Pittsburgh at a Glance
Living in Pittsburgh
Transportation in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges for a reason, with over 445 bridges in the city proper - including the Liberty Bridge and The Three Sisters – and many more spread across the landscape of Allegheny County. Beyond its bridges though, Pittsburgh is home to a complex road system, a public transport system managed by the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT), Pittsburgh International Airport, and, though it is not quite the railway hub that it was during the height of the steel industry, Pittsburgh still operates regular trains from its main station that can lead you almost anywhere in North America.
The I-376 is the main highway connecting Pittsburgh to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76 and I-70), and from there it connects to New Jersey, Philadelphia and can easily be followed to other major cities and sites. However, depending on the length and reason for their stay, expats in Pittsburgh will most likely have to get an US driver’s license if they are planning to take to the road. Visitors are the only exception to this rule and should take care to carry their national or – in case the former is not in English – an international driver’s license.
Public transport controlled by the Port Authority is widely used across the metropolitan area of the city, with regular buses, a funicular railway, a light rail system, as well as one of the United States’ largest busways. With the services being effective and covering the most populated areas of the Pittsburgh region, the Port Authority’s public transport system is among the 20 largest in the United States and has helped the region to a top ten rank on the number of regular commuters not using cars.
Culture and Leisure in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has a huge tradition of sporting excellence and boasts a massive sporting culture that includes three top-level teams; The Pittsburgh Penguins National Hockey League team, The Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team, and The Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League team, as well as a number of other teams playing in professional tiers.
Aside from its sporting heritage, Pittsburgh also boasts all the benefits of being a major city with various cinemas, theaters and attractions. Some of the most impressive and certainly most famous sites include the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts – a performing arts center and concert hall - and the Benedum Center, home to the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Pittsburgh is also home to several museums, with the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art being amongst the most famous. The ToonSeum, a museum dedicated to the cartoon industry, is also a reflection of the city’s thriving and diverse culture. Pittsburgh further houses a large zoo, Botanical Gardens, and several licensed casinos. Beyond the established attractions though, Pittsburgh also boasts a thriving amateur music scene as well as plenty of dance clubs, a busy nightlife, and regular events of all kinds. Several notable literary and music figures also hail from the city.
Safety and Security in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has ranked as one of America’s safest big cities for a number of years now and has in 2013 been named as the 3rd ‘most secure’ big city by Farmers Insurance. However, as with any major city there are some places that are deemed less safe than others. The North Side of the city, though home to the PNC Park and Heinz Field, the stadiums of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers, respectively, is also one of the more dangerous parts of the city. Crime rates here are higher on average than in some of the more populated areas.
Of course, the areas surrounding the stadiums themselves, as well as the East Ohio Street business district, are safe just as long as you make sure that you understand where the borders between the busy and the more isolated, dangerous areas lie. Other potentially dangerous areas include Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, a mainly residential area at the Northeast corner of the city, and The Hill District, which is near to the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL stadium.
There are always dangers in big cities, but as long you take precautions and time to understand the areas you will be traveling in then you are likely to be perfectly safe. Indeed, as previously mentioned, Pittsburgh is amongst the safest big cities in the whole of the United States.