Mt. Washington In Pittsburgh

Beautiful Mt. Washington

history of Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington is a neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s South Side. It is best known for its steep hill that overlooks the entire Pittsburgh skyline. In its early days, the neighborhood was known as “Coal Hill,” however Coal Hill was actually on the south bank of the Monongahela River. Several mines operated at the base of Mt. Washington and rock was quarried from the hill (including gray sandstone for the Allegheny County Courthouse. In 1876, the name of Mt. Washington was officially born and just one year later, the first drawing of the majestic view of Pittsburgh was made. The hairpin trails that wound around the steep mountain were hardly passable to horses lugging loaded wagons. Mostly German immigrants settled on Mt. Washington and eventually grew fed up with hiking home after work every day. They thought of the inclines (Seilbahns) from back home and they soon constructed the Monongahela Incline in 1870 and later the Duquesne Incline. Those inclines carried horses and wagons as well as pedestrians.

Discovering the Beauty of Mt. Washington, Pittsburgh

With its steep hill offering captivating views of the Pittsburgh skyline, Mount Washington has been hailed as one of the most beautiful vistas in America. Let’s take  a journey through the rich history, vibrant culture, and notable attractions that make Mount Washington a must-visit destination.

A Glimpse into the Past

The history of Mt. Washington dates back to the early settlements in downtown Pittsburgh. The hill’s strategic vantage point played a vital role during battles for control of the region. As peace was restored, the discovery of coal in the hillside fueled Pittsburgh’s industrial boom. Originally named Coal Hill because of the coal deposits that were visible to the eye as the beginning of the great Pittsburgh Coal Seam, the neighborhood witnessed rapid expansion as the mining industry flourished. Over time, housing developments emerged atop Mount Washington, accompanied by the construction of funicular inclines to provide transportation in the absence of roads.

Towards the end of the mining boom, the neighborhood was renamed Mount Washington to honor the first President of the United States. Local officials embarked on an ambitious journey to revitalize the neighborhood, transforming it into the vibrant and picturesque community it is today. While the industrial landscape has changed, Mount Washington remains a popular residential area with a plethora of restaurants and, of course, the iconic view of Pittsburgh that captivates all who visit.

Exploring Mount Washington: Restaurants and Bars

Mt. Washington boasts a small but thriving restaurant scene, offering a variety of dining options to suit every palate. The neighborhood can be divided into three main areas, each with its own distinct culinary offerings.

Grandview Avenue: Fine Dining with a View

Grandview Avenue is home to several fine dining establishments that not only offer exquisite cuisine but also provide patrons with breathtaking views of the city. Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, located on the top floor of a tall residential building, offers an impressive selection of fresh seafood and sushi, making it ideal for romantic evenings or group gatherings. Altius, another upscale American dining establishment, is renowned for its incredible view and exceptional cuisine. Reservations are highly recommended for both venues.

Shiloh Street: Casual Eateries and Bar & Grills

Shiloh Street, near the Monongahela Incline, is lined with casual eateries and bar & grills. Grandview Saloon & Coal Hill Steakhouse is a popular spot for those seeking a relaxing atmosphere, delicious food, and a stunning view of the city. Coughlin’s Law, a modern gastropub, offers a partial skyline view, happy hour specials, and a delectable smoked burger. Bigham Tavern is another hidden gem, known for its mouthwatering burgers and wings. For sports enthusiasts, Redbeards is a dedicated sports bar and grill with daily specials and a spacious outdoor patio area. The Summit, a full-service bar, is a favorite hangout spot for both residents and visitors.

Bailey Avenue: Personal Favorites and Unique Dining Experiences

As you make your way towards Grandview Park on Bailey Avenue, you’ll find a few great spots. La Tavola, an Italian restaurant, offers an authentic dining experience with homemade pastas and delectable desserts. Kavsar, an Uzbeki restaurant, provides a unique culinary adventure with its diverse menu. Joe Cestone’s Pizza and Fox’s Pizza are the go-to spots for a quick and delicious slice of pizza. DiFiore’s Ice Cream Delite and Grand Brew Coffee satisfy your sweet tooth with their delectable treats and hot beverages.

Scenic Viewpoints and Inclines: A Feast for the Eyes

Mt. Washington is renowned for its stunning scenic viewpoints, offering unparalleled vistas of the Pittsburgh skyline. Visitors have several options to choose from when it comes to taking in the breathtaking views.

Grandview Avenue near the Monongahela Incline provides a panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh. This viewpoint allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the city while enjoying the fresh air and enchanting surroundings.

The Duquesne Incline Lookout offers a unique angled orientation that has become iconic in photographs capturing the essence of Mount Washington.

Just a few minutes away from the Duquesne Incline lies the Point of View Statue. This spot not only offers unobstructed views of the city but also features a stunning statue depicting George Washington and Guyasuta during one of their meetings in the region. For photography enthusiasts, this spot is a must-visit. If you’re up for a hike, the “George and Guy” trail behind the statue takes you around the backside of Mount Washington, offering picturesque views of the city and the West End Bridge.

Grandview Park, located further east from Grandview Avenue, provides a natural setting where you can take in the city’s captivating beauty against the backdrop of a serene park. The park hosts various activities, including yoga sessions and movie screenings, allowing visitors to enjoy the iconic view while engaging in recreational pursuits.

To truly experience the charm of Mount Washington, a ride on the historic Pittsburgh inclines is a must. The Monongahela Incline, starting at Station Square in the South Side, offers a scenic journey to Grandview Avenue. The Duquesne Incline, located farther west, provides another opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views while also delving into the history of the inclines. These inclines not only serve as transportation options but also offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of Mount Washington.

Chatham Village: A Serene Retreat

Within Mount Washington lies Chatham Village, an enchanting sub-neighborhood that exudes charm and tranquility. Designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright in the 1930s, Chatham Village showcases unique Georgian Colonial Revival-style houses that stand apart from the architectural landscape of the city. It has been declared a National Historic Landmark, and its lush, natural environment provides a serene retreat away from the bustling downtown area. While Chatham Village does not feature businesses or restaurants, it offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

Practical Information for Your Visit

When planning your visit to Mt. Washington, it’s important to consider transportation options. While walking is an option for some, the neighborhood’s attractions are spread out, making driving the preferred mode of transportation.

Paid parking is available at the bottom of both inclines, providing easy access to the viewpoints. If you wish to experience the full incline journey, parking near the inclines is a convenient option. However, if you plan to explore the viewpoints on foot, street parking is readily available on Mount Washington.

For those looking to extend their visit beyond Mount Washington, Station Square in the South Side offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. It also serves as a transportation hub, providing access to additional dining and nightlife experiences in the area.

Mt. Washington is a neighborhood that captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring views, rich history, and vibrant culture. From the panoramic vistas along Grandview Avenue to the charming Chatham Village, this picturesque community offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm. Whether you choose to savor a fine dining experience, explore the inclines, or simply indulge in the breathtaking scenery, Mount Washington promises an unforgettable adventure. Discover the beauty of Mount Washington and create memories that will last a lifetime.

9 thoughts on “Mt. Washington In Pittsburgh”

  1. Dolores & George Preisinger

    Thank you so very much — from 2 people who grew up in Pittsburgh. We so appreciate pictures and articles about the city.

  2. Pingback: Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: Mt. Washington - Pitt...

  3. Thank you for the article from Mt. Washington, my neighborhood for over 16 yrs. It’s hard not to fall in love with this area and a prime tourist location. The view from Mt. Washington is priceless!!

  4. I am from Pittsburgh, when I bring my family &friends to visit I make sure we ride the incline and watch the city. They are always so scared at first and amazed at the view
    Thank you for sharing this article.

  5. Best place in the US to watch fireworks on Fourth of July! Used to go to the carnival at ST Mary’s! Miss my hometown.

  6. Bill and Marge Blanc

    We lived on Grandview Ave., husband graduated from Duquesne University, we were married at St. Mary’s of The Mount, Feb. 1961, we loved Mt. Washington, the incline, looking out our window at the city, Tambellinis Restaurant and many dinners at the Point View overlooking the city. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Pittsburgh.

  7. I grew up on Greenleaf St. in the 1950s. My dad, like most Mt. Washington people worked downtown for the Pgh Press. He took the incline every day. I still remember the stables behind houses that were mostly abandoned then but our neighbors had one and kept horses then. Because of the inversions it didn’t show always good and so it had a community of people who knew each other for generations. It was a real neighborhood. I don’t think this is the case today. The feeling then was, study hard, do good and earn enough money to move to the suburbs.

    1. Michael Rectenwald

      I too grew up in Duquesne Heights (Sweetbriar St) in the 50-60’s, and moved in the early 70’s. I barely remember the “other” incline that was located by Greenleaf St. to the West end. And I’ll be darned if I can find any pictures or proper references to that incline. What do you remember about it?

      1. If you lived on Sweetbriar St you must have went by the Duquesne Incline all the time. It was by the LeMont Restaurant which in the 1950s was a movie theatre. Across the street in the 1950s was the A&P and a drug store and a soda fountain and a bakery. It was downtown Duquesne Heights. The incline goes from Mt. Washington to what was the North pole Ice Cream plant by the Monongahela river and close to the Ft. Pitt Bridge. A picture of it is below. My Aunt Mary Rectenwald lived on Virginia Ave. Were you related to her?

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