 Itin St., 412/231-5026).

East Allegheny
Sprechen sie Deutsch? Then this neighborhood, also called Deutschtown, is your hood. Bordered by the Central North Side, East Allegheny revolves around an area packed with businesses, including German restaurant Max’s Allegheny Tavern (537 Suismon St., and The Teutonia Männerchor (857 Phineas St.,, a longstanding German social club.

Troy Hill
The very steep Rialto Street runs through this neighborhood, the home of historic landmarks including St. Anthony Chapel and the Troy Hill firehouse.


A 37-year-old Pittsburgh staple, BreadWorks in Perry South offers fresh artisan rolls, dinner loaves, rustic breads and other bread products, baked daily without preservatives.  2110 Brighton Road,

In East Allegheny, Legends of the North Shore offers tasty cuisine in a casual environment. Chef and owner Dan Bartow, a native New Yorker, has served his Italian menu to more than 35,000 customers since 2002.  500 E. North Ave.,

Schorr Family Bakery bakes and sells cakes, doughnuts, cookies and other confections in Observatory Hill. Guests have raved about Schorr’s chocolate-chip cookies.  3912 Perrysville Ave.,


We can’t discuss North Side drinking without mentioning Troy Hill’s Penn Brewery, which started brewing craft beers in 1986; its brews have won numerous awards.  800 Vinial St.,

Rumor has it that Rumerz Sports Bar & Grill is a great place to go for drinks and food before or after a game. Or, you can go to this Brighton Heights joint any time you want to enjoy drinks, food, DJs and pool tables.  1216 Woods Run Ave.,

Looking for a laid-back spot in the Old Allegheny Slopes? Stop by Krista’s Cantina in Marshall-Shadeland to enjoy drinks, wings and more.  2650 California Ave., 412/766-1676.


You never know what you’ll stumble upon at a thrift store, and at Observatory Hill’s Riverview Church Thrift Store you can shop for a good cause. The volunteer-run store benefits Riverview United Presbyterian Church’s food pantry.  3929 Perrysville Ave.,

If you have children in your life, you can continue your thrift shopping in the North Side at Repurposed for Kids. This thrift shop in East Allegheny sells items for kids and babies, and proceeds benefit Living in Liberty’s anti-human-trafficking work in Pittsburgh.  425 E. Ohio St.,

Like retro stuff? Check out the new Brighton Heights boutique Mustard & Relics, which sells hard-to-find vintage items including clothing, housewares, records and more.  3596 Brighton Road,


Pittsburgh is full of history. If you like to look at the past, you can check out a big collection of old photographs at the Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History. You’ll hear period music playing in the background while you peruse images from the 19th century.  531 E. Ohio St.,

A few neighborhoods here offer house tours, typically holding them each year. The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation ( offers a tour in June; the 2016 Historic Deutschtown House Tour ( is set for Sept. 25.

Guests can tour the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park. This structure, owned by the University of Pittsburgh, is a major astronomical research center. Tours are free, but reservations are required.  159 Riverview Ave.,

Photo by Neil Strebig

Food Critic's Pick

Scratch Food & Beverage in Troy Hill combines the warmth of a neighborhood pub with a lively mix of classic/crafted cocktails and an honest kitchen. I recommend stopping in for brunch — or order a big plate of halushki and participate in weekly events such as the “Geeks Who Drink” trivia game on Tuesdays or periodic Scratch karaoke nights. (1720 Lowrie St., — Hal B. Klein

photo via flickr creative commons

Signature Event

Get into Oktoberfest in the best way possible: at Penn Brewery’s annual festival, held every September. It’s everything you’d expect from a German celebration: pilsner, schnitzel, singers and dancers outfitted in lederhosen and much more. Consider purchasing a VIP package for the two-weekend affair, which covers reserved seating, access to special lines for food and beer, indoor restrooms and a meal package that includes a sandwich, a side, a non-alcoholic beverage, a souvenir beer mug and one free fill. ( — 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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