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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., maxsalleghenytavern.com) and The Teutonia Männerchor (857 Phineas St., pghmannerchor.com), 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, breadworkspgh.com.

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., legendsatthenorthshore.com.

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., facebook.com/schorrbakery.


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., pennbrew.com.

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., rumerzpgh.com.

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., riverviewpresbyterian.org.

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., facebook.com/repurposedforkids.

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, mustardandrelics.com.


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., photoantiquities.org.

A few neighborhoods here offer house tours, typically holding them each year. The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation (brightonheights.org) offers a tour in June; the 2016 Historic Deutschtown House Tour (deutschtown.org/housetour) 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., pitt.edu/~aobsvtry.

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., facebook.com/scratchpgh) — 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. (pennbrew.com) — Lauren Davidson


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