Sowntown Pittsburgh Apartment Recos
October 18, 2011 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Looking for downtown Pittsburgh apartment recommendations.

I'm moving to Pittsburgh in December and want to live downtown. I'm looking to spend between $900 and $1200 per month for a one bedroom (around 600 square feet or less would be ideal). My ideal pad would be something like this, and I'm going to check that place out, but I need more recommendations from Pittsburgh experts (I've only been once, for like 48 hours; the linked complex might be out of my price range, depending on availability, as the one-bedrooms appear to START at around $1175).

For what it's worth: I have a small dog; I'm about to turn 30; I work from home; I like places where lots of stuff is going on (the place I live now in Houston, which I love, has four restaurants in the lobby and is surrounded by big buildings).

(BTW: I'm asking this as ANON because, for various reasons, I haven't started telling people/work that I'm moving yet. I hope that's cool.)
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you sure that you want to live in downtown Pittsburgh? It can be very dead outside of 9-5 because it's really more of a financial district than a place people live. The Strip District has a bunch of shops, but I'm also under the impression that there's not much there outside of the weekend markets. Oakland/Shadyside/Squirrel Hill have a lot more stuff because of the universities. There are some lofts in the gentrifying area near the Whole Foods in Shadyside, as well as some nice apartments actually connected to the Market District Giant Eagle in that area.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:40 AM on October 18, 2011

Mini-Pittsburgh geography lesson: the Cork Factory, which you linked to, isn't actually Downtown, it's in the Strip District. Since you specified downtown, I assume that's where you'll be working? If so, I'd recommend you consider Downtown, the Strip District, and the North Side as potential neighborhoods to expand your options. They are all very close to downtown and an easy commute via car, bus ride, bike ride, or even walk if the weather is nice.

But, traffic in Pittsburgh isn't bad compared to a lot of cities, so really any location in the city might be good for you. Other likely neighborhoods for nice apartments include Oakland/Shadyside/Squirrel Hill, as asphericalcow mentioned, and I'd also consider Lawrenceville.
posted by jonathanweber at 11:44 AM on October 18, 2011

Oh duh, just saw that you said "I work from home." In that case, who cares about a commute. Any of the neighborhoods I mentioned are good choices for places with a lot of stuff going on, close by.
posted by jonathanweber at 11:47 AM on October 18, 2011

Yeah, echoing the other folks -- I think rather than "I want to live downtown", you really just mean you don't want to live in the suburbs.
posted by inigo2 at 12:00 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Echoing warnings about Downtown. Neighborhoods that might suit you and are close to places where "a lot of stuff is going on" include Lawrenceville, Bloomfield/Friendship, Shadyside/Squirrel Hill (Oakland is iffier because of the huge student population), and the South Side (this last depends on whether you REALLY like being around stuff, noise, and drunk people). I like Regent Square a lot, but it might be a touch suburban for your tastes. Similarly, Highland Park has a lot of nice houses/apartments and has its own little business district, but might be a bit removed from the center of things for you.

Pretty much anyplace inside the triangle formed by the convergence of the Monongahela and Allegheny could be a good bet for you. Also, the part of the city immediately north of the Allegheny (the North Side, particularly Allegheny West, the Mexican War Streets, and the nice bit of Deutschtown), and the part of the city immediately south of the Mon (the South Side) could fit the bill nicely.
posted by kataclysm at 12:10 PM on October 18, 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed living on Ellsworth Avenue whilst in Bschool almost a decade ago - a huge groundfloor studio room with a kitchen and bath and a small hall for 500. The prices would have most certainly gone up but the street itself was well connected by public transport and quiet yet just a couple of blocks away were Oak Street and Bellefonte (I was on the corner of Bellefonte and Ellsworth) - full of restaurants, shops and bars. The supermarket was also a couple of blocks away on the other direction (I don't drive), there was a Japanese grocery and a full service laundry. Lovely area.
posted by infini at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2011

Sadly, our downtown turns into a ghost town on weekends and after 5, save for the cultural district. Some businesses have tried to offer incentives to get people to live there, but without a functioning downtown grocery, it's hard.

Very recently, a lovely organic grocery store closed in the Strip District, basically because they couldn't support themselves with so few residents in the neighborhood. You can still potentially do all of your shopping there, but across various stores, perhaps. And deal with throngs of people on weekends. The Strip is the kind of neighborhood that is ethnic groceries during the day, night clubs at night, but what happens when you need toilet paper at night instead of a good place to dance?

You may want to consider the more residential areas of the South Side. As Kataclysm mentioned, that area can vary depending on where you are (proximity to bars) but you might want to peek at the South Side Works area. There are residences there that would leave you well within an easy hike to the larger South Side attractions, but also in a close distance to a trendy shopping/dining area. A few years ago several larger old warehouses in that area were converted into lofts/apartments (the real estate agent told us to help house the new FBI employees down there) - so you can broaden out from that center. If you have to pick, lean towards the "slopes" side (away from the river) - fewer drunks (less willing to climb the hills).

In some of the other neighborhoods mentioned, I'm not sure you're going to find the large buildings like the Cork Factory, but do encourage you to look at the ones mentioned above. Lawrenceville is super hot right now with lots of cute shops and dining. Shadyside and Squirrel Hill are both standard good areas for people as well. Good luck!
posted by librarianamy at 12:50 PM on October 18, 2011

I really recommend Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Lawrenceville and Bloomfield/Friendship.

My wife and I live on Ellsworth in Shadyside and love it - not only because we live 50 feet away from great food / drinks at The Harris Grill and Bites N' Brews, but because there are many many options even within a 10 minute walk.

And if we want more variety, there's even more within a ten-minute bike ride!

And even more within a 10 minute car ride!

Pittsburghers are also super friendly, so feel free to memail me or anyone else and we'll happily answer any questions.
posted by glaucon at 1:52 PM on October 18, 2011

My wife and I live in Squirrel Hill and absolutely love it.

The Cork Factory is pretty darn nice, and that section wouldn't be too bad - you would have the Strip to hang out and explore on th weekends.

You may also want to look into Shadyside (parking sucks) and Lawrenceville too.

Bloomfield is not too bad but there are some shady kids in that area sometimes.
posted by punkrockrat at 6:26 PM on October 18, 2011

This is what I said about Greenfield in the previous thread. There's not a huge night life, and it's definitely more residential than other places, but it is a nice quiet place to live.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 11:43 PM on October 18, 2011

« Older Where do I get electronics parts in Brooklyn?   |   Disclose or not? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.