Things to do
Buying a Condo in Pittsburgh
The Steel City. The Smoky City. Gateway to the West. The City of Bridges. The most livable city in the continental U.S. Best place to retire. The city of Pittsburgh has come a long way from the days when it truly was the Steel City.
Now, don’t misunderstand. Pittsburghers are extremely proud of their reputation as The Steel City. So proud that they named their legendary football team The Steelers. Pittsburgh’s steel mills once supplied more than half the steel the U.S. needed to fuel the auto industry and others that relied on steel. Pittsburgh was founded in 1758 by General John Forbes. He named the city after William Pitt, a British statesman, member of Parliament, and later Prime Minister. Historians don’t think Pitt ever came to see the city bearing his name. If he had, though, he would have been impressed by its beauty. Later, when the steel mills were in full swing, the Smoky City was a fitting moniker for Pittsburgh. Orange, gray and black smoke from the mills lit up the sky and could be seen for miles out in the suburbs. When steel was no longer in demand, the mills closed, causing huge job losses and an economic downturn. But Pittsburghers are resilient. Their ancestors who settled The Burgh, as locals affectionately call it, came from all over Europe to make a new life for themselves and their families, and they weren’t afraid of hard work. So in the 1970s, the city’s visionaries saw opportunity in the old mills and gave Pittsburgh a makeover. The city embraced new ways to make a living, leaning on its strong roots to carve out a new direction to prosperity, but still proud to call themselves The Steel City.
Things to do in Pittsburgh
Things to do in Pittsburgh
You haven’t seen Pittsburgh until you visit Mt. Washington and see why USA Today Magazine named this one of the 10 most beautiful views in the U.S. This neighborhood is named for George Washington, of course, for this is where he stood to map the area when he was a young surveyor.
For an elegant, fine dining experience, reserve a table on Restaurant Row, where you can enjoy delectable meals with an unmatched view. Or duck into a casual shop for deli sandwiches, hot dogs, gourmet coffees and pastries.
Get another angle on the view in a breathtaking ride on the famous Duquesne and Monongahela inclines that have carried workers and visitors up and down the mountain for 140 years. Both have observation decks at the top, from which you can see many of the bridges (over 400!) that span the rivers, giving Pittsburgh the nickname City of Bridges.
Surprisingly, the Bloomfield neighborhood was also named because of George Washington. In his journal notes, he called the area a “field of many blooms.” Today, the neighborhood is abloom with eateries, shops and bars.
Known as “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy,” Bloomfield will satisfy your craving for authentic Italian food. But it also offers a smorgasbord including burgers, wings, Thai, Vietnamese, Central/Eastern European fare, Indian, Mexican, a green market and a farmers market in season.
Specialty shops also line the streets, selling gifts, desserts, breads, books, art and other treasures. If you’re lucky enough to visit during “Little Italy Days,” you’ll be treated to street vendors and live entertainment, too. Be sure to check out the bocce courts in the little park under the Bloomfield Bridge.
“Location, location, location” has long been the real estate mantra. It’s one of the most important factors buyers consider when purchasing a home. And Pittsburgh had the most advantageous location a city could have: on the shores of not one, not two, but three rivers. The city’s enviable position on three rivers, where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River meet to form the Ohio River, made it an ideal spot for steel production. The coal needed to make steel was mined in the mountains surrounding the city, and coal towns sprung up around the mines. The finished steel could quickly be loaded onto barges and sent via one of the rivers to destinations all over the country.
About 300,000 residents call the city of Pittsburgh home. However, that number can be misleading. Many cities have expanded their boundaries through the years to include surrounding suburbs. Pittsburgh has not done that and, in fact, has the same boundaries it had in 1907. The Greater Pittsburgh area, which includes its surrounding counties, has a population of 2.4 million people.
Pittsburghers are proud of the diversity within their city. Whites make up 66.8% of the population, and are 19.7% German, 15.8% Irish, 11.8% Italian, 8.4% Polish, and 4.6% English.
Blacks or African Americans are 23.03% of the population, Asians are 5.82%, and those who are two or more races are 3.51%. Native Americans make up 0.18%, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders are 0.04% of the population, and other races make up 0.63%.
Pittsburgh’s average household income is $72,981 in the city, and the average home value is $135,000. In the Greater Pittsburgh area, the average household income is $81,869 and the average home value is $215,000.
Condos in the Greater Pittsburgh area are available at all price ranges, from less than $100,000 to over $2M. About 50% of Pittsburgh residents are renters, which makes it an excellent city for investors to buy condos.
Arts in Pittsburgh
Arts in Pittsburgh
If you’re a sports lover, Pittsburgh’s teams are calling you to the North Side. Steeler football, Penguins hockey and Pirates baseball teams are all top notch champions. The University of Pittsburgh’s football team is also a well known powerhouse. Steeler games, concerts and events are held at Heinz Field (yes, the ketchup and pickle people!), while the Pirates play at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh fans are second to none, sporting their gold and black wherever they go all year long. The Burgh is the only city in the U.S. whose sports teams all wear the same colors (which, by the way, were the colors of William Pitt’s coat of arms).
The North Side also has the Andy Warhol Museum, which the Discoverer Blog called one of the top 10 coolest museums in the country. The legendary artist was a Pittsburgh native; his father was a coal miner.
The whole family will enjoy the Carnegie Museum of Science, with its hand-on demonstrations ranging from robotics to space exploration. Pittsburgh’s Children’s Museum was voted 8th in USA Today’s 2022 Reader’s Choice list of the top 10 children’s museums in the U.S. Also pop into City of Asylum indie bookstore for readings, musical events and writers at work.
Trendy and arty Lawrenceville is named for the War of 1812 hero, Captain James Lawrence, who famously said, “Don’t give up the ship.” Today, many of the city’s artists call Lawrenceville home, so the neighborhood often hosts big art events that give Lawrenceville its hip vibe. Composer and native son Stephen Foster is celebrated each July in Doo Dah Days.
Be sure to visit the Roberto Clemente Museum, which pays homage to the famous Pittsburgh baseball player. You must book a spot in a private tour to see the museum, but it’s well worth the effort to learn about “The Great One’s” career and his life off the field as a humanitarian.
Lawrenceville is packed with breweries and bars, not all alcoholic. Coffee bars provide casual spots for eclectic patrons to sip espressos, too.
Schools in Pittsburgh
Schools in Pittsburgh
The center for education, Oakland has the University of Pittsburgh, world renowned for medicine, engineering, liberal arts and its football team. Be sure to visit the impressive, gothic Cathedral of Learning on the campus. Carnegie Mellon University, also in Oakland, was ranked #1 for computer science programs in the U.S. News’ college rankings. The school is also known for science, technology, and theater. Duquesne, Robert Morris, Carlow and Chatham are four-year private universities in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
It’s easy to see why Pittsburgh regularly appears on many “best” lists. The people in charge have worked together to reinvent the city. The Burgh has been transformed from the smoky, steel center it once was to a vibrant center of technology, keeping its smaller city charm and making the most of what each area of the city offers.
Pittsburgh is one of the most affordable cities in the country that also offers major sports, arts, culture and outdoor spaces. Choose from over 90 diverse neighborhoods to enjoy living, working and playing in. And the city's unique skyline is one you'll appreciate every time you see it.
When night falls, it’s worth going into Pittsburgh’s South Hills, across the Fort Pitt or Liberty bridges and through their tunnels, just so you can come back the same way. As you exit the tunnels, the city bursts into view in all its glory, with the waterfront before you and the bridges, skyscrapers and homes twinkle throughout the hillside in the dark.
No other city gives you that kind of welcome.
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