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.




photos by kristi jan hoover
 

What's Here?

Dormont
Adjacent to the city’s southern border, Dormont features high-traffic thoroughfare West Liberty Avenue and busy Potomac Avenue, both home to an array of unique small businesses.

Mt. Lebanon
With its tree-lined streets, well-maintained properties and boutique-shopping options, it’s no wonder families flock to this upscale suburb. The nationally recognized, award-winning school district doesn’t hurt either.

Upper St. Clair Township
Residents of this township love it for its stellar schools and many recreational programs. Others have taken notice as well. Upper St. Clair is nationally recognized as one of the country’s best places to live.

Baldwin Borough
The bulk of Baldwin Borough — 90 percent to be exact — is zoned for residential or agricultural uses. It’s home to an active library, several athletic associations and a community pool.

Baldwin Township
Baldwin Township might be small, but the love its residents have for their hometown is big. Most of the township is devoted to homes, although McNeilly Road does feature several well-established businesses.

Castle Shannon
Affordable housing, convenient location and a close-knit community make up this borough, bisected by Route 88. The volunteer fire department’s annual carnival draws visitors from all over the area.

Bethel Park
Home to several neighborhood parks, a community center and municipal recreation department, there is no reason ever to be bored in thriving Bethel Park.

Brentwood
The borough stages one of the region’s biggest Fourth of July celebrations, complete with a 5K race and parade. With a post office, Giant Eagle grocery and variety of other shops, Brentwood Towne Square is an errand-runner’s one-stop spot.

Whitehall
Home to the South Hills Country Club, a busy library and the Caste Village Shopping Center, Whitehall has a little something for everyone.

Pleasant Hills
The aptly named borough offers its residents access to shopping, one of the coolest playgrounds around — the Pleasant Kingdom (410 East Bruceton Road) — and plenty of peace and quiet.

South Park Township
Whether tackling the trails winding through the woods or sticking to the straightaway of Corrigan Drive, runners and walkers will find an idyllic setting for their workout at the county park in this township. Stop by the park game preserve on Buffalo Drive for a visit with its resident geese, peacock and bison.

Jefferson Hills
Looking for a great place to raise a family? Consider the suburb NerdWallet named the best town for young families in Pennsylvania because of its affordability, excellent school system and projected growth.

Overbrook
No matter where you’re going, you can get there from Overbrook. The quiet, family-friendly neighborhood is conveniently located along the Route 51 corridor as well as the Port Authority South Busway and the light-rail line.

Banksville
Known mainly for the thoroughfare sharing its name, Banksville bustles with commerce and shares a border with Green Tree Borough.

Beechview
With a unique mix of abundant green space and a busy main drag, Beechview offers the best of both worlds for families looking to live near (but not in) the city. Check out the newly remodeled Carnegie Library branch at 1910 Broadway Ave.

Brookline
The growing business district of Brookline Boulevard is home to well-loved, longstanding shops — grab a treat at Party Cake Shop (706 Brookline Blvd., partycakeshop.com/brookline) — as well as popular eateries such as Smoq Pitt BBQ (600 Brookline Blvd., smoqpitt.com).
 

Eat

Anyone in Brookline seeking a taste of authentic Mediterranean fare can stop by Pitaland. Its cafe offers up an array of flatbreads, hummus, baba ghannouj and much more. Be sure to pick up homemade pita bread from the bakery while you’re there.  620 Brookline Blvd., pitaland.com.

Diners don’t come more, well, diner-y than Dormont’s Dor-Stop. Its home-style cooking earned it a mention on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”  1430 Potomac Ave., thedorstoprestaurant.com.

Bistro 19 is an intimate spot featuring high-end American fare great for a business lunch or date night. A folding window wall allows for great people-watching along Mt. Lebanon’s business district.  711 Washington Road, bistro19.com.
 

Drink

At Spoonwood Brewing Company in Bethel Park, guests can sip on craft beer, enjoy a meal created in the wood-fired oven or take a brewery tour.  5981 Baptist Road, spoonwoodbrewing.com.

BREW on Broadway in Beechview is a nonprofit, community-owned coffeehouse offering lattes, cappuccino, teas, pastries and paninis. It also hosts events such as game nights and live performances.  1557 Broadway Ave., brewonbroadway.org.
 

Seeking something sweet? Swing by Brookline’s Scoops on the Boulevard (719 Brookline Blvd.) or Mt. Lebanon’s Scoops (311 Beverly Road, scoopspittsburgh.com) for shakes, malts, soda and floats.
 

Shop

South Hills Village Mall (301 South Hills Village, simon.com) in Bethel Park offers big-name retailers Macy’s, Target and Barnes & Noble, among many others, and the Galleria at Mt. Lebanon (1500 Washington Road, galleriapgh.com) features specialty shops such as Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware and Williams-Sonoma.

Take home a piece of country living from Old Allegheny Shoppe in Whitehall. Family-owned and operated since 1975, the shop features traditional and country furniture, window treatments, quilts, area rugs and much more.  4755 Clairton Blvd., oldalleghenyshoppe.com.
 

Swing by Bedner’s Farm Market in Upper St. Clair for fresh fruits and vegetables, annual and perennials, hanging baskets, herbs, gardening supplies, honey and pasture-raised beef.  1520 Bower Hill Road, bednersusc.com.
 

Do

Strike! There are plenty of entertainment options to chose from at the newly remodeled Legacy Lanes and Crafthouse Stage & Grill in Baldwin Borough, where patrons can bowl, try a craft beer, get in a game of laser tag or enjoy live music.  5024 Curry Road, crafthousepgh.com.

At Pleasant Hills Arboretum, you can leave the noise of everyday life behind as you listen to the call and answer of birds and check out the markers differentiating the species of trees.  Intersection of Arbor Lane and East Bruceton Road; pleasanthillsarboretum.org.

FullBody Fitness Club offers a fun way to take your workout to new heights with its aerial silks class. Participants of all skill levels dangle in the air as they learn flexibility and core-enhancing moves. It also offers an aerial hoops and trapeze class.  4070 Brownsville Road, Brentwood; fullbodyfitnessclub.com.
 

Food Critic's Pick

It’s a near-certainty that if you get a couple of people in a room and ask them to name the best pizza in Pittsburgh, it’ll prompt a spirited debate. My choices are clear, though. Along with Della Terra (see: The Northern ’Burbs), Mt. Lebanon’s Il Pizzaiolo is the top of the ticket. The pizzas start with meticulously sourced ingredients, and they end by bringing a sweet smile of satisfaction to your face. Added bonus: an excellent wine list. (703 Washington Road, ilpizzaiolo.com) — Hal B. Klein
 

Signature Event

Pack a picnic, get out under the stars and get ready for a lineup of concerts that range from opera to rock to country to jazz. The annual South Park Summer Concert Series, hosted by the Allegheny County Parks Department, is free except for occasional benefit concerts (as is the sister series at Hartwood Acres). They’re popular events, so arrive early to claim your spot. (alleghenycounty.us/special-events/summer-concert-series.aspx) — 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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