The Best Locations Pittsburgh has to offer for dreamy and romantic photos year round!
An informative guide to the best spots in Pittsburgh.
I’m sure you’ve wondered what the absolute best locations in Pittsburgh are for your upcoming photo sessions, right?! As a photographer, I’ve scout locations daily, and I’ve discovered incredible places in and near Pittsburgh that showcase the beauty of Western Pennsylvania.
Over the years, I’ve collected many of my favorite places, and some I absolutely think you should check out—keep in mind that with every season the scenery can change drastically in the northeast, so it’s worth to put a pin on this and go back to your favorite spots in different times of the year to experience its true glory.
Natalia, what are the best locations for our photo shoot? – That’s the question I get daily, and I’ll give you a complete guide with a list of them below. Keep in mind that this isn’t only for couples and engagement photo shoots, but for family, seniors, and for the bridal portrait part of your wedding day!
Like I said, I keep on discovering new places all the time, but I promise you, some of the places you’ll see listed below photograph as something completely different than Pittsburgh. That’s right! You’ll feel like you’re in a different country, and it can be so much fun!
If you’d like to book a session with me, or find out more information, feel free to inquire here! Can’t wait to connect with you and make art out of the ordinary day and a wonderful experience to celebrate love and connection.
Ready?! Let’s do it!
Just in the Allegheny County there a ton of options to choose from, and just like I tell my clients, it really depends on what you’re looking for. More of a city vibe? The strip is incredible, and I’ll go over some of my favorite spots, but how about parks?! Pittsburgh offers a wonderful selection of natural places where Nature will shine in your session as much as you are!
Phipps Conservatory in Oakland – OMG! What a beautiful gem we have in Oakland with this gorgeous building, which not only shines when you’re driving by, but takes you into another world once you go in. They usually have different displays, and a variety of historic flower shows and exhibits that lets you discover places such as the vegetation in Cuba, or the most recent I went to for a senior session was of Monet and it was beyond this world. You can honestly spend approximately 3 – 4 hours, especially if you’re a nature lover, but you can also finish up everything in 90 minutes. I would recommend setting aside 60 to 90 minutes for a session. If you want to know one of my favorite rooms is the dessert room. I’m always as surprised as ever to see such a cool room with vegetation that is so different than Pittsburgh’s.
Being outside of Phipps is another entirely different experience and so much fun as a creative, I’ve shot beautiful maternities, and couples’ photos in different times of the year, and it always turns out different depending on the time of the year and the day.
Schenley Park Visitor Center and Café in Oakland – One of my favorite combination of places is Phipps and this gorgeous natural area that can seem like you’re walking in a European small town. Just across the street from Phipps is a brick building called Schenley Visitor Center with cobblestone path and a black metal railing which takes you all the way to one of the Schenley trails. I’ve walked downstairs, which gives you a lot of privacy and a different view for some different type of shots.
Flagstaff Hill and Westinghouse Memorial in Schenley Park – If you’ve lived in Pittsburgh through a winter, you probably have driven by this area, which is a popular spot to play and slide down the hill when it’s snowed. It looks completely different than in Summer when you’ll find all the shades of green and will see people hanging out with their hammocks and reading a book or having a picnic. There’s something special about being a kid, and I encourage all my clients to take that childlike attitude in our session, this is a great spot to practice that.
Squirrel Hill – Ah! This is a personal favorite because I used to live here and love this neighborhood. As you can imagine, during summer I went out to explore as many trails as I could. This is a neighborhood, which is very close to Oakland, and you can easily walk to some of my favorite spots, especially for nature lovers, you will find incredible spots and hidden pathways to different creeks. If you feel like walking, you can also spot some bridges and see them from a different angle, which makes you love the steel city a lot more! It also makes for very interesting spots for photos.
Frick Park – This is another one of those parks that is not only huge and with a ton of options and trails, but also very close to Squirrel Hill. If you’re fond of hiking you must go to Frick Park—it has great spots for hiking and once you’re up in those hills, you can see parts of Homestead and the Waterfront. It’s honestly worth the hike! 😉 There’s also a stone archway that is an all-time favorite for photos. Pro tip, in the Summer try to go an hour or two before the sunset to make sure you get those golden tones in your photos.
Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh – What if you want both Nature and city views?! Point State Park is an iconic destination for engagement photos. With its sprawling green spaces, elegant fountain, and the historic Fort Pitt Blockhouse, this location offers a blend of history and natural beauty. Point State Park is a popular location to see it all. If you live near Downtown or would like to take a walk to the stadium or use one of the popular yellow bridges for your photos, or just to make it an afternoon experience, this is a great spot to consider. During the summer days, people come here to watch the sunset and enjoy the popular fountain which is not only refreshing but an iconic part of the park. During spring we are all waiting to know when is the fountain going to be turned on because it’s a symbol of warmer days coming our way. This is a spot I’ve used in all four seasons of the year, and each of them is special and different in its own way. Totally worth a visit year-round!
Mount Washington – For a panoramic view that will take your breath away! I recommend all tourists to head to Mt Washington and stop at Grandview Overlook to see Pittsburgh from a different angle. You have views of the city skyline, the three rivers below, and you can see Point State Park as well as the Steeler’s Stadium from here, which is always very fun depending on where you focus on. One of my favorite things to do in Mount Washington is to go to the Grandview Overlook an hour before sunset and walk around, even though I’ve done it plenty of times, it never gets old. You can also stop at the historic church, St Mary of the Mount, which was designed by Frederick Sauer in Gothic architectural style.
Have you been to Allentown?! The list of spots I love in this area of the city is long. In fact, I can go and spend an entire day exploring and I’m sure I’ll find new places every time. From Parks to graffiti walls, to cool little streets with so much character.
The Duquesne Incline – This is a historic gem! You can get to the Duquesne Incline by going up Mt. Washington and stopping at the Upper Station, which is located at 1220 Grandview Avenue Pittsburgh, PA. 15211 – For the locals who have been around, I’m sure this isn’t a big deal, but I can assure you, go in the Spring, Summer and even fall to spend a different day being a tourist in Pittsburgh, and if you like it, it might be a great idea to book your session taking into consideration this plan.
Emerald View Park in Mt. Washington is a gem! Every time I go here, either at golden hour and I get to see the beautiful sunset or during blue hour, which is right before it gets dark, it’s always a spectacle! The park is high up, but right in front is the view of the city. There are picnic tables, and plenty of space to put together a nice picnic overlooking Pittsburgh while you enjoying the sound of birds chirping and cozy up with your partner.
The West End-Elliott Overlook Park – This is another place you might not know of in Mt. Washington, and it has a crazy awesome view of the city. A small municipal park and a scenic viewpoint. It’s usually less crowded than Grandview Overlook, and the park has a landscape garden and a walkway under the shaded trees, which can be very romantic. I’ve done engagement photo shoots the last weeks of Winter and you really get a perfect vibe.
Moving to another part of the city is the famous South Side, which is known for bars and night entertainment. During the day you can find different restaurants and cute little coffee shops. One of my favorite ones is de Fer Coffee & Tea, which is a great option for coffee and brunch. Another one that is very pleasant, and has great music and a different atmosphere is: Cafetano Coffee Roasters in Pittsburgh – If you haven’t been yet, I encourage you to go and get some of the breakfast options they have along with their delicious coffee.
The South Side – You can start at one end by the Three Rivers Heritage Park, walk over to the Hot Metal Bridge, which is a popular spot for couples who marry near the area or at the Hyatt Hotel in the South Side. You don’t get to see awesome places like this everywhere, so it really is a cool experience. You can then continue to the South Shore Riverfront Park to get close to the river and see the boats on the docks and continue onto the Three Rivers Heritage trail to find the color park, which is an interesting park with lots, and I mean lots of color!! In the South Side you can also find the brightly painted building which is a fun spot for photos.
The South Side – Carson Street – Restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and tons of interesting little shops that include tattoo shops, streets and always that are extremely interesting looking and that can get you a very cool look when it comes to photos and the vibe you’re looking for!
Mellon Park in Shadyside – Another of Shadyside’s incredible location and an all-time favorite for photographers is Mellon Park. This park is nestled between Shadyside and Point Breeze neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can access the park from both sides of Fifth Avenue, from approximately Shady Avenue to Penn Avenue, the western corner abutting Pittsburgh Center for the Arts building. The park is not only in a great location, but its gardens make for a beautiful walk taking in nature. The fountain is one of the highlights of the park, and again make it for a great location for photos. There’s a 20-minute walk from Bakery Square, which has tons of restaurants, shops and coffee shops that make it a great place to go have a drink in the afternoon. During the Summers all this area is packed with people who go out and enjoy the sun and the warmer months of the year.
The North Shore – Oh my goodness!! What can I tell you about the North Shore that I don’t love?! This is another one of those locations I constantly use for my clients’ photos, as well as to go walk, and go out with friends. It’s also the place where I take tourists and friends who come from abroad. The city skyline is gorgeous and not only that, but you can also walk by the river while you enjoy the view of the city right across from you. We call it both, the North Shore and PNC Park, because this is home to PNC Park, which is home to the beautiful baseball stadium, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. When taking a walk in the North Shore trail, you will pass under the Clemente and the Warhol bridges.
The Allegheny Commons Park in the North Shore – This is one of those parks that is located next to the National Aviary, which is located across from The City of Asylum, which if you haven’t been, I strongly recommend for you to check it out. Near this park, you will also find Lake Elizabeth and during the spring you’ll see the beautiful cherry blossom trees that give a beautiful touch to any photo!
Randyland in the North Shore – This is another of those special places Pittsburgh has to offer. This is considered an art museum located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s regarded as one of American’s most colorful public art landmarks and part of that is because Randy Gilson is the creator of this museum, which dedicates to his outsider art. It’s such an interesting place. You will find a combination of different items his collected and displayed so it won’t be a boring visit, that I can promise you!
The Pittsburgh Zoo in Highland Park is a nice museum that is always a great place to take your family and take photos in the meantime. During the winter months, they take the penguins out and you will see them outside their aquarium, which is an experience of a lifetime in my opinion.
The Highland Park – is another one of the locations Pittsburgh has where you will take a walk and see nature everywhere. I went there an hour before sunset during the winter and it was beautiful! You will see how the golden tones of the sunset go behind the tree branches and the houses.
The Allegheny RiverTrail Park formerly known as Aspinwall Riverfront Park located on the Allegheny River near the Highland Park Bridge in Aspinwall. The view is singular, and once you see it and take some photos there, you will quickly identify it.
Hartwood Acres Mansion is one of my FAVORITE places. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that a couple of times, but I seriously mean it. It’s such a wonderful place and if you haven’t been, I urge you go.
North Park – in McCandless is personal all-time favorite of mine. It’s a 3,075-acre county park in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It is the largest in the county’s 12,000-acres network of nine distinct parks. Completed in 1931, North Park is sited 15 miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh in Hampton, McCandless, and Pine Townships. It’s very accessible from downtown and nearby neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and it’s not only huge but it offers different spots that make you feel like you’re in a different part of the country altogether. I love going to North Park to walk, have a picnic, work, but I also do many types of photo shoots, especially when my clients ask me a good place to do a photo shoot with their dog, North Park is a good option, because you can find nice places that are private and great for an intimate and private session.
Union Station, also known as Pennsylvania Station and commonly called Penn Station Union Station The Pennsylvanian – is a historic train station in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The historic station was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built from 1898 to 1904. The station’s rotunda was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, followed by the entire building in 1976. In the 1980s, the Burnham station building was converted to apartment use, while Amtrak moved to an annex on the building’s east side.
If you were still on the fence about it at the beginning of this blog post, I’m sure you’re now convinced that Pittsburgh is one of the most versatile cities in Western Pennsylvania, not only does it have beautiful and unique parks that will give you plenty of options, because each of our parks offers a different vibe, so if you’re looking for water, trails, or a garden, these parks got you covered. The burgh offers a plethora of stunning engagement photo shoot locations, each with its own unique charm and allure. Whether you’re drawn to the urban energy of Point State Park, the artistic vibrancy of the Andy Warhol Museum, the natural splendor of Phipps Conservatory, the breathtaking views from Mount Washington, or the beauty of Mellon Park Walled Garden, the Steel City has something for everyone. During the warmer months of the year there’s so many rooftops bars and breweries, as well as cool restaurants and coffee shops you can find in Lawrenceville, The Strip, North Shore, and South Side with outside sitting that will let you immerse even more into this city’s magical energy.
Let me know which is your favorite from this list, and which spots are you trying next for your next photo shoot or for a day in the park or night out in the city! If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can do so here! Looking forward to hearing from you.