Welcome to the Steel City, a place where bridges connect neighborhoods, innovation thrives, and sports fandom runs deep. If you’re thinking about living in Pittsburgh or already on the hunt for a home in the city, you’re in for a treat. Pittsburgh is a city bursting with character, charm, and countless reasons to make it your new home.
In this Redfin article, we will dive into some fun facts about Pittsburgh, PA, that will make you fall in love with the idea of calling this remarkable place home. So, whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Pittsburgh or buy a home in the area, get ready to be entertained and enlightened by these 11 fun facts that make this city truly special.
1. The city is an innovation hub
Pittsburgh’s rich legacy of innovation is undeniable, and at its heart lies Carnegie Mellon University, a powerhouse in the world of technology and robotics. But the city’s pioneering spirit doesn’t stop there. In 1920, Pittsburgh proudly became the birthplace of KDKA, the world’s first commercial radio station. And if you’re a fan of that ubiquitous smiley face emoticon used in countless online and text conversations, you have Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman to thank for its creation back in 1980.
2. Pittsburgh is the City of Bridges
Pittsburgh proudly wears its title as the “City of Bridges,” and with over 446 of these majestic structures gracing its cityscape, it’s a title well-earned. In fact, Pittsburgh surpasses even Venice, Italy, in the sheer number of bridges within its city limits. The iconic yellow Three Sisters bridges, along with the awe-inspiring vistas from Mount Washington, create some of the most breathtaking and picturesque scenes you’ll ever encounter in the city.
But the story of Pittsburgh’s bridges doesn’t stop there. The Monongahela Bridge, which stands in place of the original Smithfield Street Bridge, holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh’s first-ever bridge. Meanwhile, the trio of Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson suspension bridges, spanning the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh’s North Side, form a unique ensemble as the world’s only identical threesome of its kind.
3. The city is an education hub
Pittsburgh’s educational landscape extends far beyond Carnegie Mellon University. It’s also home to the renowned University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, and a host of other prestigious institutions. Whether you’re pursuing higher education or engaged in research, the city offers a rich ecosystem of learning opportunities.
4. The cost of living is relatively low
Compared to many other major cities, the cost of living in Pittsburgh is relatively low. Housing costs, utilities, and even entertainment expenses are relatively lower, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
In fact, in August, Pittsburgh saw a median sale price of $260K, nearly $162K below the national median. And, if you’d prefer to live on the outskirts of the city, there are several affordable Pittsburgh suburbs for you to call home.
5. Pittsburgh has a thriving arts and culture scene
Pittsburgh’s cultural scene is thriving. The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, The Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress Factory Contemporary Art Museum are just a few of the city’s cultural treasures. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre add to the city’s artistic vibrancy.
The city comes alive with an array of events and festivals that celebrate its diverse heritage and artistic spirit. From the Three Rivers Arts Festival to the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, there’s always something exciting happening to further enrich your experience in this vibrant city.
6. Pittsburgh is a sports haven
If you’re a sports enthusiast, Pittsburgh is your ultimate destination. The city boasts an ardent fan base that rallies behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL), Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB), creating an electric atmosphere at every game held in iconic venues like Heinz Field, PPG Paints Arena, and PNC Park.
Remarkably, Pittsburgh ranks second on the all-time championships list, a testament to its sports legacy, and all of this, mind you, without a professional basketball team. The Pittsburgh Pirates, as the third-oldest MLB team, have been a fixture in Major League Baseball for longer than all but two other teams, making attending a classic Pirates game at the beautiful PNC Park an essential experience for anyone embracing life as a new Pittsburgh resident. Here, you’ll not only witness one of America’s greatest sports but also immerse yourself in the city’s indomitable competitive spirit.
7. The city has appeared in many blockbuster films
Pittsburgh has been a prominent backdrop in numerous blockbuster films, with perhaps the most iconic being “The Dark Knight Rises.” The city’s connection to cinema is particularly fitting, given that it was home to the world’s first movie theater, the Nickelodeon, which opened in 1905.
In addition to Batman’s epic battle, Pittsburgh has graced the silver screen in other major productions, such as “The Avengers” and “Jack Reacher.” From caped crusaders to action-packed adventures, Pittsburgh has become a star in its own right on the big screen, captivating audiences with its unique charm and cinematic allure.
8. There’s a ton of natural beauty
Despite its urban setting, Pittsburgh offers a wealth of outdoor experiences for nature lovers. A network of parks and green spaces, including Frick Park, Schenley Park, and Point State Park, beckon outdoor enthusiasts to hike, bike, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty that thrives in the heart of the city. These green oases provide a refreshing escape, making it easy to balance the hustle and bustle of urban life with the tranquility and serenity of nature, all within Pittsburgh’s welcoming embrace.
9. Pittsburghers speak Pittsburghese
In Pittsburgh, you’ll encounter the distinctive local dialect known as “Pittsburghese.” Here, the Steelers affectionately become the “Stillers,” washing becomes “warshing,” and “yinz” frequently takes the place of “you guys” in everyday conversation.
10. The City of Bridges is a foodie’s paradise
Pittsburgh has transformed into a haven for food enthusiasts, boasting a diverse culinary scene that promises a tantalizing journey for your taste buds. Here, you can relish in iconic dishes like the famed Primanti Brothers sandwiches, savor delectable pierogis, or embark on a global gastronomic adventure in neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill and Lawrenceville.
Pittsburgh has also left an indelible mark on the beloved foods we all know and love. It’s the birthplace of the Klondike bar, Heinz ketchup, and even the legendary Big Mac, which was invented near Pittsburgh in 1967.
11. Pittsburgh experiences more rain than Seattle
While Seattle, WA, holds a reputation as one of the rainiest cities in the United States, it may surprise you to learn that Pittsburgh actually receives more annual rainfall. Pittsburgh averages 38.3 inches of rainfall each year, slightly surpassing Seattle’s average of 38 inches. So, if you appreciate the occasional rainfall as a refreshing cooldown, Pittsburgh might just be your ideal destination, offering its own unique take on weather and a chance to enjoy those gentle showers.
Fun facts about Pittsburgh: the bottom line
Moving to Pittsburgh opens up a world of possibilities and experiences that are truly unique. The city boasts iconic bridges, a lively cultural scene, a history of innovation, delicious cuisine, vibrant sports, and a welcoming community. As you explore the Steel City, you’ll discover countless reasons to live in Pittsburgh, each one contributing to the city’s undeniable charm.