Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Featured Image

#20 Perry North Neighborhood

Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Map
Perry North is in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “north hills” area.

Perry North Neighborhood Description

Pittsburgh’s Perry North neighborhood hugs the enormous 259 acre Riverview Park, which creates a heck of a neighborhood amenity. Riverview Park is primarily hillside woodlands with lots of trails and nature to discover. As for Perry North’s built environment, the neighborhood is dominated by larger, historic single-family homes and, for the most part, will live more like a suburb than an urban neighborhood. Density is lower and the neighborhood shares a walkable center on its northern boundary with Observatory Hill. Walkable neighborhood centers help create great neighborhoods but, in the case of Perry North, its location on the northern boundary translates to less walkability as a whole.

Perry North and Brighton Heights are two very similar neighborhoods – both hug the boundaries of Riverview Park, both are lower density neighborhoods with a diverse range of homes, and both have traditional neighborhood centers. On balance, Brighton Heights is more walkable due to its neighborhood center being located, in fact, in the center of the neighborhood. Nevertheless, Perry North is more picturesque and has easier access to Riverview Park. Perry North also has a feeling of uniqueness because it’s not really a through neighborhood, just like Observatory Hill – one doesn’t have to travel through Perry North to get to somewhere else. It’s almost like a secret neighborhood in the metro that no one really has a reason to go to. Thus, Perry North is pretty quiet. All and all, between Riverview Park access and quiet streets that harbor an architecturally diverse stock of larger, historic homes, Perry North is a great alternative to straight-up suburban municipalities like Cranberry and Robinson. If you want to be in the city, but live like you’re in a suburb, Perry North has you covered.

Neighborhood Ranking Criteria

A Front Door

Perry North is in desperate need of a front door. Let’s do some placemaking, Pittsburgh City Hall.

An Identifiable Center

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Center
Five streets come together at this intersection in Perry North, which creates a natural neighborhood center. Behind me the walkable commercial area continues into Observatory Hill.

Perry North shares a neighborhood center with Observatory Hill, though I would credit most of the center more to Observatory Hill, that’s all semantics that can be argued between urban planners. The heart of the neighborhood center is where five different roads come together at an intersection, which creates some great architecture.

Boundaries

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Riverview Park Trailheads
Riverview Park is enormous and there’s lots of accessible trailheads from Perry North.

The massive Riverview Park, Observatory Hill, Perry South, and a steep hillside to the east define Perry North. The boundary between Perry North and Perry South is blurry. Once again, another fun topic for urban planners to debate.

Density

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Churches
Because of Riverview Park and places like this Catholic Seminary, Perry North often feels open and green.

Single family homes, a huge park, and institutional uses all diminish neighborhood density within Perry North.

Detached Sidewalks and Street Trees

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Tree Lined Streets
There are lots of quiet, tucked away streets in Perry North.

Perry North is full of sidewalks and has a great tree canopy. Although, not many of the sidewalks are detached.

Diverse Architecture and Buildings That Address the Street

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Perry Traditional Academy Domineering Architectural Presence
The Perry Traditional Academy is the most domineering architectural presence in Perry North. It also anchors the neighborhood’s identifiable center.
Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Homes for Sale
There’s a dominance of larger homes on larger parcels in Perry North. These are located right across the street from the trailheads of Riverview Park.

Perry North’s architectural diversity runs deep. With few townhomes and apartments, the neighborhood is dominated by single family homes.

Mixed Land Uses

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Mixed Uses
Density and mixed land uses increase around Perry North’s neighborhood center.

There are few commercial uses and, therefore, few opportunities for mixed uses outside of the neighborhood center. That said, the neighborhood center would do well to incorporate more residential units above the commercial space.

Street Energy

Nothing but casual strollers and people exercising on the streets of Perry North.

Streets That Generally Connect

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Road Next to Riverview Park
Perryville Ave / Hwy 19 meanders through the north hills with few stoplights and little traffic.

Perry North is heavily influenced by its hilly environment. Nevertheless, the meandering streets do their best to connect with each other.

Transit Access

Pittsburgh Perry North Neighborhood Proper Transit Shelters
Perry North has several of these proper transit shelters.

Perry North has the best bus shelters in the metro.

Walkability

Walkability in Perry North is possible but, even considering commercial uses in the neighborhood center, there is not much to walk to that will meet your day-to-day needs. Walking to Riverview Park comes easy. Strolling around the neighborhood comes easy. Walking to the neighborhood highschool comes fairly easy, at least easy enough for most highschoolers. Again, Perry North is a fine alternative to newer, further-flung suburbs because the neighborhood is going to live like one.  

Opportunities for Improvement

More placemaking, please. People need to know they’re in Perry North when they’re in Perry North. Because it’s not a through neighborhood, in addition to giving people a reason to visit, placemaking is a good idea. As far as reasons to visit the neighborhood go, I’ll make the same point I made with Observatory Hill, which faces the same challenge: Perry North needs a draw. A unique restaurant, perhaps a brewery or distillery, maybe a theatre — something to give people a reason to visit the neighborhood. Finally, increasing building density in the neighborhood center is always a good idea. The city would do well to work with the private sector to make the magic happen. Although suburban in nature, Perry North is still quietly a desirable neighborhood within Pittsburgh. The trick is attracting people to Perry North so they can see it for themselves.