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THE BEST PARKS AND GREEN SPACES IN PITTSBURGH

15 PLACES

UPDATED JUL 8, 2020

Pittsburgh’s pockets of greenery give the city life. And when you need to unplug or get some fresh air, they’re the perfect escape. Walk, ride, or post up for a picnic, these local parks are worth an afternoon of your time.

author

REYNA SCOTT

FITT PITTSBURGH CONTRIBUTOR

This state park is perfect for adventurers. Bring your own kayak to row down Slippery Rock Creek. If you bring your own equipment, you can also can traverse the Rim Road Climbing area. For us, we love it for the well-marked hikes, but if you're looking for more of a leisurely activity? Fishing is permitted almost anywhere along the creek.

Located at the corner of Fifth and Shady, Mellon Park is a great place to stop as you’re driving through Shadyside. Since the Walled Garden underwent a restoration in 2010, the park has been offering events throughout the summer, including live classical music. Not interested in Beethoven? Don’t worry — you can schedule your own private events here, too!

This park is unique in that it's the only county park that has a professional diving well! After working up a sweat from the rugged hiking and biking trails, cool off by taking a dip in the water. Dive into 17-feet deep water from a one to ten-meter concrete platform — hopefully you’re not afraid of heights.

From horseback riding to snowmobiling, this state park offers just about any outdoor activity you can think of. Raccoon Creek is the perfect place for a peaceful hike through the woods or a family camping trip. No matter the season, you'll stay busy whether you're here for a week or a day.

This 1,100-acre park is great for field trips because it’s actually a working farm. That’s right — there are cows, pigs, goats, horses, and more. There’s even a milk house and a duck pond! While this park is extremely educational, you can stop by just to enjoy the trails, picnic shelters, and water-spray park on hot summer days.

Deer Lakes is known for its three spring-fed lakes, which provide year-round fishing opportunities — yeah, it’s a fisherman’s paradise. This park also sits on one of the highest points in Allegheny County, allowing for picture-perfect views of the stars and planets. In fact, visitors can take a “tour of the sky” throughout the year!

Moraine State Park provides not one, but two beaches along the shore of Lake Arthur. While you’re here, you can book a cruise around the lake. Okay, so maybe it isn’t to the Caribbean, but who wouldn’t enjoy the scenery and wildlife that surrounds this stunning lake? If you’d rather take your own boat out on the lake, you can do that at the Davis Hollow Marina.

Being that North Park is the largest in the county, you are sure to stay active and busy here. Walk, run, bike, or hike on the trails totaling 43 miles. During the summer, you can go for a dip in what was once the largest pool in the world, or take a horse back ride. When the seasons change, there are winter activities at the park, too. And if the lake freezes over, there are opportunities for cross-country skiing and ice fishing.

This park is conveniently located where the three rivers come together, known as “the Point” or the “Golden Triangle.” It's not uncommon to see Pittsburghers indulging in watersports like boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Not to mention, the expansive green lawn offers plenty of opportunity for frisbee, sun-bathing, and fetch with your dog.

This park touches three different Pittsburgh neighborhoods and offers one of the best views of the city. You can catch a movie at the park every week at the free “Cinema in the Park” series every summer. When you’re looking to be a little more active, Emerald View Park also has basketball courts, baseball fields, and even a boxing club.

West Park, better known as Allegheny Commons, is a 64-acre paradise and the oldest park in Pittsburgh. Built in 1867 in what was Allegheny City, the park once featured four fountains that have since been demolished. Thankfully, community groups are hard at work raising funds to restore the park surrounding Lake Elizabeth to its original splendor. In the meantime, there's plenty of room to enjoy a relaxing picnic.

For many college students, Schenley Park is the perfect study spot within walking distance of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. This park boasts a swimming pool, a track, a golf course, a frisbee golf course, oodles of hiking trails, and so much more.

This 259-acre park offers something for everyone. Take a run throughout the deeply-wooded trails or enjoy the swimming and horseback riding. One of the landmarks at the park is the Allegheny Observatory — a major astronomical research institution owned by the University of Pittsburgh. You may also notice the Chapel Shelter, which makes for a great picnic spot.

This is the largest city park in Pittsburgh, covering 600 acres of trails and baseball fields. Be sure to bring your canine pals to enjoy the dog park and your music-buff friends to see the iconic Blue Slide Park. Yes, Mac Miller’s famous Blue Slide Park.

The entrance of the park welcomes you with a large Victorian-style garden that leads up to one of Pittsburgh’s many reservoirs, along with running and dog walking trails. If you’re looking for something to do with the entire family, check out the 50-meter swimming pool or the volleyball courts. And let’s not forget, you’re right next to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium!

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