Insider's Guide: Pittsburgh Redbuds

Insider's Guide: Pittsburgh Redbuds

Move over, cherry blossoms. The redbuds are here to beautify Pittsburgh.

You've seen the gorgeous images of Pittsburgh bridges, stadiums and skylines framed by pink-tinted flower buds. But what are these beautiful blooms, when do they flower and where can you find them?

Follow our guide to the Pittsburgh redbuds for a detailed look at the 2023 forecast, map of locations and ideas for the best ways to see them and snag an unforgettable photo during your visit to Pittsburgh.

Redbuds - The Pittsburgh Cherry Blossom

Think of the redbud as the Only in Pittsburgh variant of the popular cherry blossoms seen in D.C. or throughout Japan. Redbuds are known for their iconic bursts of rosy pink flowers and leaves that change from reddish-purple to green to yellow from spring to fall. 

The Pittsburgh Redbud Project, an initiative of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, launched in 2016 to plant thousands of these and other native trees alongside our three rivers to help beautify but also aid the local wildlife. Redbud blossoms draw in butterflies and honey bees, and songbirds love eating the seeds and nesting in their canopies.

Fun Fact: George Washington loved redbuds and transplanted as many as he could from the forest to his property, writing frequently about the tree in his diary.

Redbud Season in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh redbuds bloom in the spring and can start as early as mid-April. The native eastern redbud is one of the first signs of spring and will often be the first pop of color visible, a sure sign Spring and warmer weather is on the way.

While cherry blossoms last only a week, redbud flowers last between two and three weeks, giving visitors more opportunities to see them!

2023 Redbud Forecasts for Peak Bloom

Latest Update: Redbud season is officially underway! Now is the best time to see the Pittsburgh redbuds!

Keep an eye on this space as we make continual updates and announcements for the 2023 Pittsburgh redbud bloom.

While peak bloom varies, it’s safe to say look out for these colorful natives blooming around Earth Day on the North Shore along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Best Places to See Pittsburgh's Redbuds

Using the Pittsburgh Redbud Project as our helpful guide, we developed this simple map showing where the redbuds are currently located to help with your travel planning and photo hunting. 

Here are a few additional tips on these locations:

  • The North Shore redbuds from Carnegie Science Center past Acrisure Stadium and around PNC Park offer those unimpeded city and bridge views framed by pink buds.
  • Point State Park's redbuds are located near the entrance to the park and closer to the city, not near the fountain.
  • In the South Side, make sure you exit the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and walk around Highmark Stadium and Station Square, before jumping back onto the trail, to get the full redbud effect. Redbuds in this are are more set back from the river, so keep in mind photos in this area might include trains or the Gateway Clipper fleet going past as you shoot!

Photographer Tips: You don't need to be a pro to get great shots of the redbuds. Go early morning or the last hour before sunset for that "golden hour" magic, and avoid shooting in the harsh midday sun so that the colors and details pop. And, don't be afraid to get in close and use the blooms to help frame the city.

Best Ways to See the Redbuds

By Foot
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the Pittsburgh redbuds. Using the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, park near the stadiums and walk alongside the Allegheny, cross into Point State Park and then into the South Side and view a large number of the redbuds in one short trip. This entire walk is only about 2 miles, mostly flat and will take about 40 minutes (or three hours if you stop to take photos like me). Don't worry, I made you a map.

By Bike
If you're biking to see the redbuds, consider expanding your travels to include the 10th Street Bypass area redbuds and enjoy the Allegheny Riverfront, and including the entire stretch of the North Shore from the Science Center all the way to the 16th Street Bridge. At the end of that trek, you'll have seen almost every redbud in Pittsburgh! Oh, and I highly recommend taking the Fort Pitt Bridge from the South Side for an exhilarating entrance into Point State Park.

By Paddle
For a truly unique view, consider putting in your kayak or booking a spring sail aboard the Gateway Clipper riverboat to see the redbuds from the three rivers.

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