Mount Washington holds a special place in the hearts of many Pittsburghers as it is home to what is often considered to be the billion dollar view of the city. For us, we have many fond memories of Mount Washington as it was also the neighborhood we called home for many years.
Although we may not live there anymore, we find ourselves visiting this neighborhood quite often to take in its many parks, good selection of restaurants, and to photograph the iconic viewpoint. To share all of the wonderful things to experience on Mount Washington, including the viewpoints and beyond, this neighborhood guide was born!
It is worth noting that the following is not a collection of every business on Mount Washington. This article only features businesses that we personally visit when we explore the neighborhood. As such, it should only be taken as a starting point and is certainly not a list of every establishment.
If you see an interesting store while walking around Mount Washington, do yourself a favor and go inside!
Mount Washington History and Map
The history of Mount Washington goes back to the days of the original settlements in what is now downtown Pittsburgh as the mount's view offered a strategic vantage point for the early settlers (and their enemies) during the many battles that occurred for control of the region.
Once peace was restored, the discovery of coal in the hillside helped ignite Pittsburgh's industrial boom.
It is because of this that the original name of the neighborhood was Coal Hill, and the rapid expansion of the mining industry (and later steel-making and other industries along the Monongahela river) made this neighborhood a prime spot for employment.
Over time the influx of workers became so great that housing began to open on top of Mount Washington, and numerous funicular inclines soon followed to provide transportation as roads were not yet available.
Towards the end of the mining boom the neighborhood was renamed Mount Washington to honor the first President (who was arguably the region's most famous visitor during the early days of the city), and local officials put significant effort into rehabilitating the neighborhood into what it is today.
Most of the industry that Mount Washington was known for is now gone, as are several of the funiculars (only two remain), and the neighborhood is currently a popular residential spot with several restaurants and the iconic view of Pittsburgh we all know and love.
Mount Washington is located on a hilltop directly south of the city of Pittsburgh.
The generally accepted boundaries are Route 19 to the south and Grandview Avenue to the north (marking the ends of the hill on the bottom and top respectively), and Hallock Street to the west and Warrington Avenue to the east.
The neighborhood of Duquesne Heights is located on the same hilltop immediately west of Mount Washington and has the base of the hill marking its western border. As this neighborhood is primarily residential apart from just a few restaurants and the best viewpoint in the city, many consider this to be Mount Washington by geographical proxy.
All businesses and attractions in Duquesne Heights are also included in this guide for simplicity.
All of the businesses featured below are included in the above map. To read our review or visit the shop's site, either click the link in the map above or in our post below when available!
Map pins used via Creative Commons by Maps Icons Collection
Mount Washington Restaurants and Bars
Mount Washington has a small but thriving restaurant scene, and depending on what you are looking for it can be broken up into three main areas of the neighborhood as is illustrated in the above map.
The first area is along Grandview Avenue and contains fine dining establishments which, as the name suggests, all have fantastic views (most with prices to match).
The second area is along Shiloh Street near the Monongahela Incline and features several bar & grills and less formal establishments.
The third is further off Shiloh Street as you make your way towards Grandview Park on Bailey Avenue which also features a few of our personal favorite spots.
Although the following list is not a complete selection of Mount Washington restaurants and bars, it is a great starting place for visitors:
Monterey Bay Fish Grotto – Featuring what is perhaps the best view of the city, Monterey Bay Fish Grotto is located on the top floor of a tall residential building on the edge of Mount Washington and serves an impressive collection of fresh fish, sushi, and other items that make it perfect for large groups or a romantic evening. Reservations required.
Altius – If upscale American dining with an incredible view is what you desire, Altius on Grandview Avenue is for you. This is one fine dining restaurant that has been earning rave reviews since its recent opening. Reservations required.
Grandview Saloon & Coal Hill Steakhouse – Although also home to a steakhouse and robust food menu, Grandview Saloon is, first and foremost, a bar. So if you're looking for a place to unwind with a few drinks and one of the best views of the city you can find, this is the place for you.
LeMont – Those with large parties looking for a banquet style meal with Pittsburgh's gorgeous view will want to check out LeMont, one of the premier restaurant and reception venues in Pittsburgh.
Shiloh Grill – This bar and grill on Shiloh Street is the sister restaurant of Harris Grill, with locations in Shadyside and Downtown, and features an extensive bar menu with popular items including deep fried cheese curds (limited availability) and a bacon night special on Tuesdays after happy hour (free bacon at the bar and $1 baskets at tables)!
Coughlin's Law – A modern gastropub with a partial skyline view, stellar happy hour specials, and a delicious smoked burger.
Bigham Tavern – Another modern gastropub tucked away from the action on Bigham Street. Go for their big burgers and wings!
Micro Diner – A short-order restaurant that is as large as its name suggests. Great quick breakfast and lunch specials, as well as extremely late-night hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pack & Dogs – This mix-and-match six pack shop is also a popular spot for quick draft beers and gourmet hot dogs made to order.
Redbeards – A dedicated sports bar and grill serving up bar staples, daily specials, and a large outdoor patio area.
The Summit – The Summit is a full service bar that offers craft cocktails, one of the best happy hours in Pittsburgh, and gourmet food- making this one of the prime hangouts for residents of Mount Washington and visitors alike.
Satalio's – A neighborhood bar with an impressive skyline view. Cheap drinks and a modest selection of craft beer!
Grandview Bakery – Although not a restaurant, this bakery located on Shiloh Street is home to delicious breads, gourmet desserts, and a large selection of baking supplies for purchase. Be sure to try their lemon bars as they are a personal favorite.
La Tavola – One of our favorite restaurants in the city, La Tavola is the place to go if you want the slow Italian dining experience. With amazing fried calamari, homemade pastas, killer desserts (try the dolce amore), and a BYOB policy, this is one we go back to again and again. Be sure to make a reservation and plan for a long evening.
Kavsar – Those looking for something a bit different will love to try the Uzbeki restaurant Kavsar. Go in with an open mind and an empty stomach and you'll be guaranteed to find something delicious. Just be sure not to take any vegetarians!
Joe Cestone's Pizza and Fox's Pizza – The two staple pizza shops are always available for a quick meal and their prime location make them easily accessible for visitors and, more importantly, locals.
DiFiore's Ice Cream Delite and Grand Brew Coffee – This coffee shop and ice cream parlor is a bit of a Mount Washington icon as the owner personally mans the shop and prides himself on never missing a day of work- ever. Although the items at these shops aren't going to win any awards, if you're looking for a quick treat or hot beverage, it is the first spot many venture to.
An additional selection of restaurants, including many popular chains like the Hard Rock Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack, is located at the bottom of the Monongahela Incline in Station Square in the South Side. This neighborhood also has a more robust nightlife scene for those who want to keep things going after the businesses on Mount Washington close down (just don't stay out too late or the Incline might be closed, too!).
Scenic Viewpoints, Activities, and the Inclines
When it comes to scenic viewpoints on Mount Washington you have numerous options.
Although the park system at large is known as Emerald View Park (and spans the length of Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights on both the front and back sides), we like to break up the natural settings and viewpoints into a few key spots that most visitors come to see, including the following:
- Grandview Avenue near the Monongahela Incline: Here you are able to take in views of the city while directly facing downtown.
- The Duquesne Incline Lookout: Here you are able to take in views of the city with the iconic, angled orientation featured in many photos within this post.
- The Point of View Statue: Located just a few minutes further west of the Duquesne Incline by walking (or turning right as you exit the building), this spot has unobstructed views of the city as well as an incredibly gorgeous statue depicting George Washington and Guyasuta during one of their meetings in the region. For those who are driving, this one is located right in front of Monterey Bay Fish Grotto for a GPS reference point.
- This is Discover the Burgh's preferred spot for Pittsburgh photos. If you are looking to hike, head down the “George and Guy” trail to the left of the statue (behind the railing). This will take you around the back side of Mount Washington and offers some pretty nice views of the city and the West End Bridge. Admittedly, this one is better in winter when the leaves are off the trees. For a map of the trail, click here.
- Grandview Park: This park is located further east from Grandview Avenue, and offers direct views of the city in a natural setting. When the weather is good this park is also home to many activities including yoga and movie screenings with the city's iconic view in the background.
Visitors to Mount Washington may also be interested in riding one of the two remaining funicular inclines in the city, which have since become icons of Pittsburgh. In the late 1800s and early 1900s funiculars were the primary modes of transportation up and down the city's hills, and over the following decades all but the Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines were removed.
The Monongahela Incline starts at Station Square in the South Side and ends on Grandview Avenue at the intersection with Shiloh Street where many of the moderately priced restaurants and bars are located. Pricing for this incline is tied into the Pittsburgh Port Authority which allows for transfers on local buses and the light rail line located right at the bottom of the incline.
The Duquesne Incline starts farther west at a metered parking lot along Carson Street and ends on Grandview Avenue a few blocks from Monterey Bay Fish Grotto and a few other fine dining restaurants.
Pricing for this incline is regulated through the non-profit association that manages it, but they do accept bus passes and tickets as payment. For those who want the best views and also wish to learn more about the history of the inclines, this incline is the one we recommend.
Note that both Inclines are cash only and request exact change which we recommend bringing in advance as the change machines are not entirely reliable. For current pricing, please check out the websites for the Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline as although pricing is currently the same for both inclines, this could change in the future.
The Point of View Statue is also the starting point for a 2.5 mile hiking trail, called the “George and Guy Hike,” which loops around the side of Duquesne Heights in Emerald View Park. Although the views can be obstructed on this trail, it is a fun hike all the same if you find yourself with an hour or more to spare.
One very interesting and lesser talked about sub-neighborhood within Mount Washington is Chatham Village. The gorgeous houses in this neighborhood were designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright in the 1930s, and in 2005 the neighborhood was declared a National Historic Landmark.
The houses were built in Georgian Colonial Revival style and are quite unique when compared to the building types found in the rest of the city.
The neighborhood as a whole was built within the Garden City movement which gives it a lush, natural environment that feels quite removed from downtown even though it is located in close proximity to everything.
Although this quiet neighborhood does not offer businesses or restaurants apart from an odd corner store on the outskirts, if you are looking for a scenic walk somewhere new and quiet, this one is definitely worth considering. Please note that Chatham Village is a somewhat private community so please follow all posted instructions when it comes to parking and exploring as there are restrictions in place.
Grab Pittsburgh Gear at love, Pittsburgh
This neighborhood guide doesn't cover shopping options on Mount Washington, but we do have to make an exception for one store- love, Pittsburgh.
This one focuses on all things Pittsburgh, be it from city branded gear to products made from local artisans.
If you are visiting and are looking for a gift or souvenir, or are a local and just want to add more Pittsburgh products to your collection, head over to their location on Shiloh Street to check them out!
Information for Visiting Mount Washington
One of the troubles with visiting Mount Washington is that you have numerous options for getting in and exploring.
As many of the things to see and do on Mount Washington are between the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, you'd be covering a distance of approximately one mile if you decided to cover these on foot, plus another mile or so to reach Grandview Park. So although walking may be an option for some, driving between the sights is the preferred method.
Naturally, deciding on where to park can be a concern.
For visitors looking to take in the viewpoints, paid parking is abundant at the bottom of both inclines and charges by the hour.
If you've never visited Mount Washington before and wish to ride the incline for the full experience, this is a very good option; however, you'll have to backtrack if you walk around at the top of Mount Washington as walking on the road at the bottom is not recommended.
For those who want to take in the viewpoints but do not necessarily need to ride one of the inclines, street parking is readily available on Mount Washington. For the most part Grandview Avenue (the main road) has a mix of metered parking, permit parking, and restricted parking, but depending on the time of day you visit finding a spot may be difficult.
Many of the side streets from there are also permit parking which, albeit free, will have hourly limits in effect. There are also a few non-permit cross streets, including Maple Terrace among several others. This option works well for those who wish to visit multiple spots on Mount Washington and do not want to walk.
Mount Washington has a metered parking lot on Shiloh Street which is illustrated on our above map as well.
Be aware that streets on Mount Washington are narrow, so do not be surprised if you see many cars mounting the curb to park and have to do the same yourself. Also note that Pittsburgh maintains regular street cleaning so look for posted posted signs indicating what days parking is restricted.
Hotels Near Mt. Washington
Unfortunately, there are no hotels currently listed on Mount Washington.
For those who are visiting and want to stay near the iconic views, we suggest looking into the Sheraton Station Square, located directly across from the bottom station of the Monongahela Incline in the South Side.
Many of the rooms here have ground level views of the city, and the hotel boasts easy access to the Incline and light rail, making it a great option for those who want to explore downtown or the North Side as well.
Now that we’ve shared all of our favorite spots in Mount Washington, it is your turn to head over and check it out for yourself! Find a spot we didn’t feature in this list that you love? Comment below to let us know about it!
Are you a local business on Mount Washington that would like to be featured in this guide? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Read Our Latest Mount Washington Posts
Check out our latest posts from Mount Washington at the following links:
- Coughlin's Law Review – A Gastropub With A View on Mount Washington
- Monterey Bay Fish Grotto Review – Dinner With a View on Mt. Washington
- Bigham Tavern Review – A Hidden Gem on Mount Washington
- La Tavola Pizza – A Hidden Shop at One of Pittsburgh's Top Restaurants
- Altius Pittsburgh Review – Fine Dining With a View on Mount Washington