Looking for a Pittsburgh neighborhood full of urban greenspaces, trendy attractions, and a laid-back residential vibe? South Side Flats has all that and more, making it the perfect home base for any Pittsburgh city escape.
No matter what kind of traveler you are, there’s a wide selection of activities in Pittsburgh’s South Side Flats that’ll call your name. Amateur artists won’t want to miss out on a visit to The Color Park, while foodies can’t wait to chow down at Emiliano’s Mexican Restaurant & Bar, one of the neighborhood’s many great restaurants & bars.
Plan the perfect Pittsburgh holiday with this complete South Side Flats guide, including tips on what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay.
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What to see & do in South Side Flats
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
South Side Flats’ official hub for outdoor recreation, Three Rivers Heritage Trail also serves as a gateway to some of Pittsburgh’s top landmarks and attractions. This 33-mile network of paved waterfront pathways stretching through much of central Pittsburgh is the perfect way to go hiking, biking, or sightseeing all in one afternoon.
Besides its historic statues and views of the most photographed bridges in Pittsburgh, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail skirts past top Pittsburgh tourist attractions like Heinz Field, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore. It also passes through a large stretch of Point State Park.
If you’re looking to build a Pittsburgh itinerary with a day of walkable activities, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a great way to avoid expensive taxi rides or navigating public transportation schedules.
The Color Park
Accessible via the Three Rivers Heritage Trail between the Liberty Bridge and the 10th Street Bridge (walk-in access only), The Color Park is where the creatives of South Side Flats commune. This splashy park area is plastered with bright graffiti. In fact, it’s the only place in the city where street art is 100% legal.
You could visit The Color Park just for a street art tour or to take some amazing urban photography. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also bring some art supplies and let your creative side go wild, leaving your mark on the city forever. Anyone is allowed to paint here—not just professionals!
SouthSide Works is an innovative hub for dining, entertainment, and shopping in Pittsburgh, with an open-air layout and an impressive directory of local businesses. Located close to the Monongahela River, this plaza is a popular venue for special events and even has a wide selection of salons if you’d like to treat yourself to some pampering.
The most underrated feature at SouthSide Works is perhaps the new dog park behind The Cheesecake Factory. This is no ordinary off-leash green space. Besides being a great place to bring your companion for some exercise and socialization, the dog park also features a mobile taproom operated by Levity Brewing, so animal lovers can have a refreshment and make new friends, too!
South Shore Riverfront Park and Trail
Located along the Monongahela River waterfront between 25th and 29th Street, the South Shore Riverfront Park and Trail is one of Pittsburgh’s finest urban parks. Spanning 3.4 acres, this area was previously a steel mill barge dock. Several historical artifacts remain here for you to discover.
Terraces and staircases connect the upper and lower levels of the South Shore Riverfront Park. Between the two areas, you’ll find steel art installations, a picnic area, public boat/canoe launches, and an event stage.
For premier hiking and biking, check out the trail network that runs through the park.
Beer lovers can’t leave South Side Flats without visiting Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. With old-fashioned German beer varieties brewed daily, you’ll likely be asking for refills in your souvenir stein all night long. Based on the Munich original, The Hofbräuhaus boasts recipes reportedly passed on from the Duke of Bavaria some 400 years ago, so the concept of tradition is strong at this pub.
Besides beer, Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh serves a plethora of yummy Bavarian recipes like pretzels with beer cheese, potato pancakes, schnitzel, brats, and more. The venue also has a lively event calendar; don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a celebration. There’s always something going on, from live music to keg-tapping rituals.
Emerald View Park
Emerald View Park is South Side Flats’ ultimate urban park. This mega park connects Mount Washington, the Grandview Scenic Byway, Grandview Overlook, and several other Pittsburgh parks over an expanse of 257 acres.
In addition to several historic landmarks, playgrounds, sports amenities, and scenic overlooks, the main feature of Emerald View Park is an extensive network of trails that lead you up and downhills and through the forests between each greenspace.
Need a suggestion for a quick and easy hike? The George & Guy Trail is a popular 2.5-mile loop running through Emerald View Park.
Where to eat & drink
Looking for coffee with a local touch? Big Dog Coffee is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a residential area, making it the ideal pit stop for a quick java fix and a pastry to-go. With a magical garden terrace accented by terracotta and tropical foliage, this cafe is also a great place to take a light lunch.
Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar South Side deserves a spot on every Pittsburgh bucket list. With the nickname “World Sandwich Headquarters,” this restaurant, originally opened in Pittsburgh’s Strip District in 1933, is a must when you start craving thick and delicious sandwiches. The menu has over 25 topping combinations to choose from. Order from the “tall boy” menu if you’re feeling extra hungry!
Looking for South Side Flats’ tastiest Mexican food? Emiliano’s Mexican Restaurant & Bar offers a casual and authentic dining experience. Turn up the heat with fusion dishes like ancho birria chicken wings and carnitas pizza, and traditional plates like ceviche, flautas, street-style tacos, and more.
Feeling like it’s 5 o’clock somewhere? Emiliano’s happy hour specials typically consist of a signature margarita and a rotating selection of Mexican beer.
Fat Head’s Saloon is Pittsburgh’s favorite bar for baseball lovers. The owners are MLB super-fans, so there’s paraphernalia everywhere, including original stadium seats and, of course, a giant flatscreen for when the Pirates are playing. In addition to craft beer taps, the bar offers an insane selection of bourbon plus a full-size gluten-free menu, so even travelers with dietary restrictions can chow down like a champ.
With its industrial vibes and neverending draft list, The Urban Tap is another one of South Side’s Flats’ favorites. Believe it or not, the pub is also a popular spot to drop in for a cafe-style beverage.
The Urban Tap offers plenty of espresso-based beverages, tea lattes, and specialty (spiked) hot chocolates that have captured the neighborhood’s attention. It’s a perfect destination for a boost before an evening out and a great choice as your designated brunch spot for the duration of your holiday.
Looking for a classier cocktail lounge? Head to the speakeasy-inspired Acacia. From the outside, the bar looks like a boarded-up business from the past; inside, it’s a humming little establishment with expert mixologists and old-time decor. Since it’s moderately hidden away, this bar tends to draw a more exclusive crowd, which is part of its allure.
Pro tip: Order the “Dealer’s Choice,” and you’ll end up with a dreamy concoction like nothing you’ve ever tasted before; these mixologists are pros at innovation.
Where to stay
Although the selection of accommodations in South Side Flats is limited, the neighborhood is a great choice when nailing down where to stay in Pittsburgh. Expect to find mostly vacation rentals with only a small handful of traditional hotels.
In all its wood-paneled, exposed brick glory, Traveler’s Rest Hotel offers boutique accommodation with a hipster vibe. After saying hello to Peabody, the hotel’s resident dog, you’ll check into one of seven guest rooms, ranging from all-decked-out to basic amenities only, which accommodate a variety of tastes and budgets. Forgot your toiletries? Visit the self-serve station in the lobby that’s stocked with eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Kasa South Side Pittsburgh boasts neutral-toned apartments and panoramic windows that let in tons of natural light, creating a relaxing oasis for settling in at the end of the day. As fabulous as the guest rooms are, the main draw to this aparthotel is the shared spaces.
The European-style indoor pool is a common place to hang out, as is the garden-bound sun terrace. With firepits, egg chairs, and private pergolas with privacy curtains, you’re sure to find a great spot to lounge around with your crew here.
With amenities like free breakfast, an indoor pool, and an upscale waterfront patio, the value of a stay at the Hyatt House Pittsburgh South Side is obvious. This hotel is a prime choice if maintaining your wellness goals while traveling is one of your top priorities. Take advantage of the 24-hour gym and complimentary grocery shopping service. Or upgrade to the fitness room, offering an in-suite Peloton, perfect for working up a sweat in the comfort of your own space.