9 Reasons to Move to Pittsburgh
1) Pittsburgh’s Neighborhoods are Dope
Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods are numerous and diverse. Every lifestyle you can imagine is found in metro Pittsburgh. Our neighborhoods are walkable, dense, and dynamic. Big mansions on tree lined streets, little townhouses with hipster bars on the corner, more little townhouses with dive bars on the corner. Bakeries, coffee shops, quaint retailers, luxury soaps, plenty of men with rippling pecs of steel – all things contribute to a fabulous urban environment.
2) Pittsburgh is a Big City That Lives Like a Small Town
Whereby most cities grew up on a grid street system, Pittsburgh grew up navigating growth through the rugged terrain of western Pennsylvania. Through every hollow or hilltop is another neighborhood center but you wouldn’t know because you can’t see over the hills, so just about every neighborhood feels like a small or medium sized town unique unto itself. Taken as a whole, however, Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods create the 25th largest consolidated metro in the country. Big market amenities with the charm of a small town, that’s Pittsburgh.
3) That’s a Cool Trolley Thingy
What the heck is that thing? It’s like a gondola but on a train track. In fact, there are only a few of these that exist in the world today. Pittsburgh has two. An hour and half away, Johnstown has another. The technical, engineering phrase for such things is a funicular railway, whereby two cars counterbalance themselves descending and ascending up or down a steep hill face. Originally designed to carry the wealthier middle management up to the hills and away from the polluted and congested river bottoms, Inclines are unique to Pittsburgh and multitask as iconic, mysterious, functional, and the most unique light rail in the world.
4) Best Church Basement Food in the World
Throw another stick of butter in the pan because Daddy’s gonna’ have some church basement pierogies. Wait, has lent started? Is it fish-fry night? Depending on the basement, it’s 5 or 7 or 12 bucks for a plate of food worthy of God’s table. Aficionados abound. There is nothing hipper in Pittsburgh than knowing the secrets of church basement food. Go to mass if you like, but you’ll find me making my religious donations on “Perogies and Polka Night” with a bunch of geriatrics in one of the many obscure Pittsburgh church basements.
5) Trails Aplenty
Ooooo… Strap on the Brookes because we’re going for a run. There’s over 300 miles of trails in and around Pittsburgh. Oh, are trails too easy for ya? Okay, there’s also a total of 24,000 vertical feet — the height of a Himalayan mountain — of public stairs ascending Pittsburgh’s many hillside neighborhoods.
6) This Ain’t Your Mama’s Rustbelt City
Once the quintessential Rustbelt metro, Pittsburgh has successfully transitioned into a front-facing 21st century city by adapting and harnessing the power of local anchors. The metro was at rock bottom back in Richard Florida’s Carnegie Mellon University days during the turn of the century, as he roamed the many diverse neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and began formulating his thesis for The Rise of the Creative Class. Florida, an outsider with a PhD in how to make cities better, was trying to make sense of things. “The root of the problem is not simply economic,” Florida writes, “nor is it as many believe linked to the community’s image as an aging Rustbelt city. The problem is fundamentally one of culture and attitudes.”
If you don’t have a seat at the table, create your own table. Pittsburgh is one of the few major Rustbelt cities that has shaken the curse of being a busted steel town. To the contrary, Pittsburgh busted out of the steel game but decided to start a new one, whereby we’re the dealer, and that game is direct engagement with a 21st century international economy by which we aim to stack the deck.
7) That’s a Monday Night Football Skyline
When one arrives at Pittsburgh International Airport for the first time and begins the 30-minute commute into downtown, the rolling suburban hills of west Pittsburgh drift by with familiar sites that define a geography of nowhere, as James Howard Kunstler would call it. And then you start seeing signs warning you that a tunnel lies ahead. Down a hill and into a long tunnel you descend with little knowledge of what the other side might bring. Out you go, eyes simultaneously adjusting to the light and capturing the immense scene that’s washing over you: it’s the whole of downtown Pittsburgh’s skyline. Just like you’ve seen on TV (probably during a football game). You never saw it coming. What happens at the end of Fort Pitt tunnel is quite the unforeseen gateway into Pittsburgh. It is, indeed, the geography of somewhere, and it also happens to be one of the most recognizable skylines in the world.
8) Pittsburgh Disrupts
Robotics, Google, a healthy start-up environment, 29 colleges and universities, and big philanthropy underwriting creative new ventures, Pittsburgh disrupts. If you have a good idea and need a place to test it, Pittsburgh is every bit on par with Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Austin, the major difference being we’re far more affordable.
9) Arts is Economic Development
From an outsider’s perspective, one would think the Yinzers of metro Pittsburgh don’t prioritize art. At second glance, it will dawn upon you that Pittsburgh is one of the most artistic big cities in the world. Them Yinzers take pride in creativity, particularly the home-grown stuff, and this home grows creativity that alters the course of pop-culture history. Pittsburgh’s artist scene competes head-to-head at an international scale, be it Andy Warhol, or the Pittsburgh Symphony, or Mac Miller, or August Wilson, or any number of homegrown artists and writers that have established an international reputation. There’s something about Pittsburgh that stimulates cutting edge, marketable creativity that those from outside the region are willing to pay for. And those from inside the region just call “normal.”