According to an age old adage, the three most important things about real estates are location, location, and location. Whether that is entirely true or not, it is clear that location plays a significant part in the decision making process when individuals choose a place to live. In addition to wanting to live close to work, most residents also want convenient locations to shop, nearby entertainment, good access to transportation, medical facilities, a convenient place to worship, and a good school district. For individuals who reside in Pittsburgh, these conveniences differ greatly for each district of Pittsburgh. The following guide rates these conveniences in the district of Oakland.
Shopping (Necessities) – Surprisingly, despite the presence of the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Oakland does not have an easily accessible grocery store. The closest grocery stores are all at least a mile outside the district and the nearest is a Giant Eagle that is in a bad neighborhood, has poor selection, and has low quality food. The closest thing that Oakland does have to a grocery store is a 7-11. In addition, Oakland also has very little clothing selection and all of the clothing store that do exist are specialty stores or shoe stores. The one thing that Oakland does have is a large, fully provisioned pharmacy.
Shopping (Household Items) – With the exception of basic electronics, Oakland simply has no shopping of this kind. The nearest source for tools, furniture, or bed, bath, and kitchen supplies would be Shady Side and the most convenient choice to find all of the items together is Robinson Town Center almost 15 miles away.
Shopping (Luxuries) – For most college students, the beer outlet in the middle of Oakland is the major luxury retailer. In addition, Oakland has shops that sell games, comic books, books, movies, jewelry, sporting equipment, and University of Pittsburgh clothing. With the exception of major electronic devices and cars, nearly every luxury is available in Oakland.
Services – Services in Oakland are plentiful, in part to fulfill the needs of University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon students. Every major Pittsburgh bank has at least one, sometimes multiple, branches and ATMs in the area. There is a full service post office, a major library and a small government building with limited services. Surprisingly, there are no nearby dry cleaners, but there are a few Laundromats and a Supercuts as well.
Medical / Legal – Oakland is practically the center of medical facilities in Pittsburgh. The largest hospital in the city, UPMC, has its biggest branch in Oakland. In addition, Western Psych, the premier psychiatric hospital in western PA is also in Oakland. Affiliate doctors of UPMC generally have their practices in the area, which leads to multiple choices of dentists, optometrists, general practitioners and specialty physicians in Oakland. Similarly, due to the presence of the University of Pittsburgh legal library, there are a handful of lawyers in Oakland as well.
Dining – There is one universal truth about college students: they like to eat. Unsurprisingly, there are nearly hundreds of dining options in the Oakland area of every single type of food imaginable. Food ranges in price and quality from fast food to $30 per plate restaurants. A few of the dining locations serve food nearly 24 hours a day and a few others open very early in the morning, which means that it is possible to dine in Oakland at almost any hour.
Houses of Worship – There is both a major church and a major synagogue on the edge of Oakland. A few smaller churches can be found hiding among the residential section as well. Also, both universities have clergy that perform open services multiple times a week. These services also serve the Islamic faith, which is important due to the fact that there is no mosque in the district.
Entertainment – The largest source of entertainment in the Oakland district comes from the universities. Both universities sponsor performance groups of nearly every type and there is usually some cheap, but quality performance every weekend. In addition, both universities show relatively recent movies on weekends. In addition, Oakland has a few cultural exhibits, including the Carnegie Museum and Phipps Conservatory. Finally, Oakland has a play ground, pool, park, and ice rink all open to the public. Notably missing among Oakland entertainment options are a recent release movie theater and bowling alley.
School District – With all of the college students going to school in Oakland, there isn’t much room for younger children. In fact, the local schools are almost all Catholic schools. There is a nearby elementary and middle school that is actually of high quality, but due to the prevalence of college students, Oakland is not, in general, a great place to raise and educate children.
Transportation – When it comes to getting downtown, Oakland is the hub for the bussing system. Nearly every major line that runs to downtown and west of downtown reaches Oakland. Getting to the Waterfront or Monroeville is much more difficult, requiring at least one transfer. But, conveniently, Oakland is the last district that is serviced by the 28X, which is a very cheap and convenient bus that runs to the Pittsburgh International Airport. Of course, much like the rest of Pittsburgh, while busses are plentiful in Oakland, taxis are rare, though slightly more common than just about any district other than downtown.