With 27 skyscrapers, the city of Pittsburgh stands as a gleaming gem in the Allegheny region of Pennsylvania. The city was once dominated by steel mills, smokestacks, and modest, working-class homes. Toward the end of the twentieth century, Pittsburgh transformed into a renaissance city with a flourishing high-tech and service-oriented economy. The abundance of steel and the city's location at the junction of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers led to the construction of 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world, earning Pittsburgh the title "City of Bridges". Downtown Pittsburgh is centered where the three rivers converge, known as The Golden Triangle. This is, in turn, surrounded by 90 neighborhoods, each with their own character, but collectively known as the North Side, South Hills, East End, and West End.
In 1757, Fort Pitt was constructed near the headwaters of the Ohio River. Pittsburgh was incorporated in 1816, and the city was destined to develop as a manufacturing center due to the confluence of rivers and abundant natural resources, including coal, timber, iron, and limestone. In 1875, Andrew Carnegie opened the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Pittsburgh, leading the United States to become a major world steel producer and making steel manufacturing the dominant industry in Pittsburgh for the next 100 years. Challenged by cheap steel from foreign markets, the steel industry collapsed during the 1980’s. Pittsburgh was already focused on civic revitalization and environmental concerns and shifted its economic base to encompass education, tourism, medicine, finance, and technology. Pittsburgh’s forward momentum allowed the city to maintain a strong position in home values and employment during the past decade, even while many other cities declined.
Pittsburgh weather has four distinctive seasons, with moderate precipitation year-round. Average high temperatures in the summer reach 80 °F especially in July and August, and average winter lows approach 20 °F, typically in January and February. Pittsburgh may experience harsh weather in the form of blizzards or hard rain, but these events are uncommon.
Public transportation around Pittsburgh is convenient, with more than a dozen bus routes throughout the city and two light rail lines that run from the North Side to South Hills. The Pittsburgh International Airport has daily non-stop flights to 34 airports in major cities across the USA. Pittsburgh actively supports alternative transportation through a program that established more than 500 bike racks and 75 miles of riverfront trails and bike lanes. The city is now rolling out a bike share system where residents and visitors can use city-supplied bikes through a membership program.
Cost of Living in Pittsburgh
The cost of living in Pittsburgh is relatively low compared to other cities in the northeastern United States. Pittsburgh has some of the most affordable healthcare in the nation, and housing costs are relatively low. Transportation costs are higher, but this is offset by more affordable utility and service costs. Use these cost of living calculators to match your budget to living in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Public School District operates 65 schools and serves 29,445 students. Through the Pittsburgh Promise initiative, scholarships are available to any accredited post-secondary institution within Pennsylvania for high school graduates who meet the program requirements.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is ranked as the number one medical facility, not only in Pittsburgh, but also the entire state of Pennsylvania. UPMC is a general medical and surgical facility as well as a teaching hospital. If you’ve recently relocated to Pittsburgh, be sure to know what medical resources are available to you:
Pittsburgh Real Estate
The median home price in Pittsburgh is around $95,000, with home prices in some neighborhoods climbing as much as 10% per year on average, making home buying a great investment. Use the links below to explore homes and neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.
Visitors to Pittsburgh will find plenty of options available for your stay. If you prefer luxury, the Omni William Penn Hotel is a centrally-located, classic hotel that has been lavishly restored to its original grandeur. If you prefer a boutique hotel with plenty of character and a neighborhood feel, The Priory is located on Pittsburgh’s North Side, just steps from The Andy Warhol Museum. Use the links below to find hotels in Pittsburgh.
If you have an adventurous attitude about pizza, you will be thrilled to visit Dinette, where gourmet pizza is taken to an entirely new level. The Jewish delicatessen is an American classic, and the Smallman Street Deli fits the bill perfectly with everything you’d expect, from pastrami sandwiches to matzo ball soup. With a name like Meat and Potatoes, you’d expect classic American cuisine, but as soon as you spot the Reuben sandwich made with brussel, kimchi, and Korean special sauce, that first impression is permanently altered. No matter what your taste, you’ll find it among the more than 3,000 restaurants in Pittsburgh.
Things to Do in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, each with unique shopping and dining experiences. Squirrel Hill and Shadyside offer eclectic boutiques and galleries. Mount Washington provides spectacular views of the city and hosts several upscale restaurants, especially along Grandview Avenue. No visit to Pittsburgh would be complete without riding one of Pittsburgh’s two incline cable cars. The Carnegie Science Center provides a great day of fun for the family, with an actual decommissioned cold-war era submarine, a two-story replica of the International Space Station, and the largest Robotics exhibit in the world. When you are ready to unwind, take the family to Pinball Perfection, where over 200 fully restored pinball machines await your turn to rack up points. If you love motor sports, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is a 10-day event in July that draws more than 200,000 spectators and participants.