View of Downtown from Mt. Washington
South Side is the southern region of Pittsburgh, south of the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. While this article covers the entire southern region of the city, "South Side" usually refers to a popular neighborhood directly across the Monongahela River from Downtown.
The neighborhood of South Side  contains more restaurants and bars than perhaps anywhere else in the city. It is located along the Monongahela River, extending from Station Square about 30 blocks to the east, and extending inland several blocks from the river. The central artery is East Carson street on which most of the restaurants and bars are located. Historically the neighborhood was home to the millworkers for the steel mills that once lined the Monongahela River. Since most of these workers came from eastern Europe there is a European feel to the neighborhood: small homes built right next to each other, dozens of churches of various ethnic persuasions and even more neighborhood bars and small shops all mixed together.
Today the mills are gone and shops and restaurants are springing up in their place. The area is an interesting place to wander and people-watch. It is one of the few places in Pittsburgh where, in the summer, people eat and drink at tables outside restaurants. South Side is divided into two main sections, aptly named the "Flats" and the "Slopes". The flats, closer to the river, contain shops, bars, restaurants as well as many interesting homes and apartments. On the slopes, which start several blocks south of the river, are houses, hundreds and hundreds of narrow, tall homes, cheek-to-jowl with one another, perched precariously on the hillside. There are dozens of streets and pseudo-streets (steep concrete and wooden stairs maintained by the city) which residents use to get up and down.
West of South Side is Mount Washington, both a sight and a place to see from. The bluff rises, in some places almost vertically, 500 feet (150 meters) above the river valley. It offers a spectacular view of the rivers and of the downtown area. Atop this geologic structure is a large district of residential homes, commercial businesses, apartment buildings, and a number of popular restaurants that share the beautiful view of the valley and the city. Mount Washington was once called Coal Hill because of the generous coal seams it contained (since mined). It was, and to some extent still is, one of the major residential areas for the people that worked in Pittsburgh's industrial plants and offices. Today it is most famous for the two inclines which climb the steep slopes facing downtown and the rivers.
West and south of South Side and Mount Washington are numerous small residential neighborhoods, many of them quite hilly, which don't contain much attractions for the average tourist.
From Downtown or northern and eastern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, go south across the Monongahela or Ohio Rivers. There are six bridges you can use to cross the Monongahela River, and one bridge crossing the Ohio River. Most intersect with Carson Street after you cross the river. From west to east the bridges are:
- The West End Bridge, which connects directly to the North Side over the Ohio River.
- The Fort Pitt Bridge (I-279) from downtown, which has a exit onto westbound Carson Street.
- The Smithfield Street Bridge, which will take you from downtown directly to Station Square.
- The Liberty Bridge, which takes you from the east side of downtown. This is the only bridge into this area that doesn't intersect with Carson Street; rather it intersects PJ McArdle Road. From downtown, turning right onto PJ McArdle Road will take you up to Mount Washington. To get to South Side and Station Square, turn left onto PJ McArdle Road, and turn left again at the very next stoplight (Arlington Avenue). This will take you directly to Station Square and Carson Street.
- The 10th Street Bridge, which takes you from the Duquesne University area into South Side.
- The 22nd Street Bridge (also known as the Birmingham Bridge), which takes you from I-376 at the foot of Oakland into South Side.
- The Hot Metal Bridge (so-named because it was formerly used to transport ladles of molten steel from the blast furnace on one side of the river to the rolling mill on the other), which takes you from I-376 south of Oakland into South Side.
In the South Side flats you can sometimes find on-street parking on the side streets and there are also some metered parking lots.
By public transit
Pittsburgh's light rail system, "The T", runs from downtown into the South Side. Immediately after crossing the Monongahela River, the 42 and 47 lines stop at Station Square. Right after that they proceed into a transit-only tunnel under Mount Washington, and come out at the South Hills Junction station on the other side before the 42 and 47 lines split apart, with the 42 traveling through Beechview and the 47 through Overbrook before heading into the suburbs south of Pittsburgh. A less-frequent light rail line, the 52, travels from downtown across the river and onto Arlington Avenue, going through the small neighborhood of Allentown before terminating at the South Hills Junction.
Alternatively, you can take any of the 51 bus routes to get from downtown down Carson Street right into the heart of the South Side neighborhood. The 51A and 51C will take you from downtown past Station Square down Carson Street. The 54C will get you from South Side to Oakland.
From Downtown, one can easily walk to Station Square via the Smithfield Street Bridge, and from Station Square take the Monogahela Incline up to Mount Washington. South Side, however, can be a little out of walking distance depending on how much you're willing to walk (any of the 51 bus routes can help in this regard).
In the case of Mount Washington, getting there is half the fun. Many people take one of two inclines, each a mile apart, to the neighborhoods atop Mount Washington:
- The Monongahela Incline  is probably the most direct from downtown and the more tourist oriented, rising from near Station Square to Grandview Avenue in the neighborhood of Mount Washington. This incline is operated by the Port Authority, so transfers and passes good for the bus and light rail system will apply to rides on the incline as well. Fares are $2 adults (plus a 50-cent transfer for a round-trip) and $1 children (plus a 25-cent transfer for a round-trip).
- The Duquesne Incline  goes to Grandview Avenue in the Duquesne Heights neighborhood has the better view from the top, able to see down all three river valleys. This incline is operated by a non-profit group and not the Port Authority, but Port Authority transfers and passes are good for a one-way ride. Fares are $2 adults ($4 round-trip), $1 children ($2 round-trip), free for seniors.
Both inclines are essentially a tramway or funicular railway that scales the side of the mount. At the peak of the industrial era, a number of similar inclines transported workers from the top of the mount to the South Side "flats", where they either walked across one of the bridges, or took a streetcar to their work. Today the Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline are the only two inclines remaining.
For the less adventurous, one may "mount the mount" in an automobile. Also if you are willing to go out of the way for a picturesque view one would probably take the car farther up the side of the river to Fineview. Take the Liberty Bridge from Downtown south, across the Monongahela river; just before you would enter the Liberty Tunnel--don't--instead turn right and go up the McArdle roadway. Don't let the driver watch the expanding view as you travel up the face of the mount.
Once in South Side or atop Mount Washington, the best way to get around is usually just to walk. Most of the streets are perfectly suitable for walking and everything is close together. The South Side Riverfront Trail runs along the south shore of the Monongahela River from Station Square east through South Side, and can be accessed from Station Square, 4th Street, 9th Street, 18th Street, 26th Street, and Hot Metal Street. The distance from Station Square and Mount Washington to the heart of the South Side neighborhood can be a little much to walk though; the 51A and 51C Port Authority bus routes will cover that distance along Carson Street.
- Mount Washington Overlooks, along Grandview Avenue. Once you've ascended to the top of Mount Washington, either by driving or taking one of the two inclines (popular attractions in their own right; see above under Get around), you'll be treated to a splendid view of Downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Along Grandview Avenue, which parallels the edge of the hill, there are several overlooks offering you unobstructed views. As you walk from one end of Grandview Avenue to the other, the view will change. At the eastern end, at the top of the Monongahela Incline, you'll be directly across from the skyscrapers of Downtown. As you proceed to the western end, near the top of the Duquesne Incline, you'll have a better view of the point, the North Side, and up the river valleys of Pittsburgh.
- Station Square, Smithfield and East Carson Streets, +1 412 261-2811, . Currently a popular office and shopping complex, Station Square was at one time a railroad station. The original station, fully renovated, is still there. Now housing the Gandy Dancer Saloon and the Grand Concourse restaurant, it is a beautiful example of the grand train stations of the past with a huge, beautiful colored glass skylight, feaux marble columns and fine wooden appointments. You may still see a train passing on the tracks between the station and the river, but they are freight trains, not passenger trains. In the courtyard space facing the river and downtown, you will find several artifacts of the steel industry past on display: huge ladles and furnaces and other equipment. From April through November, the courtyard's large fountain is turned on with the jets of water choreographed to music.
- West End Overlook, 700 Fairview Avenue. A lovely overlook offering a gorgeous view of Downtown Pittsburgh and the three rivers, looking at the point dead on. To get there requires going through a residential neighborhood down several side streets. From South Side, take Carson Street west, turn left at the intersection at the West End Bridge and proceed down Steuben Street (a small street on your right just after you make that left turn), turn right on to Chartiers Avenue, turn right on to Lorenz Avenue, proceed into the neighborhood, turn right onto Elkton Street, and finally turn left onto Fairview Avenue; the overlook will be directly in front of you.
- Gateway Clipper Fleet, Station Square (on the docks), +1 412 355-7980, . Offers a variety of sightseeing, dining, and entertainment cruises on the three rivers of Pittsburgh using old-fashioned paddle wheel boats. There are also dinner and dance night cruises, where you can eat galumkies (Polish stuffed cabbage) and polka away the evening on the river. One hour sightseeing cruise $14.75 adult, $10.75 children (click on link to see schedules and prices for other cruises).
- Just Ducky Tours, Station Square (next to the Hard Rock Cafe), +1 412 928-2489, . A driving/boating tour which utilizes an amphibious vehicle which takes you on a tour from Station Square through Downtown and the rivers. Operates April through October. $19 adults, $15 children.
- Segway in Paradise, Station Square (inside the Freight House Shops), +1 412 337-3941, . Offering guided segway tours of the Downtown area and segway accessories. $59 per person/tour.
- South Side Riverfront Park, entrance at 18th Street near the Monongahela River. Picnic area, public boat launch, canoe launch, and a riverfront trail. The riverfront trail runs from Station Square along the Monongahela River to about Homestead to the east. Along the trail are informative signs about Pittsburgh history and industrial artifacts from Pittsburgh's industrial heyday on display.
Shops are strung out along East Carson street from about 10th street to 27th street, an unbelievable melange of quirky shops, used book stores, tattoo parlors, mystic readers, and ... well you get the idea.
- Station Square, Smithfield and East Carson Streets, +1 412 261-2811, . An outdoor shopping and entertainment complex with a variety of shops, most of them high-end national chains.
- South Side Works, at Sidney and 27th Streets, +1 412 481-1750, . A mixed-use area with lots of local boutiques and some higher end national chains.
There are numerous restaurants and bars in South Side and on Mount Washington, from small neighborhood "shot and a beer" bars to grand cuisine. The locals are very friendly and will be happy to tell you their favorites. In South Side, restaurants of all kinds are located throughout the neighborhood, particuarly along Carson Street. For restaurants on Mount Wasington, visitors -- especially the well-heeled -- will want to try one of the popular restaurants along the edge of the bluff to take in the view while they dine. For those on a budget, take the incline up from Station Square, walk along Grandview Avenue and enjoy the view, then wander farther south (back from the bluff) along almost any street and you will find modest restaurants and bars of all types.
- Beehive Coffeeshop, 1327 E. Carson Street, Ongoing exhibits, a relaxing atmosphere, young crowd, courtyard and a wide selection of gourmet coffees, teas, sandwiches and other snacks contribute to the Beehive's ongoing reputation as one of the best spots in Pittsburgh to relax and socialize.
- Café du Jour, 1107 E. Carson Street, (412) 488-9695, Call for a reservation and enjoy a seasonal menu at incredibly reasonable prices. The courtyard provides an intriguing setting for your meal. BYOB (A stem fee applies).
- Cheesecake Factory, 415 South 27th Street, in the SouthSide Works plaza, near the Hot Metal bridge +1 412 431-7800. A busy, upscale bar and restaurant with good food, a long list of drinks, a trendy crowd, and excellent dessert.
- Don's Green Front Inn, 2341 E. Carson St, +1 412 488-3140. Bar and restaurant, a peppy crowd, and friendly bartenders.
- The Grand Concourse, Station Square, . Site of the former train station, hosts a huge Sunday brunch and a beautiful view of the city.
- Le Pommier, 2104 E. Carson St, +1 412 431-1901. Authentic Country French menu.
- Louis Tambellini Restaurant, 860 Saw Mill Run Blvd (Rt. 51), +1 412 481-1118, . A large, classic seafood and meat restaurant in the "Italian-American" manner. Open for lunch and dinner except on Sunday. This gem is a favorite of the local "over 40" crowd. No rock and roll here, just excellent food and a good wine cellar.
- Mallorca, East Carson St at 22nd St, +1 412 488-1818, . From Downtown you can take the 22nd street bridge south across the Monongehala river and you will run right into it. This restaurant specializes in authentic Spanish and Portuguese food, lots of seafood dishes but also very large steaks and chops. Hope you like garlic. In pleasant weather you can be seated outside on the terrace. It has possibly the best waitstaff of any restaurant in Pittsburgh.
- Primanti Brothers, 1832 East Carson Street, +1 412 381-2583, . Daily 11AM-2AM. The popular Pittsburgh chain with the Primanti sandwich.
- Zenith Tea Room, 86 South 26th Street, +1 412 481-4833, . Just a couple of blocks off E. Carson St, Zenith offers an all-vegetarian Sunday brunch, with salad, fruit, bread, pastries, and an amazing vegan dessert table. It's also an antiques store and art gallery.
There are so many bars and restaurants along Carson Street that if you attempted to have one drink in each—people have attempted—you would not make it nearly from one end to the other before requiring assistance. The street traffic on a weekend night can be formidable, but fun if you have the right constitution.
- 17th Street Cafe, 75 S. 17th Street, (412) 381-4566, .
- Angel's Club, 2604 Josephine Street, (412) 488-2700.
- Bar Eleven, 1101 Bradish St., (412) 381-0899.
- Bar South Side, 153 S. 18th St., (412) 432-7000.
- Barry's Pub, 1009 East Carson Street, (412) 481-3480.
- Blue Lou's, 1510-1512 E. Carson St., (412) 381-7675.
- Blue Note Cafe, 1832 East Carson Street, (412) 431-7080.
- Brewski's, 801 E. Carson Street, (412) 481-9140.
- Casey's Draft House, 1811 East Carson Street, (412) 431-3595. Casey's has a midget bartender on Monday's. He walks on the bar and dumps shots into your mouth.
- Cupka's Cafe II, 2314 East Carson Street, (412) 431-9691.
- Cupka's I, 46 S. 27th Street, (412) 481-6262.
- Dee's Café, 1314 E. Carson St., (412) 431-1314, .
- Excuses Bar, 2526 E. Carson St., (412) 431-4090, .
- Fat Head's, 1805 East Carson Street, (412) 431-7433, . A giant beer selection. They have hundreds of beers.
- Games N' At Arcade, 2010 Josephine Street, (412) 481-2002, . All ages. *Intermission Lounge, 1908 E. Carson St., (412) 381-3497.
- Jack's Backroom, 1117-1121 E. Carson St., (412) 431-3644.
- The Jaggerbush- Bar and Grille, 133 S. 23rd St., (412) 431-5244.
- Kaworski's Tavern, 132 S. 24th St., (412) 431-0160.
- Kopy's, 80 S. 12th St., (412) 431-9282.
- Lava Lounge, 2204 East Carson Street, (412) 431-5282.
- Mario's South Side Saloon, 1514 East Carson Street, (412) 381-5610.
- McArdle's Pub, 1600 Bingham St., (412) 431-9358.
- Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, 1611 East Carson Street, (412) 381-6000, .
- Onyx Inn, 1011 E. Carson St., (412) 431-8958.
- Piper's Pub, 1828 E. Carson St., (412) 381-3977, .
- Rumshakers, 1224 E. Carson Street, (412) 431-5910.
- Shootz Cafe & Billiards, 2305 East Carson Street, (412) 488-3820, .
- Smokin' Joe's Saloon, 2001 E. Carson St., (412) 431-6757.
- South Shore Saloon, 601 East Carson Street, (412) 488-1960.
- South Side Caravan Club, 1113-1115 E. Carson St., (412) 488-1505.
- The HKAN Hookah Bar & Lounge, 2210 E. Carson St., (412) 381-1813, .
- The Smiling Moose, 1306 East Carson Street, (412) 431-4668, .
- Tiki Lounge, 2003 East Carson Street, (412) 381-8454, .
- Walker's Pub, 2024 Sarah Street.
- Holiday Inn Express - South Side, 20 South Tenth St., ☎ +1 877 863-4780, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM.
- Morning Glory Inn, 2119 Sarah St, +1 412 431-1707, . A historic Pittsburgh bed and breakfast in the South Side district. Within walking distance to shops, art galleries, jazz bars, and a variety of gourmet restaurants.
- Sheraton Station Square, 300 W Station Square Dr, ☎ +1 412 261-2000, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM.
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