Did You Know? 10 Fun Facts About Pittsburgh

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What do you know about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Chances are, you associate this city with one of two things – sports, or steel.

With well-known sports teams like the Steelers (football) and the Penguins (hockey) calling Pittsburgh home and a long history of steel manufacturing, it's no wonder these are the two things most frequently associated with the city.

But Pittsburgh is so much more than sports and steel.

Read on to learn some fun facts about “Steel City” that you probably didn't know!

10 Fun Facts About Pittsburgh

1. Pittsburgh is the “City of Bridges”

Believe it or not, Pittsburgh has more bridges than Venice! The city boasts more than 445 of them, many of them crossing the three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela) that meet in downtown Pittsburgh.


2. Pittsburgh is the home of public TV

In 1954, WQED became the first community-sponsored educational TV station in America. And one of its most beloved shows — Mister Rogers' Neighborhood — was based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland. Fred Rogers himself even called the area home.

3. Pittsburgh also has hills

Move over San Francisco. Bike enthusiasts in the Midwest should look no further than Pittsburgh if they want to train on some steep terrain. Pittsburgh is made up of hills, rivers, and valleys — making for some interesting (and extremely hilly) roads.

To properly appreciate these hills, be sure to ride the Duquesne Incline up Mount Washington. The views at the top are fantastic!


4. Pittsburgh could be the next Hollywood

Okay, so maybe not really. But the city has starred in a lot of blockbusters in recent years — the most famous of which probably being “The Dark Knight Rises.” This is actually fairly apropos, considering that the first movie theater in the world — the Nickelodeon — was opened in Pittsburgh in 1905.

5. Celebrities call Pittsburgh home

From Gene Kelly to Michael Keaton to Christina Aguilera, many famous people have ties to Pittsburgh. And we of course can't forget Pittsburgh's most famous artist, either — Andy Warhol. Along with the Carnegie museums, the Andy Warhol Museum is one of the best in city.

6. Pittsburgh is the home of the emoticon

You know that smiley face you use all the time online and in text messages? Well it was created in 1980 by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman.

7. Pittsburgh has famous food

Plenty of foods that we all know and love started out right here in Pittsburgh. Like the Klondike bar. And Heinz ketchup. And even the Big Mac (which was “invented” near Pittsburgh in 1967).

But if you want a real Pittsburgh classic? You have to head to Primanti Brothers‘ Strip District location — home of some of the biggest sandwiches you'll ever find, with coleslaw and fries right on top.

Primanti Brothers

8. Pittsburghers speak Pittsburghese

The Steelers become the “Stillers,” wash becomes “warsh,” and you'll hear “yinz” substituted for “you guys.”

9. Pittsburgh is full of art

From the Carnegie Museum of Art to the Frick to the Warhol to the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh is actually quite an artsy city. Even Phipps Conservatory has an artsy flair, with glassworks dotted throughout the gardens and exhibits.

Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

10. Pittsburgh is very livable

For a long time, Pittsburgh had a reputation as a polluted industrial town. Forget about that, though. Today, Pittsburgh has dozens of LEED-certified buildings, lots of green spaces, and is currently sitting pretty as the 30th most livable city in the world (and the second most livable in the US), according to CNN.

Fun facts about Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh may not be New York or Las Vegas. It may not be Miami or San Francisco. But that doesn't mean it's not worth a weekend of your time. In fact, if you ask me, Pittsburgh is one of the most underrated cities in the U.S. Hopefully I've convinced you to at least consider a visit!

Practical Pittsburgh info

Thinking of planning a trip to Pittsburgh? Here are a few tips to help you out:

Where to stay

Pittsburgh has a wide variety of hotels scattered around the city, whether you want to stay right downtown or in one of the surrounding neighborhoods. All the normal chains can be found here, from Hilton to Hampton to Holiday Inn. Pittsburgh also has some unique boutique and luxury hotels downtown, including the Omni William Penn (JFK stayed there!), the Fairmont, and Hotel Monaco by Kimpton.

Or check out Pittsburgh's best hotels here.


How to get around

Many visitors will either drive to Pittsburgh or fly in and then rent a car. And while this is perfectly fine, let me warn you that downtown Pittsburgh is SO confusing if you don't know it well. If you're staying downtown and plan to visit the city's main attractions, you can also rely on ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft and let somebody else tackle the confusing roads. (And be sure to check out current Uber promotions before you go.)

So how about it? Who wants to visit Pittsburgh?

*Note: My visit to Pittsburgh was partially sponsored by VisitPittsburgh and the Courtyard Pittsburgh West Homestead/Waterfront. As always, though, my opinions are my own. There are also a few affiliate links in this post.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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54 Comments on “Did You Know? 10 Fun Facts About Pittsburgh

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  1. That was by far my favorite exhibit at The Warhol as well! Pittsburgh is definitely worth a visit…I spent two days there, mainly to visit PNC Park, but need to go back soon!

      There’s a lot to do! Museums, sports, food… you could probably easily spend a week and still not see everything worth seeing.

    Thanks for the great write up on my hometown. Pittsburgh has come a long way and has a lot to offer! I’m happy to hear that others feel the same way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    If any of your readers need any tips on where to go/what to see, I’d be happy to offer some suggestions. I’ve often thought about starting a blog/website/organization to help newcomers and guests navigate the city. I can be reached at [email protected]

    I came across your article on http://www.popcitymedia.com (a great resource for all things Pittsburgh), and now I’ll look forward to receiving your newsletter as well!

    Happy Travels!


      Happy to write about a city that I, too, love! I’m glad you stumbled across my site. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I used to live in Pittsburgh. I love it there. It is a city with a small town feel. The people are friendly and the food is good no matter where you go. The neighborhoods are also a place to visit with old, rustic charm. I am glad you enjoyed visiting!

      Totally agree with everything you just said! Pittsburgh is a great city.

    I may be biased as a Pittsburgh native, but I have no doubt Pittsburgh is the most underrated city in the country. It sounds like you hit all the big spots! Nice pics from Mt. Washington. The view from up there was once rated the 2nd-best view in the country by USA Today, behind only the Grand Canyon.

      Wow, second-best view in the country? That’s high praise! But, then again, it IS pretty awesome. I used to visit Pittsburgh a lot as a kid, and then quite a bit again in college since I had a lot of friends who were from the area. But it was fun to dedicate a whole weekend to the city. I had a great time!

    I am living in central Ohio but a Pgh native—and I miss the city!! I think that it is one of America’s most beautiful and livable cities: great health care, arts, cuture, recreation, and topping it all off, a reasonable cost of living!!

      I agree! And clearly others do, too, because Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the US!

    I spent a weekend in Pittsburgh a few months ago and had a great time. I definitely agree that it’s an underrated city.

      Good to hear that you had a great time there! I hear “underrated” a lot from other people to describe Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh is so a good looking city, we had a great time on our visit. I know it’s not just a city of sports but PNC Park is probably the best looking baseball field I’ve seen, such a great view of the city.

      PNC Park does have a pretty incredible view, I agree!

    I’m from Pittsburgh and didn’t know some of these facts. Thanks for showing the love for my hometown.

      Happy to share the love, Fred – and happy to teach you a few fun facts about your hometown!

    Pittsburgh is definitely underrated. However, Pittsburgh is definitely a sports town. I wouldn’t sell them short on that Hollywood thing though. I think they could see a HUGE increase of movies and shows being filmed there in the coming years. I’ve had lots of conversations with people about Pittsburgh lately. In doing some research, many have stated how underrated this city is. I loved walking the streets and taking photos of the city recently.

      Definitely a sports town, yes, but also much more! I’m glad you enjoyed the city, too.

    I’m heading to Pittsburgh in a few weeks to meet up w/ an old college roomie, as it’s halfway-ish for each of us. I’ve been pleasantly surprised as I research local restaurants/bars and fun things to see and do – I agree it seems like a really underrated city and can’t wait to check it out!

      I hope you have a great time and are pleasantly surprised by what you find there!

    Yay!! My hometown deserves some love. There’s so much to do, yummy food to try (I mean where else do you find 564535434 kinds of pierogi besides Poland), and it’s so pretty. Plus CHEAP. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Mmmm pierogi… so tasty! I agree that your hometown deserves some love!

    Pittsburgh is a city I must discover soon, being so close to Montreal (by North American standards anyway!). I think it would make for a fun weekend getaway!

      I highly recommend it! And yes, not far at all by North American standards!

      When there, poutine is available and appreciated too; I walk two blocks to Park Bruges for a Belgian and a plate of traditional or house-style, but most often several of us enjoy the same in the outside area after our Tuesday night bike rides from the T’azzo d’Oro coffee shop.

    Convinced! I’m going to put Pittsburgh on my next-city-to-visit-over-a-long-weekend list. Thanks!!

      Yessss. I count this post as a success then. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My friend is doing a tour through the US and Canada this summer, and she asked me “what’s there to do in Pittsburgh?” I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but I know every city/place has something to do. I’ll have to forward this post to her. I’m sure Pittsburgh is not the first travel destination people think of visiting in the US, but I’d gladly go there.

      Yes, please send this her way! (I also have a “top 10” list for Pittsburgh on my site, which lists other things like more museums, the zoo, the South Side, etc.) Pittsburgh packs a punch if you’re willing to go looking for it. If she’s there in the summer, chances are there will be a festival of some sort going on, too!

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