Most visitors trek to the North Side to experience Pittsburgh’s newest and most celebrated cultural and entertainment destinations, including The Andy Warhol Museum, Heinz Field, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, The Mattress Factory Art Museum, PNC Park, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, and the Carnegie Science Center.
This tradition of building big and bold is nothing new to the North Side. When you venture off-the-beaten-path to the community’s residential neighborhoods and business districts, you’ll experience the grandeur of an earlier century. Along charming tree-lined streets, you’ll see finely preserved homes from the Victorian era, rich with architectural detail that reflects the wealth of a city on the rise. In the midst of these neighborhoods, you’ll find restaurants and taverns that carry on the ethnic traditions of the North Side’s earliest settlers.
The North Side is the term Pittsburghers use to collectively describe the 18 neighborhoods that wrap around the northern banks of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers and climb up the adjacent hillsides.
This area of Pittsburgh was at one time an independent community known as Allegheny City, established as such in 1840. Before its annexation to the City of Pittsburgh in 1907, Allegheny City grew with solid representations of the wealthy and the working class. Reflections of that economic diversity remain today, as do the traditions of those who settled here in its early days, including British, Scotch-Irish, German, Croatian, Czech, Serbian, Carpatho-Rusyns, and African-Americans.
Although the North Side is comprised of many neighborhoods, several are designated as historic districts and stand out as destinations for visitors in search of a glimpse into the city’s heritage.
Manchester, one of the earliest settlements, was developed in the 1780s by a British population who claimed land from the Lenape (Delaware) and Shawnee tribes. Manchester “grew up” in the late 1800s, with development spurred by the installation of a streetcar network that connected the community to the cities of Allegheny and Pittsburgh. It soon became a middle-class suburb with its own riverfront industrial base and commercial district. Examples of homes built during this period are still visible today, including representation from the Italianate, Queen Anne, and French Second Empire.
The Mexican War Streets were laid out in 1848 by General William Robinson, Jr., who had just returned from service in the Mexican-American War. The community’s streets carry the names of notable generals and battles such as Resaca, Palo Alto, Buena Vista, and Monterey. Like Manchester, the arrival of streetcar lines prompted this neighborhood’s growth. These quiet streets are lined with Victorian brick rowhouses and abundant trees, making it a desirable neighborhood for preservationists.
Allegheny West, developed in the mid-1800s, was once home to more millionaires than any other neighborhood in the world. A stroll on Brighton Road, Ridge Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue will introduce you to the grand mansions that are now private residences. The Calvary United Methodist Church anchors the neighborhood at the corner of Allegheny and Beech Avenues. Built in 1892, this High Victorian Gothic structure features stained glass windows created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Allegheny East, also known as Deutschtown, developed in the mid-1800s as Allegheny City expanded. German immigrants were the first to populate the community, as indicated by the neighborhood’s name. In addition to a thriving business district on East Ohio Street, Deutchtown is also home to finely preserved Victorian row houses.
A Different Point of View
Although Mt. Washington is the most popular destination for camera-carrying visitors seeking picture-perfect skyline views, the hilltop communities of the North Side also offer incredible vistas of the “Downtown” central business district skyline and the hills, valleys, and rivers of our neighborhoods. For starters, make your way up to Riverview Park in the Observatory Hill neighborhood. There’s nothing sweeter than a free summertime jazz performance on the lawn as you watch the sun set on the city skyline. And night time is the right time for a visit to the Allegheny Observatory, which features free tours and frequent lectures on the wonders of the starry skies.
- Less than 1 mile from Downtown Pittsburgh central business district
- Refuel in the East Ohio Street business district, where you’ll find ATM machines, drug stores, and restaurants.
- Mapping? Major streets into and through the North Side include General Robinson Street, East Ohio Street, Western Avenue, Allegheny Avenue, and East Street (from Interstate 79/Route 279).
- Geocaching? Find North Side caches on Zip Code 15212.