Your Trip to Pittsburgh: The Complete Guide

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Pittsburgh is much more than a city with a beautiful skyline. Its friendly people have a strong sense of heritage and strong ties to their hometown. When its steel mills closed, they transformed Pittsburgh into a center for research and robotics, and that innovation has led to ongoing redevelopment that continues to attract young professionals, families, and tech companies such as Google, Uber, Amazon, and Facebook.

With its three rivers, Victorian architecture, green spaces, eco-friendly buildings, and 446 bridges connecting the neighborhoods, Pittsburgh’s revival makes the city well worth a visit.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer and early fall months (June to September) are the most comfortable in Pittsburgh, when temperatures typically range from the low 60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (16 to 29 degrees C).
  • Language: English
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Getting Around: zTrip, Uber and Lyft taxis all serve Pittsburgh International Airport; a one-way fare to Downtown is about $40. Or, take the Airport Flyer (28X) bus from the airport to Downtown, where more than 80 light rail and bus routes serve the business district. One-way Port Authority fares are $2.50 with a ConnectCard and $2.75 with cash. Protected bike lanes, riverfront trails, and a bike share program make cycling in the city easy.
  • Travel Tip: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation offers six free self-guided walking tours you can download. The free, quarterly Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District takes you to several Downtown arts and entertainment sites.

Things to Do

With public parks, cool events and festivals, and a varied music scene, Pittsburgh is more than a foodie destination (though the restaurants are fantastic). And then there are the championship sports teams: the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. The rivers and hills provide beautiful views, starting with the sight of the city as you come through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Downtown’s Market Square has outdoor tables and sometimes live music while the unparalleled Strip District has shops, restaurants, breweries, and “Robotics Row,” where tech companies have settled. Pick a neighborhood to walk through and visit a bar or diner to feel Pittsburgh’s charm.

Explore more attractions with our full-length articles on the top 10 museums in Pittsburgh, the best things to do, and 12 great day trips to take from the city.

What to Eat and Drink 

Pittsburgh is a shot and a beer town. It's a place where people put French fries on their sandwiches and salads, and loudly cheer on the Steelers and Penguins in front of big-screen TVs at bars. But it also has farm-to-table restaurants started by chefs such as Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors, unique diners such as Pie for Breakfast, eateries with seasonal dishes like Bitter Ends Garden Luncheonette, and fine dining establishments such as Whitfield at Ace Hotel. Looking for a plant-based menu? Try Apteka for 100 percent vegan European cuisine.

The city has a lot of bars, from neighborhood joints to cocktail lounges to nightclubs where you can dress up and dance. If you'd rather learn about what you're drinking, visit one of the city's craft breweries with the help of Pittsburgh Brewers Guild. This region played an important role in the Whiskey Rebellion, so if you drink spirits pay a visit Wigle Whiskey, Maggie’s Farm Rum, or Kingfly Spirits.

Explore our articles on the best restaurants, the best breweries, and 10 foods you must try in Pittsburgh.

Where to Stay 

Pittsburgh’s comeback brought bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels, some in mansions that give you a real feel for the city’s history. Several hotels in the East End neighborhoods of Shadyside, Squirrel Hill and East Liberty and in restored buildings like the Mansions on Fifth—a historic building that was home to powerful Pittsburghers—or Ace Hotel, a former YMCA.

The North Side of the city is home to two stadiums, plenty of restaurants, and neighborhoods with restored rowhouses. It also hosts the free, three-day Deutschtown Music Festival in July. There are plenty of hotels in the area to choose from that keeps you close to the athletic and culinary action. Downtown has plenty of hotels to choose from and keeps you close to Point State Park, museums, art galleries, and bike lanes make it easy to explore on two wheels.

Explore the top Pittsburgh neighborhoods you can stay in and our picks for hotels.

Getting There 

Pittsburgh International Airport has nonstop flights on 16 airlines to many U.S. cities and a few international destinations. You can rent a car, take a shuttle to Downtown, or book a cab, Uber, or Lyft. The Greyhound station is located Downtown, at the edge of the Strip District, as is the Amtrak station.

Money-Saving Tips 

  • Check your email on your smartphone or open your laptop anywhere Downtown and you’ll be connected to the internet for two hours via free Wi-Fi. Many establishments around the city also offer free connection.
  • Parking is free Downtown on Sundays and during the holiday shopping season. Public transportation on the T light rail is free in the Downtown-North Shore loop.
  • Free walking tours let you admire public art and architecture in Downtown and in Oakland.
  • Pittsburgh’s well kept parks have many riverfront trails where you can enjoy the outdoors for little or no cost. There is also Frick Environmental Center, and Allegheny Observatory, which are also free to visit.
  • If you visit during November and December, visit the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. It's modeled after the German Christkindlmarkts, with vendors in chalets.
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