Discover The New Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh SkylineBy now you’ve heard the buzz about the Burgh. Riverfront renewal and sunny skies make its reclaimed waterfront sparkle, while a quirky arts scene is reviving hilly old residential neighborhoods. Though not a single steel mill operates in the city today, Pittsburgh proudly embraces its industrial history along with a new tech economy. It’s where 19th-century architecture, 20th-century grit and 21st-century style merge, with intriguing results.

Pittsburgh’s growing districts

Highlighted by the Point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, downtown Pittsburgh is also the city’s fastest growing residential neighborhood. It’s the latest in a collection of 89 official neighborhoods whose unique charms define the city’s polyglot character. Carved into hilltops, ravines and riversides, each community has a distinct personality, but shares the same friendly vibe.

Sports, arts and recreation in Pittsburgh

Marquee names in both sports and the arts are a downtown draw. The busy Cultural District is home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Public Theater, the handsomely restored Benedum Center and dozens of smaller venues and galleries. The District is a five-minute stroll across the city’s iconic golden bridges from the homes of the Pirates (Major League Baseball) and Steelers (National Football League) on the city’s North Shore. The best way to see the sights: rent a kayak at downtown’s Kayak Pittsburgh and paddle the waterfront. Or borrow a two-wheeler from Pittsburgh Bike Share to pedal along 13 miles of shoreline trail or explore local neighborhoods.

Experience Pittsburgh’s East End

The city’s East End acts as Pittsburgh’s second downtown for two reasons: the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The concentration of 40,000 undergraduate and professional students, biomedical researchers and information technology giants like Google lends this district a cool, brainy vibe and an adventurous palette.

Take Lawrenceville: this red-brick Civil War–era neighborhood is now home to the city’s chicest cocktail spots, many of which are doubling down on their prime locations along Butler Street. The owners of Cure, one of the street’s most popular bistros, have added the exotic small-plates restaurant Morcilla nearby. Piccolo Forno is branching out with Grapparia, offering Italian-accented spirits and microbrews. A few blocks away in East Liberty, Spoon, Union Pig & Chicken and BRGR pull the late-night crowd.

The East End is also the traditional home of the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Their grand Beaux-Arts facade faces Schenley Plaza, an inviting green lawn rimmed with cafes. But don’t miss other adventurous institutions. The Andy Warhol Museum (a.k.a. “The Warhol”), celebrating the hometown hero of Pop Art, and the Mattress Factory, a collection of nervy installation art, are neighbors on the North Shore, along with the beloved Children’s Museum and Carnegie Science Center.

Pittsburgh from the sky

Want to take it all in from the top? A cable-car ride that climbs the 1,000-foot Mt. Washington—one of Pittsburgh’s famous inclines—is a must. Survey the skyline from the promenades along Grandview Avenue, then descend to the entertainment offerings at Station Square. This grand restoration of the old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad headquarters honors the city’s hardworking past and its fun-loving present.

For your calendar

Thinking of visiting Pittsburgh this spring or summer? Here are some big events you may want to include in your trip.

The Pittsburgh Marathon (Sunday, May 3) attracts 30,000 participants to its citywide course each year, including elite runners, crazies in costumes, 5K joggers and pumped-up pets (who race on May 2).

In a town that loves fireworks—an integral part of every Pirates home stand—PyroFest is a must-see. Held at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Butler County, the two-day event starts May 22 and promises daytime and nighttime productions from around the world. The general admission price of $23 doesn’t include earplugs.

The ever-evolving Three Rivers Arts Festival is a free annual two-week celebration that dances through downtown. Held this year from June 5 to 14, its events include mash-ups of emerging artists, international guest performers, jazz, juried art shows and plenty of fun.

By Christine H. O’Toole

What’s your favorite thing to do in and around Pittsburgh? Tell us below.

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  1. Bud Young says

    What a great city! I was a buyer at Joseph Horne’s in the 70’s with an office window overlooking Three Rivers. Best sports fans I’ve ever met. Wow, where do you start – Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, Willie Stargell and so many more. I’ve lived in many towns and cities, Pittsburgh is the very best. I live in North Carolina now, but have the largest Steelers Man Cave in the state – expect for Robin, I rarely hear anyone who doesn’t love the city and the fine folks who live there.
    Go Steelers, sorry, I couldn’t help myself……..

  2. david tallman jr says

    lived in Dayton Pa for 2 years and visited Pittsburgh several times very beautiful city

  3. Jenny Hinsman says

    I grew up in Pleasant Hills, at the southernmost part of Allegheny County from the 60’s to the 80’s. The things I loved most about Pittsburgh were the down-to-earth kind and humble people, the love of arts, Eastern European food, the brick homes, and all of my friends at Thomas Jefferson High School.

    Of course, living near the Slag Dump (the second largest in the world outside of Russia) wasn’t so great, but those days are over now and the Burgh is one of the greenest cities in the country.

    And for those who complain about the taxes, be thankful you don’t live in New York like I do because it’s way worse here.

    • Bob McBride says

      I liked your comments about Pittsburgh. I went to it about twenty years ago and was impressed with the architecture and the people. My only problem was that I ran across a street and my screw on telephoto lens fell off my camera. That affected some of my picture taking at the end of the day. Being an architect I took a lot of pictures and went to see a baseball game too.

      I bet it has gotten even better since I was there !

  4. David Williams says

    Don’t forget the Strip District, great place to spend an afternoon…..a Primanti Brothers Sandwich and a cold Iron can’t be beat!

  5. Colleen says

    I was sitting on the beach in NC a few years ago and talking with some friends. Someone walking along near us stopped and asked me if I was from Pgh. I asked them how they knew??? They said I had the “Pgh-ese” I am born and raised in Pgh but have not lived there since the 80’s. Guess it’s true…You can take the girl out of Pgh but you can’t take Pgh out of the girl…LOL

  6. jeffrey kweller says

    We lived in Brownsville in the 50’s to the 70’s. What a great place to grow up. our area was like all of southwestern Pa. a united nation of people, folks from all parts of the world. Everyone got along. Going to the Burg was a huge event for us. WE love Pittsburgh.
    Our little town used to close every year on a Thurs. in Aug. WE all went to Kennywood Park.
    We went on the train and by car. Brownsville Kennywood day was the biggest day for the park. Saw Lynn Swann in town shopping on one of our visits. Steeler and Pirate fan for life. Who remembers Chilly Billy Cardillie, and Mr. Rogers. Miss the area very much, living in south Texas now.

  7. CARI says

    I grew-up in Pittsburgh in the 1950’s and visit there all the time and I have family there. I love it. It was a safe and community caring neighborhood in Morningside. We even kept our doors unlocked. I do reside in Washington, DC though, due to my good, affluent Government career.

  8. Robin says

    WOW, all these positive notes on Pgh, but please don’t forget to let people know of the harsh reality that lies though out this area and I am speaking of the outrageous taxes and I mean plenty of them for everything except for farting and that will be next!! And this whole are is filled with violence day after day that is all that is reported on the news no matter when you turn it on. I lived here for 13 years and it seemed as though you could never get ahead due to yet another tax being implemented! We finally were able to leave that area and move to another state where we could live very comfortably on minimum wage if necessary!! You people need to take the blinders off and see the real world out side of the PGH area. yeh there are a few attractions but is that really living for Gods sake you even have to pay PGH to work there!!

  9. Mohammad AbdulAziz says

    Discovering the New Pittsburgh is a fantastic article, but you left out the History of the Jazz scene that was also a forefront of the building and people moving to the Burgh”. I was born in Pittsburgh and will always love my town and in the Hill District where I lived on Centre Avenue, I must say, that Jazz music was an important art in Pittsburgh where many Jazz Musicians left Pittsburgh and are now known as the greatest Jazz Artists the world over. Thank You.

  10. John says

    I grew up in the north hills in the ’50s+’60s. Back then it was not such a great place. I remember my Grandmother hanging sheets on the clothsline in the morning and they’d be gray by evening. The soot was overwhelming. As I grew to an adult, I lived in various areas around the city, and after returning from a tour in the Army, I lived out near the airport, becoming one of the grumbling Parkway west commuters to a workplace downtown. In ’81 I was downsized out and ended up in the south, then west. Only then did I realize how much I missed the “Burgh” and all it had to offer. I have since retired and returned to the area, (not in the area, but close enough to enjoy it) Yes, it has indeed gone through a metamorphosis I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  11. FRANK MALICKSON says

    Outstanding article and outstanding presentation.
    Need more articles on the great places to visit and see in the USA.
    Thank you-