Seeking out a little green space on your trip to Pittsburgh? Add a visit to Mount Washington, Pittsburgh’s premier neighborhood for expansive urban parks and million-dollar views, to your itinerary.
Nearly everywhere you turn in Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington, there’s a new park to discover. From the hiking trails at Emerald View Park to dramatic photo opportunities at Grandview Overlook—and everything in between!—you could spend your entire vacation outdoors here and not miss a thing.
Need some insider tips to make your vacation run smoothly? This complete guide will take you through what to see & do, what to eat, and where to stay in Pittsburgh’s leafy Mount Washington neighborhood.
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What to see & do in Mount Washington
Especially if it’s your first time in Pittsburgh, riding the Monongahela Incline is a must. This historic attraction was first built to transport industry employees up “Coal Hill,” and at the time, it was the first passenger funicular railway built in the country. It’s since been refurbished to connect locals and tourists alike with spectacular views of the city.
To spice up your journey, follow Grandview Avenue until you reach the Duquesne Incline. By going up one side and down the other, you’ll maximize your views of the city and see a little bit more of the neighborhood. Don’t forget to make a pit stop for a treat at Difiore’s Ice Cream Shop on Shiloh Street along the way; it’s one of the area’s most popular dessert joints!
Pro Tip: The funicular can get pretty busy, so don’t be shocked if you have to wait for a few trips up and down the mountain before it’s your turn.
Avoiding peak hours is a good way to reduce your wait time. Monongahela Incline employees also recommend bringing exact change to hasten your journey to the train.
Way up at the top of Mount Washington, some 450 feet off above the city, lies the Grandview Overlook. This landmark dates back to 1897, and today, the scenic park offers southern views of the Downtown Pittsburgh skyline and the Golden Triangle.
Grandview Overlook is a fantastic vantage point for watching the sunrise or sunset on your Pittsburgh trip. It could easily make a quick stop during a busy day of touring to snap a few photographs. Or you can stay awhile and explore the rest of Grandview Park; it’s a popular place for summer movies, concerts, and even sledding in the wintertime.
For an added touch of romance, visit the Grandview Overlook after dark to experience how the city lights illuminate the night sky.
Point of View Park
One of Mount Washington’s top attractions is Point of View Park. You can drive to the top of Duquesne Heights, where the park is located, but it’s not advisable since there’s no legal parking and no good place to stop one way or another.
However, Point of View Park is accessible via the 145-year-old Duquesne Incline. After taking a scenic journey to the top aboard one of Pittsburgh’s most popular tourist attractions, you’ll be greeted with “one of the ten most beautiful views in America.”
Once you’ve reached Point of View Park, take the trail to the left of the statue to bask in beautiful wooded areas that overlook the river and city. If you happen to be traveling during a holiday, this spot is a favorite location for watching the celebratory fireworks over Pittsburgh.
While roaming around Point of View Park, keep on the lookout for the famous statue of Guyasuta talking to George Washington, now a designated historic landmark. There’s also a bubbling water fountain that makes a lovely backdrop for photos or a lazy spot to sit and read a book.
Mount Washington’s ultimate picnic spot on a sunny day is Olympia Park. Nestled in the city suburbs, sandwiched between Chatham Village and Mount Washington, this park is all about leisurely outdoor recreation and lazing around in the fresh green grass.
Olympia Park has several amenities that make it a solid hangout spot for hours at a time. There are multiple playgrounds, a basketball court, baseball and soccer fields, and even an off-leash dog park for exercising your furry travel companions.
Want to embark on a day hike after lunch? The Southside Trail, a 15.4-mile footpath, runs through the park. Serious hikers can enjoy the trail in its entirety, while more casual walkers can complete smaller stretches between the trailheads.
Mt. Washington Park
Looking for the overlook experience without the crowds? Mt. Washington Park offers lovely views from Norton Street without the need to fight for space to watch the sunset over the cityscape! This 257-acre wooded park is perched in a residential area, featuring trailheads for hiking paths that wind around Mt. Washington, a prominent statue, and tons of local restaurants.
Mt. Washington Park’s trails meander through forests and creeks. In a few spots, you can wade in the water and cool off on a hot day, and you might even spot some wildlife. Those who venture a little further into the woods often report deer sightings, especially in the warmer months.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little sportier than a simple stroll, there’s also a young children’s playground, baseball fields, and a basketball court.
Emerald View Park
Located in the Allentown neighborhood, Emerald View Park is the ultimate green space network, connecting Mount Washington, the Grandview Scenic Byway, Grandview Overlook, and several other Pittsburgh parks over an expanse of 257 acres. Trails wind through the rolling hills, forests, and meadows in between each park, forming one giant mega park filled with historic landmarks, playgrounds, sports amenities, and scenic overlooks.
With so many options, picking one activity in Emerald View Park to focus on can be a challenge. If you’re up for a dose of athletics, hiking is an excellent choice, though.
Some of the hiking trails are more challenging due to elevation changes, but with so many options, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect trail for you in terms of length and difficulty level.
If you’re looking for something on the simpler side, the George & Guy Hike is a popular 2.5-mile loop in Emerald View Park.
Where to eat & drink
Shiloh Gastro is at the top of the list of places to eat in Mount Washington. The restaurant serves contemporary comfort food across many international cuisines with a classic American touch. Dishes like Mac and cheese, mountainous sandwiches, and the odd specialty like a seared octopus from Morroco rule the menu.
This is also a popular brunch spot with innovative plates like the rise & shine poutine. Looking for a bit of Southern flair? Why not have shrimp & grits or chicken & waffles and eggs benedict for breakfast?
And after all that talk about good food, it’s worth mentioning that Shiloh has an extensive Whisky list. (If you want to have an impromptu midday tasting, nobody would judge you!)
Amongst the locals, Coughlin’s Law Kitchen and Ale House has a bit of a cult following—they even have merch! Come see what all the hype’s about.
With its seasonal menu of contemporary comfort foods—ranging from classic pub pretzels and all-American burgers to Pork Belly Banh Mi Bao and blistered shishitos—you’re sure to satisfy cravings you didn’t even know you had.
Thirsty? The restaurant’s 43 rotating taps will capture the heart of a microbrewery lover. Though it might seem like beer is the name of the game at this gastropub, they have a solid grasp on how to make the perfect craft cocktail, too.
At Scapaci’s, there’s something special going on nearly every night of the week. There’s music on Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays, open mic comedy on Wednesdays, DJs and dancing on Thursdays—and that’s before the weekend excitement starts!
Whether you go to Scapaci’s for entertainment or to test your courage and get up on stage, you’re sure to end up staying for the food. Hearty bar snacks like pierogies, deep-fried pickles, and mac and cheese bites make for great munchies to go along with a good time and good beer.
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior: Cafe Nikos is Mount Washington’s favorite dive bar. By night, they’re slinging ultra-affordable food and drinks surrounded by tons of flat-screen TVs for watching the game. Come morning, and they’re the neighborhood’s official hangover helper serving Greek-style all-day breakfast. Monday is wing night if you want to fill up your tummy on the cheap.
Ready for a libation? Go see what the mixologist is up to this week at The Summit. This mountain-inspired cocktail bar has a calm and cool atmosphere that’s pretty but never uptight.
Feeling peckish? The Summit serves elevated bar bites like garlic and herb popcorn, marinated olives, and expertly-curated cheese plates, plus a couple of bigger-appetite options like a friend grouper sandwich and lamb bolognese.
Where to stay
Although limited, there’s a handful of accommodations in Mount Washington if you want to make the neighborhood your base for your Pittsburgh adventures. Expect to find mostly vacation rentals here rather than hotels.
For more accommodation selection, expand your lodgings search to neighboring areas like the South Shore or South Side Flats. If you’re okay with getting a little further from the neighborhood, other popular areas to stay in Pittsburgh include the Golden Triangle, the Strip District, and the North Shore.
The Mount Washington area has a high density of vacation rentals, and the Kingsboro Mt. Washington by Luxe PGH is at the top of the list of homes to consider. This rental has three bedrooms and can sleep a group of five comfortably, making it optimal for families of smaller friend groups. In addition to boasting bright decor with a few accents of exposed brick that add a little warmth to the space, this unit had a cozy porch, a record player, and ensuite laundry.
This two-bedroom apartment rental provides virtual concierge service and guarantees extra amenities like luxury linens and full-size bath products. The property has lots of personality with rich tones and some art-deco inspiration—not to mention a private balcony.
All that and all your beverage needs are under control. You’ll start each morning with local whole-bean coffee fresh from your grinder and brewed in your French press. When happy hour comes along, you can play with the bar cart and all of its accouterments, including an impressive set of mixology tools for creative cocktails.
Another full-size house option, this cozy home rental offers you plenty more space. With three bedrooms plus a pullout sofa—sleeping a grand total of eight—this house is ideal for larger families or multi-couple friend groups traveling together.
The house is comfortably furnished, with ceiling fans in nearly every room to help with personalized climate control; plus, there’s a widescreen tv for movie-watching late at night and two soaking tubs.
Want to whip up your own meals to keep your travel budget under control? The rental comes with a fully stocked kitchen, making cooking super easy; no need to run to the store for salt or pots and pans at the last minute!