Spend an afternoon exploring the North Side of PITTSBURGH

Something great about Pittsburgh: every neighborhood is similar, different, and distinctive all at the same time. The neighborhoods that make up the North Side are no exception.  

The North Side is the area in Pittsburgh north of the North Shore.  It is full of brick streets, victorian homes, and a vibrant personality. 

north side pittsburgh

Some businesses and restaurants have been in the area for decades.  However, tale has spread of the area's beautiful streets and elegant homes, and eager newcomers have shuffled in to the vacant storefronts. 

Regardless of the politics, the area has blossomed into a happening space.  It is starting to gain confidence and show off its natural beauty. An entire day can be spent in the North Side, complete with culture, food, and exercise.


10:00AM: Pear and the Pickle - Start the day with breakfast and coffee at the Pear and the Pickle on the Troy Hill.  To make this experience complete, you must ascend Troy Hill via the rollercoaster that is Rialto Street.  Why? You will understand once you see it.  Enjoy Stumptown coffee and split a breakfast sandwich with your companion (or yourself).  Although their deli sandwiches are hearty and feature Boars Head meat, the Pear and the Pickle shows what they really can do with their breakfast sandwiches - Mancini bread, fried eggs, fresh sausage, enough said. Read the paper, or a book, and enjoy a leisurely morning in the picturesque deli/grocer. 

pear and the pickle, pittsburgh - m.quigley

pear and the pickle, pittsburgh - m.quigley

11:30AM: Take a drive across Pittview Avenue to where it meets Logan Street. Pittview Ave has the best view of the northeastern shores of the Allegheny River and the surrounding neighborhoods. This is my favorite view of the entire city.

12:00PM: Mattress Factory Museum - The experimental contemporary art museum, the Mattress Factory, has been captivating Pittsburgh since 1977 with its provoking pieces and ever-changing collection.  Even if it was just for the two Kusama installations, the Mattress Factory is worth the trip. Luckily, there is plenty more to feast your eyes (and mind) on. 

kusama mattress factory pittsburgh

1:30PM: Randyland - A short (but beautiful) walk from the Mattress Factory is Randyland - "Pittsburgh's most colorful landmark."  Randyland is the ongoing repurposing art project that Randy Gilson has been creating on the Northside since 1995 (although he was transforming the neighborhood even before that).  Read my piece on Randyland here!
Randyland Website.

randyland, pittsburgh -m. quigley

randyland, pittsburgh -m. quigley

2:00PM: LUNCH: There are many great places in the area to grub down.  Here are 3 suggestions:

Nicky's Thai Kitchen - Open until 3pm for lunch, Nicky's Thai Kitchen has been cooking up some of the city's favorite Thai food for years.  If weather is nice, the patio is a must. 

nicky's thai kitchen, pittsburgh m.quigley

nicky's thai kitchen, pittsburgh m.quigley

James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy - Open from 11AM to 1am.  James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy serves a solid pub lunch and dinner with a few twists. Get more information on their website.

Legends of the North Shore - Open 11:00AM -9:00PM.  This place is a legend in Pittsburgh, and has been since its opening in 2002.  At Legends of the North Shore, the lunch or dinner menus are expansive, and the food is satisfying . I would describe it as Americana meets booze.   More than anything, the place is very homey.

the north side, pittsburgh m.quigley 

the north side, pittsburgh m.quigley 

3:30PM: Around this time you're going to need a drink.  Penn Brewery has been producing craft brews in Pittsburgh since 1986, with an authentic German beer house feel.  Location

4:15PM: Rent Bike - The Northside has a very central public bike rack as part of Pittsburgh's wonderful bike rental system, Healthy Ride.  The streets of the Northside are beautiful, wide, and simple to navigate.  If the weather allows, stop by the station on the North Side to get a bike. Biking is the best way to see the area, so take advantage of this opportunity.   Be sure to see the Mexican War Streets and Western Ave. $4 an hour per bike. 

the north side of pittsburgh

4:30PM: Bike/Walk past the City of Asylum: Pittsburgh's home and workspace for exiled writers from all over the world.  Check out my post on it in the Eat This Poem Pittsburgh guide.  

the city of asylum, pittsburgh - m.quigley 

the city of asylum, pittsburgh - m.quigley 

5:30PM: Bike/walk to the Allegheny City Market - If you are looking for a sinful way to end your day, stop by the Allegheny City Market for many local treats and snacks, including my all time favorite frozen cookie in Pittsburgh, Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches.

6:00PM: Appreciate your wonderful day in Pittsburgh. 


The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Great place for kids - I love it as an adult. 

The National Aviary
A must for bird lovers living or visiting Pittsburgh. 

Overall, the North Side is a beautiful space with an amazing view of the city.  It is a wonderful area to spend a day in Pittsburgh exploring.



<Backpacking Tips

What are your favorite spots on the North Side of Pittsburgh?