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i'll be moving to pittsburgh, probably hoping to move into a place august 1. i plan on going to the city at the end of may/beginning of june to look for a place to rent, thinking that's when there will be the highest volume of vacancies for august. should i go sooner? later?

and is there anything better than craigslist for looking at places online?

like others here, i'm also thinking of looking at lawrenceville, bloomfield, and friendship. i also really like the mexican war streets neighbourhood (i'm a sucker for old houses) but a lot of people have been telling me that the surrounding neighbourhoods aren't safe and there's not much in the way of a business district there. any thoughts? i'm used to living in a high-crime city and i've seen some stuff go down in my day, so while i don't want to live in an area where i'd feel like i was in physical danger, i think i'm fairly accustomed to the dangers (and the perks) of living in lower income urban areas.

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I visited UPitt last week, and I was just really unhappy with the vibe of the area. Even some of the places that people said were "nice" seemed a little run down, but I guess that's just because the recession is hitting this area particularly hard. I've lived in NYC, LA, Toronto, and a few other cities, and while I can definitely see Pittsburgh as having a "funky" vibe, there still wasn't a lot to do (that the students I was with knew about) or a lot open late compared to a more vibrant city, and for some reason, everyone who worked in the restaurants/bars I went into was pretty rude. Maybe I was just with a lame group of students/in a bad part of town? Anyway, I just can't see myself living in Pittsburgh for the next 5+ years.

I visited Pittsburgh last weekend and came away with a much different impression. First, the recession is actually not hitting Pittsburgh as hard. In fact, there was a NYT article just recently about Pittsburgh doing well. The PG published this on April 3: "The jobless rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh region is 6.9 percent vs. 7.5 percent statewide."

Also, Richard Florida wrote "Places like Pittsburgh have shown that a city can stay vibrant as it shrinks, by redeveloping its core to attract young professionals and creative types, and by cultivating high-growth services and industries. And in limited ways, we can help faltering cities to manage their decline better, and to sustain better lives for the people who stay in them."

I definitely saw what he was talking about. There are a lot of young families with kids and creative types, which bring in a lot of fun businesses like rare book stores and comic book shops. There is a ton of great food and while the homes are older, they are not run down (especially in Squirrel Hill). There are some absolutely lovely homes in beautiful, safe neighborhoods.

It might just be that our aims are different. I don't go out to bars just to hang out and drink. I would more likely go to a theater or club to see music. If things close early, I don't really mind because I go to bed early (and get up early). But I have been a working professional for the last few years, which may influence what I look for in a city. I definitely see Pittsburgh as on the cusp of a totally revitalization and it seems like a really great place to be over the next few years.

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I'm starting grad school in UPitt this fall. I am scanning some apartments online, as an international student. My two 'recommended' areas are Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. I don't mind commuting as long as the bus stop is near my house... And I would definitely want to live in a lively part of town, although safety is very important to me. I won't have a car and I might have to walk home some nights. Which area would you recommend?

And do you think I would be able to rent a place if I come early in May and meet with the companies, etc. , so that I will come just before the school starts in August?

Thanks a lot!!

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Yet another incoming CMU grad student here. I was just in Pittsburgh last weekend--maybe it was because of a festival on campus or because the weather was beautiful, but the areas around both CMU and UPitt were really lively. It's definitely an older city than my hometown of Atlanta, but it doesn't seem like a bad place to be for 2 years (as long as you don't plan to drive a whole lot around the city...the roads are really not laid out that well at all).

And for any classical music fans, students can get $14 rush tickets to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. They put on a great show last weekend. :D

I'm planning to take a few days off sometime in June and go back to try to find a place. Our program's coordinator is putting together some helpful info for us, so I'll wait to see what she has to say. I liked Shadyside, and I visited the home of another incoming student that had been renovated fairly recently and was really beautiful, but it would be nice to be closer to a grocery store (like the Giant Eagle everyone keeps mentioning).

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Lucy and I am new to the site. I am probably going to attend Carnegie Mellon University this fall for a MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. I was talking to a woman who used to live in Pittsburgh and she recommended that I live in either Shadyside or Squirrel Park. She told me to avoid living in Oakland. She said there were too many undergrads living there and various "slum lords" as well. However, I heard that Oakland had way more things to do when you compare it to Shadyside and Squirrel Park. Furthermore, I head that Shadyside was very expensive. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks for your help.

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Lucy and I am new to the site. I am probably going to attend Carnegie Mellon University this fall for a MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. I was talking to a woman who used to live in Pittsburgh and she recommended that I live in either Shadyside or Squirrel Park. She told me to avoid living in Oakland. She said there were too many undergrads living there and various "slum lords" as well. However, I heard that Oakland had way more things to do when you compare it to Shadyside and Squirrel Park. Furthermore, I head that Shadyside was very expensive. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks for your help.

http://www.coolpgh.pitt.edu/index.php

this site's a pretty good source on the general feel and amenities of different neighbourhoods in pittsburgh where grad students are living.

oakland does have a lot of undergraduates, and while it's one of the more populous neighbourhoods, there are plenty other neighbourhoods with a lot to do. most grad students attending pitt or cmu live in shadyside or squirrel hill. most undergrads live in oakland or south side. lots of duquesne students live in south side too.

shadyside has a major shopping/boutique/restaurant corridor along walnut st. squirrel hill has less shopping, but it's right next to shadyside should you need anything. both of these areas are two of the more expensive neighbourhoods in the city of pittsburgh. shadyside can be very pricey, and you'll pay as much for a studio there as you would for a two or three bedroom rowhouse in other neighbourhoods. lots of people love it there, though, so if size doesn't matter that much to you, there's nothing really wrong with paying for less space.

south side is catching up to shadyside and squirrel hill in price, too. the south side flats are right across the ... i wanna say monongahela river from downtown and oakland (where the schools are). you can walk across the bridge and buses run to oakland frequently (pitt and CMU students ride the bus for free), so its still quite close. it's party-central though. east carson is where most undergrads and frat guys go to bar-hop. now, i love me some barhopping, but i don't necessarily want to live next to the club. then there's the south side slopes, just south of the flats, going up the hill. cheaper, although prices are rising, and still pretty convenient provided that you don't have a car. i've heard that trying to drive down the slope in the winter can be dangerous because of the ice.

i'd also say to look into the friendship and bloomfield neighbourhoods. they're right next to shadyside, but they're cheaper. more to the north of campus rather than east-northeast like shadyside and squirrel hill are. friendship's full of lots of old victorian homes that have been converted into multi-unit apartments and they're cheaper than shadyside or squirrel hill. bloomfield's the old italian neighbourhood, with lots of little delis and restaurants, and lots of rowhouses. there's some major shopping and attractions along penn avenue and liberty avenue, walking distance from either place. also close to lawrenceville, which has a good number of new art galleries and boutiques popping up all the time. l-ville's still a bit rough around the edges in some places, though, and if you get into upper lawrenceville it'll be hard to get a direct busline to the universities in oakland.

i'd recommend searching craigslist to get an idea of what's out there, but also to realize that a lot of people renting out places in pittsburgh aren't using craigslist, so there's more inventory than what you find online. try to set up appointments to see places for your visit, read the classifieds when you're there, and consider popping into a real estate agency or two in neighbourhoods you like and seeing if they have rental listings.

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Hi yall!

I just graduated from "waiting it out" to "decisions, decisions, decisions" when I received my acceptance from Carnegie Mellon. I am very excited about coming to Pittsburgh to study, although I've never been (but I plan to visit before I accept). I appreciate all the advice so far, but perhaps the Pittsburgers (or is it Pittsburghers? looks a bit odd) out there could offer their views on a few things:

* How easy is it to get by without a car? Obviously it's possible to get by without one (it appears to be a fairly dense city with a bus system like any city its size), but I guess I'm really asking if there are any compelling reasons to get a car. This brings me to my second point

* What's there to see or do nearby? I would love to be able to drive to New York, Philadelphia or Chicago when I get bored, but it seems quite far! Then again, Pittsburgh seems quite big, and I might never get bored.

* Outdoors activities. Things like skiing, hiking, camping or bike tours nearby.

Any thoughts?

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Hi yall!

I just graduated from "waiting it out" to "decisions, decisions, decisions" when I received my acceptance from Carnegie Mellon. I am very excited about coming to Pittsburgh to study, although I've never been (but I plan to visit before I accept). I appreciate all the advice so far, but perhaps the Pittsburgers (or is it Pittsburghers? looks a bit odd) out there could offer their views on a few things:

* How easy is it to get by without a car? Obviously it's possible to get by without one (it appears to be a fairly dense city with a bus system like any city its size), but I guess I'm really asking if there are any compelling reasons to get a car. This brings me to my second point

* What's there to see or do nearby? I would love to be able to drive to New York, Philadelphia or Chicago when I get bored, but it seems quite far! Then again, Pittsburgh seems quite big, and I might never get bored.

* Outdoors activities. Things like skiing, hiking, camping or bike tours nearby.

Any thoughts?

I am in Pittsburgh while my beloved does his MA, and as far as visiting New York, Philly, Chicago, you can basically rule it out for a quick Saturday-Sunday trip. I thought we were moving to the East Coast and would get to see friends all the time, but it turns out this is the Eastern Midwest. This is what I hate about Pittsburgh, but that's just me.

If you are going to school and live near campus, don't worry about the car. If you have a partner who is going to work, he or she will probably need a car.

There is hiking, skiing, and canoeing nearby. Lots of great museums in the city. Fallingwater is close and it is beautiful. Gettysburg not too far. Although, for the outside-pittsburgh stuff, you need a car. Rental?

I am not wild about P-burgh, but it's because I have the breadwinner position and I work a job I don't like, and also work on weekends. If I had a little more free time, or was a student with a built-in community, I think I would find P-burgh sort of enchanting. Wouldn't want to live here forever, but a good place to spend a year or two. That said, people who are from Pittsburgh love this place beyond reason and seem never to leave.

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So it's looking likely that My boyfriend and I will be moving down to Pittsburgh in the near future. We currently live in Syracuse, NY. Our current rent is ridiculously low, and I know that because I lived in Philadelphia for the last 3 years, but my boyfriend has not so his concept of reasonable rent is sort of swayed. We have one car between the two of us, and I bike most of the time (except if the weather makes it dangerous- which is unfortunately more months of Syracuse time that I would like) or I take public transit. I will be going to UPitt in the Fall (MA Theatre), and I would like to live within a 30 min. Public Transit radius of the school. We're also not going to be able to do more than about 600 in rent, and we'll be looking for a 1 bedroom (or 2 if it fits in the price range) with enough room that we don't drive each other crazy. I'd like to live in walking distance to a grocery store as well. I've been looking through all of the different threads, and it seems like Friendship would be an awesome neighborhood. But I'd like to know more about Wilkinsburg, and possibly Mexican War Street, and any other cheaper neighborhood thats not too far and not too dangerous (like I said I lived in Philly, so as long as theres not gang shootings happening on the street/living next to all the crackhouses it's okay by me). Any suggestions? Any realtors we should look into? I'm super excited about the move, and my boyfriend is a huge steelers fan so he's stoaked as well.

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So it's looking likely that My boyfriend and I will be moving down to Pittsburgh in the near future. We currently live in Syracuse, NY. Our current rent is ridiculously low, and I know that because I lived in Philadelphia for the last 3 years, but my boyfriend has not so his concept of reasonable rent is sort of swayed. We have one car between the two of us, and I bike most of the time (except if the weather makes it dangerous- which is unfortunately more months of Syracuse time that I would like) or I take public transit. I will be going to UPitt in the Fall (MA Theatre), and I would like to live within a 30 min. Public Transit radius of the school. We're also not going to be able to do more than about 600 in rent, and we'll be looking for a 1 bedroom (or 2 if it fits in the price range) with enough room that we don't drive each other crazy. I'd like to live in walking distance to a grocery store as well. I've been looking through all of the different threads, and it seems like Friendship would be an awesome neighborhood. But I'd like to know more about Wilkinsburg, and possibly Mexican War Street, and any other cheaper neighborhood thats not too far and not too dangerous (like I said I lived in Philly, so as long as theres not gang shootings happening on the street/living next to all the crackhouses it's okay by me). Any suggestions? Any realtors we should look into? I'm super excited about the move, and my boyfriend is a huge steelers fan so he's stoaked as well.

You are going to be hard pressed to find a suitable apartment for $600 as most studio apartments are are around that much. My apartment, 1 bedroom, kinda small in Friendship shared my my fiance and I is 700 a month. I am not sure I would want to live in Wilkinsburg because I've heard stories about the crime in areas like that. I've recently been on the look for a bigger apartment and they run about 800/month. We found a 2 bedroom house finally, but that is running us about $895/month. I would say Friendship/Morningside/Highland Park are the cheaper areas. Oakland (South mainly) is filled with over priced slumlords (I lived there for a year and had to get out).

In Pittsburgh, many people are surprised about the price of housing (including me).

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Hi yall!

I just graduated from "waiting it out" to "decisions, decisions, decisions" when I received my acceptance from Carnegie Mellon. I am very excited about coming to Pittsburgh to study, although I've never been (but I plan to visit before I accept). I appreciate all the advice so far, but perhaps the Pittsburgers (or is it Pittsburghers? looks a bit odd) out there could offer their views on a few things:

* How easy is it to get by without a car? Obviously it's possible to get by without one (it appears to be a fairly dense city with a bus system like any city its size), but I guess I'm really asking if there are any compelling reasons to get a car. This brings me to my second point

* What's there to see or do nearby? I would love to be able to drive to New York, Philadelphia or Chicago when I get bored, but it seems quite far! Then again, Pittsburgh seems quite big, and I might never get bored.

* Outdoors activities. Things like skiing, hiking, camping or bike tours nearby.

Any thoughts?

I've been in Pittsburgh for my undergrad and I am staying for grad school and I still love it. It's easy to get by without a car, I haven't had one here I take the bus but my fiance who works does have one. Parking in Pittsburgh is actually ridiculous and expensive so I prefer not to drive IN the city if at all possible. It would be really easy to drive to say Philly but it would be like a weekend trip. Pittsburgh has a lot of stuff to do.

One thing that throws people off is that although Pittsburgh is a city, it feels more like a small city with a hometown feel. Its not a city like Chicago by any means, its much smaller but still just as awesome.

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Thanks for the input! It was nice to hear gollux's point of view as well as the positive things.

Is the pollution that serious? Apparently it's number one in the country in terms of short term particle pollution, and number two in terms of year-round particle pollution (American Lung Association 2009: http://www.stateoftheair.org/2009/city-rankings/polluted-cities-particle-pollution-short.html).

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So it's looking likely that My boyfriend and I will be moving down to Pittsburgh in the near future. We currently live in Syracuse, NY. Our current rent is ridiculously low, and I know that because I lived in Philadelphia for the last 3 years, but my boyfriend has not so his concept of reasonable rent is sort of swayed. We have one car between the two of us, and I bike most of the time (except if the weather makes it dangerous- which is unfortunately more months of Syracuse time that I would like) or I take public transit. I will be going to UPitt in the Fall (MA Theatre), and I would like to live within a 30 min. Public Transit radius of the school. We're also not going to be able to do more than about 600 in rent, and we'll be looking for a 1 bedroom (or 2 if it fits in the price range) with enough room that we don't drive each other crazy. I'd like to live in walking distance to a grocery store as well. I've been looking through all of the different threads, and it seems like Friendship would be an awesome neighborhood. But I'd like to know more about Wilkinsburg, and possibly Mexican War Street, and any other cheaper neighborhood thats not too far and not too dangerous (like I said I lived in Philly, so as long as theres not gang shootings happening on the street/living next to all the crackhouses it's okay by me). Any suggestions? Any realtors we should look into? I'm super excited about the move, and my boyfriend is a huge steelers fan so he's stoaked as well.

I go to Pitt as an undergrad and I've worked closely with the Theatre department, if you have any questions.

$600 for a one room apartment within a thirty min public transportation route is, I think, doable if you look hard enough, but don't expect it to be too big. Friendship is inexpensive but be careful about certain parts of it. Shady Side can be expensive in parts but there are sections that are actually quite cheap, those near East Liberty. Wilkinsburg and the North Side (where Mexican War Streets are) is dangerous and far beyond 30 minute busride from Oakland. These places certainly aren't as bad crime-wise as many parts of Philly, but you can expect gang-related crimes, including violence, drugs and robberies, from time to time in these sections of town. Check out Highland Park, which is about 35 mins from Pitt by bus. Good things: cheap and residential, very quiet, zoo and very nice park nearby. Bad things: practically nothing useful like a grocery store is within walking distance.

One thing that I'd say about realtors, since you mentioned it, is to be particularly careful about them in this part of Pittsburgh, particularly if they know you're a student from out of town. Because Pittsburgh is relatively cheap for a mid sized city and the Oakland / East End sections are chock full of students, many of them have become accustomed to taking advantage of students by overcharging and underservicing. Be scrupulous as always, do your background research on the realtors on the Better Business Bureau website.

Otherwise good luck! Pittsburgh's a great, fun, quirky town, especially for football fans. For out-of-towners it takes a lot of effort to find all of the unique niches and quirks that make it so interesting, but once you find them and exploit them to the fullest it can be great living here.

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Hey!

Craigslist would give you an idea I guess. Also, Franklin West, Walnut Capital and Meyers Management have a lot of nice places. Mozart also has a lot of properties but I read some terrible things about them on the net.

As for the date, I am looking to move in August and most realtors told me that they will know about availability in May.

Replying because I was reading through old posts, and these rental companies are awesome! Thanks for posting this.

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I am in Pittsburgh while my beloved does his MA, and as far as visiting New York, Philly, Chicago, you can basically rule it out for a quick Saturday-Sunday trip. I thought we were moving to the East Coast and would get to see friends all the time, but it turns out this is the Eastern Midwest. This is what I hate about Pittsburgh, but that's just me.

If you are going to school and live near campus, don't worry about the car. If you have a partner who is going to work, he or she will probably need a car.

There is hiking, skiing, and canoeing nearby. Lots of great museums in the city. Fallingwater is close and it is beautiful. Gettysburg not too far. Although, for the outside-pittsburgh stuff, you need a car. Rental?

I am not wild about P-burgh, but it's because I have the breadwinner position and I work a job I don't like, and also work on weekends. If I had a little more free time, or was a student with a built-in community, I think I would find P-burgh sort of enchanting. Wouldn't want to live here forever, but a good place to spend a year or two. That said, people who are from Pittsburgh love this place beyond reason and seem never to leave.

I'm actually going to disagree with this post. I have lived in Pittsburgh for 5 years now, and I've definitely found ways to make weekend trips to Philly, New York, Boston, and Chicago. You just have to be willing to use methods of transportation other than a car. Pittsburgh has a rather busy airport, and both Southwest Airlines and JetBlue operate a lot of flights there. Discount airlines are your friend. To places like Philly, New York, Boston, and Chicago, these discount flights are actually cheaper than the cost of driving there (think about gas, tolls, meals, etc.). I've only done trips to New York or Boston once, but I can definitely rave about how Southwest has TONS of flights everyday to Philly and Chicago. It's definitely reasonable to fly out on a Friday evening and come back either Sunday night or early (think 6:00 AM flight) Monday morning. Also, Amtrak has a route called the Capitol Limited that runs between Washington DC and Chicago, passing through Pittsburgh. The way the timetable is set up, it is basically an overnight train between Pittsburgh and Chicago every night. I've left on that train from Pittsburgh at about midnight Friday night, slept on the train, eaten breakfast in the dining car while watching Indiana pass by, and been in downtown Chicago by 9:00 AM. Then I hop back on around dinner time on Sunday evening and arrive downtown in Pittsburgh just after 5:00 AM Monday with enough time to get home and get ready for the day.

It is definitely easy to do weekend trips from Pittsburgh. If you are willing to look into things like discount flights and overnight trains, there is absolutely no reason why you should feel stuck here!

BTW, a little background... I am NOT from Pittsburgh. I am from just outside of Philly, and my entire family still lives out there. I moved to Pittsburgh by myself 5 years ago, and I have lived here as both a student and a professional. I will be moving away in a little over a month (*tear*), but decided to stop by this thread to see if I could offer any words of wisdom. I really love living here and will miss it a LOT! All of you who are about to move to Pittsburgh, you are LUCKY!!!

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Hi Guys

I am joining CMU in the spring semester. Been searching for an apartment. I found a few apartments that looked nice:

1) Hempstead Properties

2) Walnut on the Park

3) Hobart Court

All three are manged by Walnut Capital. I was wondering if any of these would be good choices. It seems that they will be about 2 miles from Scaife Hall. I think all of them are close to schenley park .Is the shuttle service quite regular in these parts? I dont mind walking that distance either, if the roads are kept clear.

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Hi all!

I have had a lot of trouble finding a good place to rent while I attend Pitt. However, I recently found a great place through a site that I figured might help any of you who've had the same kind of problems. It's:

http://www.rentjungle.com/

This site was super helpful, so I figure others could benefit from my sharing it!

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If anyone is going to CMU be sure to try and get access to misc.market. The google groups doesn't have reading capabilities (you need to access it through CMU's mail service), but when I was at CMU it was the way I found a number of apartments as well as various furnishings and whatnot for the places I lived.

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I am thinking about moving to Pittsburgh to go to CMU, and I'm really intrigued by the Friendship area. Pros and cons? Is it feasible to commute to CMU from there via public transit? I am from Los Angeles and have spent time in the DFW area, so I am used to having a car, but I'd like to avoid parking on campus since it seems kind of absurdly expensive.

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I'm a native Pittsburgher and attending CMU in the fall. I lived in Friendship for two years, once as an undergrad at Pitt, then after moving back to Pittsburgh following a stint in DC.

Pros:

Friendship is charming and inexpensive. My partner and I rented a spacious two-bedroom apartment that was actually the entire first floor of an old Victorian home for $600/month. It's a quick walk to Bloomfield, the Strip District, Lawrenceville, all cool neighborhoods with lots of stuff to do. You could even walk to Oakland, though that's more of a 20-25 minute walk. It's not a neighborhood that's inundated with undergrads like Oakland, so it's quiet (read: no frat parties). There are a few grocery stores within walking distance. It's centrally located in the city. It's absolutely gorgeous during the spring, summer and autumn.

Cons:

It's often not gorgeous during the winter, but that can be said of all of Pittsburgh. (The snow is beautiful for about 30 minutes after it falls, then it turns to a delightful black/gray slush.) The bus service to Oakland is not the best. The 54C connects Friendship and Oakland and it currently runs about every twenty minutes. There are service cuts scheduled to take place on March 27th which I believe will reduce the frequency of the 54C to every half hour during the day -- not great. The parts of Friendship near Garfield (Penn Avenue is the border) can be shady, as Garfield is a high-crime area. My second time around in Friendship, I lived on S. Millvale Ave right at the corner of Penn and I saw three drug deals and prostitutes on the street corner during one month. That being said, that area of Friendship/Garfield is in transition and a lot of art galleries, restaurants, and stores are popping up there. If you want to have a car, which isn't necessarily a requirement but it sure makes life easier, you should try to get an apartment with a parking spot as street permits can be expensive.

With all that said, I really liked Friendship, despite its flaws and because of its charm. Let me know if you have any other questions.

I am thinking about moving to Pittsburgh to go to CMU, and I'm really intrigued by the Friendship area. Pros and cons? Is it feasible to commute to CMU from there via public transit? I am from Los Angeles and have spent time in the DFW area, so I am used to having a car, but I'd like to avoid parking on campus since it seems kind of absurdly expensive.

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I'm a native Pittsburgher and attending CMU in the fall. I lived in Friendship for two years, once as an undergrad at Pitt, then after moving back to Pittsburgh following a stint in DC.

Pros:

Friendship is charming and inexpensive. My partner and I rented a spacious two-bedroom apartment that was actually the entire first floor of an old Victorian home for $600/month. It's a quick walk to Bloomfield, the Strip District, Lawrenceville, all cool neighborhoods with lots of stuff to do. You could even walk to Oakland, though that's more of a 20-25 minute walk. It's not a neighborhood that's inundated with undergrads like Oakland, so it's quiet (read: no frat parties). There are a few grocery stores within walking distance. It's centrally located in the city. It's absolutely gorgeous during the spring, summer and autumn.

Cons:

It's often not gorgeous during the winter, but that can be said of all of Pittsburgh. (The snow is beautiful for about 30 minutes after it falls, then it turns to a delightful black/gray slush.) The bus service to Oakland is not the best. The 54C connects Friendship and Oakland and it currently runs about every twenty minutes. There are service cuts scheduled to take place on March 27th which I believe will reduce the frequency of the 54C to every half hour during the day -- not great. The parts of Friendship near Garfield (Penn Avenue is the border) can be shady, as Garfield is a high-crime area. My second time around in Friendship, I lived on S. Millvale Ave right at the corner of Penn and I saw three drug deals and prostitutes on the street corner during one month. That being said, that area of Friendship/Garfield is in transition and a lot of art galleries, restaurants, and stores are popping up there. If you want to have a car, which isn't necessarily a requirement but it sure makes life easier, you should try to get an apartment with a parking spot as street permits can be expensive.

With all that said, I really liked Friendship, despite its flaws and because of its charm. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks! That is really helpful. Are there any other areas that you'd particularly recommend? How would you suggest going about finding a place? Is Craig's List the best place to start?

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Shadyside and Squirrel Hill are popular with grad students. They're a bit more expensive than Friendship, but great transit-wise. I live in Greenfield, which is a pretty quiet, under-the-radar neighborhood. It's really close to Oakland but will have similar problems with transit after the cuts.

I always had luck on Craigslist, but I bought a house three years ago so I haven't been on there lately! The rental market in Pittsburgh is probably a little more relaxed and old-fashioned than you may be used to in LA. A lot of places, particularly in the more old school neighborhoods like Friendship, are more informal about showing places, putting down a deposit, etc. (That's not to say you shouldn't read through the lease carefully, iron out details with the landlord, etc., of course.) But it's not as cutthroat and competitive as things can be in bigger cities -- let's just say finding an apartment in DC was a real eye-opener for me, both because of the high rent and the competitiveness.

Thanks! That is really helpful. Are there any other areas that you'd particularly recommend? How would you suggest going about finding a place? Is Craig's List the best place to start?

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Can anyone detail how grad life is at CMU ? I might join as a masters in ECE this fall. How are food options (especially if you're a vegetarian ) ? I have heard the weather is mostly dull and cold, doest it affect grad life and studies much? I have heard social life is mostly nill for ECE grads, but that might be the case anywhere.

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