Where to stay in Pittsburgh for first time: 3 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Pittsburgh as a first-timer can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Pittsburgh for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Pittsburgh for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Pittsburgh and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Before getting into the main topic, let’s look at some facts about the Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh is a city located in the western part of Pennsylvania. It is situated at the confluence of three rivers—the Allegheny River, the Monongahela River, and the Ohio River. 

Pittsburgh is often referred to as the City of Bridges due to its numerous river crossings. The city’s distinctive skyline is characterized by its many bridges, some of which are iconic landmarks.

The city’s hilly topography and neighborhoods built into the hillsides contribute to its unique character. The inclines, or funiculars, are historic cable cars that transport people up and down the steeper slopes.

Known as the “Steel City,” Pittsburgh has a rich industrial history, particularly in steel production. The city was a major center for steel manufacturing in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Over the years, Pittsburgh has undergone a transformation from an industrial to a more diversified economy.

Pittsburgh is home to numerous museums, theaters, and art galleries. The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, Andy Warhol Museum, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are among the city’s cultural attractions.

Pittsburgh is home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, which are known for their academic excellence and research contributions.

Is Pittsburgh safe to visit?

Yes, Pittsburgh is overall a safe place to visit. But you should always be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night, as you should in any city. 

Downtown, Shadyside, and Oakland are generally safe areas for visitors to book their accommodations. Avoid staying in Homewood, East Liberty, the Hill District, Hazelwood, and Southside Flats.

Where to stay in Pittsburgh for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Pittsburgh for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Pittsburgh, North Shore, and Shadyside. You can find some good quality accommodations in these areas.

Downtown is the most popular area in Pittsburgh for first-time visitors. It is the heart of the city and offers convenient access to many attractions, museums, theaters, and sports venues like Point State Park, Market Square, PPG Paints Arena, Heinz Hall. You’ll be close to a range of dining and shopping options.

The North Shore is known for its sports and entertainment venues. Staying here puts you close to stadiums like Heinz Field, PNC Park,  Rivers Casino, and the Andy Warhol Museum. The area offers scenic views of the city skyline and the rivers.

Shadyside is a trendy and residential area with tree-lined streets. It’s known for its boutique shops, diverse dining options, and charming atmosphere. The neighborhood is popular for its cultural scene and historic architecture.

During my trip to Pittsburgh, I stayed at the budget-friendly Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown. It had a central location, super close to many things. It was a short distance from Point State Park, Market Square, and the vibrant Strip district. The room was clean and spacious with a comfortable bed.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Pittsburgh for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Pittsburgh first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Pittsburgh first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Pittsburgh, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Pittsburgh have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

3 Safe areas to stay in Pittsburgh for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown is undoubtedly the best area for first-timers to book their accommodation. This area is the heart of the city, offering easy access to tourist attractions and amenities. It also has the highest concentration of accommodations, so you’ll have many choices.

Downtown is home to the famous Point State Park. Located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, this state park offers green space, walking trails, and the iconic Fountain at the Point.

At the center of downtown lies Market Square, a historic square with shops, restaurants, and outdoor seating. It hosts events and markets throughout the year.

Downtown is home to the city’s Cultural District, featuring theaters such as Heinz Hall, the Benedum Center, and the Byham Theater, showcasing a variety of performing arts.

Downtown has diverse shopping options and a wide range of dining choices, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries, catering to various tastes.

Downtown Pittsburgh is the primary business and financial hub of the city, hosting numerous corporate offices, making it convenient for business travelers.

Downtown is well-connected with public transportation, including buses and the “T” (light rail), making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Downtown Pittsburgh for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Fairmont Pittsburgh, 5-star beautiful hotel in central Downtown Pittsburgh, in the middle of everything, next to Market Square and Acrisure Stadium, within walking distance from the Point State Park. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk, non-smoking rooms, onsite parking, and a fitness center.

Mid-range ($$): Omni William Penn Hotel, 4-star nice classic hotel in central Pittsburgh, within walking distance to many amenities. 5-10 mins walk from Point State Park, Market Square, and David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The hotel has air-conditioned rooms, a business center, and good breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, an IHG Hotel, great 4-star boutique hotel  in downtown Pittsburgh, within walking distance from the Cultural District and many restaurants. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk, a fitness center, 2 restaurants, free happy hour, and parking.

Mid-range ($$): Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown, 4-star hotel conveniently situated on  Penn Avenue, 30 minute walk to the stadium, easy access to Amtrak Station and T station on Wood street.

Mid-range ($$): Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 4-star hotel in a good location in the city center on Sixth Street, close to everything. Great base for anyone participating in events at PNC park.

Budget ($): Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown, 3-star good value for money hotel in a central safe location, close to many things, easy access to the Strip District and PNC Park. It has an outdoor swimming pool, delicious breakfast, and comfortable family rooms.

Budget ($): Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown, 3-star good value for money accommodation conveniently located on  Smallman Street, near a variety of attractions. It has an indoor swimming pool, good breakfast, and Free parking which is a bonus for those who drive.


2. North Shore

The North Shore is an excellent choice for sports enthusiasts, those attending events at the stadiums, and anyone looking to enjoy the scenic riverfront. a lively and scenic area located just across the Allegheny River from Downtown Pittsburgh.  

This area is home to Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team. It also hosts concerts and events.

It also hosts PNC Park, a baseball stadium for the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB), offering beautiful views of the city skyline and the river.

You can take a walk, run, and cycle along North Shore Trail, which offers stunning views of the city and bridges. The Gateway Clipper Fleet riverboat tours departing from the North Shore, providing a unique perspective of Pittsburgh.

History buffs can visit The Andy Warhol Museum, dedicated to the life and art of the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol.

On game days, especially during football season, you’ll find lively tailgating events around Heinz Field, creating a festive atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Pittsburgh in North Shore:

Mid-range ($$): The Landing Hotel at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, good value for money accommodation, in a great location adjacent to the casino, and the Acrisure Stadium. Easy access to PNC Park, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Heinz Field, and Andy Warhol Museum. It has free parking, which is great if you have a car.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Place Pittsburgh North Shore, popular 3-star hotel located within walking distance to multiple restaurants, quick walk across the bridge to downtown. Also close to football, and baseball stadium, and Andy Warhol museum.

Mid-range ($$): Residence Inn Pittsburgh North Shore, 4-star hotel in a great area, right across the street from PNC Park and easy access to the subway. 

Budget ($): The Priory Hotel, 3-star good value for money accommodation on Pressley Street, close to North Shore. Easy access to the Andy Warhol Museum, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and National Aviary. The hotel has Free parking!


3. Shadyside

Shadyside is a charming and upscale residential neighborhood located to the east of Downtown Pittsburgh. Popular points of interest in this area include the Walnut Street shopping district, Mellon Park, Carnegie Mellon University.

Walnut Street is the main commercial area in Shadyside, known for its boutique shops, high-end retailers, and a variety of dining options. It’s a popular destination for shopping and leisurely strolls.

Shadyside has a thriving artistic community, with several art galleries showcasing local and international artists.

The neighborhood is in close proximity to Carnegie Mellon University, contributing to a vibrant intellectual and cultural atmosphere.

Shadyside is known for its tree-lined residential streets and historic architecture, featuring Victorian and early 20th-century homes. It provides a picturesque and tranquil setting.

Mellon Park is a beautiful park in the heart of Shadyside, offering green spaces, gardens, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Best places to stay in Pittsburgh in Shadyside:

Mid-range ($$): Mansions on Fifth, 4-star good value for money, beautiful boutique hotel on Fifth Avenue in Shadyside, easy access to Carnegie Mellon University, and Pitt’s campus. Within walking distance of Walnut street for coffee and pastry. It has free parking, a fitness center, and family rooms.

Budget ($): Hyatt House Pittsburgh Bloomfield Shadyside, 3-star accommodation close to Schenley Park and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It has an indoor pool and a nice buffet breakfast.

Budget ($): SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pittsburgh Bakery Square, 3-star hotel located within a short drive from Pittsburgh Zoo and Bob O’Connor Golf Course. It has private parking and laundry facilities.


In conclusion, Downtown Pittsburgh, North Shore, and Shadyside are the best places to stay in Pittsburgh for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas for visitors to book their accommodations and explore the city.

You can continue reading about other cities near Pittsburgh in these article: 

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Pittsburgh. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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