North Park provides the perfect escape from the post-industrial landscape of Pittsburgh. The 3,075 acre park is the largest in the county and is the go-to spot for outdoor recreation. Basketball courts, cycling lanes, tennis courts, hilly hiking trails, picnic sites, a skating rink, a golf course, a 5-mile jogging path, and a zip-line course all surround a picturesque North Park Lake.
Parking and public transportation to North Park
Unfortunately, driving is really the only way to get to North Park, it is too far and treacherous of a walk from the nearest bus stop. Parking is free, and the best place to park to access the most amenities is next to the boathouse. However, there are many parking lots throughout the park, so follow the signs to find a specific place.
Best and worst time to get to North Park
The park offers recreation for every season, but summer offers the most activities in terms of quantity. Kayak and fish the lake in the summer; biking, jogging, and hiking are also best done when the rain is away. That said, winter offers cross-country skiing trails, ice fishing, and skating on the large ice rink. Spring and Fall provide beautiful scenery of blooms and foliage, respectively.
Admission to North Park
There is no admission fee to access the park and many of its amenities, like tennis courts, hiking trials, etc. are also free. The skating rink is less than $10 for admission, including skate rental, and admission to the swimming pool is also less than $10.
Must see/do at North Park
The grey stone boathouse that rests on the edge of the lake was built in 1936 and has remained wonderfully preserved. It is the perfect starting and finishing point for a jog or ride along the paved 5-mile loop; a great bar/restaurant now occupies the boathouse and offers great views of the lake from its outdoor patio. To paddle the lake, kayaks can be rented at the boathouse in the summer.
Other places to visit near North Park
South of North Park, Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant off McKnight Road is consistently rated the best Indian food in the region by local media. Just a bit further down the road, sits the Ross Park Mall on top of a hill. The mall is one of the larger malls in the Steel City and is popular among locals.
Insider tip for visitors to North Park
Hiking the park is rewarding, but can be confusing the navigate. Make sure to get a map at the Administrative Office building on Peace Mill Road. Then when out hiking, pay attention to the colored spots painted on the trees, these will keep you on the trail.
Author's bio: Ryan Deto, originally from California, has been exploring the streets of Pittsburgh for more than four years. He has been published in "LA Weekly" and has traveled to more than a dozen countries and more than 40 states throughout America.