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With its prime location along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio river—not to mention its bevy of natural resources like coal, timber, natural gas, and iron—Pittsburgh was a critical industrial hub for U.S. coal mining and steel. A hotbed of innovation, “Steel City” is where Andrew Carnegie and Henry Frick launched Carnegie Steel Co., H.J. Heinz made his famous ketchup, and Andrew Mellon founded his banking empire. Today’s Pittsburgh is even more progressive, and remnants of its past are everywhere. While you won’t see any steel plants, you’ll catch snaps of its history in the city’s 446 bridges, Carnegie Library, 20+ museums, sports stadiums, Senator John Heinz History Center, and Gothic Revival architecture. Enjoy Pittsburgh to its fullest by going to Steelers and Pirates games, trying excellent bars and restaurants, engaging in a thriving arts and education scene, supporting its many homegrown businesses, seeing the view from the top of Mt. Washington, and wandering through 15,000 acres of public parks and greenspaces.

As of writing this guide, Pittsburgh has a population of 302,900+ residents. The demographics of its residents are 64% White, 23% Black or African American, 3% Latino or Hispanic, and 6% Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Residents of Pittsburgh experience all four seasons, plus a rainy season, and have temperatures averaging at a low of 37 °F in January and a high of 84 °F in July. As you’d expect, summers are hot and humid, spring and fall are cool and unpredictable, and winters are cold and gray. You’re guaranteed rainy days in June, but when the sun is shining at other points throughout the year, don’t be surprised to see locals out at festivals, at a sports game, or relaxing at Point State Park.

Housing in Pittsburgh costs significantly less than the national average. You’ll find everything from single-family homes and historic mansions to condos and apartments in Pittsburgh. If you want the trendy downtown feel without the downtown price tag, live in North Side, where you’ll find stadiums and historic buildings. For something more upscale, live in a luxury loft or condo in the Strip District or one of the charming mansions-turned-apartments in Shadyside. Living in vibrant South Side puts you close to Downtown Pittsburgh, universities, bars, nightlife, Mt. Washington, and more. If those aren’t for you, don’t worry: Pittsburgh has 90 neighborhoods for residents to choose from.

Getting Around

Unless you live in Downtown Pittsburgh, you’ll need a car. Lucky for residents, there’s plenty of convenient parking all over the city that you can pay for by smartphone app or kiosk. If you’re spending time Downtown, download the ParkPGH app for real-time garage parking availability (there are more than 20,000 garage parking spots in downtown Pittsburgh alone), or get the Go Mobile PGH app to easily pay for on- and off-street metered parking. When you’re not downtown, you’ll find plenty of free parking in storefront lots. If you don’t feel like driving, rideshare services and cabs offer affordable ways to get around town.

Biking in Pittsburgh is another great way to get around. Rent a bike from Golden Triangle Bike Rental, in Downtown Pittsburgh, and pedal your way through 20+ miles of unobstructed bike paths—all of which offer unbeatable views of the city and the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. Take advantage of the local bike share program, Healthy Ride, and get from one end of the city to the other by snagging bikes at citywide Healthy Ride stations for roughly $2 per half hour. Cycling is encouraged in Pittsburgh, and riders will find bike racks on city buses for their convenience.

Public transportation can take passengers all over Pittsburgh by bus, incline, and light rail trains. Every day, 700 buses travel 97 routes to 7,000 stops. Most buses run from 4 am to 1 am daily and stop every 30 minutes or so; unless it’s Sunday, a holiday, or any day after 7 pm, when they stop every hour. Make your life easier by downloading the TrueTime-to-Text message service to get real-time texts about when your bus will arrive.

See the sights from the top of Mt. Washington and Station Square when you take the Monongahela or Duquesne Incline cable cars. Park and ride lots at the bottom of the incline make them easy to catch, especially since they leave every 15 minutes from 5:30 am to almost 1 am depending on the day. Pittsburgh’s light rail system, the “T,” makes 53 stops from 5 am to midnight daily.

Pittsburgh International Airport welcomes over eight million travelers a year by offering 170+ flights daily. Major airlines fly through this airport to connect to 50 destinations both domestically and abroad.

Food & Drink

Pittsburgh has become a foodie’s paradise—and it’s the birthplace of some of your favorite food classics. Heinz tomato ketchup was invented here in 1875, followed by the Clark Bar, the Big Mac, and the banana split. Go here to eat salad topped with fries, authentic pierogies, chipped chopped ham, pepperoni rolls, Klondike Bars, and “cold cheese” pizza (where the top layer of cheese is added after everything else is heated through). Dining out here is a relaxed, casual, and friendly experience, and jeans are accepted almost everywhere.

Restaurants in Pittsburgh include a handful of staples that everyone should know about. The most iconic is Primanti Brothers, which invented the famous Pittsburgh sandwich that puts fries and coleslaw on the sandwich itself, instead of on the side. Originally designed for truckers, who could only eat with one hand while driving, Primanti Bros’ started Pittsburgh’s trend of putting fries on everything—and no one is complaining. Keep them coming when you try the potato patch French fries topped with cheese and bacon at Pittsburgh’s historic Kennywood.

If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, go to the Pittsburgh-born Sarris Candies for its chocolate-covered potato chips, pretzels, truffles, ice cream, and more. Get the burnt almond torte from Prantl’s, and you’ve tried the city’s most famous dessert. Long-time locals love the smiley face cookies at Eat’n Park and the huge, fruit-filled pancakes from Pamela’s Hotcakes.

There is something for every palate and budget in Pittsburgh. Start at Beto’s, the oldest pizzeria in Pittsburgh, with cold cheese pizza by the slice. Then head to Apteka, a plant-based Polish restaurant with some of the best pierogies in the city. Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, in the Strip District, is a casual restaurant known for its platters of mouthwatering, wood-fired Argentinian meats. The Brookline neighborhood is home to Pitaland, a family-owned Lebanese cafe and market with homemade pitas served right off the conveyor belt. Go to Grand Concourse for an opulent buffet weekend brunch served in the historic Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station. Casbah brings a casually-elegant Mediterranean eatery and wine bar to Shadyside. Meanwhile, Fig & Ash serves creative, American wood-fire cuisine in Deutschtown. Don’t miss the James Beard Award-nominated Spork, which has a chef-driven menu made with local ingredients. For good food with a good view, take the incline up to Mt. Washington and enjoy an indulgent New American dinner at Altius.

Pittsburgh has the most bars per capita, boasting a total 12 bars for every 10,000 residents. Go to Brillobox when you don’t know what you want, Hidden Harbor when you crave a tiki bar experience, or Lorelei when you want a good beer, a good cocktail, a good pizza, or to feel like you’re drinking in the Alps. Get an upscale drinking experience at Bar Marco, a reservation-only wine room with a prix-fixe dinner menu. For a real throwback, try and find The Speakeasy, a 1920s-style hidden drinking den in the Omni William Penn Hotel. Drink western Pennsylvania’s own Monongahela Rye whiskey at the Wigle Whiskey distillery, or bring your dog and try award-winning rum at the Maggie Farm Rum distillery. Like beer? Pittsburgh has more than 80 breweries.

If you’re cooking at home, buy wholesale and imported meats, cheeses, fish, pasta, produce, and more at one of the Strip District’s many specialty markets, like Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, Wholey Fish Market, or La Prima Espresso Co. All over Pittsburgh, you’ll find mainstream grocery stores like Market District Supermarket, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Giant Eagle Supermarket, ALDI, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s.

Shopping

Whether you like shopping local or at your favorite big-name retailers, shopping in Pittsburgh won’t disappoint. Plus, the fact that the state doesn’t charge a sales tax on clothes, shoes, groceries, or specialty food makes you feel like you get so much more for your money. Start your shopping spree at one of its many malls, like Ross Park Mall (it has 150+ high-end fashion retailers), The Mall at Robinson, Robinson Town Center, Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, and South Hills Village Mall. Find hundreds of your favorite brands at a steal when you shop at Grove City Premium Outlets or Tanger Outlets, both less than an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

Across the city, shoppers will find their favorite stores in dedicated shopping streets and districts. The Golden Triangle, a triangular-shaped part of Downtown Pittsburgh that was once home to the likes of Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, has more than 180 shops—from major department stores to upscale boutiques—all within walking distance. Along with its popular markets, the Strip District attracts shoppers looking for treasures in its gift and antique shops, art galleries, artisan craft storefronts, and more. Go to The Freight House Shops at Station Square to buy Pittsburgh souvenirs, toys, clothes, wine, jewelry, and cigars from around the world in a restored 1879 railroad station. Step back in time on East Carson Street, where 15 blocks of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and bars are tucked into Victorian-style buildings.

The uniqueness of Pittsburgh’s many neighborhoods lends itself to a fun and funky local shopping scene. Lawrenceville’s Butler Street has become somewhat of an artist’s corridor, so go here to buy art, handcrafted furniture, and antiques at galleries like Songbird Artistry, be Galleries, Atelier Glass Studio & Gallery, and Pittsburgh Furniture Company. You’ll find a little bit of everything in Shadyside, a walkable neighborhood known for independent shops like Hey Betty! for vintage clothing or Penhollows for quirky home furnishings. Do your souvenir shopping on South Craig Street, or snag rare finds in Pittsburgh’s many museum gift shops—especially the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Science Center, Senator John Heinz History Center, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.

Things to Do

Pittsburgh has a fantastic arts and culture scene, thanks in large part to its hometown hero, Andrew Carnegie, who gifted museums and libraries to the city throughout his lifetime. Today, Pittsburgh has over 32 museums, 30 concert venues, 19 public libraries, and world-class architecture. (See Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous 1930s-built “Fallingwater” house, which is just an hour away.) Enjoy the beautiful botanical gardens and seasonal flower shows at Phipps Conservatory, or check out Randyland. The latter is made up of two houses that were bought and renovated by a local artist to become “Pittsburgh’s most colorful attraction.”

In terms of museums, go to the Carnegie Museum of Art to see the Hall of Architecture, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see over 230 dinosaur specimens, or the Andy Warhol Museum to see seven floors of the prolific Pittsburgher’s diverse portfolio of art (it’s the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist). Of course, the Senator John Heinz History Center can’t be missed—it has everything you ever wanted to know about Pittsburgh and then some, from its settlement and industrial years to its gradual rise to modernization, Heinz ketchup, sports teams, and more. Check out the Flight 93 Memorial, which pays tribute to September 11th’s tragic Flight 93 crash.

If you love fun events, head to one of the quarterly Downtown Gallery Crawls or 21+ Nights at the Science Center, Children’s Museum, or Carnegie Museums. The annual Food Truck-a-Palooza takes place at Monroeville Convention Center every January and is regarded as one of the largest food truck rallies of the year. There’s never a bad time to catch a concert or show at one of the city’s many theaters and performance venues, like The Benedum Center, Heinz Hall, and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Book your tickets to see the Grammy® Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, or the Pittsburgh Opera.

Pittsburgh is a great place to spend time outdoors. The city has 15,000 acres of public parks and greenspaces, 13 state parks in the greater Pittsburgh area, and 400 miles of biking trails. Go for a bike ride on Pittsburgh’s River Trails or the Great Allegheny Passage, which can take you from Pittsburgh all the way to Washington, DC. Kayak at North Park Lake, go paddle boarding at Moraine State Park, or try white water rafting from Ohiopyle. For a real adventure, hike 70+ miles in Laurel Highlands or explore the nearby natural caves, Laurel Caverns.

Take a leisurely walk down historic Roslyn Place, which is made entirely out of wood blocks, or “hike” up Canton Avenue, thought by some to be the steepest street in the world. Don’t miss the vistas of Pittsburgh from Fineview Lookout, West End Overlook, or the Point of View Statue, or take in the city from the staircase streets in South Side. If it’s a park you like, head to Point State Park to relax by a fountain, stroll through landscaped grounds, explore Fort Duquesne, or see 23 historic monuments. Color Park in South Side is filled with eye-catching graffiti art, while North Park has its own zip line.

Of course, you can’t leave Pittsburgh without watching live sports. Here, Steelers football, Pirates baseball, and Penguins hockey games are the most attended events in town.

Colleges & Universities

With more than 30 colleges and universities in the greater Pittsburgh area, it’s not surprising that the city is one of the top in the US for educated young adults. Highlights include Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University. Other notable colleges and universities are Carlow University, Chatham University, La Roche College, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and for two-year academic or career-focused programs, the Community College of Allegheny County.

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