Mount Washington: The View is Just the Beginning
People go to Mount Washington for the views and stay for the hospitality of the people who staff the many bars, restaurants and shops.
While parking on Mount Washington can be competitive, you can avoid that by starting your tour at Station Square (125 West Station Square Drive, stationsquare.com). Take in the Fountain at Bessemer Court with its Waltzing Waters Liquid Fireworks Show; it operates from 9 a.m. to midnight, late-April into November. The Gateway Clipper Fleet (350 West Station Square Drive, gatewayclipper.com) is based there and offers a variety of cruises of the three rivers. Just Ducky Tours (125 West Station Square Drive, justduckytours.com) take off from Station Square too, if you like your time on the water to be combined with a view of city streets.
To scale the mountain, take The Monongahela Incline (8 Grandview Ave., monongahelaincline.com), built in 1870; it has been carrying passengers from the banks of the river to Mount Washington ever since.
Mt. Washington Overlook
The views are spectacular at all of the overlooks along Grandview Avenue, but the three circular platforms offer the best vantage points. There are even some coin-operated binoculars available — and one is kid-sized, which means a lot to anyone who has ever had to hold a child so they can use one. Don’t forget to stop and read the many plaques telling the story of the city and the neighborhood, which was once known as Coal Hill. Make sure you walk all the way to the last plaque; it lines up with the best view of Point State Park and its fountain.
When you turn around to make your way back toward the incline and Shiloh Street, take in the architecture across Grandview Avenue, particularly Saint Mary of the Mount (403 Grandview Ave., popsmm.org). If you’re there at night, the church’s stained glass windows are stunning. Also note the Mount Washington branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (315 Grandview Ave., carnegielibrary.org). Built in 1900, the historic landmark is undergoing renovations and will reopen in 2020.
DiFiore’s Ice Cream Delite
When you reach the Shiloh Street Business District, you can pause for some people watching at a shaded park on the corner. If the weather is nice, stop and get ice cream at DiFiore’s Ice Cream Delite (120 Shiloh St., facebook.com/icecreamdelite). If you want something more substantial, Shiloh Grille (123 Shiloh St., harrisgrill.com) is across the street; there’s a sizable outdoor deck and amazing gazpacho and frozen cosmopolitans. Sesame Garden (202 Shiloh St., sesamegardenpgh.com), a little further up the block, is another good choice if you’re hungry.
If you’re thirsty, on the other hand, the bartenders at The Summit (200 Shiloh St., thesummitpgh.com) make amazing cocktails — and the establishment has a nice menu to boot. Redbeard’s Bar and Grill (201 Shiloh St., redbeardspgh.com) is a great alternative when its outdoor patio is open.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Mount Washington has two great options if you’re looking for a diner. Up first, Micro Diner (221 Shiloh St., microdiner.com) has an affordable and filling breakfast menu. Try the Micro Breakfast — two eggs, toast, bacon or sausage and potato. (Pick the hash browns.) Further up the street, J&J’s Family Restaurant (300 Shiloh St., jjrestaurant.webs.com) is also worth a look.
Across the street is love, Pittsburgh (301 Shiloh St., lovepittsburghshop.com). This is a treasure chest of Pittsburgh items made by Pittsburghers. From jewelry and candles to clothing and home goods, this is the ultimate ode to the city.
At the end of Shiloh is Kavsar (16 Southern Ave., kavsar.info), a Uzbek-Russian halal restaurant. Pittsburgh Magazine Dining Critic Hal B. Klein recommends the manti, juicy and soft dumplings filled with beef and onion. Also try the borscht.
On your way back to the incline, make sure to stop in at Grandview Bakery and Sweet Shop (225 Shiloh St., grandviewbakery.com) for a treat to take home to remind you of your day in Mount Washington.