Places to Avoid in Pittsburgh

We Pittsburghers are a pretty loyal bunch. We cheer for our sports teams win or lose, rally together to help those less fortunate, and don't take too kindly to people insulting our hometown.

But, even the most loyal among us will admit that Pittsburgh isn't perfect and there are, in fact, some places you want to avoid, or at least be aware of, when you visit the steel city.

The Squirrel Hill Tunnels

To outsiders, it's just a tunnel. Maintain speed. Drive through to the other side. No biggie.

For Pittsburghers, it's a strange phenomenon. They slow to a crawl as the tunnel draws closer, foot hovered anxiously over the brake, inching through the Squirrel Hill Tunnels, which connect the east suburbs to downtown.

No one knows why Pittsburghers stop before the Squirrel Hill Tunnels – and only the Squirrel Hill Tunnels – or how the phenomenon started. But, as sure as night turns into day, you will find yourself backed up in traffic ahead of the tunnel. Save yourself the questions, the frustration and the hassle. Use MapQuest to find an alternate, non-tunnel route, to town from the east.

Downtown on a Weeknight

Sometimes Pittsburgh stays up late. Light Up Night. New Year's Eve. The Fourth of July. People pour into the downtown area and the city pulsates with life even after the sun has set. That, however, is the exception to the rule. For the most part, downtown transforms into a veritable ghost town once the clock strikes 5 p.m. as businesses and shops close for the day.

Unless you're heading to the Cultural District, where you plan to catch a show or have dinner, your best bet is to avoid downtown Pittsburgh in the evening and head to Station Square, Squirrel Hill or the Strip District.

Neighborhoods After Dark

All neighborhoods, regardless of their reputation for safety, require vigilance when visiting, especially at night. Unfortunately, some neighborhoods in Pittsburgh have earned a reputation for violence and should be avoided, especially in the evening. Homewood, Wilkinsburg and McKeesport, for example, often head local newscasts due to shootings and theft. Take extra care when going to and driving through these neighborhoods.

The safety of Pittsburgh's South Side remains questionable. The South Side has undergone a transformation in recent years with the addition of high-end apartments, shops and restaurants. Bars dot the landscape of Carson Street in the South Side, a popular neighborhood for Saturday night partiers. Local media frequently reports about fights that have spilled onto the road and individuals driving drunk, so be cautious when driving and hanging out in the South Side in the evening.

Beth Price-Williams is a Pittsburgh born and raised freelance writer, animal advocate and mom. ‚Äč