Pittsburgh’s Northern Suburbs

Pittsburgh’s Northern Suburbs

The northern suburbs are communities north of the Allegheny River up to and beyond the Butler county line. Some of the areas are still inside the City of Pittsburgh, and others are separate municipalities and parts of different school districts. The first ring of suburbs, Observatory Hill, Troy Hill, Bellvue, West View, Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg, are generally older, more affordable homes. These neighborhoods have a more urban feel, and many have their own small business districts. The second ring, Avalon, Ben Avon, Emsworth, West View, Reserve Twp, North Hills, Shaler, Aspinwall, and Blawnox, have a mix of smaller and larger homes. They are primarily car-dependent, although a few have business districts with more walkable areas around those town centers. All the communities are outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

As you continue away from the city, the homes get larger, newer, and the average price increases. Ross Township, McCandless, and Glenshaw are still primarily older homes, mid-century to late ’90s, and vary in size. New construction is possible to find in these areas but not as common. The furthest outer ring, of northern Allegheny County and Southern Butler County, including Ohio Township, Franklin Park, Marshall Township, Wexford, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Cranberry Twp, Adams Township, and Pine-Richland, tend to have newer or brand new homes. While there are still older homes in these areas, they are clustered around the original small towns in the area.

The appeal of the north is the large lot of suburban homes, busy shopping districts, malls, parks, and well-ranked school districts. Five of the Top 10 school districts in Western PA, are located in the north, including Hampton, Pine Richland, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, Fox Chapel and Quaker Valley. The north also is the one direction out of Downtown Pittsburgh that does not require commuters to go through a tunnel. 

The 3,075 acre North Park is a major attraction of the area and features a lake, paved walking and biking path, a pool, golf course, stables, ballfields, picnic groves, and some of the best mountain biking in the area.

From West to East, the primary routes in the northern suburbs are Rt 65, traveling along the river to the west and serves Bellvue, Avalon, Ben Avon, Emsworth, Osborn Sewickley, Edgeworth, and points to the northwest. I-79 serves Sewickley Hills, Sewickley Heights, and Ohio Township. Most of these communities offer easy access to the airport and the far reaches of Western Pennsylvania along the North-South I-79 corridor. 

I-279 travels directly north out of downtown and serves the North Hills and Ohio Township. I-279 merges with I-79 at Franklin Park and continues north through Marshall Township, Bradford Woods, Warrendale, Cranberry, and into Butler County. Rt 19 and Business Rt 19, also known as McKnight Road, is one of the cities busiest shopping districts. Ross Park Mall in McCandless is Pittsburgh’s largest and most exclusive indoor mall. These roads take commuters through the first tier suburbs of North Hills, Reserve Township, West View, Ross Township, McCandless, past North Park, into Wexford, Warrendale and Cranberry Twp.

Further east is Rt 8, traveling up through Etna, Shaler, Glenshaw, Hampton, Richland, Valencia, Adams Township, and Mars. Finally, Rt 28 runs along the river to the east and services the neighborhoods of Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, Blawnox, Fox Chapel, Indiana Township and intersects with I-76, the PA Turnpike at the Allegheny Valley interchange.

The intersection of I-79, I-279, Rt 19 and the PA Turnpike have led to enormous growth in the Warrendale and Cranberry Twp areas over the last two decades. Growth has also been driven by the property tax advantage of being in Butler County.

Call me if you are looking for a real estate agent to buy or sell your home in the North Suburban neighborhoods.

Northern Suburban Homes for Sale