Exploring Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes


I spent a great Sunday afternoon exploring what is surely one of Pittsburgh’s coolest neighborhoods – the South Side Slopes.

I was there as part of the StepTrek, an annual event that celebrates the neighborhood and raises funds for improvements and projects.

For those unfamiliar with the topography, Pittsburgh is a hilly city with numerous sets of steps (which are actual legal streets) -documented in this book.

The annual StepTrek gives participants maps and suggests they walk along one of several courses- seeing Realtor open houses, neighborhood churches, memorials, parks, an art studio, cemetery, mural, amazing views and more along the way.

My personal favorite was the route that highlighted the neighborhood’s churches – sadly, some are closed now, but others have been or are being redeveloped as condos. I even learned there is a monastery up there at the top of the hill, St. Paul of the Cross Monastery.

The walk also did a good job of highlighting the positive changes the neighborhood organization has made there, trees planted, new businesses opened and houses fixed up.

It was such a great neighborhood visit – other areas and cities should steal this idea!



More photos:


Some architectural detail


A neighborhood memorial to men who served in World War II


Another view


A garden near the foot of the slopes


A portion of a neighborhood mural (unfortunately I couldn’t fit the whole thing!)


A steeper set of the stairs…


Filed under architecture, Economic Development, Editorial, Featured, Good Ideas, The Big Urban Photography Project

5 responses to “Exploring Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes

  1. Steve gross

    Sounds great. Can you post more pictures?

  2. Special K


    Per your request, here are some more photos. Unfortunately, I am not a very good photographer!

  3. I remember walking up some of those steps with Mark and visiting churches at the top as well. The rivers and topography can make P. a difficult city to drive in, but also they are what make it a wonderful, individual place to live.

    Are you familiar with W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh photos? I think you must be, but he stated a 3-week project to document Pittsburgh that turned into 3 years and thousands of photos.

  4. Pingback: City Steps in South Oakland | Rust Wire

  5. Jenna Young

    Beautiful photos; do you have a book with them collected. Particularly interested in Pittsburgh neighborhood and the beauty of places there old and less frequented or abandoned and steel mills; generally the landscape of a decaying city that shows hope and the art of the architecture and scenes.

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