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Blick auf Pittsburgh, Bild: ESB Professional / shutterstock

Pittsburgh – the charming river metropolis with a huge quality of life

The city of Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania is probably only known to most people as a working-class city and sports metropolis. In the past, the city was the American center of the steel industry. This is where its nickname “Steel City” comes from. In the meantime, many of the blast furnaces have disappeared and Pittsburgh is considered one of the American cities where the quality of life is highest. Tourists still underestimate the charm and the wide range of cultural offerings of the city.

Often, if at all, only foreign tourists who have a penchant for American sports come here. With the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city of around 300,000 inhabitants has one of the top teams in the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Penguins fight successfully in the American Ice Hockey League and the Pittsburgh Pirates skillfully hit the baseball through the arena. Attending sporting events is certainly a highlight of any Pittsburgh visit. In addition, the city impresses with an exciting skyline, multi-cultural atmosphere, huge shopping malls as well as art and culture. And what’s the best part? Pittsburgh doesn’t feel like you’re in a typical big city, because to this day the city has retained a cozy small-town character.

Boat across Pittsburgh’s waterways

Mellon Green Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mellon Green Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Image: Christian Hinkle / shutterstock

Pittsburgh is crossed by two rivers – the Monongahela River and the Allegheny River. At their apex, the two merge to form the Ohio River. This was once considered one of the most important waterways in the region, and served as a transport route for the products of the local heavy industry. Pittsburgh is still shaped by life with these waterways today. If you go on a discovery tour through the city on foot, you have the opportunity to cross no less than 445 bridges. However, it is quicker and more comfortable to get to know Pittsburgh from the boat. There are several companies that offer excursions through Pittsburgh’s canals. From the deck of the boats, you can admire the towering skyline of the city.

Art and Culture at the Carnegie Museums

The Carnegie Museums bring together four outstanding museums under one organizational umbrella. The most popular among them is probably the Andy Warhol Museum. The greatest works of the Pittsburgh-born artist are shown here. There is no other museum in the world that exhibits more exhibits by a single artist – for the 4,000 objects you can easily estimate a complete day of vacation. There’s even more art at the Carnegie Museum of Art, located a few miles outside of downtown. The journey is worth it, as the permanent exhibition shows an exciting mix. On display are exhibits of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, American art from the 19th century to the present day, and European and American crafts from the 17th century onwards.

Right next to it is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Here, the dinosaur department is particularly impressive. The Carnegie Science Center is an experiential museum. Everyone can try their hand at high-tech simulators and undertake physical and physiological experiments. Children in particular are catered for with special children’s tours.

If you want to indulge in culture a little lighter – or even heavier – after reading a museum book, Pittsburgh has the choice between eleven theaters, numerous cinemas and a lot of music bars that play live music. The best place to head is the Cultural District of the city, because here you are right in the middle of the cultural heart of Pittsburgh.

A trip to Mount Washington

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Image: Jon Bilous / shutterstock

If you would like to see Pittsburgh from above, you should take the cogwheel train up to Mount Washington. From the “Duquesne Incline” stop, two trains take you up to the summit. But you can also climb the 194-meter-high Mount Washington on foot without any problems, because contrary to its name, it is less a mountain than a hill. The view of the city skyline is still wonderful from here. If you want to move a little more and get some fresh air, there are several designated walking trails of varying lengths to choose from from the summit of Mount Washington. All of them pass through Emerald View Park.

City walks, shopping, delicious food

Pittsburgh is a great place to explore on foot or by bike. Along the river banks there are well-developed footpaths and cycle paths en masse. If you want to learn something about the history of the city, join one of the many guided city walks. The districts of Squirrel Hill, Highland Park, Polish Hill, Shadyside and Regent Square are particularly suitable for strolling. If you like shopping, you will be in for a pleasant surprise in Pittsburgh.

Because here, as in the entire state of Pennsylvania, there is no sales tax on clothing and shoes. This makes shopping extremely cheap. A good place to go shopping in the city centre is Station Square. This shopping center is housed in an old train station from the 19th century. In addition, there are many small shops and owner-managed boutiques in the city center, which exude a very special charm and have goods in stock that are really only available here.

Pittsburgh is also known for having a particularly large density of restaurants with different culinary orientations. In Station Square, there are shops and numerous restaurants. Otherwise, it’s also worth taking a stroll through the city centre to eat. From Vietnamese, South and Central American to European cuisine, you will find everything your heart desires here. Of course, there are also original American bagels and sandwiches.