When I find myself playing tour guide to friends who are visiting Pittsburgh, there are a few places I like to take them to to impress them with a view of the city. The North Shore or Grandview Avenue both provide nice views of the city even on the worst of days, and when the sun is shining, there’s nothing finer than strolling along the Allegheny river or atop Mt. Washington for taking in the views of the city. However, if it’s late afternoon on a sunny day (Yeah, we do get nice days in Pittsburgh), my favorite view is from the West End Overlook.
From the North Shore, you see Pittsburgh towering before you. From Mount Washington, you look down upon the city. But at the West End Overlook, you enjoy the view of the city head on, laid out before you like a glittering jewel where there’s no denying its beauty.
The city’s illuminated skyscrapers and buildings seem as if they are sitting on a platter at the point, snuggled in the valley carved out of the mountains by the rivers that have coursed here for eons. You see the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meeting at the point, what feels like the world’s largest fountain shooting streams of water, and those rivers converging to form the 981-mile Ohio river, which flows right toward you, sweeping you up in the scene’s majesty.
I’m not the only one who loves this view. The West End Overlook has always been a prime lookout spot. From all the arrowheads found there, it is known that Native Americans often visited what is now known as Elliott’s Bluff in the Elliott neighborhood centuries ago. In decades past when the area wasn’t as developed, the area was a Lover’s Lane, for those romantics inspired by a beautiful view. Today, a small city park is there called West End Park.
The West End Overlook is one of my favorite spots to view fireworks on the 4th of July. I’ve been told that in mid-September, you can go to the overlook and get a photo of the sun coming up right in the center of the city. And if you’ve ever been a fan of Pittsburgh photography you’ll know that it’s a great place to capture lightning strikes above the city.
If you’re a local and have never been to the West End Overlook, you must go there, and if you’re a visitor, don’t miss one of the most stunning cityscapes in the world.
Written by Janice Lane Palko