Pittsburgh is the second largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with a population of approximately 300,000, and the county seat of Allegheny County. The city is known as both “the Steel City” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses, as well as “the City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges. The area is home to 68 colleges and universities, including research and development leaders Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The nation's fifth-largest bank, eight Fortune 500 companies, and six of the top 300 US law firms make their global headquarters in the Pittsburgh area, while RAND, BNY Mellon, Nova, FedEx, Bayer, and NIOSH have regional bases that have helped Pittsburgh become the sixth-best area for U.S. job growth.
For much of the 20th century, Pittsburgh was behind only New York and Chicago in corporate headquarters employment, second to New York in bank assets, and with the most U.S. stockholders per capita. This heritage left the area with renowned museums, medical centers, parks, research centers, libraries, and a diverse cultural district. However, America's 1980s deindustrialization devastated the city, when longtime Pittsburgh-based world headquarters of Gulf Oil, Sunbeam, Rockwell, and Westinghouse moved. The city has since reclaimed much of its former luster, and is now a center for education, health, and technological innovation. A brief history of the City of Pittsburgh is located on the Visit Pittsburgh website.
Find Yourself in Pittsburgh
The University’s Office of Housing Services provides a guide to off-campus living, which is dedicated to providing University of Pittsburgh students and others with the necessary information and tools to reside in off-campus accommodations. Some of the resources listed on the site are geared solely towards students, such as descriptions of University-owned apartments. However, the site also provides an informative renters’ guide, apartment listings, neighborhood descriptions, and a roommate and subletting service, as well as other useful tips and contact information, which as internet-based resources are available to anyone who wishes to use them.
One of the most exciting aspects of living in Pittsburgh is your proximity to the museums, shops, sporting events, restaurants, and theaters that define the city. Whether you are headed for campus or going out on the town, resources are available to get you there. With your University ID, you can ride fare-free on all Port Authority buses, trolleys, and inclines. The Port Authority also sponsors ACCESS, a door-to-door, advance reservation, shared-ride transportation program that primarily serves seniors and persons with disabilities.
With your University ID, you can also use the free University campus shuttles that run throughout Oakland.
Pittsburgh serves as a hub for intercity bus, train, and air transportation. The Pittsburgh International Airport is located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and can be accessed via the Port Authority 28X Airport Flyer bus, taxi, and shuttle bus. Both the Greyhound bus station and Amtrak rail station are located in downtown Pittsburgh, roughly at the intersection of Liberty and Grant Avenues, and are easily accessed by bus or taxi. Pittsburgh also is served by Megabus routes to several regional cities.
The Cultural District is home to Downtown Pittsburgh’s dynamic art and entertainment scene. A multitude of choices for live entertainment can be found there, including contemporary music, modern dance, visual art and thought-provoking theater, as well as classical music, opera, ballet, and popular musical theater. Located between the Convention Center and Stanwix Street in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, the 14-square block Cultural District encompasses over 90 retail shops, 50 dining establishments, seven world-class theaters, eight public parks and art installations, and a dozen art galleries. Additional information on the Cultural District’s offerings is located on the Cultural Trust website.
Pittsburgh also is home to the world famous Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, and the Carnegie Science Center. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History boasts one of the best dinosaur collections of any museum in the world, with the first T. rex ever discovered and the third largest fossil collection. The Carnegie Museum of Art's permanent collections includes outstanding pieces of impressionist art such as Monet's Water Lilies, as well as American paintings and artifacts and changing exhibitions of exciting new art from around the world. Also housed within The Carnegie is the Hall of Music, which regularly presents entertainment by locally and internationally known performers. On the North Side is the Andy Warhol Museum, which is the largest museum in the world devoted to one artist, and the Carnegie Science Center, the most visited museum in Pittsburgh.
Other notable destinations include:
- National Aviary (the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the US)
- Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
- Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Heinz History Center
- Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Additional information on the arts in Pittsburgh is located on the following websites:
Downtown Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle includes eleven square blocks that house major department stores and a myriad of specialty stores, boutiques, and restaurants. A popular destination is across the Smithfield Street Bridge from downtown in Station Square, original site of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad headquarters, which has been restored and now has more than 50 shops; more than 25 restaurants, bars, comedy clubs, and nightclubs; a Sheraton hotel; Hard Rock Café; and the dock for the Gateway Clipper Fleet. It also provides access to the Monongahela Incline cable car up to Mt. Washington, where several fine dining establishments take advantage of the spectacular view to accompany the cuisine.
Pittsburgh's many neighborhoods each have their own shopping and dining district with their own unique characters. The Strip District has grown from being the city's warehouse center for fresh meat, fish, produce, and ethnic delicacies to include restaurants and entertainment complexes. The Bloomfield, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, Oakland, Shadyside, South Side, and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods are but a few additional examples of neighborhoods that have developed around shopping and dining districts.
The largest shopping malls in the suburban areas are
- The Galleria (South)
- Ross Park Mall (North Hills)
- Monroeville Mall (East)
- The Waterfront (Homestead)
- Southside Works (Southside)
- The Mall at Robinson (West)
- Robinson Town Center (West)
Additional information on shopping in Pittsburgh and its suburbs is located on the Visit Pittsburgh website.
Every season offers a variety of choices for the recreation-minded in the Pittsburgh area. The rivers and many parks provide cycling and running paths, and water sports such as rowing and kayaking. You can discover a different side of Pittsburgh through its five main parks: Emerald View, Frick, Highland, Riverview, and Schenley. Organizations such as Venture Outdoors offer organized kayaking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing trips, depending upon the season. These trips occur both within Pittsburgh and outside of Pittsburgh, in local state parks. Venture Outdoors sponsors Kayak Pittsburgh, which rents kayaks in downtown Pittsburgh and presents an excellent opportunity to see Pittsburgh from a different perspective. Numerous other local organizations exist, such as rowing clubs, running groups, bicycling groups, etc., which present recreational opportunities for interested individuals.
Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most diverse landscape in the United States. The surrounding country offers recreational opportunities to bicyclists, golfers, campers, hikers, climbers, and spelunkers, and within a two-hour drive of the city are 10 ski resorts and numerous cross country ski and snowmobile trails, as well as many state parks. Venture into the Laurel Highlands to experience everything Ohiopyle State Park has to offer. Hunting, biking and snowmobile trails are only the start. Lawrence County's McConnells Mill State Park offers visitors nine miles of hiking trails through Slippery Rock Gorge or white water boating along the swift moving Slippery Rock Creek, which boast Class I-IV rapids. Moraine State Park just an hour north of Pittsburgh has it all: camping, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, sledding, cross-county skiing and much more. For more information, see the state’s park website.
Pittsburgh is home to a number of social sports leagues, the most prominent of which are the Pittsburgh Sports Leagues and Pittsburgh Sports Monster. Between them, they offer soccer, softball, volleyball, flag football, and basketball, as well as a number of more obscure sports such as kickball, broomball, and dodgeball.
Professional sports in Pittsburgh have been played dating back to the American Civil War. Baseball, hockey, and the first professional American football game had been played in the city by 1895. Pittsburgh was first known as the “City of Champions” when the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers won multiple championships in the 1970s. Today, the city has three major professional sports franchises, the Pirates in baseball, the Steelers in American football, and the Penguins in hockey; while the University of Pittsburgh Panthers compete in a Division I conference, the highest level of collegiate athletics in the United States, in both football and basketball. Local universities Duquesne and Robert Morris also field Division I teams in men's and women's basketball and Division I FCS teams in football.
A Most Livable City
The Huffington Post has praised Pittsburgh as "a modern mecca of culture and education, [and] a hidden gem." According to national polls conducted by such publications as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, Pittsburgh has a lot to be proud of. It is the safest mid-sized city in the country. The people of Pittsburgh are happier than the national average. It is a great city for Millennials and for families alike. It is one of the most affordable cities, and it boasts an unemployment rate significantly lower than the national average. With leading industries and a booming arts community, Pittsburgh, has a tremendous amount to offer. Information about what to do in Pittsburgh, including restaurants, shopping, the arts, sports, recreation, etc., is located on the University’s website, Cool Pittsburgh; on the University's Pitt News' Visitor's Guide; at Visit Pittsburgh, the official tourism agency for Allegheny County; and for downtown Pittsburgh, on the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership website.
The University of Pittsburgh’s main campus is located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. Oakland is the academic and healthcare center of Pittsburgh, one of the city's major cultural centers, and is Pennsylvania's third largest “Downtown.” Only Center City Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh can claim more economic and social activity than Oakland. In addition to the University of Pittsburgh, Oakland is home to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, Carnegie Music Hall, and the main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon University, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Schenley Park are located immediately adjacent to Oakland. Additional information on Oakland is located on the Cool Pittsburgh and Visit Pittsburgh websites, as well as on Only in Oakland.
Many University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) facilities also are located in Oakland. UPMC operates as a complete and integrated health provider system that, although is legally separate from the University of Pittsburgh, remains closely affiliated with the University and its Schools of the Health Sciences. Its flagship facilities have ranked in US News & World Report's “Honor Roll” of the approximately 15 to 20 best hospitals in America for well over a decade. In Pennsylvania, UPMC has more than 80,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 clinical locations including outpatient sites and doctors’ offices, a 3.5 million-member health insurance division, in addition to commercial and international ventures.