Learn more about this great destination and what it has to offer. Choose a section below for information on the area, including history and transportation details.
Pittsburgh has three rivers—the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio-- and five main districts—North Side, West End, South Side, East End and Downtown, all of which are comprised of many other smaller districts. Everything else, such as the
It's a short trip from the airport to Downtown. Here stand the old, classic parts of Pittsburgh, including
The North Side is dominated by two baseball and football stadiums. It's an old working-class neighborhood that is noteworthy for the interesting architecture of the many 19th-century homes that line the streets, such as the
This neighborhood is often overlooked for its busier counterparts, but West End holds its own treasures. It encompasses the Mount Washington district, and the best view from the 400-foot top of Mt. Washington. The whole city and the mighty, muddy Monongahela River are laid out below, like a postcard. Among its most interesting features are its inclined railways, or funiculars, that run up the Appalachian hills in and around the city, a remnant of the old mining industry. Still, there are many things to do in this district. The
This is the place to be on weekends, with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance of each other. Once the crowded home to thousands of mill workers, this has become a trendy place to live and also a great place to scope out art.
This area is primarily known for its universities and ritzy neighborhoods. Both
The earliest inhabitants of Pittsburgh were the Iroquois Indians, part of a larger nation of Native American tribes living in the region. The first European influence came from visiting British and French traders who began establishing trade routes along the nearby rivers. The first written record of the area is from 1749, when two French explorers visited the location, centered on the point at which the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. In 1754 the French built Fort Duquesne at this critical junction, but the English overtook it in 1758 during the French Indian War. Seeing the strategic benefits of this location, the British built another fort at the same site and named it Fort Pitt after their Secretary of State, William Pitt the Elder. As it was the first of their forts not to be burned down by the French, the name stuck, and the surrounding region soon became known as Pittsborough. During this time, many farmers were drawn to the security of the fort and the area's fertile farmland, establishing strong roots in the region.
In 1770, farmers plowing the land discovered rich deposits of coal in an area near the fort. The great promise of wealth drew large numbers of people from cosmopolitan cities like Boston and New York. Minerals have been the prime industry here ever since: coal, glass, aluminum, and, of course, steel. By 1816, the booming manufacturing industry in the area prompted the incorporation of Pittsburgh as a city, and by 1840, it was one of the largest metropolitan areas in the region. A devastating fire destroyed large sections of the downtown five years later, but it was quickly rebuilt and continued to grow, modernizing its industries and cityscape accordingly. During the Civil War, the city's iron factories were major suppliers to the Union army, providing warships, armor plates and weaponry to troops. In the decades that followed, over 60 glass factories sprung up in what is now the South Side neighborhood, and in 1888, production began on a new material called aluminum, taking the manufacturing industry by storm.
Iron was a large industry here even before the Civil War, and by the time Andrew Carnegie built his mills in the 1870's, steel had developed into the giant industry of legend. Trains, suspension bridges, railways, and skyscraper girders were important exports of the factories, and by the beginning of the 20th century, new inventions like the electric toasters, light fixtures, and automobiles were keeping the city moving. Consequently, with the rise of commerce, came the birth of the labor movement- the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded here in 1881.
Pittsburgh was a major supplier of military equipment during the two World Wars, and consequently this dramatically worsened the already large pollution problem that had developed in the area. Following WWII, the city began a campaign called the "Renaissance" that was meant to promote efforts to clean the air and revitalize the cultural life of the city. These labors were not in vain, and a vibrant art world began to flourish in what was previously considered solely an industrial city.
The donations of many nonprofit organizations and wealthy benefactors helped create a strong artistic and cultural base in Pittsburgh. Dance, theater, film, and radio all have an important place in the country's entertainment industry. The city is home to many “firsts” in these sectors: in 1905 The Nickelodeon opened as the first theater in the world that only showed movies, while the world's first commercial radio station, "networked" television station, and non-commercial television station all have their roots here. This rich cultural tradition produced several well-known media figures as well. Perhaps the most famous is the late Andy Warhol, who popularized the style of Pop Art and was honored in 1994 by a museum celebrating his work. Another icon is Fred Rogers, the beloved figure of “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” who spent much of his life living and working in the Pittsburgh area.
Sports have a long history in Pittsburgh, both on the professional and collegiate levels. The Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team in Major League Baseball to field an entirely African-American team in 1971, while the Steelers have been five-time National Football League champions. With a number of coaching legends, Olympic winners, and all-star players, Pittsburgh has gained the appellation of the "City of Champions".
Despite the infamous dip in the American steel industry during the 1970's, the economic health of the region has generally been good. Though Pittsburgh initially suffered a great deal of job losses, it rebounded and has become an example of how cities can economically diversify following a major industry shake-up. It is still home to many large corporate headquarters, and has developed strong banking, technology, and health care industries. There are hundreds of research labs on the forefront of scientific discovery, and the city boasts one of the highest populations of scientists and engineers holding doctoral degrees. Academics have always been an important part of the life of the city as well. With nearly 30 universities in the region and 10 within the city itself, a great deal of focus is placed upon higher learning. Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh have a long history of important scientific discoveries and are among the top rated establishments in the country.
In 1977, the "Renaissance II" project was launched, concentrating on the development of a stronger cultural base and promotion of neighborhood health. In fact, the city usually rates as one of the most livable metropolitan areas in the country. The FBI named Pittsburgh as the safest metropolitan area with a population of 1,000,000 or more. With a variety of parks, restaurants, museums, artistic venues, it is no wonder that Pittsburgh continues to grow.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
+1 412 472 3525
PIT is located 20 miles from downtown and services the following airlines:
Air Canada (+1 888 247 2262 / http://www.aircanada.com/)
AirTran Airways (+1 800 247 8726 / http://www.airtran.com/)
American Airlines (+1 800 433 7300 / http://www.aa.com/)
Delta (+1 800 221 1212 / http://www.delta.com/)
JetBlue (+1 800 538 2583 / http://www.jetblue.com/)
Southwest Airlines (+1 800 435 9792 / http://www.southwest.com/)
United (+1 800 241 6522 / http://www.united.com/)
US Airways (+1 800 428 4322 / http://www.usairways.com/)
Airport Map & Information: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_pit.htm
Airport Services: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_pit2.htm
Airport Transportation: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_pit3.htm
Airport Information (+1 412 472 3525)
Airport Parking Information (+1 412 472 5050)
PCA (Park 'N Fly) (+1 800 763 6895 / http://www.pnfnetwork.com/)
From the Airport
Alamo (+1 800 327 9633 / http://www.alamo.com/)
Avis (+1 412 472 5200 / http://www.avis.com/)
Budget (+1 800 527 0700 / http://www.budget.com/)
Dollar (+1 800 800 4000 / http://www.dollarrentacar.com/)
Enterprise (+1 412 472 3490 / http://www.enterprise.com/)
Hertz (+1 800 654 3131 / http://www.hertz.com/)
National (+1 412 472 5045 / http://www.nationalcar.com/)
Thrifty (+1 412 472 5288 / http://www.thrity.com/)
Taxis and Shuttles:
Checker Cab (+1 412 664 5600)
Yellow Cab (+1 412 321 8100)
Airlines Transportation Company (+1 412 321 8147)
Airport Orbit (+1 724 794 3951)
Pittsburgh North Aire-Ride (+1 800 647 4331)
Pittsburgh Transportation Company (+1 412 322 8596)
Three Rivers Limousine Service, Inc. (+1 412 221 2006)
West Busway provides service throughout Western Pennsylvania to and from PIT. This bus line runs every 20 minutes and costs USD2.25.
The subway system that connects all parts of Pittsburgh is known as the "T". This safe and clean subway system links downtown all the way to the south suburbs. Pittsburgh also has an extensive bus line system.
Port Authority (+1 412 442 2000 / http://www.ridegold.com/)
Beaver County Transit (BCTA) connects the surrounding Pittsburgh area directly to Pittsburgh International Airport. A printable schedule can be obtain off the BCTA website. (+1 724 728 4255 / http://www.bcta.com/)
Pittsburgh has a color-coded system that helps drivers navigate the city. The Wayfinder System, as it is known, divides the city into five separate regions each with their own distinct color. The Wayfinder also includes a loop, which wraps around the perimeter of downtown Pittsburgh, called the Purple Belt.
For up-to-date traffic information, see: http://www.traffic.com/Pittsburgh-Traffic/Pittsburgh-Traffic-Reports.html?ct=ma_map
If traveling overseas, take the safety precaution of registering your trip at https://travelregistration.state.gov and for helpful, practical advice about traveling technicalities and safety standards check out http://travel.state.gov/ .
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