Last updated: 08:00 AM ET, Sun March 27 2022
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA downtown skyline and incline. (Photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


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View of Downtown Pittsburgh (Photo via Artem / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: View of Downtown Pittsburgh. (photo via Artem/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the second-largest city in the state and the county seat of Allegheny County. While many people have a picture of the city as all steel mills, those days are largely gone, and the modern Pittsburgh is a thriving place with hip nightlife.

The triangular shape of the city's downtown is formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, where the Ohio River forms. Pittsburgh is known as "The City of Bridges" and "The Steel City" for its many bridges and former steel manufacturing base.

The city can be broken down into the Downtown area, called the Golden Triangle, and four main areas surrounding it. These four surrounding areas are further subdivided into distinct neighborhoods (Pittsburgh contains about 90 neighborhoods). These areas, relative to downtown, are known as the North Side, South Side/South Hills, East End and West End. The North Side is where you’ll find many popular attractions such as Heinz Field, PNC Park, Carnegie Science Center, National Aviary, Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory installation art museum, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Penn Brewery and Allegheny Observatory. The East End is home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, The Carnegie Institute's Museums of Art and Natural History, Frick Art & Historical Center, Phipps Conservatory, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The West End includes Mt. Washington, with its famous view of the Downtown.

While the city is historically known for its steel industry, today its economy is largely based on health care, education, technology and financial services. And while Pittsburgh had economic troubles in the 1980s as the steel industry waned, modern Pittsburgh is economically strong. Publications often note Pittsburgh's high quality of living compared to other American cities. In 2010, Forbes and Yahoo! both listed Pittsburgh as the most livable city in the United States.

Despite its workaholic reputation, the city features the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which performs in Heinz Hall, and the Pittsburgh Opera, which can be heard in the Benedum Center. There is a free quarterly Gallery Crawl in the downtown area's artsy district. And try to catch the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which takes place annually during the summer. Several sports teams in the Pittsburgh area are popular nationally. Besides major pro teams in baseball, football and hockey, the University of Pittsburgh's football and basketball teams each have a large fan following.

Downtown is serviced by light rail. The main highway connecting Pittsburgh to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) in the east is I-376, locally known as the Parkway East. I-376 also connects to Interstate 79 to the west and is known as the Parkway West. I-279, the Parkway North connects the city with points north. I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike), I-79 and I-70 roughly form a triangular-shaped beltway. The city is served by Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), about 10 miles to the west in Findlay Township. Allegheny County Airport (AGC) is located south of the city in West Mifflin. There are also smaller airports near the city used for private aircraft. The city has Amtrak intercity rail service via the Capitol Limited and the Pennsylvanian at Pennsylvania Station, also known as Union Station.

Pittsburgh enjoys four distinct seasons, with precipitation evenly spread throughout the year. Summers are hot and humid (with occasional heat waves), while winters are cold and snowy. Fall and spring are mild to warm and ideal times to visit.