Skip to Content

Tails of the City: Exploring All 90 of Pittsburgh’s Neighborhoods With Our Dog!

As dog owners, we quickly fall into a routine when it comes to daily walks.  Same time, same route—day in and day out.  At times, it even feels like a chore.

It’s easy to forget that for our dogs, that walk is the absolute highlight of their day.  Not only is it quality time they get to spend with you, but it’s their one opportunity to go explore the world outside of the four walls they stay within the other 23 hours of the day.

Sure, your regular walks may be fun for your dog.  But, you know what’s even more fun?  Going on adventures together!

That was the idea behind the challenge my girlfriend, Erica, and I decided to undertake at the beginning of this year.  Our goal for 2021 was to take our Goldendoodle, Chewie, for a walk in all 90 of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

Related: 5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Dog Owner Should Make This Year

An animated map of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods as we completed our walks! Original image courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.

What’s the Point?

Between the planning and the extra travel time to each of these neighborhoods, it took a lot more effort and time than your average walk.  We had two main reasons why we felt this would be a worthwhile pursuit…

1. Mental Stimulation is Just as Important as Physical Activity

Dogs need more than just physical exercise—it’s important to keep them mentally engaged as well throughout the day.  Dogs that get adequate mental stimulation are happier, healthier, and far more obedient!

Creating and using your own snuffle ball, playing puzzle games, and doing training activities are all great ways to mentally tire your dog.

There’s even a whole catalog of Brain Games for Dogs that provide wonderful opportunities for fun mental stimulation while helping to reinforce important training concepts! 

Brain Training for Dogs Program

Perhaps the simplest way to keep your dog “on their toes” mentally is by switching up your walking route.  Even a small change in your daily walk means new smells to investigate, new friends to meet, and new sights to see.

2. Exploring More of What Pittsburgh Has to Offer

I’ve lived in Pittsburgh since starting college in 2014 and Erica’s been here her entire life.  We’ve been to a lot of the typical hotspots and attractions.  But, a city is more than just the touristy highlight reel.

Pittsburgh is divided up into 90 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique “personality.”  By visiting each one, we hoped to get a better understanding of what makes this city we call home special.

Highlights from Each of Pittsburgh’s 90 Neighborhoods…

As we completed our walks, we stopped to take a picture in each neighborhood to document one thing we found interesting, no matter how small.  You’ll find each of these photos included below.

Keep reading afterwards to see what we learned from our journey through Pittsburgh.  I’ll also share some ideas for creating your own adventures and making lifelong memories with your furry best friend!

Allegheny Center

For a small neighborhood, Allegheny Center seems to have a lot going on with various businesses, museums, and parks.  Here’s Chewie and Erica with some bird friends outside the National Aviary. 🦅

Allegheny Center Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Allegheny West

Western Ave was a cute street to explore with brick sidewalks and lots of flowers along it.

Allegheny West Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Allentown

We saw St. John Vianney Church from a distance and walked over to appreciate its beauty and character.  From what I’ve read, it looks like the church has been closed for some time which is a shame.

Allentown Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Arlington

Here’s one of the sidewalk staircases we walked on in this hilly neighborhood.

Arlington Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Arlington Heights

At the top of Arlington Ave there are large, fenced-off fields on both sides of the road.  From my understanding, this is where some torn down public housing buildings used to be.  At the moment, it almost looks like a scene out of a dystopian movie like the Hunger Games.

Arlington Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Banksville

This neighborhood had many cute, quiet residential streets like this one.  It’s one of the handful of neighborhoods we could envision ourselves moving to in the future.

Banksville Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Bedford Dwellings

We were disappointed by this “Garden of Hope” which appears to just be overgrown shrubbery surrounded by a locked fence.  👎🏻

Bedford Dwellings Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Beechview

This neighborhood is home to Canton Ave., which is claimed to be the steepest street in the United States.  Though upon researching this fact, it appears to be second place now.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see this record-setting street at all thanks to quite a few irresponsible dog owners who were letting their dogs wander unattended in the street.  We didn’t want to take the chance that they’d be unfriendly so we instead took a photo with a much less interesting abandoned house.

Beechview Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

On the bright side, Erica found a little park with a wobbling Dinosaur she felt the need to ride. 😂

Beechview Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Beltzhoover

Yes, we found this street sign funny.  Yes, we’re immature children. 🙈

Beltzhoover Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Bloomfield

We stumbled upon one tree in this neighborhood which has dozens of brightly colored bird houses hanging from it.  We thought this was a great idea and that it added a really fun touch to the neighborhood.

Bloomfield Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Elsewhere in Bloomfield, we saw a stark warning sign as to the dangers of tomatoes.  Not sure what this is about, but it made for some fun conversation!

Bloomfield Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Bluff (Uptown)

We stopped at the campus of UPMC Mercy Hospital where Erica used to work.

Bluff / Uptown Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Bon Air

This neighborhood was interesting because it was small but it had a very different, more suburban feel than the neighborhoods surrounding it.  There was a stark difference in the span of just a block.

Bon Air Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Brighton Heights

We loved this house’s Halloween decorations, but we have no idea why a statue of a pig was included! 😂

Brighton Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Brookline

Perhaps our favorite spot in all of Pittsburgh…Fiori’s Pizza. 🍕

Brookline Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

California Kirkbride

This was an interesting, well-done mural on the side of one of the buildings in California Kirkbride.  While this one isn’t included on the list, you can find some other murals scattered across the city on this map.

California Kirkbride Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Carrick

With the hilly landscape of Pittsburgh, you get lots of great views from many parts of the city.  We stopped at this intersection in Carrick to appreciate this one.

Carrick Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Central Lawrenceville

We stopped at Geppetto Cafe in Central Lawrenceville, one of our favorite brunch spots in the city.  They have fantastic crepes and paninis!

Central Lawrenceville Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Central North Side

The iconic and colorful Randyland. 🌈 We even saw Randy himself walking down the street.

Central North Side Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Central Oakland

The unique but not-so-visually-appealing Litchfield Towers at the University of Pittsburgh.  Because who wouldn’t want to live in a pie-shaped dorm room?

Central Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Chartiers City

Here’s Chewie posing with a big anchor located outside White Lily Baptist Church.  Apparently the pulpit inside the church looks like the bow of a ship which is pretty neat!

Chartiers City Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Chateau

The USS Requin Submarine parked in the Ohio River outside the Carnegie Science Center.

Chateau Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Crafton Heights

From our brief time here, Crafton Heights seems like an underrated, residential neighborhood that’s pretty cute and quiet.

Crafton Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Crawford-Roberts

While a lot of the neighborhoods in this area get a bad rap, on some of the streets like this one in Crawford-Roberts you’d have no idea that you were between the Hill District and Uptown.  It’s well taken care of and very pleasant.

Crawford-Roberts Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Downtown

PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.  Since I’ve heard many people refer to this as part of Uptown, I was surprised to learn that it’s within Downtown’s boundaries.

Downtown Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Duquesne Heights

The Duquesne Incline, one of Pittsburgh two iconic inclines.

Duquesne Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

East Allegheny

The shops on E. Ohio St. are home to some quite interesting small businesses.

East Allegheny Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

East Carnegie

Erica and Chewie in front of the Union Electric Steel plant.

East Carnegie Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

East Hills

Chewie and myself at the bottom of Dornbush St., the 8th steepest street in the United States.

East Hills Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

East Liberty

Dear Target, Chewie is waiting on a sponsorship deal!

East Liberty Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Elliott

Surprisingly, West End Overlook is not in West End, it’s in Elliot!  Regardless, we’d never been to this overlook before and were impressed.  It’s definitely an underrated view of the city skyline!

Elliot Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Esplen

While abandoned houses are often eyesores, this one was particularly interesting in the way it was starting to become “reclaimed” by nature.

Esplen Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Fairywood

While unassuming, this was a cool “hidden” find in the Fairywood neighborhood!  From my understanding, this is part of an abandoned “ghost highway” which was started in the 1960s and never completed.

Fairywood Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Fineview

As the name would suggest, this neighborhood provides great views of the Downtown skyline!

Fineview Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

There was also a really great park in this neighborhood which had fitness equipment, sports courts, and lots of playground equipment, including this fun basket swing!

Fineview Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Friendship

Friendship had a ton of mini traffic circles which I haven’t seen many of in Pittsburgh outside of this neighborhood.

Friendship Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Garfield

After climbing this hill, we got a good view of the Cathedral of Learning off in the distance!

Garfield Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Glen Hazel

Erica and Chewie stopped for a break in the gazebo outside this apartment complex.

Glen Hazel Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Greenfield

Chewie paid a visit to his veterinarian in Greenfield.  He must’ve been pleasantly surprised when he didn’t even have to go inside! 😂

Greenfield Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Hays

While there are a few residential streets, this neighborhood is mostly woods so we went for a little hike on one of the trails.

Hays Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Hazelwood

I’m no real estate expert, but this is a neighborhood I could see really gaining some popularity in the future, with Second Ave being home to an assortment of little restaurants and shops.

Hazelwood Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Highland Park

We explored the actual park of Highland Park, walking around the reservoir and on a few of the trails.

Highland Park Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Here’s a photo from Babbling Brook Trail which made for a quick, serene hike.

Highland Park Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Homewood North

Erica and Chewie on Frankstown Ave. which marks the boundary between Homewood North and Homewood South.

Homewood North Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Homewood South

St. Charles Lwanga church was impressive with beautiful, intricate architecture.

Homewood South Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Homewood West

Another one of the eye-catching murals in Pittsburgh we enjoyed.  This one is outside of “The Shop” which is a unique collection of creative businesses like a barber shop, a makeup studio, and a resident artist.

Homewood West Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Knoxville

This photo is technically cheating, because it wasn’t taken in Knoxville, but it shows a nice aerial view of this neighborhood from right where it borders Bon Air.

Knoxville Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Larimer

Erica and Chewie outside the African Healing Garden on Meadow St.  While it was too cold to see it “in action,” it looks to be one of the more nicely cared for community gardens we’ve come across around the city.

Larimer Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar

This sign couldn’t be referring to fluffy Goldendoodles, could it? 😂

Lincoln-Lemington Belmar Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Lincoln Place

One of the more unique features of this neighborhood was the parking areas in front of many of the houses.  Not quite a driveway and not quite street parking, these “coves” allow some off-street parallel parking for residents.  The drawback is that they make walking your dog harder since you have to walk more in the street than on the side of the road.

Lincoln Place Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Lower Lawrenceville

Erica and I typically associate “Lawrenceville” with Central Lawrenceville, so we hadn’t explored this neighborhood before.  There were just as many cute shops and restaurants here as Central Lawrenceville, but with seemingly less crowds.  We found a nice little garden to take a rest in with some animal murals.

Lower Lawrenceville Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Manchester

Manchester was interesting because it had quite a few England themed road names.  Here is Erica and Chewie with the Manchester sign on Columbus Ave.

Manchester Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Marshall-Shadeland

Chewie and I in front of Pittsburgh Paramedic Station 10 on Shadeland Ave.

Marshall-Shadeland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Middle Hill

The Hill District definitely lived up to its name.  I swear we walked uphill both ways!

Middle Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Morningside

A nice view from the corner of Morningside Ave. and Baker St.  This neighborhood had a lot of dog walkers out and about—and that’s always a good thing!

Morningside Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Mount Oliver

Chewie and I casually posing with some scattered, large tires.  I’m hoping some football team uses these to workout, otherwise I’m stumped why they’re outside an elementary school. 😂

Mount Oliver Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Mount Washington

This neighborhood is home to the most famous view of the downtown skyline from the Grandview Overlook.  Just as importantly, it’s home to Grandview Bakery which is a must-visit for us whenever we’re here!

Mount Washington Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

New Homestead

There were some HUGE houses in this neighborhood.  Sorry for being creepy if this is your home…but also…invite us over for dinner sometime!

New Homestead Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

North Oakland

Everybody’s favorite building…the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. 🙌🏻

North Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

North Shore

Thomas and Chewie in front of PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.

North Shore Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Northview Heights

This neighborhood was mostly comprised of one big housing complex.  Here is Chewie and Erica surprised with a photo in front of the Northview Heights Estates community.

Northview Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Oakwood

Chewie and Erica at Oakwood Park where they converted an old stone reservoir into tennis courts.  Shortly after this photo, Chewie found spilled chili under the snow and his entire mouth was stained red…ew. 🤮

Oakwood Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Overbrook

This is another one of the more residential neighborhoods we really felt at home in.  Between the friendly people and the cozy houses, what more could you ask for?

Overbrook Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Perry North

Chewie and I in front of Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park.

Perry North Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Perry South

In this neighborhood we stumbled upon some giant signs that looked like baseball cards.  This ended up being an educational exhibit about the Negro Leagues.  What a cool idea and something that many other people would probably be interested in visiting if the knew about it!

Perry South Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Point Breeze

This is Penham Pl, one of the nice, tree-lined streets we liked in this neighborhood.

Point Breeze Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Point Breeze North

Here’s Chewie walking around Westinghouse Park in this neighborhood.

Point Breeze North Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Polish Hill

Thomas and Chewie at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.  This intricate, old building matches the older, more historic feel of this neighborhood.

Polish Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Regent Square

Chewie and I posing with an interesting, concrete turtle statue next to the Environmental Charter School.  I’m not sure why it’s there…maybe it’s the school mascot? 🐢

Regent Square Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Ridgemont

This was a memorable walk for all the wrong reasons.  Chewie pooped three separate times and accidentally stepped in it once.  Not a particularly fond memory. 🙈

Ridgemont Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Shadyside

One of our favorite neighborhoods to visit—mostly when we need our grilled cheese fix at The Yard!

Shadyside Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Sheraden

Whoever’s wall that is should probably get that looked at. 😳

Sheraden Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

South Oakland

Erica and Chewie outside of UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital.  This was one of the locations Erica had her clinical experiences at during her time at Pitt.

South Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

South Shore

Admiring the downtown city skyline view from Station Square.

South Shore Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

South Side Flats

The Color Park in South Side was something we didn’t realize existed until recently.  It’s kind of like a “controlled chaos” of graffiti which is an interesting idea!

South Side Flats Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

South Side Slopes

Erica and Chewie at the Arlington Spray Park.  Since we were here during the winter, we had no idea it was a water park and spent an embarrassingly long amount of time figuring out how children use the “playground equipment.” 🤦🏼‍♀️

South Side Slopes Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Spring Garden

World War I and II Memorial at Catalano Parklet.

Spring Garden Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Spring Hill-City View

We walked around the area close to Spring Hill Elementary.  They must have had some problem with unruly dog owners in the past, because there is an excessive amount of “No Dogs” signs here.

Spring Hill-City View Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Squirrel Hill North

The “Walking to The Sky” sculpture at the Carnegie Mellon University campus.  Who’s real and who’s a statue? 🤔

Squirrel Hill Norrth Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Squirrel Hill South

Myself and Chewie in front of all the shops and restaurants on Murray Ave.

Squirrel Hill South Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

St. Clair

This was a church we found which had a distinctly different feel from all the older, elaborate ones we saw.  Can you tell by the smiles on our faces that this was the final neighborhood we completed on this year-long adventure? 😀

St. Clair Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Stanton Heights

A nice view from the top of the big staircase that leads up to Stanton Heights from Morningside.

Stanton Heights Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Strip District

There was a setup for photo ops in the touristy Strip District, so we took advantage of it!  While we were here we stumbled across a Peace Love & Mini Donuts location and got both human and doggy doughnuts!

Strip District Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Summer Hill

The Harry Potter nerds in us appreciated the intersection of Sirius St. and Regulus St.

Summer Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Swisshelm Park

Who wouldn’t want to live on Love St?

Swisshelm Park Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Terrace Village

We walked right on the border of this neighborhood where it goes through the University of Pittsburgh’s campus.  Here’s Erica and Chewie in front of the Petersen Events Center, home of the Pitt Panthers basketball team.

Terrace Village Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Troy Hill

Heinz Lofts, which is the present-day usage of the historic H. J. Heinz Company industrial complex.

Troy Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Upper Hill

The Robert E. Williams Memorial Park featured a completely empty reservoir.  At least it had a bit of a view from the top of the hill.

Upper Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Upper Lawrenceville

This part of Lawrenceville seems more residential with slightly less restaurants and businesses.  One house along our walk had nice fence decorations that we appreciated.

Upper Lawrenceville Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

West End

Chewie is ready to audition for the Pittsburgh Musical Theater!

West End Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

West Oakland

Chewie with me at Lothrop Hall, the dorm I lived in during my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh.

West Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Westwood

Westwood featured suburban-style houses in an urban setting which made for a lovely residential neighborhood.

Westwood Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Windgap

Out of all the houses we saw throughout our journey, this quirky, colorful property on Windgap Ave might be the most unique!

Windgap Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Lessons Learned from 90 Neighborhoods…

1. Turn Everyday Parts of Life Into Adventures

Adventures don’t always have to be elaborate, expensive endeavors.  Anything that allows you and your dog to spend quality time together in new, fun ways is a definite win!

Lori Gullickson Bartoszewski’s wrote this advice in her article here on Popular Doodle, 10 Heartbreaking Life Lessons From a Grieving Doodle Mom.

“Take them with you everywhere you possibly can.  Let them experience life and joy with you.  Those are the memories you will cling to most and find peace that you allowed them to experience life with you outside of your home.”

2. Big Goals Require Big Plans 

Hitting all 90 neighborhoods would’ve taken much longer and been a lot more work had it not been for the planning involved.  At the beginning of each month I’d map out a rough outline of the walks we intended on completing over the following weeks.

By planning our walks out in advance, we were able to choose the optimal routes to enjoy multiple neighborhoods on each walk.  It also helped us plan what might be exciting to see in each neighborhood rather than leaving it completely to chance.

For those interested in possibly taking this journey through Pittsburgh yourself, here is the Google Maps overlay that helped immensely in planning.

3. Enjoy the Small Things

It’s easy to quickly “judge a book by its cover” and overlook areas of your city in favor of the popular hotspots.  However, there’s often hidden beauty in a lot of things we take for granted every day.

So many of these neighborhoods had something worth enjoying when we were forced to slow down and take a look around.  Whether it was beautiful murals, intricate architecture, or the friendly people who stopped to say “hello” to us—well, mostly to Chewie!

What’s YOUR Next Adventure?

Like with anyone we love, it’s easy to take our dogs for granted.  My hope is that someone uses our neighborhood adventure as inspiration to find new ways to bond with their furry best friend.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Take your pup with you when you can.  What may be boring errands for you is an adventure for them!  Always ask permission first, but there are so many dog friendly stores out there who’d love to meet your pet!
  • Make new friends together!  There are often local Facebook or Meetup groups for dog owners in you area.  I know in Pittsburgh there is even a doodle-specific group!
  • Search for exciting things to do that are specific to your city or local area. I visit Discover the Burgh, Pittsburgh Beautiful and other local websites to find things in Pittsburgh that sound fun!
  • Create your own!  Don’t forget to take lots of photos to save your memories together forever!