Whilst Pittsburgh is often ignored by tourists visiting the United States, it is a city that is full of surprises! Surrounded by plenty of natural beauty, it is surprisingly scenic and has a vibrant atmosphere in the city centre. Locals are known for their friendliness, and Pittsburgh serves as a major gateway to the Midwest.
As a fairly large city, getting around can be tricky. It’s important to research the various neighborhoods before arriving so you know you are staying in the right place for you.
That’s where we come in! We’ve created this guide to the seven best neighborhoods in Pittsburgh to help you better plan your time in the city. We’ve also categorised them based on what kind of traveller they are best for.
So let’s just get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Pittsburgh
- Strip District – Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for your first time
- Downtown – Where to stay in Pittsburgh close to everything
- South Side – Where to stay in Pittsburgh for nightlife
- Squirrel Hill – Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for families
- Bloomfield – Where to stay in Pittsburgh on a budget
- Lawrenceville – Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for couples
- North Side – Coolest neighborhood in Pittsburgh
Where to Stay in Pittsburgh
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Pittsburgh.
Best Hotel for Backpackers in Pittsburgh
Though there aren’t any hostels in Pittsburgh, the Parador Inn is the next best thing for backpackers! Not only are the rooms well priced, but there are also fantastic communal spaces where you can mingle with other guests. It is located in the heart of the coolest neighborhood.
Best Budget Hotel in Pittsburgh
Sandwiched between Bloomfield, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, this hotel is perfect for those that want to experience what makes Pittsburgh such an interesting destination without the business of the Downtown neighborhood. It also comes with well-sized rooms and great facilities.
Best Splurge Hotel in Pittsburgh
Truly the height of luxury in Pittsburgh, this Downtown hotel is as central as it gets. The en-suite bathrooms come with both baths and showers, as well as a wide array of complimentary toiletries. They offer bicycle rental, as well as a complimentary breakfast and a rooftop beer garden!
Pittsburgh 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the seven best neighbourhoods in Pittsburgh. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Strip District – wander around the local food market, one of the oldest parts of the neighborhood
- BEST place to visit in Strip District – no visit to the Strip District is complete without a trip to the Heinz History Museum
Located just above Downtown on the banks of the river, the Strip District is a great example of the transformations Pittsburgh has undergone in recent years! Once the industrial heart of the city, it has since been gentrified to feature a wide array of boutiques, restaurants and bars. It also has the oldest market in the city.
Whilst there is some good nightlife in the area, the bars have a more laid-back atmosphere. This means the Strip District is the perfect location if you want somewhere to sleep that isn’t too busy in the evenings! That being said, it is still a very vibrant and welcoming neighborhood during the day.
- Like the Heinz History Museum, the Fort Pitt Museum also has some fascinating exhibits about the history of the city
- Penn Avenue is the major shopping thoroughfare through the area, offering high-class goods as well as bargain discounts
- Take a relaxing walk along the Allegheny River to unwind from a long day of exploring the city
- 21st Street Coffee is a fantastic speciality cafe that offers Intelligentsia coffee and a great selection of freshly baked goods
- There isn’t really an LGBTQ+ district in Pittsburgh, however, Real Luck Club is the most popular gay bar in the city
Best Hotel for Backpackers Strip District
There aren’t any hostels in Pittsburgh – however, there are plenty of fantastic accommodations across the city that offer budget-friendly rates and great social spaces! The Residence Inn is one of these hotels, and its location right in the heart of the Strip District is perfect for exploring the trendy neighborhood.
Best Budget Hotel in Strip District
Though a little bit pricier than other budget-friendly hotels in the city, Homewood Suites are a perfect in-between for those that don’t want to compromise on comfort! It comes with a well-equipped fitness centre, a huge bar area and an outdoor terrace. A complimentary breakfast is included.
Best Splurge Hotel in Strip District
This four star hotel is located on the boundary between Downtown and the Strip District – giving you easy access to two of the most popular neighborhoods! It comes with a well-rated burger bar on-site which is popular with both hotel guests and locals staying nearby. There are also massage services available.
(Where to stay in Pittsburgh close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – catch a live Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game at the PPG Paints Arena
- BEST place to visit in Downtown – Toonseum is a truly unique and relatively inexpensive museum dedicated to cartoons
Downtown is the most central neighborhood in Pittsburgh – keeping you well connected to other parts of the city as well as further afield in Pennsylvania! It is also the location of many of the city’s main attractions – including museums, diverse restaurants and bustling malls.
Easily recognisable by its huge skyscrapers, Downtown is also the main business district in the city. This does mean it can be quite expensive – but the impeccable standards in the local bars and restaurants make them worth every penny!
- The Downtown section of Penn Avenue is the main culture district in the city with plenty of fantastic theatres, including Heinz Hall
- Wood Street Galleries is a contemporary art museum with a focus on interactive exhibits and the visual arts
- Point State Park is the most visited park in the city – it is located right on the tip of Downtown and has some great facilities
- Nicky’s Grant Street is popular with the locals thanks to their all-day breakfasts and budget-friendly lunch offerings
- Downtown’s nightlife is mostly limited to the office crowd, however, Six Penn has a diverse clientele and a great rooftop bar
Best Hotel for Backpackers Downtown
This budget-friendly aparthotel is perfect for backpackers that want to consider apartment-style living – especially if you are travelling as part of a large group! There is a gorgeous communal roof terrace that all apartments have access to – perfect for mingling with other travellers during your stay.
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown
For something with more of a typical hotel vibe, Drury Plaza Hotel has a great reputation as a result of the excellent guest reviews! It is right in the heart of Downtown, keeping you well connected with all the main attractions in Pittsburgh. There is a small fitness centre on-site.
Best Splurge Hotel in Downtown
This four star hotel is not only luxurious for humans – they are also pet-friendly, making them very popular with travellers from elsewhere in the US! Rooms come with excellent views of either Downtown or the park area, and a complimentary American style breakfast is provided every morning.
(Where to stay in Pittsburgh for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in South Side – Carson Street has the densest collection of bars in the city, and some may argue in all of America!
- BEST place to visit in South Side – climb up to the top of Mount Washington for the best views of the city
Unusually, the best neighborhood for nightlife in Pittsburgh is actually quite far from the city centre! If you are here to party, the best option is to stay in this neighborhood as public transport does not run the entire night. That being said, you will be rewarded with a great mix of bars, clubs and restaurants.
During the day, South Side is also a popular spot for nature lovers! This part of the city is much more hilly than the centre, giving you excellent views not just of Pittsburgh itself but also towards the surrounding natural beauty. Whether you want nature or nightlife, South Side is well and truly an eclectic area.
- Southside Works is a major retail, dining and entertainment complex that has recently opened in the area
- Gateway Clipper offer fantastic tours of the city that take place on the river – whether you want to paddle or be driven by a motor
- Hofbräuhaus is modelled after the pub of the same name in Munich – they offer a great beer selection and interesting live performances
- If you want something cheap and cheerful, head to Jack’s Bar – the oldest bar in the city with great deals on beers and shots
- To help yourself feel a bit better the morning after, head straight to the Beehive Coffeeshop and devour the best coffee in Pittsburgh
Best Hotel for Backpackers South Side
This quaint inn is conveniently located in Southside Flats, giving you easy access to the main nightlife district in the city! Despite being a budget option, Morning Glory Inn comes with fantastic additional perks including a comprehensive concierge service and a complimentary American style breakfast every morning.
Best Budget Hotel in South Side
This surprisingly budget-friendly option from Hyatt is perfect if you want a little bit of an upgrade without breaking the bank! There is a terrace on-site that comes with an outdoor grill area where you can kick back and enjoy a summer barbecue. Rooms are also well equipped with kitchenettes and WiFi.
Best Splurge Hotel in South Side
Whilst the Holiday Inn are normally known for their budget-friendly hotels, their Pittsburgh South Side offering is surprisingly lavish! The only four star hotel in the area, it is perfect for those that want a little added luxury during their stay in the main nightlife district. There is an indoor pool.
(Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Squirrel Hill – head on a pizza crawl down Murray Avenue, a family-friendly equivalent to the city’s famous bar crawls
- BEST place to visit in Squirrel Hill – the Manor is the oldest movie theatre in the city and hosts blockbusters as well as indie flicks
Squirrel Hill is a mostly residential district, though offers some fantastic holiday homes as well as basic hotels. For families, this is a great area for enjoying some peace and quiet in the evenings whilst still remaining well connected to the main attractions of the centre! It also has a strong community spirit thanks to the lack of tourist resorts.
Surrounding Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and the University districts also have their own attractions – especially for families that want to stick to a tight budget! Whilst a very peaceful neighborhood, the restaurants offer some unbeatable cuisine and the shops have a local flavour.
- There are two spacious parks in the area – Frick Park and Schenley Park both offer fantastic recreational facilities that are enjoyed by locals and tourists
- Head to the University of Pittsburgh where you can catch an American football game with the local UoP Panthers
- Warhola House is the former home of Andy Warhol and his family – it has since been renovated and maintained as a historic landmark
- Waffallonia is a kid’s dream – they offer a great selection of freshly prepared waffles and toppings!
Best Hotel for Backpackers Squirrel Hill
Though fairly basic, this small bed and breakfast is perfect for those on a tight budget visiting the Squirrel Hill neighborhood! Rooms are well decorated to preserve the historic charm of the building, and the kitchen comes well equipped – perfect if you are interested in self-catering during your stay.
Best Budget Hotel in Squirrel Hill
This marvellous Marriott hotel is a little bit above the usual budget price point, but with fantastic levels of service and all of the facilities you could hope for it is well worth splashing out on a little! Rooms come in the form of miniature suites, giving you some extra space and privacy during your stay.
Best Splurge Hotel in Squirrel Hill
This luxurious hotel is truly the pinnacle of luxury in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood! Housed within a renovated mansion, guests are treated like VIPs from the second they walk in the door. Rooms are well equipped – and family suites are available. Breakfast is also provided as part of the rate.
(Where to stay in Pittsburgh on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Bloomfield – if you’re visiting in September, attend the Little Italy Days and learn about the neighborhood’s heritage
- BEST place to visit in Bloomfield – during the rest of the year, learn in a more traditional manner by visiting the Bloomfield Preservation and Heritage Society Museum
Located close to the universities, Bloomfield is a popular student district thanks to its affordable restaurants! It is also a great choice for budget travellers who want cheap bars, attractions and accommodation. Known colloquially as Little Italy, Bloomfield has an astonishing past that most recently has resulted in it becoming a major Italian community.
There are plenty of interesting surrounding areas too! Lawrenceville borders Bloomfield on one side – and Highland Park on the other. Highland Park is a great choice for getting away from city life and enjoying a relaxing stroll in a leafy neighborhood. Despite this calm vibe, it is also inexpensive.
- Highland Park is a huge green space just north of Bloomfield, hosting two large lakes and some great viewpoints
- Take a walk down Liberty Avenue, the thrift epicentre of Pittsburgh – it hosts some great vintage vinyl stores and second-hand clothing outlets
- Pittsburgh Glass Centre is located in neighboring East Liberty – aside from galleries, they also run glass-based workshops
- Bloomfield Bridge Tavern is a worthy attraction with the famous “Welcome to Bloomfield” mural, great food and interesting insights into Polish-American culture
Best Hotel for Backpackers Bloomfield
With no hostels available in the entire city, another great option for backpackers are guest houses! These allow you to stay in the room of a local residents house – giving you a more local experience. This guest house is situated on the boundary between Highland Park and Bloomfield.
Best Budget Hotel in Bloomfield
Within walking distance of a major railway station, this hotel is perfect for easily travelling to and from the city centre! There is a great fitness centre within the hotel, as well as a large business suite that makes it a popular choice with corporate guests on a budget.
Best Splurge Hotel in Bloomfield
This elegant four star boutique hotel comes with incredibly spacious rooms! There is an excellent restaurant on-site, as well as a fully-equipped fitness centre. A complimentary American style breakfast is offered every morning, and there are parking spaces available for guests. Free WiFi can be accessed throughout.
(Best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Lawrenceville – take a tour of the Church Brew Works, a unique brewery in a restored church
- BEST place to visit in Lawrenceville – take a calm stroll through Arsenal Park and enjoy the beautiful nature
Located on the banks of the river, right next to Strip District, Lawrenceville is a sleepy neighborhood in the evenings – but a cultural delight during the day! This makes it the ideal destination for couples that want to discover a unique side to Pittsburgh without the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas.
Lawrenceville is a well-known haven for food with the locals – and whether you want heart grub on a budget, or a more upmarket date night venue, there are plenty of fantastic options across the area! It is slowly becoming a more culturally diverse area and has some great boutiques dotted along the streets.
- For a great date night venue, head to Allegheny Wine Mixer – they offer great tasting sessions right by the river
- If budget restaurants are more your style, Franktuary are a fantastic hot dog restaurant offering a great selection of toppings
- Round Corner Cantina, on the other hand, have some fantastic Mexican cuisine by day – and a laid back bar by night
- Morcilla is a great tapas restaurant – perfect if you only want a light meal to share before heading out for drinks
Best Hotel for Backpackers Lawrenceville
Whilst there aren’t many hotels in Lawrenceville, these apartments are perfect for those looking to save some money whilst staying in the area! Every apartment comes with a well-equipped kitchen, full air conditioning and spacious bedrooms. There is a bicycle hire service available from the front desk.
Best Budget Hotel in Lawrenceville
This individual apartment is close to both Lawrenceville and Strip District – perfect if you want to be based a little bit closer to the centre! There are two bedrooms – however, it is still reasonably priced for a couple to use themselves. There is also a great kitchen that has every appliance you could possibly need.
Best Splurge Hotel in Lawrenceville
If you want a typical hotel experience in Lawrenceville, you’re going to have to splurge! Luckily, this awesome hotel by Wyndham is worth the extra expense thanks to their excellent service standards. Rooms are fully air conditioned and come with spacious en-suite bathrooms. Room service is also available.
(Coolest neighborhood in Pittsburgh!)
- COOLEST thing to do in North Side – hire some kayaks from Kayak Pittsburgh and explore the riverside areas
- BEST place to visit in North Side – the Andy Warhol Museum, dedicated to the life of the artists, can be found in North Side
Just across the river from Downtown, North Side is increasingly becoming one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city! It is particularly well known as a major creative hub in the city, with many of the best art galleries based on this side of the river. Connected by bridges to Downtown, getting to other parts of the city is also fairly easy from North Side.
As well as the cultural attractions, North Side has a unique culture compared to other parts of Pittsburgh! Once considered a separate city, this independent spirit lives on – with many of the locals showing extreme pride in their neighborhood.
- The Deutschtown Historic District provides an interesting insight into the heavy influence German immigration had on the area
- The National Aviary is the largest collection of birdlife in the entire country – check out the penguins, parrots and eagles
- Heinz Field is the main baseball stadium in the city – check their website for upcoming game listings
- Try some German cuisine, as well as typical American fare, at Max’s Allegheny Tavern
- Penn Brewery is the largest craft brewery in North Side – they host regular tours and tasting events
Best Hotel for Backpackers North Side
This quaint B&B is only a short walk away from Heinz Field – perfect for sports fanatics staying in the city! For backpackers, the Parador Inn comes with excellent communal areas where you can mingle with other guests. A complimentary American style breakfast is included.
Best Budget Hotel in North Side
This apartment is great if you want a little more privacy and plan on self-catering whilst staying in the area! The kitchenette is basic but has everything you need for a short stay. The room has a bar area, as well as a mini-fridge with complimentary snacks and breakfast items.
Best Splurge Hotel in North Side
Offering fully serviced suites, this four star hotel is truly the height of luxury in Pittsburgh’s North Side! There is a large fitness suite on-site, as well as an indoor pool and a games room. Rooms come with fully equipped kitchens, as well as powerful air conditioning.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is an interesting mix of Midwestern and Northeastern United States culture, creating an eclectic destination for tourists to discover! It has plenty of fantastic culinary options and a unique history that tells the story of middle America.
We don’t often save the best ‘til last, but for best neighborhood we are going to go with North Side! This cool district has all the best features of Pittsburgh as a whole but without the major tourist crowds.
Nevertheless, we hope you will consider the other areas and that this guide has helped you narrow your choices down.
Did we forget something? Tell us in the comments!
***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)
Latest posts by Aaron Radcliffe (see all)
- Not sure WHERE TO STAY in Amalfi Coast? [Neighborhood Guide!] - September 19, 2019
- EastSeven Berlin Hostel Review [HONEST!] - September 12, 2019
- 31 Best PARTY HOSTELS in Europe! [September 2019] - September 6, 2019