Best Pittsburgh Suburbs: A Comprehensive Guide

Best Pittsburgh Suburbs

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often called the "Steel City" or the "City of Bridges," is a thriving metropolis with a unique blend of rich history, stunning architecture, and innovative tech industry. As a result, more and more people are drawn to the area, seeking job opportunities and a high quality of life. Choosing the right suburb is crucial, as it can significantly impact your lifestyle, daily commute, and overall well-being. This comprehensive guide aims to help you discover the best Pittsburgh suburbs to suit your needs and preferences.

When selecting the best suburbs, we have considered various criteria, including the quality of schools, the availability of amenities, safety, and affordability. With these factors in mind, we have compiled a list of the top suburbs surrounding Pittsburgh.

If instead you're interested in some of the best neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh, click here.

Top Pittsburgh Suburbs

Mount Lebanon

Overview and history

Mount Lebanon is a vibrant and picturesque suburb six miles south of downtown Pittsburgh. Founded in 1912, Mount Lebanon has grown and evolved, becoming a highly desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

Schools and education

Mount Lebanon is renowned for its excellent public school system, which consistently ranks among the top in the state. The Mount Lebanon School District serves over 5,000 students and comprises seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.

Amenities and attractions

This suburb boasts an impressive array of amenities, including parks, recreational facilities, shopping centers, and dining options. Mount Lebanon's Uptown business district has numerous locally-owned shops and eateries, giving the area a charming and unique atmosphere. Recreational opportunities abound, with the Mount Lebanon Recreation Center and the Mount Lebanon Golf Course all within easy reach.

Real estate and affordability

Mount Lebanon offers diverse housing options, from historic homes and charming cottages to modern townhomes and apartments. While the cost of living in Mount Lebanon is slightly higher than the national average, the suburb's excellent schools, low crime rates, and numerous amenities make it an attractive choice for those seeking a high-quality lifestyle. The median home price in Mt. Lebanon is about $300,000.

Upper St. Clair

Overview and history

Upper St. Clair, situated about 10 miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh, is an affluent suburb known for its beautiful residential neighborhoods, top-notch schools, and picturesque landscapes.

Schools and education

The Upper St. Clair School District is consistently recognized as one of the best in Pennsylvania. The district serves over 4,000 students and has three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Upper St. Clair High School has earned numerous accolades for its academic achievements and extracurricular programs.

Amenities and attractions

Upper St. Clair offers residents an array of amenities, including parks, sports facilities, shopping centers, and dining options. The South Hills Village Mall, located within the suburb, features many retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. For those who love the outdoors, Boyce Mayview Park provides a sprawling 475-acre recreational area with hiking trails, sports fields, and a nature center.

Real estate and affordability

The housing market in Upper St. Clair is diverse, featuring an assortment of single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. Prospective homebuyers should be prepared for a competitive housing market, as demand for properties in this sought-after suburb remains high. The median home price in Upper St. Clair is about $400,000.

O'Hara Township

Overview and history

O'Hara Township, located approximately 10 miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh, is a picturesque suburb known for its beautiful scenery, friendly neighborhoods, and easy access to the city. Named after James O'Hara, an early American industrialist, the township was established in 1875. It has since developed into a thriving community that focuses on preserving its natural beauty.

Schools and education

The Fox Chapel Area School District serves O'Hara Township, offering high-quality education to its students. The district comprises six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Fox Chapel Area High School has consistently received high rankings for its academic and extracurricular achievements.

Amenities and attractions

O'Hara Township boasts an impressive array of amenities, including parks, shopping centers, and dining options. The nearby Waterworks Mall and Fox Chapel Plaza offer diverse shopping and dining experiences. The Lauri Ann West Community Center provides a fitness center and programs for adults and children.

Real estate and affordability

The housing market in O'Hara Township offers a wide range of options, from single-family homes and townhouses to apartments and condominiums. Properties in the area reflect a mix of architectural styles, including traditional, mid-century, and contemporary designs. The median home price in O'Hara is about $400,000.

Franklin Park

Overview and history

Franklin Park, situated approximately 15 miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh, is a thriving and scenic suburb known for its top-rated schools, lush green spaces, and a strong sense of community. Established in 1823 and named after Benjamin Franklin, the suburb has become a highly sought-after destination for families and professionals.

Schools and education

Franklin Park is served by the highly regarded North Allegheny School District, which includes eight elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. North Allegheny Senior High School is known for its academic excellence and wide range of extracurricular activities.

Amenities and attractions

Franklin Park offers many parks and recreational facilities. The suburb's extensive park system features over 500 acres of green space, walking trails, playgrounds, and sports fields at parks such as Blueberry Hill. Additionally, the Baierl Family YMCA offers residents a range of fitness and community programs. Franklin Park is also home to Soergal Orchards.

Real estate and affordability

The housing market in Franklin Park is diverse, with a range of single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums available. Architectural styles in the area include traditional, colonial, and modern designs, with many homes boasting spacious lots and well-maintained landscapes. The median home price in Franklin Park is about $450,000.

Fox Chapel

Overview and history

Fox Chapel, located 12 miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh, is an affluent and picturesque suburb known for its sprawling estates, lush woodlands, and top-rated schools. Established in 1934, Fox Chapel has maintained its reputation as an exclusive residential community while preserving its natural beauty and serene atmosphere.

Schools and education

The Fox Chapel Area School District serves the residents of Fox Chapel, offering high-quality education to its students. Additionally, Shady Side Academy, a prestigious private school, has its senior and middle school campuses within Fox Chapel, providing families with more educational options.

Amenities and attractions

Fox Chapel offers an array of amenities, including parks, golf courses, and easy access to shopping and dining. The suburb is home to several parks featuring walking trails, playgrounds, and sports fields, allowing residents to enjoy the area's natural beauty. The Fox Chapel Golf Club and the Pittsburgh Field Club provide exclusive recreational opportunities for golf enthusiasts. Ample shopping and dining are nearby at the Waterworks Mall and Fox Chapel Plaza.

Real estate and affordability

The housing market in Fox Chapel primarily consists of large single-family homes and estates, many of which are situated on expansive lots and surrounded by woodlands. Architectural styles in the area range from historic mansions to modern custom-built homes. The cost of living in Fox Chapel is significantly higher than the national average, reflecting its status as one of the most affluent suburbs in the Pittsburgh area. However, the suburb's exceptional schools, low crime rates, and tranquil setting make it an attractive choice for families and professionals seeking an upscale lifestyle. The median home price in Fox Chapel is about $800,000.

Niche Suburbs for Specific Lifestyles

Best Pittsburgh suburb for families

Pine Township: Boasting excellent schools, expansive parks, and a strong sense of community, Pine Township is a popular choice for families looking for a safe and nurturing environment. 

Best Pittsburgh suburb for young professionals

Aspinwall: With its vibrant dining and shopping scene, walkability, and proximity to downtown Pittsburgh, Aspinwall is a top choice for young professionals seeking an urban-suburban feel.

Best Pittsburgh suburb for retirees

Sewickley: With its charming downtown, walkable streets, and variety of cultural events, Sewickley is a popular choice for retirees seeking a relaxed and engaging suburban lifestyle.

Best Pittsburgh suburbs for outdoor enthusiasts

Hampton Township: With its extensive park system, nature trails, and sports facilities, Hampton Township is an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a suburban community with plenty of green space. Hampton offers easy access to North Park, a 3,075-acre park featuring hiking and biking trails, a lake, and various recreational facilities. It also is home to Hartwood Acres Park, a 629-acre park with a range of outdoor activities and free outdoor concerts in the summer.

Commuting and Public Transportation

Proximity to Pittsburgh's downtown and major employment centers

One of the critical factors to consider when choosing a suburb is its proximity to downtown Pittsburgh and major employment centers. Many top suburbs, such as Mount Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, and O'Hara Township, are located within 10-15 miles of downtown, making them convenient options for professionals working there. Shorter commutes save time and reduce stress and contribute to a better work-life balance.

Public transportation options

Pittsburgh's public transportation system, operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, offers various options for residents in the suburbs to commute to the city center. These options include buses and the Light Rail Transit system, commonly known as the "T." Suburbs such as Mount Lebanon, Bethel Park, and Dormont have T stations, providing residents easy access to downtown Pittsburgh without the hassle of driving and parking. In addition, many suburbs have Park & Ride lots, where commuters can park their cars and catch a bus or the T to their destination.

Car and bike-friendly neighborhoods

When selecting a suburb, it's essential to consider its car and bike-friendliness. Suburbs with well-maintained roads, ample parking, and minimal congestion make driving more convenient and enjoyable. Additionally, suburbs with dedicated bike lanes and bike-friendly infrastructure provide a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative to driving.

Tips for Finding Your Ideal Pittsburgh Suburb

Assessing your priorities and lifestyle needs

Before beginning your search for the perfect Pittsburgh suburb:

  1. Take the time to assess your priorities and lifestyle needs.
  2. Consider your work location, preferred commute time, family size, and desired amenities.
  3. Make a list of your non-negotiables and the features you're willing to compromise on. This preparation will help you focus your search on considering suburbs that align with your preferences and requirements.

Researching local schools, crime rates, and amenities

Gather information about the local schools, crime rates, and amenities in the suburbs you're considering. Investigate the quality of the school districts, as this can significantly impact your children's education and your property's value. Look into crime rates and safety to ensure you feel comfortable and secure in your new neighborhood. Additionally, research the availability of amenities such as parks, shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational facilities, as these can significantly contribute to your overall quality of life.

Visiting prospective neighborhoods and talking to residents

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential suburbs, visit each neighborhood to get a feel for its atmosphere and character. Observe the condition of the streets, homes, and public spaces, and note any noise or traffic issues. Talk to residents to gain insight into their experiences living in the community and any concerns they may have. This firsthand information can provide invaluable perspective and help you make a more informed decision.

Working with a local real estate agent

Partnering with a local real estate agent can be a valuable resource in your search for the ideal Pittsburgh suburb. A knowledgeable agent will have a deep understanding of the local housing market, as well as the unique attributes of each neighborhood. They can help you find properties that meet your criteria, guide you through the home-buying process, and provide expert advice on pricing and negotiations. Working with a local real estate agent can streamline your search and ensure you find the perfect suburb to call home.

Takeaways

Choosing the right suburb in Pittsburgh is an important decision, as it can significantly impact your daily life and overall satisfaction. Whether you are a family looking for top-rated schools, a young professional seeking a vibrant community, a retiree searching for a serene and engaging environment, or an outdoor enthusiast eager to explore nature, a Pittsburgh suburb is just right for you. By considering factors such as the quality of schools, availability of amenities, safety, affordability, and commuting options, you can find the perfect suburb to suit your needs and preferences. This guide has provided a comprehensive overview of the top Pittsburgh and niche suburbs catering to specific lifestyles, ensuring you can make an informed decision and enjoy a high-quality lifestyle in Steel City.

List of Pittsburgh Suburbs

This list will continue to be updated over time as we add more area content about each suburb, but here is an incomplete list. Each link takes you to more information about that suburb as well as properties for sale in each suburb.

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