aaaaaaaaaaand GO!

My facebook friend Nathan wrote:


My wife and I are in the process of relocating to Pittsburgh and I am looking for suggestions regarding affordable/trendy neighborhoods (my wife is more concerned about safe neighborhoods w/ access to Mass Transit) … any suggestions would be greatly appreciated .

I could write Nathan and make shit up about how I highly recommend Westhampsminstershire for its safeness or Derbyshirbingham for its proximity to mass transit … or I could accept that my knowledge of trendy/affordable/safe Burgh neighborhoods close to mass transit is limited and let you guys give some real suggestions.

I’m curious as to the responses because yeah, a trendy AND affordable AND safe AND mass transit-accessible neighborhood sounds too good to be true.  I’d like to live there.

Ready?  Set.  Go.


  1. john
    July 31, 2008 12:55 pm

    “to Just me- Dormont doesn’t have city schools- it’s part of Keystone Oaks school district, along with Green Tree, and Castle Shannon. Dormont kids go to Dormont Elementary, and then to KO middle school and KO high school. Absolutely not part of the city at all”

    Dormont=KEY Castle Shannon= STONE Greentree = OAKS

  2. a visual tinkle
    July 31, 2008 1:05 pm

    NORTHSIDE! (specifically the central northside, Mexican War Streets, Allegheny West, Deuchtown)
    My husband and I started renting in the Warstreets 8 years ago and fell in love with the hood and the city. We were only supposed to stay 6monthes-a year before moving back to New York but The Central Northside worked it’s magic on us. We ended up buying a house 2yrs ago.

  3. Manda
    July 31, 2008 1:22 pm

    I grew up in Crafton and second that recomendation. The West busway offers decent access to town, but I wouldn’t classify it as trendy. A good place to raise a family for sure.

  4. Beatrice
    July 31, 2008 1:30 pm

    Spent the last 9 years in the Southside which I adore. Now raising a kid and considering starting to maybe think about moving elsewhere….but do not want to leave the city at all. So glad Nathan brought this up, because all of your comments are very enlightening.

  5. Just me
    July 31, 2008 1:36 pm

    OK OK I was wrong about High School in Dormont…but I have several (yes, several) friends with 7th and 8th graders looking to move b/c of the high school situation looming….they all say mix of kids was rough…I thought one said it was city…and that stuck in my head

  6. 15211
    July 31, 2008 1:56 pm

    Go to agree with TC on this: Mt. Washington

    A quick commute downtown (by incline). Central location. Reasonably priced apartments/houses. Great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops and home to the second most beautiful places in America

  7. Al Luccioni
    July 31, 2008 2:18 pm

    KO tuff? Really ? Now if you said Brashear or Carrick well ok those are some tuff schools but Keystone Oaks? What kind of wimpy kids do people have nowadays ?

  8. Emily
    July 31, 2008 2:25 pm

    OH another thing about Dormont….Huge Apartments. We pay 700 for a three bedroom duplex with a balcony, sun room, large living and dinning room.

  9. Allison
    July 31, 2008 2:39 pm

    Shadyside and Sq. Hill. Shadyside CAN be pricey (obviously) but you can also find reasonable rent/homes for sale…even as you get closer to East Liberty it’s still a very safe neighborhood.

  10. Jess
    July 31, 2008 2:56 pm

    It’s not trendy, but you’re pretty close to just about everything you could want. Lot’s of close buses. Also I feel very safe here! I love Greenfield.

  11. retiredguy
    July 31, 2008 3:19 pm

    Yeah, Dormont. Depending on what part you are talking about. I grew up in Dormont, transplanted from da sahside. The first house I bought was in Dormont.

    Whatever you do, stay away from Bethel Park. I hate Bethel Park and cannot wait to sell this house and move the F. out of Agony County.

  12. retiredguy
    July 31, 2008 3:21 pm

    Oh yeah, and it’s Keystone Jokes to those of us that went there.

  13. Stacey
    July 31, 2008 4:06 pm

    I’m also relocating back to Pittsburgh in the fall. I am looking for something directly on the T line and Dormont is probably where i will end up. I grew up in Baldwin Township which is right down the road from Dormont. Loved the area. I’m finding a ton of homes for rent on Craigslist that are pretty cheap in that area. Also, even considering Bethal Park area since the T starts out at the Village. Good luck with the relocation, I’m really looking forward to being back in the Burgh!

  14. goldengirl
    July 31, 2008 4:13 pm

    Aspinwall is really cute and affordable. It’s within walking distance to Waterworks mall, and there’s plenty of bus stops.

  15. Uncle Crappy
    July 31, 2008 4:18 pm

    The reason I didn’t see this post until now is that The Wife and I were talking with our real estate agent about houses in Brighton Heights or Bellevue. We’re getting close to buying, and would be happy in either neighborhood. Transit isn’t a big deal for us, although it appears to be easily accessible in both places. After talking with potential neighbors, it doesn’t appear that serious crime is a problem. And we love, love, love Bellevue’s business district.

    One other thing: you wouldn’t believe how much freaking house you can buy for a hundred thousand bucks. Whooo!

  16. Nel
    July 31, 2008 4:23 pm

    Through the tubes is the end of civilization!
    When I read they were looking for a neighborhood, a suburb never entered my mind.

  17. Marissa
    July 31, 2008 4:28 pm

    What about Brentwood/Whitehall? Good schools. Public transportaion. Nice homes. Very affordable. Maybe not trendy but Southside is not far away. There is also Carrick, which is even closer to Southside, but if schools are a factor, I don’t know if I’d recommend Carrick High School (although I’m told the elementary schools are fine.)

    I also second that the Bellevue/Ben Avon area is nice.

  18. W. A. Schrift
    July 31, 2008 4:29 pm

    Grew up in Bellevue, live in Bellevue. I nominate… Bellevue. It may not be trendy (unless you like 80-something retirees), but it definitely has potential.

    It’s safe (or at least safer than… hmm… the North Side, for example), and has the unique feel of a small town with its own community. As VISA mentioned, it also has neat little stores like “The A” (stands for Affogato) and a hipster thrift store. Also, it has some very desirable houses that are at least 100 years old.

    The only thing wrong with Bellevue is that there isn’t as much support as is needed for businesses on Lincoln Avenue (the business district). So fix that by moving there, Nathan.

  19. Katrina
    July 31, 2008 4:30 pm

    I’m loving all the love that Dormont is getting. And here I thought I was the only fan. Crap, now the prices are going to go up. I should have kept my trap shut. It’s not big enough for everyone to move there!

  20. Michelle
    July 31, 2008 4:35 pm

    Squirrel Hill can get pricey but some streets aren’t so bad, and it’s the perfect location.

    And to Maria (second poster)

    I totally lived in South Oakland for three years and never once got shot in the face. Go me!

  21. Kathryn
    July 31, 2008 6:27 pm

    I can’t believe all the people suggesting suburbs as neighborhoods. If you want trendy, public transport, and inexpensive, you’ll have to pick one you care about less.

    If you are willing to sacrifice a bit on price, shadyside gives most trend and transport. For a bit of flex on transport, Lawrenceville has price and trend covered. For a bit of flex on trend, transport and price bring Bloomfield in.

    Personally, I live in Bloomfield, and there are tons of lines that go downtown and into Oakland. I bought a house for $80k and I love the area (though we could use a better grocery store). If you’re looking for actual non-commute transport, suburbs aren’t what you need. If you just need in and out of downtown at peak hours, you might as well live in Lawrenceville.

  22. john
    July 31, 2008 6:51 pm

    I forgot ..POLISH HIll!

  23. Spud's dad
    July 31, 2008 7:15 pm

    I’m with Patrick, Lisa, and others: Friendship. I had an apartment there for years and wanted to buy a house there, but nothing that worked for us was on the market at the time. It’s convenient to a million bus routes (EBA, 77s, 71s) and within easy walking distance of Bloomfield, Spendyside, and Garfield/Lawrenceville (yeah, I know, but I still consider People’s Indian the best Indian restaurant in the area). Slightly less easy walks to Oakland and even Sq. Hill if you don’t mind the hike straight UP Negley. Great five-mile run to the Cathedral of Learning and back.

    We wound up buying a house in Morningside, which I do NOT recommend unless you like the neighborhood church shooting off window-shaking fireworks and closing streets for saint parades. You can walk to Highland Park and two nice coffeehouses (Tazza d’Oro and the Union Project); that’s about it. Practically zero bus service on weekends.

    We’re now in the northern ‘burbs and enjoying the peace and quiet. The deer are bothersome but nowhere near as much as thugs prowling the alleys.

  24. WB
    July 31, 2008 7:20 pm

    Hey, I live in Mt. Oliver AND I went to CARRICK and I have a Master’s degree & and good job.

    Yea, don’t move to Mt. Oliver. It’s too accessible to every feature of real city living.


  25. scottie
    July 31, 2008 7:48 pm

    I’m partial to Ross Township. Lower crime rate, park n’ ride and buses all over. Also, lots of shopping and you don’t have to sit in traffic forever just to get across town. :)

  26. Former Doormat Guy
    July 31, 2008 8:11 pm

    I moved from Dormont two years ago, and as far as transit and walking to essentials, it was great. And lots of affordable cool old houses and apartments. Definitely on the edge of trendy, but also possibly headed the other way. Great breakfast, hot dogs, sammiches, pizza and bakery to be found on Potomac Avenue…Eat-n-Park and Tom’s Diner on West Liberty, and walking distance to CVS, LCB store, and good burritos at Mexi-Casa. And the cool Wiccan shop…and the Dor-Stop is to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!

    But around the time that we moved, I noticed a real change in the Illinois – Tennessee – Arkansas Avenues area — increased drug activity, houses on the market that just didn’t sell, and increasing petty crime and vandalism. I loved living in Dormont but these days I would just stick closer to the Mt. Lebo/Banksville side. And I have also heard very mixed things about Keystone Oaks high school — I think 1/3 of the students are below proficient on the state tests — though the elementary schools are more solid. But we moved out when it was time for the kids to go to school.

  27. bucdaddy
    July 31, 2008 8:45 pm

    Kennywood. Trendy every summer. Great public transportation (Thunderbolt, Jackrabbit, Phantom, Racer etc.). Safe, except for that ride that got stuck upside down for 10 minutes a few weeks ago. Affordable? Bucdaddy has a coupon for $10 off admission, up to six.

    Monday is Bucdaddy and Bucdaughter Day. Who’s with me?

  28. kim
    July 31, 2008 9:00 pm

    I spent almost 10 years in Sq Hill and it was okay but nothing special. Moved to Point Breeze a little over a year ago and LOVE it. Easy access to buses and close to Sq Hill / Shadyside/ Eastside/ Trader Joe’s. Great neighbors — much more friendly than any of the places I lived in Sq Hill. I

  29. Shibori
    July 31, 2008 9:07 pm

    Another vote for Greenfield! Most of the area near Beechwood Blvd. where it runs south of the parkway is nice, and significantly less expensive than Squirrel Hill proper above the parkway. The area inside the “U” Beechwood makes before it comes back to the parkway at the tunnels (I believe this would be addresses in the 2000s-low 3000s)is nice, just be careful not to get too close to Hazelwood when you drift southwest from the parkway/beechwood intersection. Also the area in squirrel hill around the bottom of Murray near the tunnels (along Pocusset and Forward)is nice and a little cheaper than up around Beacon and north of Forbes. Alot of first time homebuyers, mostly young professional types have been buying in this part of Greenfield/Sq. hill as prices are good for starter homes, and there are some good rentals with mostly grad students, as it tends to be too far out for undergrads. We used to drive over the parkway through Schenley park and park (free!) near Forbes and Wightman and take the bus into Oakland/downtown. But depending on where you are, the 61C runs down Beechwood below the parkway.

  30. Diamond
    July 31, 2008 9:12 pm

    Mount Lebo for sure.Great little shopping district with restaurants, a bakery and last but not least my fave hardware store…Rolliers! Farmer’s Market on Washington Road on Saturdays. Plus if there are kiddies in the future, the public schools are great.Sidewalks for walking,a hockey rink and tennis courts.

  31. bucdaddy
    July 31, 2008 9:28 pm

    Heard somebody was trying to revive the movie theaters (Dennis?) in Mount Lebo too.

  32. OutOfCounty
    July 31, 2008 9:37 pm

    I also lived in South Oakland and never got shot in the face. I enjoyed my time there, but I don’t necessarily recommend moving there unless you are going to college or something though. It can be a little scary sometimes, but we had a great place for not a lot of money. I also lived in Bloomfield for almost 2 years and my car was stolen off the street in front of my building in broad daylight. And our landlord tried to torch our building. I do not recommend Bloomfield. At all. Ever. I felt more safe in S. Oakland than I did in Bloomfield.

  33. Chase
    July 31, 2008 10:29 pm

    Clearly the correct answer is Wall, Pennsylvania.

  34. Alison
    August 1, 2008 6:42 am

    shadyside or mt. washington.
    i love most of the areas but as far as “trendy” and safe go…. they are probably the best. south side is trendy and safe, but very few nice homes. good luck!

  35. Katy
    August 1, 2008 7:14 am

    I’m gonna go ahead and stick up for Morningside. If you don’t want fireworks noise, just live above Chislett street. Morningside is filled with young families, there are several lovely bus routes right on through with service to downtown and oakland, with bloomfield on the way. If you want to get to squirrel hill, you’re kind of effed by the bus, though.

    Anyway, the houses are affordable, the yards are big, the people watching is sublime, and most likely your old man italian neighbor will give you bags of vegetables all the time while his wife tries to cook you amazing food day and night. you really can’t beat it with a stick.

  36. PittGirl
    August 1, 2008 7:18 am

    You guys rule. Every last one of you.

    I want to take a neighborhood tour now.

  37. PittGirl
    August 1, 2008 7:18 am

    Also, Chase, HAH!

  38. retiredguy
    August 1, 2008 7:28 am

    Former Doormat Guy.

    My first house was on Arkansas, near Arkansas Field. One of the reasons I moved is that the neighborhood was already going downhill in 1992. Especially lovely was the subsidized row houses on McNeilly Road just across the alley (and boarder with Pittsburgh) right behind my old house. After a couple years you get tired of people partying all day and night, every day. Obviously folks without jobs still have plenty of money for booze. I also had neighbors next door who would go away on the weekends leaving their two teenagers alone, so that house was party central. I don’t know what the Dormont police are like now, but back then they were obviously afraid of busting underage drinking parties. Eventually I stopped calling them. I decided to move about the time I caught several teenagers trying to take a whiz in my back yard.

  39. red pen mama
    August 1, 2008 7:30 am

    Late to the conversation, but feeling compelled to add:

    Dormont — I wish we had moved there. My sister-in-law and her family live there and they love it.

    South Side — hip and happening, but not sure it’s a good “young family” neighborhood. I lived there for 15 years, and still miss it, but I’ve got two little kids and I couldn’t see staying there.

    I would also like to mention Moon Township and Coraopolis. (This is where we’ve been for about 3 years.) Neither is trendy in the least, but you can commute (take 51 to 65 to town to avoid the tunnels); the Mass transit out of Coraopolis is pretty good; very, very affordable; and a lot of shopping. Convenient also to Sewickley. I’m not sure if there is a lot of renting, though.

    loving the blog — got here from Burgh Baby’s Mom.


  40. Kelli
    August 1, 2008 7:47 am

    I have to disagree that the buses in Bloomfield are better than in Lawrenceville. I have lived in both without a car and I do much, much better in LV. And I do more than just commute downtown for work.

    The one really awesome thing that both LV and Bloomfield have in common though is the 54C. I don’t think I could live in a neighborhood that didn’t have 54C access. Is there anywhere that bus can’t get you? (OK, I know, the west end. But really, why would I need/want to go there?)

  41. Facebook Nathan
    August 1, 2008 8:09 am

    PittGirl … my wife and I are printing this entry and driving in this weekend to look at each and everyone of your reader’s recommendations … this kind of response is simply awesome and I truly do not know what other city would back (almost) each and every one of their neighborhoods … thank you all so much … this has been so helpful … I CAN’T WAIT TO COME HOME TO DA BURGH !!!!

  42. Smiley
    August 1, 2008 8:15 am

    RE: Dormont’s bad side. Like I said, a little rough around the edges. Sooooooo … don’t move to the edges. Duh.

    My wife grew up on Alabama Ave and my MiL still lives there. Those streets above Dormont Park are special.

    Amen on the playground. Whoever built that thing was brilliant. Your kids will be so distracted they won’t even notice you’ve walked up to Atrias for a draft.

    And Dormont pool is the largest manmade lake in the South Hills.

  43. spoon
    August 1, 2008 8:59 am

    Personally I’ve been a fan of Bellevue. I lived there for 5 years and would have stayed if where I’m at now wasn’t so damn appealing. It’s a very friendly community and for the most part are mom and pop places. The houses are fairly large and inexpensive (sister lushie’s favorite street for houses is in Bellevue). We never had problems with crime and like VISA said, cusp of being trendy. It’s getting there and just needs that extra *umph*. the main drag is within walking distance from most residence and so is the bus line.

    It’s also ideal for travel being right off 279. You’re 10-15 from downtown and Cranberry which makes for GREAT travel time going to sporting events or concerts. You have Giant Eagle, Home Depot, Target, Sams Club at the very next exit 1/2 mile away.

    damn, I’m missing it again.

  44. Kat
    August 1, 2008 9:07 am

    I want to take a neighborhood tour now.

    You guys know about these, right? —

  45. Kat
    August 1, 2008 9:09 am

    Also, I live in Beechview and like it a lot. My neighbors are friendly, nice, and quiet, I’m a block from the T, and it’s the first place I’ve lived where I can have packages delivered to my house without them being stolen off the porch. There’s been lots of community meetings about the development of the business district, and it’s nice to see so many neighbors who want to work to make the place better.

  46. Larry
    August 1, 2008 10:34 am

    Squirrel Hill is the best bet. Everything you need is within walking distance and the value of your real estate will go up about 30% annually. The only cons are that the taxes are high and even the fixer-uppers are pricey.

    You can’t argue with a neighborhood that hasn’t ever had a downturn, even though it ‘s been established since about 1860.

  47. maxtalbot
    August 1, 2008 2:00 pm

    I would say the Mexican War Streets, which I fell head over heels in love with when I moved there.

    Downsides: Steelers fans peeing on your stoop eight days out of the calendar year.

    Upsides: Easy proximity to downtown, all the cool No’Side stuff like the Mattress Factory, Warhol, stadiums, science center, children’s museum, etc. Beautiful old homes that are in need of restoration or have been restored. West Park. The Children’s Community Garden. I could continue at great length. It’s a terrific ‘hood with a diverse population.

    On the other hand, I’m a cranky old fuss pot, so I’m inclined to tell young master Nathan to stay out of my ‘hood!

  48. Amy M
    August 1, 2008 2:47 pm

    If it’s not too late I want to add another vote for Highland Park. In addition to the wonderful coffee shop already mentioned, the neighborhood has a lot going for it.

    Community – at the coffee shop, at the local church & schools, in the two neighborhood volunteer orgs and in the park itself.

    Houses – there are a lot of houses in great shape and you get a lot of house for your money. Closer to the park you can sometimes get a bigger yard and many homes have a big enough lot for a garage (unlike other east end neighborhoods)

    Convenience – East Liberty development (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Future Target, Home Depot, etc) five minutes away; Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Bloomfield business districts ten minutes away; Waterworks (shopping and food) just across the river; Easy access to Route 28

    Trendy-ish – We’ve noticed more and more young people and families buying houses to fix them up. I wouldn’t really call the neighborhood trendy, but it is definitely trending younger than a few years ago.

    Transit – The 71A runs constantly and there 6 other bus lines that run through the neighborhood. It takes 10 minutes to get to the busway. Admittedly, the most convenient buses take you to Oakland or downtown, but the downtown express is very reliable.

    Safety – We have issues just like any other city neighborhood, but it’s mostly theft and not violent crime. I don’t feel unsafe in our home at all and we’ve had good response time when we’ve set the alarm off accidentally.

    The Park – We have one of the city parks in our backyard! Hiking, swimming, playgrounds, walking, bicycling, the Pittsburgh zoo and an august jazz fest just a few minutes from home.

  49. bucdaddy
    August 1, 2008 4:41 pm

    Facebook, Meet you at Kennywood, 10:30 a.m. Monday. Bucdaddy will be the one in the Buc-hat.

    Three words: Potato Patch fries.