Study, Work, Live: Pittsburgh Ranks Tops Many
Lists Once an old steel town where white t-shirts turned black from the soot in the air, Pittsburgh now is a vibrant, dynamic city consistently ranked a top place to live and visit. Whether you’re considering it as your destination for a weekend getaway, postsecondary education or work relocation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a U.S. city that should top your list.
Frommer’s, the renowned travel guide, marks Pittsburgh a top travel destination. With an international airport located just minutes outside of town, travelers worldwide visit Pittsburgh for work and pleasure.
The only city to place in the top 20 of every issue of Places Rated Almanac since 1981, people turn to Pittsburgh for its educational institutions, job opportunities, affordable cost of living, available transportation, climate, health care, recreation, and culture.
Built where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet and flow into the Ohio River, Pittsburgh is home to 446 bridges, many painted gold in honor of the city’s official black and gold colors also worn by Pittsburgh’s Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Some claim Pittsburgh has more bridges than any city in the world including Venice, Italy; Hamburg, Germany; and New York City, NY.
Nicknamed the “Golden Triangle” for the shape naturally formed by its three rivers, the 11 “square” blocks comprising the downtown area can easily be explored on foot. Festivals throughout the summer months draw crowds to The Point and Point State Park where the three rivers converge. Mountains flank the south, east and west with tunnels to ease travel into the suburbs. Locals and visitors alike enjoy a ride up the side of Mount Washington on one of two incline trolleys to take in the breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Pittsburgh is home to several Division 1 universities as well as smaller liberal arts colleges and career schools. Some programs can be completed in as little as 12 to 24 months. The city welcomes students from around the world to study subjects as diverse as themselves – medicine, law, business, robotics, music, video/3-D design, computer forensics, architectural drafting, and more.
Wired Magazine ranked Pittsburgh a Top Ten Tech Town (aka place to get your geek on) scoring high in number of comic book stores per capita, proximity to top-ranked engineering schools, and electronics stores per capita.
The people of Pittsburgh value the contributions of the youthful residents recently electing its youngest mayor; Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was sworn into office at age 26.
After college, graduates can seek job opportunities with one of the many Fortune 500 and 1000 companies headquartered in Pittsburgh such as American Eagle Outfitters, Alcoa, HJ Heinz Company, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bayer USA. Even in the current downward economy, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate remains low in comparison to the national average.
Many say part of Pittsburgh’s draw is its blue-collar atmosphere. While industrial coveralls have been replaced by surgical scrubs, lab coats and business casual attire, the down-to-earth, friendly nature of a Pittsburgher remains.
If you’re seeking a career in medicine, look no farther than the birthplace of the Polio vaccine. Dr. Jonas Salk completed his historic research in Pittsburgh and the city offers one of the leading facilities for medical education research and practice, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Medical careers thrive in less time-intensive programs at career colleges located throughout Pittsburgh. Students can study medical assisting, medical coding, surgical technology, radiology, ultrasound technology, and therapeutic massage; in some cases they can complete their studies in two years or less.
Pittsburgh’s Cultural District houses various venues for patrons to enjoy theater, orchestra, opera and ballet. If you prefer modern music, Market Square and Station Square feature local talent particularly during the warm weekends of summer. Major concert attractions are drawn to Mellon Arena, Heinz Field and the Post-Gazette Pavilion year-round.
An annual Arts Festival, Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Mattress Factory museum of contemporary art make it easy to see why AmericanStyle Magazine ranked Pittsburgh in the top 3 mid-sized cities of its Top 25 Arts Destinations in the past two years.
A glance at the city’s skyline reveals architectural triumphs of varying heights. The mirrored glass panels of PPG Place reflect the Romanesque Revival-style of the Allegheny County Courthouse, the graceful curving façade of the Alcoa building, and the black triangular USX Tower reaching 64 stories making it the tallest building in Pittsburgh. A drive beyond the city limits finds the Gothic and Art Deco-style Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus and the historic “Clayton,” a 23-room Victorian mansion. Those willing to drive farther can visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1939 masterpiece dwelling, “Fallingwater,” perched on the edge of a waterfall.
Pittsburgh is home of the Steelers, the only NFL team with six championship rings. While members of Steelers Nation can be found waving “Terrible Towels” in cities around the globe, to truly experience how much Pittsburghers love their football team, it’s essential to tailgate in subzero weather outside Heinz Field.
The city views Quebec-native Mario Lemieux as a savior who revived interest in Penguins hockey and bought the team out of bankruptcy, became the league’s only player-owner, and insured Pittsburgh remained a home to an NHL team. Now Penguins fans eagerly watch Nova Scotia’s own Sidney Crosby take the ice as team captain as Lemieux cheers his team from the owner’s box.
Baseball fans know the storied history of the Pittsburgh Pirates and travel great distances to experience a game at the best park in baseball as determined by ESPN.
Outdoor activities to suit all interests abound in Pittsburgh. Enjoy boating, tubing and water skiing on the three rivers or take a short drive into the Laurel mountains for a day of hiking, biking, skiing or snow boarding.
Seeking a thrill? Head to Kennywood Park, home of two roller coasters ranked in the top five by the 1,500 member National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA). #4 is the Steel Phantom, known for its intense G-forces. #1 is the Thunderbolt, a wooden roller coaster unique for its initial plummet into a ravine.
Shopping and outlet malls, casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, and neighborhood celebrations allow for the fun to continue indoors and into the night.
So whether you’re looking to study abroad, seeking a place to relocate or deciding where to visit, top your list with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and steel yourself for the time of your life.
Jennifer Cekus, Career Development Specialist for Pittsburgh Technical Institute, a postsecondary career college in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.pti.edu