Long known for its steel industry, Pittsburgh has shed its smoky reputation to become one of the most tech-savvy cities in the country. Google, Apple, and Uber have established technology centers in the city, and Pittsburgh is one of the world’s leading innovators of green energy.
Ranked as one of the top big cities in which to live, Pittsburgh is home to a diverse array of neighborhoods and attractions. Politically, the city—which has had a Democratic mayor since 1933—is trending even more to the left, while surrounding suburbs in Allegheny Country overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Here are 20 insider tips to help you adjust to living in Pittsburgh:
1. We really, really love sports.
Win or lose, the Steelers (NFL), the Penguins (NHL) and the Pirates (MLB) are always on our radar. If you enjoy being part of a passionate fan base, you’ll love the local media’s 24/7 focus on professional sports.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 6, 2017
2. Pittsburgh’s waterfront is being reinvented.
The iconic confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers has long been underutilized. But recent investments have yielded new housing and recreational opportunities.
3. Navigating the city can be tricky.
— Ruben A Campos 🚁 (@Chopper11Pilot) August 17, 2017
Downtown Pittsburgh is called the Golden Triangle, with the city coming to an apex at Point State Park, a gathering place during summer months for concerts, picnics, and fireworks displays. Downtown streets often intersect at weird angles, especially as you get closer to the Point; be careful until you’re familiar with the lay of the land.
4. Pittsburgh is a city of bridges.
— Visit Pittsburgh (@vstpgh) October 4, 2017
Because the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers converge in the city, there are 446 bridges in Pittsburgh, and locals like to claim that’s the most of any city in the world. No matter the number, the views can be spectacular.
5. Our topography is unique.
The hills, rivers and bridges can provide unique challenges. But those elements play a role in the rebirth of Pittsburgh as the Silicon Valley of the east.
6. The weather is comfortable and short on extremes.
— Pittsburgh Parks (@pittsburghparks) November 12, 2017
If you enjoy all four seasons, you’ll love Pittsburgh’s weather. It cold in the winter, but usually not Arctic-like, and spring is wonderfully mild. It’s hot in the summer, but not to the point where you have to stay indoors. And fall, like spring, can be spectacular.
7. Pittsburgh celebrates gay rights.
8. Reading isn’t just a railroad.
— Pittsburgh City Paper (@PGHCityPaper) October 30, 2017
In addition numerous independent bookstores and the Carnegie Library network, there are poetry readings, author appearances, or book clubs meeting almost every night.
9. Lights, camera, action!
— Film Pittsburgh (@FilmPittsburgh) September 28, 2017
If you want to be an extra in a movie or television series, Pittsburgh is a good place to be. In the last two years, the feature films “Fences,” “Last Flag Flying,” and “Southpaw,” as well as the television series “Downward Dog,” were filmed in the area. There are numerous opportunities to be part of a film production, many of them paying gigs.
10. If you like green spaces, we have them.
Within city limits, there are five parks totaling approximately 2,000 acres. There are also eight parks in surrounding Allegheny County that offer activities including swimming, hiking, zip lines, and a BMX track.
11. The cost of living in Pittsburgh is reasonable.
For all the advantages of living in a big city, Pittsburgh is relatively inexpensive. On average, the city is 10 percent below the national average for groceries, transportation, housing, utilities, and health care.
12. We have world-class hospitals.
No one likes or wants to get sick. But Pittsburgh is home to some of the leading health-care providers in the United States.
13. We are starting to share the road with bicyclists.
After years of indifference, Pittsburgh has become friendlier to bicyclists. The city recently added a network of bike lanes, more bike racks, and fix-it stations for quick repairs.
14. Pittsburgh is a big city with a small-town mentality.
The core of Pittsburgh is its 90 neighborhoods, many of them ethnic enclaves. In Bloomfield, there’s a concentrated Italian population and Squirrel Hill features many Jewish shops and synagogues. Polish Hill and Deutschtown are respectively Polish and German.
15. We always love a good parade.
Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is touted as the second largest event of its kind in the world. There’s also the Pride Fest parade in early summer, the Celebrate the Season parade right after Thanksgiving, and, just south of Pittsburgh, one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the state.
16. The sounds of music abound.
I AM FROM PITTSBURGH. BORN AND RAISED.
— Mac (@MacMiller) October 15, 2017
Hip hop stars Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, pop diva Christina Aguilera, and jam band Rusted Root all are from Pittsburgh. The current music scene features a mix of classic rock bands, indie artists, and rappers, with multiple venues hosting national and local acts.
17. The trail of history runs through Western Pennsylvania.
Many of the key battles in the French and Indian War were fought in the area, and remnants of that conflict are plentiful, including Fort Pitt, Fort Ligonier, and Fort Necessity.
18. Our cemeteries are to die for.
For tombstone tourists, Pittsburgh is home to some of the most unique cemeteries in the country. Among those buried here are songwriter Stephen Foster, actress Lillian Russell, and artist Andy Warhol, whose gravesite attracts fans from around the world.
19. We are becoming sophisticated beer connoisseurs.
Pittsburgh’s long had a shot-and-beer mentality, a remnant of the era when steelworkers stopped at neighborhood bars after their shifts for a boilermaker. But new craft breweries are opening every month.
20. Throwback thrills abound at our vintage amusement park.
Kennywood Park, which opened in 1898, is home to three wooden rollercoasters, including the Jack Rabbit, built in 1921.