The neighborhood lies in a small valley south of the Ohio River and less than a mile from downtown Pittsburgh. It was founded in the 1830s as Temperanceville, and the surrounding area was known as Chartier's Township. Today it features a business district that has attracted renewed interest as an arts and antiques district. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio River and connects the neighborhood to the North Side of the city. Carson St. connects it to Station Square and the South Side to the east, and the borough of McKees Rocks to the west.
The term "West End" is also used to refer to the surrounding region, which includes the West End Valley in addition to western neighborhoods Sheraden, Elliott, Windgap, Esplen, Ridgemont, Banksville, Westwood, Oakwood, East Carnegie, Chartiers City, Fairywood and Crafton Heights. The West End of Pittsburgh is mostly residential, with some industry and a relative paucity of commercial districts in comparison to the rest of the city. The West End has few notable tourist attractions other than the breathtaking West End Overlook (actually located in Elliot), a small hilltop park in the neighborhood of Elliot that offers a head-on view of the Golden Triangle (Downtown) from downriver (Ohio River).