Guide to Pittsburgh

Situated where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio River, Pittsburgh is a beautiful and lively city. Its many parks and hills, together with the three rivers, refresh the urban landscape, making it easy to find lovely places for walks even in the heart of the city. There are many bike trails in and around Pittsburgh, too.

The city is known for its distinctive neighborhoods, which inspire strong loyalties. Housing is surprisingly affordable.

Neighborhoods where many Pitt faculty members and students live include Bloomfield, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, Regent Square, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill, all located within easy commuting distance of the University's campus. (Visit a page profiling Pittsburgh neighborhoods.) Some other neighborhoods important to Pittsburgh's identity are Homestead, site of the 1892 Homestead Strike; Homewood, a predominantly African American neighborhood and the setting for John Edgar Wideman's Homewood trilogy; and the Strip District, a historic market district featuring wholesale markets, ethnic markets, restaurants, and clubs.

Pittsburgh was well known for its heavy industry—especially steelmaking—during most of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the city's air and water suffered. Two major makeovers greatly improved the city's appearance and environmental health: Renaissance 1, just after World War II, and Renaissance 2 during the 1980s. The decline of the steel industry helped the cleanup but hurt the local economy. Since then, however, high-tech companies (including many based on health care and biomedical technologies), educational institutions, and Pitt-affiliated UPMC have come to drive the region's economy. And a number of Fortune 500 companies remain headquartered in Pittsburgh.

In addition to Pitt, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, and Point Park University are all located in Pittsburgh.

Pitt's Cool Pittsburgh Web site offers a lively introduction to the city.

Pittsburgh Boosterism

Pittsburgh has won recognition in a number of categories:

  • The 10th-cleanest city in the United States (2007, Forbes).
  • The 13th-best U.S. city for young professionals (2008, Forbes).
  • "America's Most Livable City" (2007, Places Rated Almanac).
  • The 7th-safest American city in terms of violent crime (2009, Forbes).
  • The most livable U.S. city and the 29th most livable city worldwide (2009, The Economist).

Pittsburgh gained international attention for hosting the G-20 Summit in September 2009.

Cultural Attractions

Pittsburgh is home to a lot of cultural attractions, and Pitt's Cheap Seats program offers discounts for many of them.

Here are just some of Pittsburgh's cultural resources and institutions:

Blues, Jazz, and Folk Music

Classical Music

Dance and Theater (established and innovative)