66 more things I love about Pittsburgh

All month long, I’ve been highlighting the awesomeness of my hometown, Pittsburgh, which National Geographic recently called one of the world’s 20 “Must-see places for 2012.”

I’ve already covered three Pittsburgh museums (Warhol, Fort Pitt and Heinz History), the South Side of Pittsburgh, and the unmatched sports culture of the city. But there’s so much to love about Pittsburgh that I couldn’t edit myself. So I’m wrapping up my coverage of the Steel City with 66 more things I love about the city, presented in no particular order.

Why 66? If you don’t know the answer to that, you’re definitely not from Pittsburgh! Keep reading…

1 Mr. Rogers

mr rogers statue

Everyone’s favorite sweater-wearing, shoe-changing kids’ television host was from Pittsburgh and shot his show here for 30 years. Fred Rogers is memorialized with a statue on the North Shore and another in the Heinz History Center. Random fact I just learned: His middle name was “McFeely,” which was the inspiration for the show’s delivery man, Mr. McFeely. Cool!

2 The bridges

pittsburgh bridges

Because of its rivers, Pittsburgh supposedly has 450 bridges, more than Venice, more than any other city in the world. That estimate seems a bit high to me, but it’s true you can’t go anywhere without running into one of them, most of which are painted yellow, one of the city’s official colors. And the bridges are named after some of the city’s coolest all-time residents, like Warhol and Clemente.

3 The Mattress Factory

mattress factory

Contrary to its title, this institution is not a manufacturer of bedding, but an innovative museum on the North Side. It always has a sweet collection of temporary and permanent exhibits, but the one you’re most likely to remember is the “Infinity Dots Mirrored Room.”

4 The view coming through the tunnel

They say Pittsburgh is the only city with a front door. Drive through the Fort Pitt tunnel, and when you come out the other side, a panoramic view of the city suddenly smacks you in the face, with the North Shore and the sports stadiums on the left, the downtown skyline straight ahead, and the South Side on the right.

5 Pittsburghese

Yinz guys goin’ dahntahn ‘n at? I was 25 years old before I learned that “slippy” isn’t a real word. Stillers, spicket, gumbands, jaggers, chipped ham, and nebby are all part of the unique Pittsburgh dialect.

6 Primanti Brothers

primantis

If you’re a foodie who likes to consume the local delicacy while traveling, Primanti’s is the place to go. Their sandwich is Pittsburgh’s most famous culinary delight. It comes with your choice of meat, tomato, French fries and cole slaw, all piled inside two slices of homemade bread. It’s ridiculous, but we like it.

7 The hip hop

Somehow, Pittsburgh is becoming a new epicenter of the hip hop world. Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller have blown up in the past couple of years. It’s cool to see their love for the city in tracks like “Black and Yellow” and “Frick Park Market.”

8 The ice rink in Market Square

market square ice rink

One of the coolest winter activities is skating around the Market Square ice rink around the giant Christmas tree, surrounded by all the shiny PPG buildings. Pittsburgh almost feels like Rockefeller Center during these winter months.

9 Gooski’s

gooskis ping pong

Ping pong, pool, pinball, jukebox, and pierogies at the ultimate Polish Hill hipster dive bar. And don’t leave without checking out the bathroom graffiti.

10 All the movies being filmed

the kill point

It’s super-easy to get in a movie as an extra if you live in Pittsburgh, because they’re always shooting something, thanks to special tax incentives, and there’s a smaller population pool here. From my old office overlooking Market Square, I got to watch the filming of an entire season of the TV show “The Kill Point” starring John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg (above). Staged gunfights would randomly erupt during the day. Cool stuff!

11 The term “Pittsburgher”

Best demonym in America! Aside possibly from residents of Cambridge, who call themselves “Cantabrigians.”

12 Art All Night

An annual event with live bands and room after room of locally-made artwork, on display all night and into the next day, so that night owls, insomniacs and the post-bar crowd have a chance to stop by. I once went at 4 am just for the novelty of going out in the wee hours of the morning.

13 Mount Washington

Mount Washington

USA Weekend once called the nighttime view of downtown Pittsburgh and its rivers from Mt. Washington the second-most beautiful view in the nation, behind only the Grand Canyon. Ride one of the mountainside inclines to the top for just a couple bucks, and take in the amazing sights.

14 The small-town feel

You know the people in your neighborhood. You can even talk to strangers in bars, unlike L.A. or New York or Chicago. I used to think Pittsburgh was just like other cities when it comes to that sort of thing, but I’ve since discovered that Pittsburgh really is friendlier than other places. Don’t take that for granted!

15 Heinz

One of the linchpin companies of Pittsburgh, Heinz is the only real ketchup around. The company has its name on the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field. When the Steelers enter the red zone, giant ketchup bottles tilt over and pour virtual ketchup into the scoreboard.

16 Steep streets

Potomac Avenue Banksville steep

Canton Avenue in Beechview is supposedly the world’s steepest street. Its 37% grade is more than the 35% grade of a New Zealand street that currently claims the Guinness World Record. I’ve always found Potomac Ave (above) at Banksville Road to be the most intimidating to drive up, but surprisingly that road only features a 22% grade.

17 Brillobox

Named after one of Warhol’s most famous works, the Brillobox in Lawrenceville has hosted local bands, national indie acts, trivia nights, starving artist potluck dinners, hipster karaoke and eclectic dance nights. They also have an extensive beer selection, if you’re into boozing it up.

18 There’s no NBA team

Enough said.

19 The parks

Schenley Park

Schenley Park is my favorite, with its tennis courts, hiking and running trails and sweet frisbee golf course. Point State Park is a nice downtown environment. Others love Frick, Arsenal or Highland Parks. Sometimes the tiny, one-block parks make for the most fun, like where we used to play softball in a small 13th Street lot called Armstrong Field on the South Side.

20 The defensiveness

Yes, this is charming. Pittsburghers may slag off their city a bit too much, but when someone from out of town does it, there’s a shitstorm. Actress Sienna Miller found this out the hard way when she insulted the city while shooting a movie here a few years back and was forced to apologize. The local paper reported the story with the unforgettably awesome headline, “Semi-famous actress dumps on the Burgh.” Zing!

21 Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente statue

Maybe the city’s all-time most-revered athlete, Clemente finished his Pirates career with exactly 3,000 hits. He died tragically in a plane crash during the 1972 offseason while delivering humanitarian aid to Nicaragua. The two-time World Series champion is remembered with a bridge and statue in his honor. He’s still beloved by Puerto Ricans everywhere – even my local school here in Chicago is called Roberto Clemente High School.

22 The TV anchors never leave

I’ve lived in Chicago for two years and still can’t name a single anchor on any of the channels. But Pittsburgh? I grew up with David and Peggy, Ken and Jen. And they’re still on the air! That sense of familiarity shouldn’t be underestimated. The anchors really do feel like our friends.

23 The universities

Oakland and Uptown have huge concentrations of college students, thanks to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne. And perhaps the biggest catalyst in the recent revitalization of downtown is the expansion of student housing by the Art Institute and Point Park University. Over the course of the five years I worked downtown, I noticed a huge difference in the amount of vibrant energy downtown on nights and weekends, mostly due to the presence of more college kids.

24 Just Ducky Tours

Just Ducky Tour Pittsburgh

A number of cities have these amphibious tourist vehicles, which float across rivers and then ride up on land through the streets. It’s always amusing to see the passengers on the Ducky tours submit to forcible quacking, thanks to the tour guide, who insists that everyone onboard must quack as they take a tour through downtown.

25 Saving parking spaces with traffic cones

The old-school practice of putting a traffic cone or folding chair in the street to reserve your parking spot lives on in Pittsburgh. And not just in winter. Even in the middle of summer, some folks will try to claim a permanent space with a chair. I wasn’t a fan of the practice when I lived there, but the old-fashioned mentality is kind of endearing.

26 The National Aviary

National Aviary flamingos

In the ‘90s, Pittsburgh’s aviary was in danger of shutting down due to inadequate funding, so President Clinton and Congress declared it the “National Aviary” to bring it attention and money. Sneaky! It’s the largest aviary in the country, with lots of endangered birds and large penguin and flamingo populations.

27 The East End

Neighborhood evolution fascinates me. It’s cool to see a once-depressed area like East Liberty become a hotbed of activity these days. Garfield continues its slow but sure rebirth, while Friendship, Bloomfield and Lawrenceville already have a lot going on. The Lawrenceville cemetery is one of the best places in the city to go running (and spot deer), Belvedere’s hosts an awesome ’80s dance night, and the colorful new Children’s Hospital livens up the skyline on the East End.

28 Stable housing market

Pittsburgh was almost entirely unscathed by the housing bust that crippled so many other cities. Since 2000, housing prices are up 42% here, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. You should have bought your house in the Steel City!

29 The fountain

pittsburgh fountain

Right at the confluence of the three rivers is a fountain that runs during the warmer months and serves as one of the symbols of summer in Pittsburgh. It snatches water from an underground fourth river and shoots it 150 feet in the air. Sometimes, the water is dyed pink for breast cancer awareness or green for St. Patrick’s Day.

30 The progressive attitude is spreading

Pittsburgh is sometimes considered behind the times, but it’s ever-so-slowly becoming more progressive. It has already become a green-friendly city. Walking paths along the rivers have been expanded, and lots of new bike lanes are popping up on roads. Local politicians like Bill Peduto, Patrick Dowd, and Bruce Kraus have helped push the city in a more forward-thinking direction while reigning in the power of Mayor Ravenstahl.

Update, December 2013: Bill Peduto is now mayor-elect, and I can’t express how excited I am that my one-time MySpace friend, a man with so many terrific ideas for the city, is now in charge!

31 The Beehive

beehive south side

My favorite coffee shop of all-time. Funky colored walls, work from local artists on display, pinball machines, vegan delicacies, and a cool crowd from 16 to 60. Sadly, the last time I visited, two of the three rooms were shut down. I hope it’s not closing!

32 Light-Up Night

For 50 years, residents have celebrated the start of the holiday season with a downtown November event featuring concerts, fireworks, tree lightings and window display unveilings.

33 Soul music nights

My favorite was Soulcialism, which peaked during the mid-‘00s at the White Eagle on the South Side and regularly treated its guests to classic tunes like “Ooh Child,” “Band of Gold” and “Build Me Up Buttercup.” That event has lived on various incarnations, like Vipers Soul Club and Title Town, which now rocks the Shadow Lounge on a monthly basis.

34 Tram’s Kitchen

One of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants is this unassuming little Vietnamese place on Penn Avenue run by a guy with one arm. I once made the rookie mistake of ordering the Pho as an appetizer, thinking it was a just small cup of soup. Needless to say, I had to take home my full-size entrée for later enjoyment.

35 Kayaking on the rivers

pittsburgh kayakers

On any sunny day, you’re likely to see kayakers on the Allegheny River. Kayak Pittsburgh rents out tandem kayaks beneath the Clemente Bridge for $20 an hour so you can paddle all around and see the town from the water level.

36 The South Side Works

On one hand, it sucked that suburbia invaded the South Side when the Works came along. On the other hand, it was nice to be able to walk over and catch a new movie or buy cheap clothes from H&M or get queso nachos from Qdoba. On balance, the Works have been a good thing for the neighborhood.

 

37 Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History

The Natural History Museum is known for its giant dinosaur displays, but the facility also covers wildlife, botany, and rocks and minerals. The Carnegie Museum of Art features modern art and photography with a heavy emphasis on Pittsburgh-centric artists and works.

38 Hometown High Q

A KDKA game show! For high school students! Root for your alma mater as you watch the awkward kids with braces and bad hair participate in an obscure trivia duel.

39 Kennywood

kennywood

Everyone has a favorite ride at Kennywood. Mine is the Exterminator, an indoor coaster that doesn’t get very high but whips you around fast. The spinny Cosmic Chaos is also way more fun than it looks. But they apparently just eliminated the Pit Fall, a cool drop ride. Tragedy!

40 The parades

People love the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which turns the entire city into a frat party as everyone guzzles booze for hours. The gay pride parade has been growing rapidly, and of course there are frequent parades celebrating sports championships by the Steelers and Penguins. My favorite is the Celebrate the Seasons Parade, which brings B-list singers and entertainers from NBC sitcoms to town on the day after Black Friday.

41 The Highland Park sand volleyball courts

Many a sunny afternoon and cool evening have been spent here playing pickup volleyball games, sometimes while consuming adult beverages.

42 The T

Many people live in Pittsburgh for a few years (myself included) before even discovering there’s a subway/light rail system. It’s far from perfect – if it was, it would also serve the South Side and Oakland – but at least it cuts down congestion a bit by giving those in the south suburbs an easy way into downtown and the North Side.

43 Gateway Clipper

Gateway Clipper

Believed to be the largest inland riverboat fleet in the U.S., the Gateway Clipper arsenal now consists of five vessels, the largest of which holds 1,000 passengers. The boats are used for dinner cruises, rock concert cruises, Santa cruises, sightseeing cruises, and basic transportation across the river during sporting events.

44 The bizarre obsession with fireworks

No city in America loves its fireworks more than Pittsburgh. It’s comical how fireworks are included at every holiday celebration, every annual event, even after every home run at baseball games. And people are still mesmerized by them!

45 Neville Island

What a strange place. If you want to know where in the U.S. to find the most preposterously low speed limit, head to Neville, a largely-industrial island on the Ohio River. Even though there’s a four-lane highway, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour – and it’s strictly enforced. The small amount of residential land doesn’t justify such an absurdly-low speed limit. Seriously, I’ve driven faster in bank parking lots. I like passing through there just to experience the ridiculousness.

46 Rick Sebak

As a documentary junkie, I worship Rick Sebak, whose down-home narratives (“scrapbook documentaries”) about western Pennsylvania neighborhoods and attractions are some of the most compelling films around.

47 Dee’s

Dees Cafe

Crazy cheap drinks and a friendly crowd of weirdos make Dee’s my go-to stop on E. Carson Street. On busier nights, you can head upstairs to another bar with ping pong and pool tables. Enjoy the red vinyl booths, but don’t even think about putting your feet on them, unless you want a verbal smackdown.

48 Giant Eagle Fuel Perks

Big-time discounts on gas merely for buying groceries? Yes, please!

49 The staircases

The massive staircases on the South Side Slopes get all the attention, but there are others in Greenfield, the Hill District, and other parts of the city that are equally crazy. Walking up a few of them is a great way to sneak in exercise.

50 Pittsburgh Sports League

For those who would rather play sports than watch them, the PSL offers more than a dozen options. I mostly stuck to dodgeball and volleyball. It took at least 10 seasons of vball before I was finally on a championship team. Another great option is broomball, which is played on ice, just like hockey, except that you wear tennis shoes and have brooms instead of sticks. Lots of fun!

51 The Strip District

Strip District

The place to be on Saturday and Sunday mornings is the Strip District, at the outdoor market where shops sell lots of seafood, fresh produce, and more Steelers apparel than you could ever imagine. It’s also a great place to find brunch, provided you’re willing to wait for a table at any of the diners.

52 Mr. Small’s

An old church in Millvale converted into an awesome concert venue. The huge ceilings make for great acoustics and atmosphere. Mr. Small’s is the best of a number of nice concert venues in the city, including Club Café and the Byham Theater.

53 The weather

Pittsburgh snowy roads

Pittsburgh weather is cool because you get to fully experience all four seasons, since the temps can range from below zero in the winter to 100 in the summer. The occasional blizzards are fun, as long as you don’t have to drive.

54 The kissing crossing guard in Lawrenceville

The intersection of Butler & 44th Streets in Lawrenceville was homebase for the most pleasant, positive woman in the world, the crossing guard who blows kisses to passing motorists and pedestrians. I had the pleasure of living in a second-floor apartment right on that intersection and watching her work for months. These are the kinds of characters that make Pittsburgh special.

55 Terrible Towels

No gesture is more recognized in the sports world than the waving of a yellow cloth. Since the 1970s, Steeler fans have waved the Terrible Towel to support their team.

56 The Cathedral of Learning

Cathedral of Learning

The 42-story Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere. My earliest memory there was taking a field trip to see the Nationality Rooms, a set of 27 classrooms designed with the décor and style of various countries from around the world.

57 Girl Talk

The world’s most well-known mashup artist was working as a mild-mannered engineer when his music blew up and he began flying around the world to perform at parties. I once attended a Girl Talk concert where he revealed his address and invited everyone to come party with him at home after the show.

58 The Zombie Walk

zombie walk

As the home of the classic zombie film Dawn of the Dead, Pittsburgh has a number of zombie fans. More than 1,000 annually put on scary zombie attire and amble through the streets as part of the Zombie Walk.

59 Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe

Ok, this is more of a Beaver County tradition, but now that they have locations in Moon, Marshall and Greentree, I can call it a Pittsburgh thing. This small-town diner-ish restaurant brings communities together and serves the best chili fries anywhere.

60 Eat ‘N Park

Smiley cookies, Sunday brunch and the most memorable holiday commercial make the 75-location Eat ‘N Park chain a Pittsburgh institution.

61 Avalon Exchange

Pittsburgh doesn’t have a Buffalo Exchange, but Avalon is the next best thing. They’re a bit too expensive, but if you want sweet thrift store finds without going out to the suburbs, Avalon is your best bet. I’m still haunted by my decision to not buy the sweet purple hoodie I saw there like three years ago.

62 McKees Rocks

Because the neighborhood doesn’t get enough love. I spent a lot of time there as a kid visiting cousins. And I once stole a piece of gum from the Stop & Go. Don’t tell anyone!

63 The skyline

Pittsburgh skyline

One of the most recognizable in the nation, because of the uniqueness of its buildings, from the four points of the glass PPG building to the hugeness of the U.S. Steel Tower to the Highmark building with the 180-foot tall mast.

64 Mexican War Streets

The tree-lined Mexican War Streets feature old row houses and massive Victorian mansions that reveal a lot of color and character in a part of the North Side that most outsiders don’t bother visiting.

65 PNC Bank

The bank has its name on the Pirates’ stadium, still the most beautiful ballpark in baseball after more than ten years. PNC recently built a new skyscraper downtown, the city’s first since the 1970s. And the bank has been very financially stable, conducting its business in such a way that it didn’t even need a bailout in 2008 when every other bank was floundering. Pittsburgh banks don’t need saving – take that, Wall Street.

66 Mario Lemieux

Mario Lemieux jersey

The greatest player in hockey history. (Don’t even mention that other guy’s name around these parts…) Not only did Lemieux guide the team to two Stanley Cups as a player, even while battling devastating injuries and a cancer diagnosis that sidelined him in the peak of his career, he bought the club when it was bankrupt, thereby saving the franchise from being moved out of town. As an executive, he’s made the team an annual contender once again, with Stanley Cup championship #3 in 2009 and hopefully more on the way. And he’s a down-to-earth guy who embodies what the city is all about, even if he didn’t grow up here.

As always, all pics are original photos, copyright Quirky Travel Guy.

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

138 comments on “66 more things I love about Pittsburgh

  1. This is like the definitive guide to Pittsburgh!

    I’ll agree that the skyline in beautiful (judging from that photo… I’ve never actually seen it myself) but I’m surprised you included the orange cones “protecting” parking spaces on this list. I guess it is sort of charming, but that practice drives me crazy! Also, I think I should become a sports fan before I go to Pittsburgh in order to appreciate it fully. 😉
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Thailand’s International Hot Air Balloon Festival

      • I have been waging a 10 year war against this practice. So far this year, I have impounded 4 chairs, 5 cones, and 10 buckets. The audacity of these people astounds me.

        • The parking chairs are annoying as a year-round practice, but after I dug the parking space in front of my house out following a two-foot snowfall, I put out my own chairs without compunction. If you come around confiscating when there’s snow on the ground and the streets are unplowed, prepare for a throw-down!

          • I participated in a film short project that involved 8 movies based in 8 different neighborhoods, and the South Side was about an outsider experiencing this. It was excellent. It’s more of an institution with the older residents of South Side who drive 1985 Buicks that take up half a block.

    • Actually, cones are considered declasse. The proper etiquette is folding lawn chairs. And it works because people respect it. Apparently, early Pittsburghers had difficulty grasping the concept of “the garage,” but worked out, in some unspoken way, a shared convention.

      The same is true of the Pittsburgh Left, which somehow missed the list. When I moved here it was a complete mystery to me, but I always observe it now. (The Pittsburgh left is a creative driving rule: the driver first at a stoplight that turns green will yield the right of way to a car in the oncoming lane that’s making a left. It’s a weird courtesy that often speeds up trafffic.)

      • The Pittsburgh left is definitely preferable to the Chicago left, in which three cars make the left after the light has turned red. The only problem with the Pittsburgh left is that it ignores the pedestrian right of way. I’ve seen some near-accidents as a result.

        • I would much rather have the Chicago left than the Pittsburgh left. Pittsburgh drivers are the worst and they often cause road rage to those of us that have just moved here.

      • As a Texan, the Pittsburgh Left initially left me pretty rattled; talk about crazy dangerous! But Pittsburgh is in dire need of left turn arrows. It makes complete sense how they’ve pretty much created their own way of handling this problem!

    • the orange cones aren’t a normal thing for saving residential parking spaces. Residents usually put out wooden folding chairs, or lawn chairs.. lol

  2. Ah, so Lemieux is the “66” connection I’ve always wanted to go to Pittsburgh. Not sure why I haven’t been there yet. You’ve certainly given plenty of reasons to get going. Besides, I’ve always been a loyal Heinz customer.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..December in Paris

  3. Love this post!! I, too, love Pittsburgh (I was actually just there this past weekend!). It’s a great city, and often very underappreciated I think.

    I also really love the inclines (especially the Duquesne), and the zoo! Pittsburgh has a great zoo.

    I’m NOT, however, such a fan of the city’s street layout… it gets so confusing to drive there!
    Amanda recently posted..Photo of the Day: Coast Mountains, British Columbia

    • Cool! I actually had the zoo in my original draft, but then I realized that I had never actually been there, so I removed it, in order to “keep it real.” 🙂 You’re right about the streets… so confusing!

    • We lived in Pittsburgh during my mid to late teens so I learned to drive on those roads. After that, no roads anywhere have phased me (and I’ve lived in both the US and Europe since then) lol

    • Ooh, I will be at Dee’s with you in spirit. I’m totally immune to fireworks now. Aside from the 4th, I will pretty much run in the other direction if I hear about a fireworks display.

  4. Cool, I didn’t know you were from Pittsburgh too! I nodded my head at almost every one of these! I remember my elementary school class “adopted” our very own bird from the aviary when it was going under. Love the Beehive! I’m cracking up at the news anchor references – David and Peggy have gotten so old! And I totally knew why your list is 66 long 🙂 Fun post!
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    • Cool, it’s nice to share a lot of these references with others. I was really surprised to see that David and Peggy are still on the air!

  5. The food here in Pittsburgh just gets better and better from Salt of the Earth in Garfield where you can find the best of new American cuisine to a little BYOB Turkish eatery on Ellsworth Avenue, Daphne Cafe, in Shadyside where the food is authentic and delicious and the service friendly.

  6. I lived in 2 areas of Pittsburgh in the 60’s as a kid. One of my best memories was meeting Mr. Rogers in person – highlight of a young year. I also remember the zoos – there was one where the underground animals lived and you’d press red lights to see them…. ride on a tortoise…. a chimp latched on to my dad on one visit – great zoo. My other favorite thing was that both our neighborhoods had woods complete with creeks and vines behind the houses. Nothing better than having free reign of such an awesome outdoors.

  7. You forgot one thing — how it sucks you in! i moved here to attend University of Pittsburgh and now plan on staying 🙂 i may not be a born Pittsburgher, but I was quite easily morphed! It’s a great city – i appreciate you giving it such credit!

  8. Love it! I live in Vienna, Austria now; but I’m a pittsburgher, born & bred. Agreed with every one of the things you mentioned; its nice to see the hometown represented so well!

  9. Great list, Scott! I also love Cathy, the crossing guard @ Penn and 44th (I live on 44th so I see her all the time) – how can you stay in a bad mood with a person like Cathy around?

    I own a B&B and always recommend the Frick to my guests. It so often gets overshadowed by the other museums, but think it’s a gem and so much to do and see there, from the mansion tours, the two museums, strolling the grounds, and having a bite at the cafe.

    Also, there is a huge amount of stuff here that’s free of charge! From walking tours to outdoor concerts to carriage rides, there’s something for everyone…year round. It makes Pittsburgh not only fun, but also very affordable.

    • hey i also live in a second floor apartment at 44th/butler, and i talk to her every day, but i also never knew her name. so thanks! (also this was just linked on facebook; sorry if it’s weird that i commented, haha)

  10. You’re making me homesick, Scott! Good thing I’ll be heading home for the holidays. It’s a great place to raise a family because it’s just big enough and there is enough to do for all ages. Wish I worked in medicine or banking, though.

  11. Wow, I loved reading this! I am from Pittsburgh but no longer live there. Everytime I visit I consider moving back permanently. I remember my mom going to the Beehive on many weekends while I babysat my younger siblings. I just saw the new walking path at the North Shore on my visit over the summer. It was such a nice walk along the river. Btw, you definately need to check out the Pittsburgh zoo. I love being from Pittsburgh & the best part is definately the small town feeling even though it is a big city.

  12. I just heard Donnie Iris is going to be down at Pants ‘n Nat this weekend. Have you heard anything about that?

    Dude, I had no idea you were from Pittsburgh. I grew up in Greensburg about 30 minutes outside of the city. When we were in Serbia, I ran into a kid from Monroeville, who lives up in a small Serbian village with his wife and kid.

    Sadly, one anchor did leave. Don Cannon (aka Donald Clark) split for San Diego, but unfortunately his propensity for drinking and driving followed him out west. When I was covering crime in San Diego, I broke a couple of stories about him. It was surreal sitting behind him in the courtroom.

    Thanks man! Your “66” reasons really made my day.

    Did you grow up in the city?

  13. I always wanted to meet Mr Rogers but never had the oppurtunity. You are much younger then me and probably dont remember another icon of Pittsburgh, Joe Negri. He worked with Fred occasionally and Paul Shannon, another favorite. I did get to meet Joe and he is such a humble person. And What about Chilly Billy Cardille? Im sorry I just had to trhow them in because they are some of my favorite people of Pittsburgh.

  14. Loved this post. I grew up in the ‘burgh and love taking my kids back to visit. Another cool thing on the list are the inclines…not sure if any other city has anything like that. As a Beaver County native, I especially loved the shutout to the Hot Dog Shopppe!

  15. I loved this list. Yes, you did miss the zoo and you def have to go there. One thing you could mention is that when people change addresses they generally will stay within a few miles of where they grew up. People from the North Side stick on that side of the river, as with the People from the east, south and west. I’ve lived here all my life, worked at Heinz and Clark Candy Co. But have always lived the South Hills. Grew up in Brookline, bought my first house there and now live in Whitehall. Oh, and unlike a lot of cities our Suburbs are still a part of the city. If asked where you live you don’t say “Whitehall” you say Pittsburgh. Thanks for posting such a great list and advertising how great our city really is.

  16. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but the burgh. I’ve been here all 24 years of my life, and can’t wait to take my 1 year old to all the places I loved going as a kid like the History Center, the zoo, the Children’s Museum, Mt. Washington, the art festival, Pirates games…I could go on and on 🙂

  17. LOVE that you made Roberto the “21”st thing on the list! The BEST part about coming home (I currently live in Savannah, GA) is emerging from the Ft. Pitt tunnel. It’s like being greeted with an enormous hometown hug! Great article! Great list! Thank you!

  18. Since there are more great additions, maybe it should be 87 additional reasons!!! Don’t forget the biking! Commuter, mountain (14 great places within 1/2 drive), and racing are all gaining great popularity here in “da burgh”

  19. The Pitt Fall is still there, at least it was when i went in June!!! 🙂 You did an awesome job on this list, I am a proud yinzer!!

  20. My family in one form or another has been in Pittsburgh continuously since 1847. My brother, son and his family, and several cousins still live there. I have been in the SF bay area for over 40 years but have been back at least once every couple of years for various reasons. Grew up during Mayor david Lawrence’s term and the city started to clean itself up. I would live there in a heartbeat except for the preponderance of non sunny days. You have captured much of the essence of the city. The great asset is its diversity but yet segregation of its neighborhoods. Now there is a melding as the younger members leave and some of the neighborhoods are changing.

  21. You should check out Rialto Street on the North Side. I believe that’s the steepest hill in Pittsburgh (and it’s also super narrow).

  22. I lived in the Burgh for two years and in a lot of ways, I never really left it. Used to go up there every other month to hang out with my friends, but it’s been years since I’ve had the chance. It really is a hell of a town and nice to see it getting some much deserved love.

  23. I spent the first 26 years of my life in pittsburgh. I lived in Atlanta, New York, Montreal and now L.A.

    And you captured everything that made me proud to grow up there. I’m usually not a nostalgic person either. I’m *almost* homesick.

    Nice article.

    • I would echo everything Evan said. Born and raised but live in DC. Luckily it’s close, but there is nothing like the hometown pride!

  24. Oh man, I love, adore and miss Pittsburgh madly. I went to college there and won’t shut up about it. There is something wonderful about a place that manages to be a city and a small town at the same time. I’d heard the Beehive went out of business, so I’m really glad to see that isn’t true! Everything on this list is absolutely fantastic. This time next week I’ll be on a plane back to Pittsburgh to visit friends and I’m already counting the hours.

    Last year, watching HBO’s 24/7 Pens vs Caps I got so homesick I nearly cried, with those opening shots coming through the tunnel. Front door indeed.

    I wrote a post of my own a few weeks ago, extolling the virtues of Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t near as comprehensive as yours (http://www.viewontravel.com/blogs/log-book/City-of-Steel.html)

    • Thanks for reading! It’s true PNC did take the bailout – I think all major banks were required to take it. They didn’t need it, though.

  25. Was born in Magee Hosp. in 1950 (where the majority of Pittsburgers were born!) left when I was 17, will always be my “home”, I visit at least once a year! Avid Steeler fan and just love “my city!” There is no other like the ‘Burgh! (I’ve traveled to many cities) Love yall…see ya in the spring! btw, cant believe you didnt mention Homestead!! It’s a Pgh. icon.

  26. You just made me miss Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh is certainly an acquired taste for many, including me, but once you learn to like it, you become a big defender of the city.

    The view when you get out of the tunnel is one of my favorite things. It’s almost like when I go back home and drive through Prague from the airport and think to myself “I’m so happy THIS is my capital city” (only they are completely different, of course :)).

    And Banjo nights, you didn’t mention banjo nights…

    (But who’s that other guy who’s not allowed to be mentioned? :))

  27. I grew up in South Park. I LOVED taking the trolley from Library to Downtown. We were the last stop on the tracks. I LOVE Pittsburgh.Thank you for this piece.

  28. Hey Scott… I have a tip for you that you won’t believe you didn’t know. Engine House 25… An old fire station that has been converted into a winery, which among other things creates the private label wines for sports biggest super stars. Has it’s grapes shipped in from all over the world but presses, barrels and stores them in the burgh… Another great fact is the owner also owns the Roberto Clemente museum which is RIGHT next door!! Um… Boom… Two awesome visits in one location!

  29. I was surprised to see Mckees Rocks on the list-thank you! I grew up there during the 80’s early 90’s and have been so saddened by how it’s become so worn down. It has SO much potential and it is SO close to the city! I’d love to see someone sweep in and revitalize the whole town. The main street still has a brick road and so many beautiful buildings that could rival those in other neighborhoods. (Did I mention the sad state of Miles Bryan, where I went to elementary school? Perched on a high hill and built in the 20’s, it was the most beautiful school I had ever gone to!)

  30. BOY AM I HOMESICK NOW!!!! I would do anything to move back HOME. You never know what you have til it’s not w/ you. Florida is the worst, heat, hurricaines & pure hell. We should never have left but we all make mistakes & ours bit the big one. I reallllly miss home & it always will be no matter where I am. Gotta figure out how to get back there now. It’s a big town w/ a small hometown feel, where people will talk to you not like FLA, they’ll shoot you first ask ??? later. Take me home to the ‘Burgh. I need to see my peeps & my town. And yes I still have the accent after 24 yrs!! Once a “Burgher” always once. GO STILLERS

  31. The Mattress Factory is a MUST SEE! I’ve been to many museums, but I have never been to one that you can be a part of, or IN the artwork. The outside courtyard is magically artistic.Thanks for the list. I still live here, but many have left. I did not see how to link this to Facebook for all of my former Pittsburghers benefit.
    Allegheny Cemetary (with all the old steel money mausoleums) and Lawrenceville are really up and coming. Arsenol Lanes with the second floor bowling alley and karaoke night…and great back bar…The round corner cantina…
    Mike and Tony’s Gyros in South SIde is where I ahve to take everyone when they come to town. You mention the Catherdral, but not sure you talked about the nationality rooms that different nationalities paid to have decorated in the styles of 22? different countries. During the holidays, they decorate in the style of the country…I can see why 66…maybe you can add more to get to 87…

  32. Pittsburgh is such a great city! We live about thirty miles north of it and enjoy the fun and many diverse events all year.One of the things that I am thankful for is the world class hospitals and health care.People travel from all over the world to Childrens Hospital,just to name one. Also,we could never move away from the sports fever that this city revolves on! We read recently that women Steeler fans know more about football than male fans from other cities and I believe it! The people are hard working,kind and very helpful.We are proud to call it our home…thank you for telling the world what a great place it is!

  33. Oh my, Scott! What a wonderful trip through my favorite city, and home town. I try to make a trip back there at least twice a year. I spent more than half my life in the Burgh, attended CMU and never missed a single “Stiller” game at 3 Rivers, even in its last 3 years, when I made that 200+ mile round trip when they were at home. I hope lots of folks check out your wonderful pictoral trip around the town, and definitely make it a place to visit!

  34. actually the fireworks may be attributed to the fact that the fire works capitol in the world is a just a few miles north in New Castle. i think they do a lot of the fire work shows down there.. now mind you New Castle is a crap.trust me i live there, but we still do have the pittsburghese

  35. LOVE it! I was born in Pittsburgh and lived there til I was almost 10. That hill at Potomac and Banksville? I will NEVER drive up it, but my uncle always goes up that hill and stops to turn when test driving a car, lol.

    Have you seen the steepness of Warrior Rd. in Greentree? You could bobsled dahn it.
    ehalvey recently posted..Saturday Snapshot: Farewell Nashville!

  36. You forgot to mention the Original Hot Dog Shoppe (The Dirty O!) on Forbes and Atwood. It’s all about the O fries…

  37. according to
    http://pghbridges.com/ We have over 2000 bridges. at last count, 2138.
    Venice has 409.
    the pghbridges website says:
    “With topography such as this, it is not surprising that there are so many bridges. One count reports over 2,000 bridges of 8 feet span or greater. Most types of bridges are represented in this area with the exception of cable-stayed, pontoon, or movable deck designs.”

  38. I really think one of the best pittsburghy things are the inclines…the top of the Duquesne incline has such an interesting array of old pittsburgh pics…and is totally free if you enter at the top. also the peeky window to see the giant gumband pulley…kids love it, visitors love it and i always pick out a cheap xmas ornament while i am there. and the kids like the flat penny machine…all the quirk you could dream of! it is really pittsburgh on a stick.

  39. Umm…I’ve definitely had an easier time talking to strangers in NY or LA than in Pittsburgh. Here I get weird looks for striking up a conversation – and I look as whitebread as any other Burgher. Has this guy ever travelled to any other city? Maybe somewhere where it’s more acceptable to be a little weird? The number one thing I hate about living in Pittsburgh is the hatred of other cities. Never seen that anywhere else in the country…

  40. This is a great list from a pittsburghers viewpoint.

    Gus and Yiyas ice ball stand in west park next to the war streets deserves mention. Along with Peppis, Fioris pizza. Maybe the Casino now too.

    But man gotta agree with the confusing roads, always with construction too. I left for the marines for 4 yrs came back and was lost lol.

  41. I just saw this posted online and did not realize this was from a few years ago. Great read. I actually live on Neville Island, and my dad grew up on Neville. Most of the time when I say where I live, no one from the ‘burgh knows what I am talkinga about. So, seeing you add it was down right awesome. I always wondered about the ridiculous speed limit myself so I asked my dad. He said it had to do with an unfortunate accident years ago (I think when he was a kid.) If I remember correctly a child was hit by a car and died, and at the the time the speed limit was 40 or 45. They lowered it to 25 since it was a highly traveled residential area and to help prevent another accident such as that. (It think my dad even stated the child was the chief of police’s child.) The back stretch posts a 35mph speed limit but I know most people go 55/60 instead. Not a day goes by where I do not see someone puller over.

  42. Great list, Scott! My family is from a few small towns in NW PA and though I always fly into Pittsburgh, I rarely make it into the city. For years I’ve wanted to get out there and explore more, but it’s so hard to make the time when I spend my PA time driving all over the state state to visit family. I need to make this happen soon!

    And by the way, a family member just emailed it to me and I was excited to say — oh yeah, I know that guy! I rowed on a canoe with him in Toronto last summer 🙂
    Cassie recently posted..Foto Friday | Borough Market, London

  43. What happened to the “O”. Original Hot Dogs in Oakland. Don’t need to describe it to anyone who has been there,but it has provided memories to many of the out of out of town scholars that attended Pitt ,Carlow,Duquesne,or Carngie Mellon.

  44. Awesome article/list about the ‘Burgh. I grew up there and moved away in 1986. Boy, am I regretting that now. I love and am in love with Pittsburgh. Still figuring out a way to move back. Thanks again for the great read!

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