Pittsburgh’s often been called a big city with a small town feel. We, Pittsburghers, have the best of both worlds because we’re also within easy driving distance of a plethora of charming small towns. Here are 14 small towns near Pittsburgh that offer a glimpse into yesteryear. So, next time you’re looking for a unique way to spend the day, head to one of these friendly small towns.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Ligonier may be considered a small town. But, it offers plenty to do. Bring the whole family along for a day of adventure at Idlewild Park and SoakZone. Explore Fort Ligonier. Or, spend a lovely day shopping and dining in the quaint downtown.
Watch a gorgeous sunset from the old-fashioned porch at the Summit Inn after a lovely day of exploring Farmington. The tiny town, with a population of under 800, lays claim to numerous attractions. Visit Fort Necessity Battlefield, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, or Laurel Caverns.
Just 13 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, the quaint town of Oakmont promises the charm and friendliness of small town America. Spend a leisurely day shopping or dining out. Take in a movie at The Oaks Theatre. Or, go golfing at the Oakmont Country Club. Of course, a trip to Oakmont wouldn't be complete without a stop at the wildly popular Oakmont Bakery.
Experience the friendliness and charm of Foxburg, a tiny town sat along the Allegheny River. Home to less than 200 residents, Foxburg offers plenty to do. Explore the town on foot, on bike, or on a boat cruising down the river. The town boasts Foxburg Wine Cellars, Disvani Chocolate, and the riverside Allegheny Grille.
Tucked in Indiana County, the tranquil town of Saltsburg lays claim to less than 900 residents. Saltsburg provides plenty to do for outdoor enthusiasts. Visit Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake, where you can fish or paddle boat. Or, hike along the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.
Discover tranquility in the tiny town of Smicksburg. Sixty-three miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Smicksburg is home to both old order Amish and modern American families. Surrounded by lush farmland, the town features an assortment of charming shops - the Amish House and Country Cupboards, for example - and restaurants. Or, visit Windgate Vineyards & Winery or Hillside Farm and Stables.
Embrace the sheer natural beauty of the tiny town of Volant. About an hour from downtown Pittsburgh, Volant has less than 200 residents. Spend a few hours shopping in the quaint stores, such as The Kitchen Shoppe and Miss Scarlett's Gift Parlor. Then, explore the outdoors. Go fly fishing at or picnicking by the Volant Dam and drive over the Banks Covered Bridge.
Just over 200 people call Portersville, 45 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, home. Portersville spans less than one square mile. But, that mile packs a lot of punch to it. Stroll through town for an afternoon of shopping and eating. Brown's Country Kitchen, for example, serves homecooked, old-fashioned country meals. Go hungry (the portions are
Okay, well, fair disclosure. Parker isn't really considered a town. With less than 800 than residents, Parker has earned distinction as the smallest city in the United States. Drive 62 miles from downtown Pittsburgh to reach the small city that offers boating, kayaking, and canoeing on the Allegheny River. Then, sit down for a delectable meal at Bob's Place Restaurant or Riverstone Lounge and Grill.
Say "Ohiopyle" and, arguably, most people immediately think of the massive Ohiopyle State Park. Perhaps the crown jewel of Ohiopyle, the park offers a slew of activities, including hiking, boating, horseback riding, biking, and camping. The tiny town itself boasts less than 70 residents. Before or after your adventure at the popular state park, stop for a delicious meal at Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe, Paddlers Pizza, or Ohiopyle Cafe.
11. Mount Pleasant
Less than an hour from downtown Pittsburgh, Mount Pleasant is the largest of our small towns with more than 4,000 residents. Enjoy a leisurely drive to the small town that's brimming with fun things to do. Stop by the Winery at Sandhill, the Mount Pleasant Glass Museum, or Helltown Brewing. Cap off your day with a double feature at the Evergreen Drive-In.
Roll down the windows and enjoy your 13-mile drive from downtown Pittsburgh to Sewickley. With its charming main street, Sewickley provides an idyllic setting for shopping and eating. Or, visit the first Saturday of every month from April through November and shop for fresh produce and other goodies at the farmers market.
Just eight miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Aspinwall sits along the Allegheny River. Grab the kids and spend the day at the 11-acre Aspinwall Riverfront Park, which offers a playground, hiking trails, and gardens. Then, spend some time browsing such adorable shops as A Brush of Whimsy and One Brilliant.
Say hello to all the Martians (yes, that's what they're called) when you visit the eclectic town of Mars, 25 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Home to approximately 1,500 Martians, Mars pays homage to the red planet. Pose for pictures in front of the town's UFO. Other spots to check out include the historic Mars Train Station and The 9/11 Peace Pole.