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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALKS TO TAKE IN PITTSBURGH

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JOE VENNARE

OCT 16, 2019

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IMAGE VIA POINT STATE PARK | FACEBOOK

Pittsburgh is comprised of 90 neighborhoods, each with their own character and pride. The problem is, you can’t really get a good sense for what makes each spot special when you’re just passing through. It’s as though you have to stop, park your car, and walk around a bit to truly get a feel for things.

We think that's a great idea; explore Pittsburgh and get some exercise in at the same time. With 90 neighborhoods to hit, you better get started soon. Allow us to show you to our favorite PGH walks.

You can’t call yourself a Pittsburgher if you’ve never seen the Steel City from Mt. Washington. And no visit to Pittsburgh is complete without a walk along Grandview Avenue. So, whether you’re a longtime native or just passing through, plan on taking this one-mile walk from the Point of View Statue (George Washington and Seneca Chief Guyasuta) to Shiloh Street. You’ll pass some swanky restaurants, St. Mary of the Mount, a few inclines, and observation pods where you’ll want to stop for a photo (or ten). Take your time before making the return trip back to see George.

Known for beautifully restored row houses, tree-lined streets, and community gardens, this historic district has a character and feel that’s best experienced on foot. To do so, meander through the streets between West North Avenue to Sampsonia Way and from Sherman to Drovers. Along the way, plan to make stops at a handful of amazing art spaces, including the Mattress Factory, City of Asylum, and Randyland. If you’re feeling extra energized, cross North Avenue and explore Allegheny Commons and Lake Elizabeth.

Spending a weekend morning in the Strip District — it’s a quintessential Pittsburgh experience. To see what we mean, head to the bustling market district Penn Avenue between Liberty and Smallman for street vendors, ethnic eateries and food purveyors, unique boutiques, antique shops, and more. Prepare to shop, smell, and sample your way through spots like Wholey’s, Penn Mac, Enrico Biscotti, Parma Sausage, and La Prima Espresso. Whatever you do, don’t forget about brunch at DeLuca’s or Pamela’s. Then walk it off as you continue your tour of the Strip District with a walk through the Heinz History Center.

Okay, we’re going to come right out and say it: block an entire day off for this walk. Or plan to take a series of walks. Because there are so many great things to see, do, and explore in and around Oakland. You could park in Schenley Plaza and pop into the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Take a lap around (or through) the Cathedral of Learning. Head up Schenley Drive. Stop at Phipps Conservatory. Climb Flagstaff Hill. Follow Panther Hollow Trail through Schenley Park. If you pack everything into one trip, you’ll cover four miles, minimum. Go you!

If you’re trying to log some extra miles post brunch in the Strip, keep walking until you reach Point State Park. Not many people know exactly where to start this walk, but we usually start by going through the parking lot across the street from the Heinz History Center or by following Penn to 10th Street. A right on 10th will take you under the Convention Center to Riverfront Plaza. Follow the Three Rivers Heritage Trail to the left. Walking alongside the Allegheny River, you'll make your way to Point State Park. FYI: it’s about two miles there and back if you begin at the Convention Center.

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You don’t have to like baseball to love PNC Park. So, what we’re trying to say is that you should definitely check out a Pirates game. And when you do, make your way to the game by crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge with thousands of Pittsburgh-loving Buccos fans. Best of all, the bridge is closed during home games, so the entire walk is like a giant block party suspended over the river. If you’re taking this stroll in the offseason or when the team is out of town, feel free to combine it with other routes, including the North Shore Trail, a trip through the Strip District, or a loop around Point State Park.

Take a lap around South Side with a route that’s equal parts urban streets and off-road. Kick things off at SouthSide Works near the Hot Metal Bridge. From there, follow the South Side Riverfront Trail (which is technically part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail; see below) along the Monongahela River. You’ll pass through the South Shore Riverfront Park, where you can kick back or carry on until you reach 18th Street. The next part is up to you. Continue on the riverfront trail or hop off between 18th and 16th Street to East Carson to explore the sights, sounds, and shops on the South Side. Eventually, you’ll want to make your way back to where you began by heading east (obviously!) on Carson Street. Said differently, walk in the direction where the cross streets get bigger until you arrive back in SouthSide Works.

From the Great Lawn to the Water Steps and Heinz Field to PNC Park, there’s no shortage of reasons to hit the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the North Shore. If you do, you can explore at will — especially if you head to Washington’s Landing and back. Fair warning: it’s almost 10 miles there and back, but every mile is totally worth it. Do this: Start at the Carnegie Science Center, hop on the trail and make a left towards Heinz Field. From there, it’s a straight shot to the Landing. So, keep walking, stop and splash around at the Water Steps, take a lap around PNC Park, or rest at Redfin Blues. The possibilities are endless!

There’s a lot to love about Lawrenceville. The shops and eateries along Butler Street have a lot to do with that. Do this: supercharge your walk with a healthy dose of caffeine from Espresso a Mano. It's a place you could stay all day — and many do. But we’re here for the walk, remember? Along this stretch, you've got all of the boutiques, like the best card store in PGH, Wildcard. There are a handful of breweries—like Roundabout Brewing in Upper Lawrenceville, Eleventh Hour in Lower Lawrenceville—and Chrissy Teigen raves about the pizza at Driftwood Oven. And after a meal, you could keep going and take a lap around Allegheny Cemetery. Let's just say the possibilities are endless, and if you walk from the start of Butler in Lower L'ville and end up near Arsenal Strength at the other end, you'll have walked two miles.

While Lawrenceville gets all of the hype, there’s a lot to love about Highland Park too. This lovely neighborhood offers walkable streets right next to some exciting redevelopment projects in East Liberty. Plus, attractions like Highland Park, Pittsburgh Zoo, and the cycling oval make stopping by worthwhile. If you do, begin your tour by scoping out the namesake Highland Park. Next, set out to weave your way through this neighborhood, using North Highland Street as your guidepost. Before calling it a day, you might want to consider a detour along Bryant Street. Grab a snack or drink at neighborhood staples like Park Bruges, Joseph Tambellini’s, and Tazza D’Oro coffee.

Head to this thoroughfare in Shadyside to shop, snack, and sip the afternoon away. More specifically, the stretch of Walnut between Ivy and South Aiken is where the action is. However, it’s a short walk along this section of Walnut, so if you’re looking to break a sweat and burn off that pastry from Prantl’s, you have a few options. For starters, Bakery Square is less than a mile away with plenty of shopping. Or avoid the crowds altogether with a trip to Mellon Park — paved paths through this park’s “secret” gardens await you. And on your return trip, it’s not a bad idea to stop for some gelato from Mercurio’s.

If you’ve never been to Frick Park, you definitely need to go. Whether it’s on foot, via mountain bike, or with your pup, Frick has you covered with 600 acres to explore. The trails and natural beauty are such that this walk feels more like a hike, which is awesome. Especially when you sandwich it between snacks in Regent Square. We prefer brunch at Square Cafe and an afternoon of fun at Frick, followed by an adult beverage at D’s Six Pax & Dogz.

Unlock a Journey to Becoming Your Healthiest Self
UPMC Health Plan

Unlock a Journey to Becoming Your Healthiest Self

Get gamified help to exercise more and reduce stress with the Odyssey app by UPMC.

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