Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Homes for Sale

#19 Brighton Heights

Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Map
Brighton Heights is the northern boundary of Pittsburgh proper.

Brighton Heights Neighborhood Description

There are some great streets within Pittsburgh’s Brighton Heights neighborhood. True to Pittsburgh form, Brighton Heights’ neighborhood center is dense and walkable from most interior streets and the neighborhood as a whole consists of larger residential homes. As the list of Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods grows, Brighton Heights will likely find the mean. It has all the fundamentals that create great neighborhoods but does none of them exceedingly well or exceedingly poor. Serviceable is perhaps the best way to describe Bright Heights. There’s a range of housing and architectural options. All the streets have sidewalks, and the neighborhood center is quaint but does not stand out in a metro full of exceptional neighborhood centers. Brighton Heights gets the job done as a distinct area within Pittsburgh but is suffering from a curved grading system – it’s an ‘A’ neighborhood in lessor cities, but in Pittsburgh it’s only a ‘C+’. It’s tough competing against the best of the best and Brighton Heights is perhaps Pittsburgh’s best example of an opportunity to go from average to excellent.

Neighborhood Ranking Criteria

A Front Door

More front doors. Pittsburgh neighborhoods need more front doors, and Brighton Heights is no exception.

An Identifiable Center

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood California Ave
Brighton Heights neighborhood center fits the neighborhood perfectly.

California Street is the center of the action in Brighton Heights. It is indeed a classic neighborhood center that serves up most commercial needs for the residents and is a great excuse to get out of the house for a stroll and a latte on a Saturday morning.


The boundary between Brighton Heights and its southerly neighborhood (Marshall-Shadeland) is somewhat blurry but, generally speaking, the more you head up the hill from Marshall-Shadeland, the more you’re in Brighton Heights. Otherwise, hilltop neighborhoods make for great boundaries, and Brighton Heights is no exception.


Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Density
Authentic Pittsburgh shines through in much of Brighton Heights’ architecture.

Neighborhood density is primarily defined by detached, single family homes. Many of the homes are larger and historic in nature.

Detached Sidewalks and Street Trees

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Street Trees
Brighton Heights does well for street trees, but there is room for improvement.

There are not really any detached sidewalks throughout Brighton Heights, but the neighborhood does have sidewalks and a good many of them have street trees.

Diverse Architecture and Buildings That Address the Street

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood More Large Homes
These large front porches keep a lot of eyes on the street.

There’s a quality assortment of architecture throughout the neighborhood. Most homes have different styles but fit the overall esthetic well.

Mixed Land Uses

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Remnants of a Main Street Feel
Remnants of a Main Street that was (or never really came to be) in Brighton Heights. Behind me is a garden variety suburban Right Aid.

Busier intersections offer commercial uses, and California St. is home to Brighton Heights’ main drag. A handful of buildings appear to offer mixed use potential, but that potential appears unfulfilled.

Street Energy

There are people milling about in the neighborhood center but, otherwise, the neighborhood is quiet without a lot of street energy.

Streets That Generally Connect

Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Large Homes
Residential streets in Brighton Heights are top shelf and most are walkable to the traditional neighborhood center.

More or less, Brighton Heights is built upon a proper grid street system.

Transit Access

Just buses in Brighton Heights. Nevertheless, the neighborhood is only about three miles to downtown and the center of Pittsburgh, so access comes easy.


Pittsburgh Brighton Heights Neighborhood Top of the Hill
This is the top of the hill in Brighton Heights. Interestingly, the homes are, on balance, smaller then the rest of the neighborhood.

Brighton Heights has all the fundamentals in place. Now let’s activate them.

Opportunities for Improvement  

Brighton Heights’ opportunity for improvement is turning neighborhood average into neighborhood excellence. The neighborhood center along California has the potential for something special. Therefore, a concentrated effort to improve the neighborhood Main Street by enabling more mixed uses, more density, and more street energy will help improve the neighborhood identity as a whole. There are neighborhoods within the metro that, even if you don’t live in them, you just kinda’ end up there from time to time in day-to-day life – Lawrenceville, Mount Washington, Squirrel Hill, Strip District, South Side – those sorts of neighborhoods. Other Pittsburgh neighborhoods – Mexican War Streets, Allegheny West, Troy Hill – may not be destinations like the ones listed above but they are so cool that it’s easy to find an excuse to visit them. Brighton Heights does not fit into either category because people don’t have a reason to visit the neighborhood. Choosing a neighborhood identity with proper placemaking and investments in California St. would go a long way toward establishing Brighton Heights as an upper-tier destination within the Pittsburgh metro.