Photo by Brian Conway.

The name Allentown may be better known as a city in Eastern Pennsylvania than a Pittsburgh neighborhood, but it’s just as well. This tiny community tucked between the South Side Slopes and Mount Washington offers a respite from tourists and the nonstop hubbub of East Carson Street. A three-block business district has fun and funky shops and restaurants like Black Forge Coffee, Leon’s Caribbean and Paisano’s pizza, and Grandview Park offers breathtaking views of the Downtown skyline.

Sharpsburg Library
The Sharpsburg Community Library. Photo by Melanie Linn Gutowski.

Sharpsburg in lieu of Aspinwall
Sharpsburg median rent/home value: $618/$68,400
Aspinwall median rent/home value: $879/$243,200

Just across the Allegheny River from Lawrenceville and Highland Park, Sharpsburg is a small borough with urban appeal. Part of the Fox Chapel Area School District, its inexpensive rents and business district straight out of Main Street, U.S.A. are attracting new graduates, small business owners, creatives and young families. True to its roots as the once-home of Fort Pitt Brewing Co., the borough is now home to Dancing Gnome Brewery, and Hitchhiker Brewing in the former Fort Pitt building. Two playgrounds and the Arthur Lubetz-designed Sharpsburg Community Library offer activities for the whole family. The borough has easy access to the river at the James Sharp Landing, and Aspinwall and the Waterworks Mall are a short drive away.

Swisshelm Park in lieu of Regent Square
Swisshelm Park median rent/home value: $908/$124,600
Regent Square median rent/home value: $865/$184,065

Swisshelm Park could be considered one of Pittsburgh’s best-kept secrets since many area residents don’t realize it’s part of the city. There are a variety of house styles here, though a large swath of the area contains mid-century ranch homes and split-levels, with newer construction found nearby in the Summerset at Frick Park development. Swisshelm Park is one of the city’s few neighborhoods with no business district, but with neighbors like Regent Square and Squirrel Hill, you’ll get by. If you like nature and quiet, Swisshelm Park is for you: Frick Park and the Monongahela River both abut the neighborhood. The Sarah Jackson Black Community Center offers classes and special events. Plus, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from Kennywood!

(All statistics come from Pittsburgh-based Niche. Median rent/home vary per source; here’s how Niche obtains its data.)

Melanie Linn Gutowski

Melanie Linn Gutowski is a public historian and Gilded Age geek. You'll usually find her at the Sharpsburg Library, the National Aviary, or stalking the Mac & Gold truck. Melanie is a three-time finalist for the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s Golden Quill Awards.