Bandi Schaum Garden at South Side Park. Photo by Janna Leyde

South Side Park

Neighborhood: Southside

This is Pittsburgh’s hidden gem. Tucked away in the slopes, paths cut through dense greens and open up to flat plateaus, wind down to lacrosse and baseball fields, and offer some spectacular views of the city. Searching for a new trail to hike or bike, take note: you can find plenty of freshly carved natural trails all throughout South Side Park. Not only has the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association been hard at work removing the invasive species from the area, but along with residents of the slopes, the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association has been diligently uncovering the natural and human debris of decades to discover miles of gorgeous green space. On certain evenings, you might just catch a bonfire or two to celebrate the coming of a new season. South Side Park also offers 90 community garden plots at the Bandi Schuam where folks grow tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucs, and fruits and sunflowers to their hearts content.

Who to see: Hikers; bikers; locals from the slopes; green thumbs; wildlife enthusiasts

When to go: Either for the Summer or Winter Solstice; Saturdays, to catch a neighborhood ball game (South Side Sabers) and then stop by Garvey’s (on Mission Street) for a cold one; the weekend of Step Trek.

What you might not know: South Side Park is being taking over by an invasive ivy species. Although the canopies might look cool, the native trees are struggling to survive. Contact the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association to find out how you can help.

How to get there: There are several entrances, but if you are looking for parking, go to 18th and Kimbol and drive down to the large lot.

Emerald View Park
Mt Washington

Perhaps Emerald View Park is most known for the overlook pods on Grandview, but this park cuts deeper into hillsides of Mt. Washington—past the funiculars, the ice cream, and the dining spots with the view. Over the last decade The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation has been working with the City of Pittsburgh to clean dumpsites, restore natural forested habitat, and bring together three small community parks (Grandview, Olympia and Mount Washington) to create this 287-acre park. Today Emerald View Park boasts 8 miles of trails (all of which are people, bike, and canine-friendly) several art installations, a swimming pool, the Ream Recreation Center, a boxing club, and, of course, even more spectacular views.

Who to see: Ball players and boxers; picnickers, installation artists; yogis; and conservationists
When to go: Any time of year, for the views; Thursdays, so you can stop by Bigham Tavern for wings and trivia; sunset
What you might not know: Just a few blocks from the park is Chatham Village, a residential neighborhood established in 1932 that has recently been honored as a National Historic Landmark for being a model of community design.
How to get there: If you’re not up for either of the two inclines (Duquesne or Monongahela), snake your car up PJ McArdle Roadway. Park on Grandview Avenue, near Sweetbriar Street, and enter where George Washington and Guyasuta are cast deep in thought.

And no, we have not forgotten about another treasure, the county parks in Pittsburgh. Watch for our NEXT guide to county parks coming soon.

Janna Leyde

Janna is happily rediscovering Pittsburgh after spending nearly a decade living New York City. She’s a writer by trade—magazines, blogs and a book called He Never Liked Cake. And she’s also a yoga...