Last Updated on July 29, 2020 by Jeremy
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and state the obvious- you know about the Pittsburgh skyline view on Grandview Avenue. This is perhaps the most iconic of all of the Pittsburgh overlooks that everyone visits time and time again.
And, if you're like us, you've also enjoyed the city's entrance through the Fort Pitt tunnels hundreds, if not thousands of times (although you can watch it again here if you need to see it just one more time), and probably enjoyed the skyline from PNC Park on many occasions, too.
Although these are some of the city's most iconic viewpoints, and are ones you see in just about every major publication about the city, we have many more gorgeous viewpoints that are missed by a good percentage of the city's residents and visitors.
To highlight some of our favorites, and share some of the more obscure ones you've likely never seen before, this guide was born!
Please note that our photos may include shots taken with ultra-wide or telephoto lenses. Actual distances vary, but all are pretty awesome- that we can assure you.
North Shore River Trail
If there is any view you've already seen of Pittsburgh on this list, the North Shore River Trial is likely it.
The reason we are featuring this one is because for the longest time we were also in the group of people who had never ventured down to this gorgeous trail.
It wasn't until we purchased bikes a few years back that we finally made it out, and it didn't take long for us to fall in love with the trail's many unique views.
Our personal favorite viewpoint on this trail comes from between the Clemente, Warhol, and Rachel Carson bridges as the perspective of the city is unlike any other thanks to the iconic bridges coming out in the foreground.
If you're looking for more incredible views, all you have to do is head slightly west and you'll reach PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Mr Rogers Memorial with some of the more unique angles of the city from ground level!
Free parking for the North Shore River Trail is found on River Avenue located approximately one mile east of PNC Park. For more sights as seen from our bike rides on the North Shore River Trail, click the previous link.
The Color Park in South Side
While there are also many spots along the trail to get a great skyline view, one of the more unusual ones is The Color Park- a small parklet painted with vibrant colors and graffiti off of 6th Street.
Do yourself a favor and check this one out. Although it is quite small, the colors and view will surely make you happy. After, walk a bit west (left if facing the river) to check out the views at Station Square and underneath the Fort Pitt Bridge!
There is a parking lot right next to The Color Park; however, note that access is reserved during the workweek. For those visiting Monday-Friday, you'll either want to park a few blocks away in permit areas (limited hours) or pay to park at a meter/lot nearby.
With a name like Fineview, you have to imagine that this North Side neighborhood has a pretty fine view.
Although not a grand view like that other appropriately named street we all know of (I can't help myself, sorry), the lookout on Fineview has a great perspective of the city that features many iconic buildings, PNC Park, Heinz Field, and several bridges which is a great complimentary spot to the more popular lookouts on Mount Washington.
One unique feature here is that there is also a local baseball diamond, Fineview Fields, visible in the foreground of the view- making Fineview's lookout perhaps the most beautiful place to watch amateur baseball in the city (with the Arlington Ballfield in South Side Slopes being a close second).
The Fineview viewpoint is located at the corner of Meadville Street and Catoma Street.
279 Overpass in the North Side
If you've driven into Pittsburgh from the North odds are good you know how beautiful the view is from the road.
For years we've driven on 279 often wondering if any of the bridges had a great city view. While some have partial views, we never really had any jump out at us as being a true ‘wow'- that is, until going out onto the pedestrian overpass close to the city.
This one is a truly stunning view because it is in close proximity to the city as well as the road, making it a great spot for photographers looking to capture light trails with the skyline all in one view!
The overpass is easily accessed from Howard Street in the North Side (on Fineview side). It is hard to spot but there is a small entryway/opening that leads to the overpass. Street parking on the opposing side of Howard is available.
The Convention Center
If you've ever spent time at the Convention Center, odds are good you know about the stunning views of the Allegheny River and the sister bridges from the outdoor patio near the main halls.
But did you know the convention center also has a patio with a view of downtown?
For this one you'll need to go up a few more floors and across one of the aerial walkways (also getting a great view into the main hall- especially cool if there is a convention going on). From there you can check out a couple of outdoor patio decks on the southern side of the convention center for some pretty great views of select downtown skyscrapers!
The convention center is located at 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd.
South Side Slopes
The hillside neighborhood of South Side Slopes is famous for its numerous staircases, many of which are official city roads due to cross-streets being almost impossible to build on the steep slopes. (One of our favorites, Yard Way, even makes our list of unique streets in Pittsburgh!)
Thanks to this neighborhood's proximity to downtown, the staircases here have many gorgeous views of Pittsburgh from various elevations. For those looking for a view, all you have to do is plan an afternoon walking around South Side Slopes and you'll be certain to see several great views of the city no matter which way you go!
There are numerous viewpoints in South Side Slopes, meaning this one is best explored through a long walk around the neighborhood's many staircases (especially during winter when the leaves have fallen off the trees).
For our favorite stairs in Southside Slopes, and a few more similar viewpoints you can see while driving around the neighborhood, click the previous link.
Now that we have a few of the more familiar views out of the way, let's move on to a few more obscure viewpoints we're sure you've never seen before!
Hot Metal Bridge
In being a city of bridges, we've done our best to avoid making this list be simply a selection of bridges where you can see the skyline.
Sure, we have several where you can see the city from your car, but this list we wanted to be a bit more than that where you can actually stop and appreciate the skyline at the same time.
The Hot Metal Bridge is the perfect place to do this because the pedestrian walkway is located on the city side and offers a stellar view, albeit at a distance (zoomed in image above), where you can appreciate the city's beauty while also standing on a piece of history as well- the bridge was designed for the steel mills after all!
The Hot Metal Bridge is located near South Side Works.
The Boy Scouts of America Building
The view at the Boy Scouts of America building is very similar to the view you would have in the parking lots for PPG Paints Arena as it is located right next door. We are including this one in our list for a number of reasons that make this view rather unique.
First of all, it has views of both the downtown skyline and the north (including North Side, the Strip District, and more).
Second, the parking lot contains a cast replica of the Liberty Bell with a display entitled “The Bell Speaks.” Visit this one, push the button on the side, and listen while enjoying the stunning view of the city.
The view at the Boy Scouts of America building is located adjacent to the parking lot at 1275 Bedford Avenue.
Reed Street in Terrace Village
The recently renovate housing district in Terrace Village is one of the most beautiful new developments in the city.
The view in this neighborhood is at the flagpoles located on Reed Street, which has a rather unique angle that is not obstructed with fencing or foliage like other views nearby.
So next time you are driving through the Hill District, do yourself a favor and make this quick detour to take a peek at the view!
The Staircase on Arch Street
If you follow us on Facebook, odds are good you've seen the view we share from our
headquarters house. Although we publish photos of our view quite frequently on social media and even have a Pittsburgh webcam streaming 24/7 on our site, we typically do not talk about our view much past this.
The reason for this is because Perry hilltop doesn't have a great public lookout like Mount Washington, Fineview, and other nearby neighborhoods have.
But there is one spot where you can capture a similar view to what we frequently share, and that is halfway up the staircase on Arch Street which connects the slope of Perry South to the Mexican War Streets.
This staircase is primarily used by locals, but is a perfect hidden spot for those looking for a new view at an angle you cannot find anywhere else (well, except for our social media channels of course)!
The staircase on Arch Street is located just two blocks north of Randyland, making catching this view a perfect (and quick) detour for when you've finished visiting the city's most colorful attraction. Much like the view in South Side Slopes, this one is best in winter although is still quite beautiful in the summer months.
St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Spring Hill
When it comes down to it, there are many cemeteries in Pittsburgh that are perched upon a hilltop overlooking the city. We're not ones to write about these too frequently out of respect, but sometimes a view is too unique that we have to take exception to this rule.
St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Spring Hill makes our list as it meets two important points.
First, it is situated on the top of a hill, giving it a unique angle you'll find nowhere else.
Second, it is the only publicly accessible view we know of in the neighborhood of Spring Hill (although if there was one between the houses below the cemetery, we'd suspect it'd look quite similar to the one from nearby Fineview). Combine these two points and you have one incredible view with a perspective unlike any other.
If you do decide to visit this cemetery to enjoy the view, please be mindful of where you are at, if others are nearby (especially those visiting loved ones), and of the posted hours at the gate.
The main entrance to St. John's Lutheran Cemetery is located on Buente Street in Spring Hill.
Manchester – Columbus Ave Overpass
Manchester offers an interesting vantage point of Pittsburgh from the northwest.
In this neighborhood you can frequently see the tops of the downtown skyscrapers, but more often than not it is only a glimpse. At the Columbus Avenue overpass, however, you get the full view of the city in one gorgeous frame (with the added bonus of the active railroad tracks below).
This one is good enough just for a drive by, but if you're in the area it is definitely worth a brief detour to catch a glimpse of this view.
This viewpoint is located on Columbus Avenue just near the intersection with California Avenue. There are a few holes in the fencing large enough for a camera where we got this photo.
California-Kirkbride – Sunday St. Steps
While you're in Manchester, head a few blocks North to Sunday St. in California-Kirkbride. Here you'll find a set of steps that heads parallel up the road on the way to Union Dale Cemetery.
On the way up you'll catch a beautiful clearing that offers a higher view of downtown Pittsburgh as well as a great angle to view the West End Bridge and Heinz Field!
The West End Overlook
When we first published this guide, we included the West End lookout along with Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington as being views of Pittsburgh you've more than likely seen before. But as we've quickly come to find out, that is not necessarily the case and we've been asked to add it in time and time again.
The West End Overlook is one of our favorite spots to view the skyline in Pittsburgh for one very simple reason, and that it looks directly onto the skyline while still having the three rivers in full view.
So while you may get that iconic angle everyone knows and loves from Grandview, the West End Overlook provides a very similar view that is just a bit different (and more off-the-beaten-path). For those who love to get a little bit creative with your skyline photos, the West End Overlook provides many numerous opportunities that you just don't get anywhere else.
The West End Overlook is located on Marlow Street in the West End.
Grandview Park is located roughly one mile down the road from the iconic views on the street with the same name, and despite having stellar views of the city does not receive the kind of foot traffic you would expect.
Although we love this one any time of day, we think it is best to visit at dusk on Saturdays in the summer months for the Cinema in the Park series as the park transforms into the best movie theater in town!
Grandview Park is located off Bailey Avenue on Mount Washington.
Ollie's Gastropub in the Oliver Building
Although there are several buildings in downtown Pittsburgh you can go up at least a few floors as a member of the public, we know of none higher than Ollie's Gastropub in the Oliver Building- part of the Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh Hotel (click to read our review!).
Not only does this gastropub serve incredible cocktails, perhaps the best from a hotel bar in downtown Pittsburgh, their view is second to none.
From the windows of the gastropub itself you have striking views of PPG Place, the Duquesne Incline, and a view that looks straight onto homeplate of PNC Park.
On the other side of the lobby is the hotel's fine dining restaurant/open seating areas, and the windows here look out onto South Side and the Monongahela Incline as well as close-up views of the Gulf Tower (with its iconic weather beacon), the Koppers Building, and many other Pittsburgh landmarks.
With so many gorgeous viewing angles in one location, this is one spot definitely worth checking out for a few drinks, or staying the night like we did!
The Oliver Building is located between Oliver Avenue and Sixth Avenue at Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh. To book a night at this hotel to enjoy the views for yourself on your next visit to Pittsburgh, click here. (By booking through our hotel links we'll receive a small commission that helps keep this site running!)
Washington's Landing (Herr's Island)
Washington's Landing is an island on the Allegheny River located at the base of Troy Hill. Aside from having a rich history and now being home to residences and many businesses, the island also features an incredible view of downtown Pittsburgh!
Visit this one at its own “Point” (albeit one not nearly as exciting as the confluence of the three rivers) for a great river-side view of Pittsburgh from the north west!
Washington's Landing connects up to the North Shore River Trail, and this view can be found just next to the connector- perfect for bikers and walkers!
Robert E Williams Memorial Park
Just a few blocks over in the Hill District is the Robert E Williams Memorial Park, located on Milwaukee Street.
This park is a small green space that is also home to a water reservoir thanks to its location at what we consider to be one of (if not the) highest point in central Pittsburgh.
The reservoir itself has a walking trail around it dedicated to Christopher A. Smith, a city council member in the mid-90s, and offers a stunning 360 degree view of the city with downtown Pittsburgh, the Cathedral of Learning, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, and more all being visible within a brief walk around.
This one has quite a bit of trees obstructing most of the potential views in the summer, so we have to say that visiting in the fall or winter when the leaves are gone may be your best bet!
Robert E Williams Memorial Park is located at Milwaukee Street in the Hill District.
Pittview Avenue in Reserve Township
With a name like Pittview Avenue, there has to be a great view of Pittsburgh, right? Right.
This one is a quick glimpse of the city between the trees right near the bend and the intersection with Arlington Township, so it is a very quick glance for those passing through.
In early 2018 there was a landslide along this road and part of Pittview Avenue was washed out further west of the viewpoint, which means two things. First, the view is only accessible from the Millvale Side (so be prepared for a streep drive up Logan Street), and second, the view is just past where the no passing sign is hosted making it perfect for foot traffic.
This is not going to always be the case, but if you want to check out a good view of the city without a bit of danger from cars passing by, now is the time. (We will update this post once the road re-opens if/when that happens.)
If visiting this one, please be mindful that it is on a residential street.
Duquesne University is a stunning college campus located right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.
Naturally, aside from the beautiful campus buildings there are also numerous opportunites for a beautiful city view throughout the campus. Take a walk around this one for stunning city views as well as views of Mount Washington, South Side, and the Monongahela River!
Duquesne University is located off of Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.
Greenfield – Bigelow and Waldeck
The hilly neighborhood of Greenfield offers many commanding views of the skyline. Some of the best views are found on Bigelow street as it runs almost perfectly inline with the Monongahela River just down the hill.
If you continue down Bigelow St. approaching the city, the road turns into Waldeck Street, a twisty and often pot hole filled road that connects up to Greenfield Avenue.
We don't recommend driving on this one, but the view at this junction is quite spectacular. In one direction is the city, and turn ever-so-slightly to the north and you'll see a commanding view of the Cathedral of Learning as well!
This viewpoint is located at the intersection of Bigelow and Waldeck. A staircase exists connecting this intersection to Greenfield Avenue at the Swinburn Bridge (which also has a similar view). We do not recommend driving on Waldeck other than parking at the top of the staircase.
Schenley Park Overlook
Schenley Park is one of the largest green spaces in Pittsburgh, and within it is many wonderful things to do.
The Schenley Park Overlook is one of our favorite spots in this park as it offers a commanding view of the Pittsburgh skyline (and a play place for children- we're jealous of their view).
This is one of the furthest overlooks on Pittsburgh's eastern side, so it is a bit far away from downtown itself. But if you are looking for a stunning view you'll do right by checking it out all the same. After, go out and enjoy the park!
The Schenley Park Overlook can be found on Overlook Drive, just off the main road. There is a parking loop at the highest point of the road- you can't miss it.
From the Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning is the star skyscraper on Pitt's campus, and is famous for its gothic design and Nationality Rooms tour. But did you also know that the 36th floor (the Honors College floor) is the highest publicly accessible floor in the building, and is a spot that offers some fairly stellar views of the city including Oakland (with Phipps Conservatory), downtown, and the surrounding hills?
This one is definitely worth a trip to check out next time you are in the Cathedral!
The Cathedral of Learning is located at 4200 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Apologies for the bad photo here, it was quite hazy when we took our trip up. Will be getting a better photo soon!
From the Ohio River
Although Pittsburgh's rivers are famous, how many of you can actually say that you've been out on them on a boat tour? It took us many years of living in the city to make this one happen, and we're certainly not alone in having not witnessed the skyline by boat.
The viewpoints you can get on the river are indeed quite similar to what you can experience on the city's roads and bridges, but something about it is different and more intimate.
On the road you may catch a fleeting glimpse as you roll by, but by boat you can drop anchor, stay a while, and watch the day go by. For that, we think this is one view that can't be missed.
From the Air on a Helicopter Tour
When flying commercially, you may be lucky and have your plane fly over the city for a quick glimpse of the skyline from a distance. But did you also know that you can take a helicopter tour to get a much more intimate view of the skyline we all love?
We took a Pittsburgh helicopter tour with Stellar Copters, and the 12-mile helicopter ride allowed us to take in the skyline from a vantage point we've never seen before (plus tons of other local favorites like the Cathedral of Learning, Phipps Conservatory, and more)!
But be warned, these tours are brief and you will walk away wanting to do them again and again. We know we did.
The Point of View Statue on Mount Washington
Okay, you got me! There is one viewpoint on Mount Washington that we were surprised many people have never been to before, and that is the Point of View Statue featuring George Washington and Seneca leader Guyasuta.
This incredible statue, which recreates one of their famous meetings which are said to have taken place in the region, is located a few minutes west of the Duquense Incline by foot.
The lookout next to the statue features a sweeping view of the city's iconic skyline without any obstructions like the fencing or buildings you would see at the Incline's lookout. Many local Pittsburghers know about this one; however, every time I share a photo on social media or find myself in the Incline station I always hear many people say they never knew it was there.
As this is one of my favorite spots in the entire city, it is well worth mentioning again just in case you happened to be unaware of this one as well.
If this is your first time hearing about the Point of View Statue, or any of the above viewpoints featured in this article, do yourself a favor and get in your car right now to go check them out. You won't regret it!
To visit the Point of View Statue if riding the Duquesne Incline, exit the station and turn right. The statue is just a few hundred feet up the hill (a 3-4 minute walk) and is located right outside Monterey Bay Fish Grotto- you can't miss it. If driving, you can use this restaurant as a reference point and park on one of the side streets- although note the permit limits and street cleaning days.
So, how many of these Pittsburgh skyline views have you seen before? Comment below to let us know about it or to suggest another lesser-known view for us to add to this list!
Looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh while you're out exploring the views? Click the previous link to find 365+ spots to enjoy in the city!