Pittsburgh is a city of about 350,000 in Southwestern Pennsylvania, although the population of its metropolitan area is about 2.4 million. It is situated at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, which meet to form the Ohio River. Pittsburgh's triangular shape and steep hills have resulted in an unusual city design, a hodge-podge of neighborhood "pockets" with diverse ethnic and architectural heritage.
Like many cities, Pittsburgh is divided into districts:
This is not an exhaustive list; there are numerous others. For a complete list of districts and neighborhoods here is a list published by the City of Pittsburgh that includes a map of each which can be printed out.
Some of these areas are ethnic neighborhoods, such as Polish Hill, and Squirrel Hill (a largely Jewish neighborhood). Others began as independent cities; for instance the North Side, on the northern shore of the Allegheny river, began as the city of Allegheny and the South Side, on the southern shore of the Monongehela river, was the city of Birmingham, but now they are incorporated into the city proper.
Pittsburgh has a rich history and for its size, an unusual array of cultural treasures. The main reason for this abundance is the wealth that was generated when Pittsburgh was the hub of the steelmaking industry. During the US Civil War the city was known as "the armory of the Union" and this began a sharp escalation of industry, particularly iron and steel, but also glass. For a very brief but interesting history of this unique city see this article published by the Society of American Archivists.
Andrew Carnegie lived in Pittsburgh (in the then city of Allegheny as a matter of fact, now the North Side) where he began the Carnegie Steel Company which grew to be the largest steel company in the world. It eventually became USS, the United States Steel Corporation which, when first formed at the turn of the 20th century, was the largest corporation of any kind in the world, and it made Carnegie the richest man in the world, the "Bill Gates of his time" so to say. It is still headquartered in Pittsburgh, as is Alcoa - the largest aluminum company in the world. Another notable steel industrialist was John Hartwell Hillman Jr., who built Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical. A number of other Fortune 100 companies once called Pittsburgh their headquarters as well. All this affluence helped fund a world class museum, theaters, universities, and of course the Carnegie Library, which has branches in cities all across America.
At the height of this industrialization Pittsburgh was notorious for its severe air pollution. One journalist descriptively dubbed it, "hell with the lid off". White collar workers came home in the evening as brown collar workers. Frank Lloyd Wright, the noted architect, when once asked what to do to fix Pittsburgh, famously replied, and with characteristic frankness, "Raze it." Today it is a model of cleanliness due to the remediation of the polluting industrial plants in the late 1950s, and also, unfortunately, due to the gradual migration of the mills to other cities and countries. There is now only one operating steel mill in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Steel's venerable Edgar Thompson Works, now a USS, state-of-the-art integrated steel mill.
Like most other old cities, it was the rivers that made the city. Pittsburgh claims to have more bridges than any city in the world (only counting bridges over 20 feet, 440 or so within Pittsburgh, and over 1700 in the county) many of quite unusual design - steel bridges, of course. The many locks and dams on the rivers still support extensive barge traffic. Point State Park, or simply, "The Point", so named because it is the delta where the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio River, was the site of Fort Pitt, once known as Fort Duquesne and, as one might expect with a name change like that, a famous battle was fought there in pre-Revolutionary times.
The demand for labor, so-called "millhunks", was so strong in the late 1800s that immigrants flocked to Pittsburgh from all over Europe, but mostly Central and Eastern Europe, especially: Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), Lithuania, Serbia and Croatia. All these countries provided laborers for the mills, and later many engineers immigrated from these countries as well. They brought their families, their languages, their churches - along with their drinking traditions too. Pittsburgh is known as "a shot and a beer" town. Steeples and the bright copper onion-dome churches of the Eastern Orthodox tradition dot the old parts of town. Unusual for the area, there is also a beautiful Hindu temple as well, built later for the many engineers and doctors from India that came to the city during the second half of the 20th century. Pittsburgh truly was a great melting pot, and the tradition continues: it is home to thousands of foreign students that attend the many universities in the city, including, most notably, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Today these schools are among the city's largest employers.
Pittsburgh is unique in other ways, too. It had the first Big Mac, the first pull-tab on drink cans, the first commercial radio station (KDKA, still operating), the first US public television station (WQED, still operating), the first gas station (1912, bit the dust), and the first baseball stadium (Forbes Field 1909). Check out these other Famous Pittsburgh Firsts listed by the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau. Many of them will surprise you. Most recently (2006), Pittsburgh is the first city in the United States to offer WiFi coverage.
Pittsburgh International Airport (IATA: PIT) is the normal way in, although the area is also served by the smaller Allegheny County Airport, primarily used by private and corporate airplanes. The International Airport is located in Findlay, about 20 miles west of downtown, which translates to about a $45 cab ride. Hotel shuttles and buses are also available, and can be cheaper (the city bus, route 28X, is only $2.25, and takes a reasonably fast route to downtown, mostly along freeways and dedicated busways).
The airport terminal is relatively new and when built was the first "airport mall" in the country, which contains many shops and restaurants. It has been much copied since it was completed.
When you come in you will arrive in the Airside Terminal. If you are transiting to another destination you don't have to leave this building, and this is where most of the Airmall shops are which makes window shopping a pleasant way of passing the time. Also available is Pittsburgh's innovative free Wi-Fi (the first "international" airport to provide such service). If you are going to the Pittsburgh-area though, you will take a light rail shuttle a short distance underground to the Landside Terminal where you will find the baggage claim and the various transportation modes to the city and other regional locations. A Hyatt Hotel is part of the landside terminal complex and there are several hotels (Embassy Suites and Sheraton among them) within 5 miles of the airport.
This airport is served by United, Delta, Northwest, Midwest, Airtran, American, jetBlue, Air Canada and USA 3000, but US Airways and Southwest Airlines are predominant.
Pittsburgh is served by Greyhound (+1 412 392-6513 or +1 800-231-2222 for routes and schedules) which maintains a station at 11th and Liberty, Downtown. Currently, the Greyhound station is undergoing maintenance; the temporary station is at 990 2nd Avenue. You can also get information from the Port Authority web site.
Pittsburgh is also served by Fullington Trailways which operates out of the Greyhound station. Twice daily direct Service to Du Bois PA, along with once daily (5AM departure) connecting service to Buffalo, NY as well as Wilkes-Barre, PA. You can also ride the 5AM Fullington departure and connect in Wilkes-Barre, PA with Martz Trailways for a Greyhound alternative to New York City. A less crowded bus but the trip does take longer.
The city proper is served by three interstate spur routes off the rough beltway formed by I-76 (PA Turnpike) to the north and east, I-79 to the west and I-70 to the far south. The three interstate spurs form what locals refer to as the "parkways". The Parkway East is I-376 from downtown through the university district and Squirrel Hill to Monroeville where it junctions with the turnpike (I-76). The Parkway West and Parkway North both feed I-79 to the west of downtown and are signed I-279. I-579 is a short spur off of the Parkway North into the Mellon Arena and Hill District near downtown and is referred to as the "crosstown". Instead of terminating at I-79 the "parkway west" is the only parkway to continue its interstate-like travel without an interstate shield. It continues on to the Airport and beyond to Beaver and New Castle as 22/30 and then PA 60, the U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2006 to sign this area as I-376 (a continuation of the interstate from downtown Pittsburgh and thus having 279 strictly run from I-79 south into downtown). The re-signing of the parkway west is slowly moving forward pending some road improvements such as wider exit ramps and the extension of emergency lanes that are demanded by a interstate signing.
The interstate system links Pittsburgh from many cities. If coming from the east or west, your best bet into the city is the I-76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike. From the west, take exit 28-Cranberry to I-79 and then I-279; from the east, take exit 57 to I-376. From the north or south, take I-79. I-70 also comes within the metro area from central Ohio and Maryland on either side. I-80 also skirts the far northern suburban counties of the region.
Within the metro area several limited-access (interstate like) turnpike spur routes have been completed recently including the Mon-Fay linking the historic "Steel Valley" area to State Route 51 in Jefferson Hills and thus Pittsburgh. PA Route 66 in nearby Greensburg offers a quick jump on the eastern side of the metro from I-70/I-76 (Turnpike mainline) junction area to the Kiski Valley in the northeast, and the newly completed Findlay connector offers quick access from the airport terminal to points west and south of the airport such as Steubenville, Ohio, and Wierton and Wheeling, West Virginia. PA 65 along the northern section of the city of Pittsburgh, PA 28 along the Allegheny Valley from downtown through the Oakmont and 76/Turnpike area to beyond Kittaning in Armstrong County and PA 60 from the I-279/79 junction through the airport area and up through Beaver to New Castle and I-80 are all toll-free state limited access highways in the region. US 22 from Robinson through to the Findlay airport connector and on to the West Virigina panhandle and east-central Ohio offers toll free interstate like travel as well.
Amtrak services Pittsburgh and has a station just across the street from the (now closed) Greyhound station at Grant and Liberty Downtown.
Pittsburgh is difficult for strangers to get around in because the roads go every which way, constrained by the rivers and hills. Many are one-way and nearly all are narrow, as they were laid out in the days of horse-and-buggy transportation. A taxi is an option until you get used to it, but the Port Authority Public Transportation, mentioned beneath, is much more logical. If not, find where you want to go on the internet, call them, and get detailed directions. Failing that, use an online mapping service. If you do find yourself lost or unsure, however, do not be afraid to ask for help. Most locals are very friendly and will be happy to assist you.
By public transit
Port Authority, +1 412 442-2000, . Extensive bus, light rail, and incline service.
Although Port Authority (or PAT as some residents refer to it) is generally quite reliable, the fare system it utilizes can be confusing, especially to visitors. Most bus and all light-rail routes utilize a "pay enter/pay leave" system: If you are travelling INTO or TOWARDS Downtown ("inbound"), you pay the fare as you board the bus. If you are travelling OUT OF or AWAY from Downtown ("outbound"), the fare is paid when you reach your destination. Travel within Downtown is free. The buses sometimes have signs in their front windows indicating whether fare is paid upon entering or leaving, but not always. Further adding to the confusion, from 7PM-4AM, ALL fares on all trips are paid upon boarding the bus, regardless of destination.
The base bus and light-rail fare is $1.75 for destinations within Zone 1, which encompasses the city limits and a few nearby suburbs. For an extra 50 cents, passengers can also purchase a transfer ticket, valid for three hours to use on any other route. Before boarding a bus or trolley, always check Port Authority's schedules (all of which are available on their website) and confirm its destination with the driver.
The Port Authority's routes/schedules are included in Google Transit, which is a better option than dealing with the Port Authority website or the paper guides (especially for travel involving multiple buses).
Taxis are a very good (if expensive) way of dealing with Pittsburgh's spaghetti roads until you get used to them. In the downtown and inner areas of the city itself (as opposed to the suburbs).
With a multitude of hills, valleys, Pittsburgh is an eclectic town to travel by car for even the natives. Very little is straightforward about Pittsburgh travel via car, but some constants help road warriors get by.
Major highways include the Parkways East (Interstate 376), North (Interstate 279 to the north of downtown), and West (Interstate 279 to the west and south of downtown), Mon-Fayette Expressway, and PA Turnpike (toll road).
The key to not getting lost in Pittsburgh are the well-kept secret of the colored belts. Sprinkled throughout the city are signs that say, for example, "Blue belt" with a blue dot and arrow. These belts are long, winding circular paths, with allow travelers to freely explore the city with little fear of getting truly lost. If you are hopelessly lost and encounter a "Belt" sign (blue, red, yellow...), following these signs is a good way to locate a main travel artery and get back on track (or to a much-needed food/or fuel station) as they cross most major highways. If all else fails, the belts tend to eventually circle back on themselves and at the very least, if you keep following them, you will get back to where you started.
Visitors may want to be careful of the "Pittsburgh Left." At red light intersections, a driver wishing to turn left will do so as soon as the light turns green, regardless of whether another vehicle would normally continue straight through the intersection. While not done much by the younger generation, the Pittsburgh Left still has its adherents.
Gateway Clipper, 412-355-7980,  fleet of riverboats offers shuttle services from Station Square to the North Side near the stadiums. Particularly useful when attending a game at Heinz Field or PNC Park.
Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, +1 412 237-8300, . Said to be one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world, "The Warhol" has exhibits of the artist's life and work, recreations of portions of "The Factory", screening of films, and educational programs about the Pittsburgh-born artist as well as other contemporary and pop artists.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Av., +1 412 622-3131, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Visit the dinosaurs and see the extensive gem and mineral collection.
Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland . The 42-story centerpiece of "Pitt's" campus - the tallest academic building in America, and the second-tallest in the world - was completed in 1937 and features magnificent Gothic architecture both inside and out. It is also home to the famed Nationality Rooms - 26 rooms decorated in the themes of the various cultures that played a hand in the city's development. The Rooms are open to the public as long as class is not being held in them.
Frick Art and Historical Center. Visit steel magnate Henry Clay Frick's mansion-cum-art museum, open Tu-Su 10AM-5PM.
Heinz Chapel, University of Pittsburgh, . Ponder the stained glass, said to be among the tallest in the world.
Kennywood Park, 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin +1 412 461-0500  is a compact but extremely popular amusement park, founded in 1898. It is home to several rollercoasters, including the "Thunderbolt," rountinely named as one of the best wooden coasters in the country by enthusiasts.
The Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side +1 412 231-3169  is contemporary art on the installation-scale, with several notable James Turrell works in their permanent exhibitions.
Phipps Conservatory, Schenley Park on Schenley Drive, . Large indoor and outdoor gardens with beautiful floral displays.
Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Ave, 412-365-2145, . Celebrating its fifth anniversary in conjunction with “Pittsburgh Celebrates Glass” in 2007. Pittsburgh Glass Center is a nonprofit, public access glass studio and gallery dedicated to teaching, creating and promoting glass art. The 16,000+ square foot building is one of the top glass art facilities in the country and houses state-of-the-art studios in hot glass, flameworking, coldworking, casting and kilnworking.
Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre is a professional company which has emerged as a significant contributor to the cultural fabric of Pittsburgh with almost 2000 loyal subscribers, and an annual attendance of over 23,000. PICT has garnered a yearly position on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's list of the city's Top 50 Cultural Forces. The organization's productions are consistently ranked among the year's best by the critics of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper. PICT was named Theatre of the Year in both 2004 and 2006 by critics of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Marvel at the glass buildings of PPG Place downtown. Its main building resembles a crystal castle right out of a fairy tale.
Rodef Shalom Synagogue - visit the biblical-themed garden.
Schenley Plaza and Park - conveniently located adjacent to the Cathedral of Learning and the Carnegie Museum complex, this 456-acre park is a haven for exercisers, sunbathers, and anyone who appreciates beautiful green space. The newly-constructed Plaza area, across from the Carnegie Library of Oakland, features a carousel and free wi-fi Internet access. On Sunday and Wednesday nights during the summer, a free movie is shown on Flagstaff Hill in the park.
Senator John Heinz History Center and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum - The Senator John Heinz History Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. The History Center features the new Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and the Library and Archives, and includes six floors of permanent and changing exhibitions, telling the 250-year old story of Western Pennsylvania, its people, industries and innovations.
Take the Monongahela or Duquesne Inclines, operated by the Port Authority to the top of Mount Washington. One way trips cost $1.75; pay at the top or get on at the bottom and take a "free" round trip.
Bike, jog, walk, or play in one of Pittsburgh's four large city parks - Schenley, Highland, Frick, and Riverview.
Watch a Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers, or Penguins game.
Take a Duckboat tour of the city in an authentic WWII amphibious vehicle.
Pittsburgh has several popular shopping districts. To name only a few:
Station Square - in the South Side at Smithfield Street and Station Square Drive
South Side Works - in the South Side centered at Sidney and 28th Streets
Shadyside - one of the main upmarket sections of Pittsburgh centered at Walnut and Bellefonte Streets
Squirrel Hill - a great place to have a bagel or Chinese, centered at Murray and Forbes Avenues. Also home to Jerry's Records (2136 Murray Ave, , with more vinyl of all genres than you've probably ever seen in one place.
Downtown - shops of every description, but best visited during standard business hours
The Waterfront - a large outdoor mall with residential living areas, located in Homestead on property that was the site of the infamous "Homestead Works", a Carnegie/USS steel mill where union and management (in the form of "Pinkertons") literally fought it out in the late 19th century. Home to entertainment such as Dave & Buster's and The Improv comedy theater, restaurants such as P.F. Chang's and Red, Hot, and Blue, and shopping such as Macy's.
Century III Mall - in the Monongahela River Valley suburb of West Mifflin, southeast of Pittsburgh at PA Route 51 and Mountain View Drive, and built, oddly enough, on a huge mountain of "slag" dumped from all the steel mills
South Hills Village mall - in the South Hills of Pittsburgh at US Route 19 (Washington Road) and Fort Couch Road
Ross Park Mall - in the North Hills of Pittsburgh at US Route 19 (McKnight Road) and Ross Park Mall Drive
Monroeville Mall - in the eastern suburb of Monroeville at US Business Route 22 (William Penn Hwy) and Mall Boulevard
Robinson Town Center & The Mall at Robinson - in the western suburb of Robinson at US Route 22/30 and PA Route 60 - if you need IKEA, come here
Pittsburgh Mills Mall - in the Allegheny River Valley suburb of Tarentum northeast of Pittsburgh at PA Route 28 and Pittsburgh Mills Boulevard
The ethnic markets and nightlife of Pittsburgh's Strip District
16:62 Design Zone - stretching from 16th Street in the Strip District to 62nd Street in Lawrenceville, offers a distinctive blend of neighborhood shops, artisan studios and unique showrooms, all focused on the arts and home decor. Request a free copy of the district guidebook at: .
The Pittsburgh restaurant scene is a little different than most cities. In many neighborhoods, they can be difficult to find and are often patronized mainly by locals. The hills and rivers make the roads tricky. So, if you're from out of town your best bet is to pick up a local copy of the Pittsburgh magazine and do a quick search of the "Best Restaurants" section.
Each district has its unique restaurants, but the main districts for eating are Mount Washington, the Strip District, South Side and, of course Downtown. If you're willing to go a little off the beaten path, you'll also find gems tucked away just slightly further out which are still accessible by PAT bus.
Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4412 Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield, +1 412 682-8611. Small and fairly dimly-lit, but the delicious pierogies and kielbasa make it all worth it. They even offer duck blood soup, for the most dedicated fans of Polish cuisine.
Dumplinz Cafe, 411 Seventh Avenue facing Smithfield, Downtown, +1 412 281-6062, . Brand new addition to the eat-in or takeout quick service breakfast and lunch restaurants. Serves filled pastas of the world such as Italian ravioli, Eastern Eurapean pierogies and Russian pelmeni. Outstanding alternative to Subway and Quiznos for about the same price.
The Sharp Edge, 302 South St. Clair Street, Friendship, +1 412 661-3537, . For a place that calls itself a "Beer Emporium", it certainly does not disappoint, with more than 20 Belgians on tap among its offerings. A cozy neighborhood establishment, with a pinball machine to boot.
Tram's, 4050 Penn Ave, Lawrenceville, +1 412 682-2688. Excellent, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese, owned and operated almost single-handedly by Mr. Tram himself.
Chaya Japanese Cuisine, 2104 Murray Ave, Squirrel Hill, +1 412 422-2082, . Amazingly good sushi, worth every penny. One of the few places in the country where you will find wasabi made from fresh wasabi root instead of powder; the waiter will proudly show you the root if you ask. Word of warning: its capacity is tiny, and don't expect to be acknowledged as you wait for a table.
Hemingway's Cafe, 3911 Forbes Ave. Typical college bar. Half priced food after 9pm and $1 draft beer offers make it the perfect place to go for a late dinner.
Pizzaiolo, 703 Washington Road., Over the last ten years, Il Pizzaiolo has become one of Pittsburgh's best restaurant destinations. Locals from all over the city flock to the Pizzaiolo's location in the sleepy South Hills town of Mt. Lebanon. The food is always fantastic, punctuated by Nepoletana pizza from a woodfired brick oven, homemade desserts, and a classy winebar serving over 200 italian wines, Pizzaiolo has the best of what Pittsburgh can offer.
Don's Green Front Inn, 2341 E. Carson St, +1 412 488-3140. Bar and restaurant, a peppy crowd, and friendly bartenders.
Eat 'n Park, 1816 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill, +1 412 422-7203, , and various locations around town. Family-friendly local chain. Fair prices, friendly service, and their trademark smiley cookie. Many only eat here when they have to (i.e. after the bars close) but others eat here by choice.
Gullifty's Restaurant, 1922 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill, +1 412 521-8222. . A varied menu and Pittsburgh's Best Desserts 22 years running. not only do they have award winning desserts, but delicious entrées as well. They have been offering live jazz many nights, it simply sets a lovely environment to wine and dine.
Le Pommier, 2104 E. Carson St, +1 412 431-1901. Authentic Country French menu. Located on East Carson street in the South Side.
Louis Tambellini Restaurant, 860 Saw Mill Run Blvd (Rt. 51), +1 412 481-1118, . A large, classic seafood and meat restaurant in the "Italian-American" manner. Open for lunch and dinner except on Sunday. This gem is a favorite of the local "over 40" crowd. No rock and roll here, just excellent food and a good wine cellar.
Mallorca, East Carson St at 22nd St, +1 412 488-1818, . From Downtown you can take the 22nd street bridge south across the Monongehala river and you will run right into it. This restaurant specializes in authentic Spanish and Portuguese food, lots of seafood dishes but also very large steaks and chops. Hope you like garlic. In pleasant weather you can be seated outside on the terrace. It has possibly the best waitstaff of any restaurant in Pittsburgh.
Orient Kitchen, 4808 Baum Boulevard. +1 412 683-3300. A popular restaurant among Pittsburgh's college students and Asian-American community. The salt-baked squid is not to be missed.
Primanti Brothers, 46 18th St in the strip district, +1 412 263-2142,  open 24 hours. Numerous other locations around town (not all are open 24 hours). This restaurant is different; they serve famous sandwiches with the french fries and coleslaw right in the sandwich with whatever else you order: deli meat, hot sausage, and ... you get the idea. They have a bar too of course. It was founded in 1934 to serve the truckers that brought vegetables to the Strip District. $8 (sandwich and a soft drink...er, let's say pop).
The Grand Concourse,  in Station Square on the South Side. Site of the former train station, hosts a huge Sunday brunch and a beautiful view of the city.
Café du Jour, 1107 E. Carson Street, (412) 488-9695, Call for a reservation and enjoy a seasonal menu at incredibly reasonable prices. The courtyard provides an intriguing setting for your meal. BYOB (A stem fee applies).
Beehive Coffeeshop, 1327 E. Carson Street, Ongoing exhibits, a relaxing atmosphere, young crowd, courtyard and a wide selection of gourmet coffees, teas, sandwiches and other snacks contribute to the Beehive's ongoing reputation as one of the best spots in Pittsburgh to relax and socialize.
Taj Mahal 7795 McKnight Rd, A tribute to the vibrant ethnicity of Pittsburgh. A family run Indian restaurant, small dining room but intimate vibes. Traditional yet innovation dishes, extensive menu, lunch buffet from 11 am-3 pm. Voted best Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh the past four years by Pittsburgh Magazine. Reservations recommended (412) 364-1760
Aiello's 2112 Murray Ave., This Pizza is one of the best in the Burgh. It is loved by all the locals and is a common hang out for many Taylor Allderdice High School Students. The pepperoni rolls are to die for, loaded with parm. It has a classic Italian pizzeria atmosphere with friendly and personable staff. they are open till 2:00 AM so you can always grab a cut to go.
Milky Way This vegetarian restaurant has an assortment of pizzas. They have many salads and make a great falafel. The best part about it is that it is kosher. For any people who keep religious eating habits, this would be the place to go.
Union Grill 413 S Craig St, 412-681-8620 Classic American Food - burgers, desserts and other American food. This place can get really crowded at lunch time.
India Garden,  328 Atwood St, (412) 682-3000, India Garden is probably the most famous Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh. The food is really good, but the service isn't always the best and the Servers aren't always fluent in English. The restaurant is generally loud, with two TV sets playing Bollywood music videos while Hindi pop music blasts from the speakers. The half off specials between 4PM-6PM, 10PM-1AM, are just awesome and they have a buffet at lunch from 12PM-3PM.
Downtown has the greatest concentration of hotels. It is very easy to get a room at some of the top downtown hotels (the Marriott, the Hilton, and the William Penn, for example) at bargain basement prices ($45-$70) from discount sites such as priceline and hotwire, so do a search before calling the hotel itself. For those visiting the universities or other attractions in the Oakland area, there are a number of convenient options:
AmeriSuites Pittsburgh/Airport, 6011 Campbells Run Road, +1 412 494-0202 . Located seven miles from Pittsburgh International Airport and 11 miles west of downtown Pittsburgh.
AmeriSuites Pittsburgh/Cranberry, 136 Emeryville Drive, +1 724 779-7900 . Located 25 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh and convenient to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 79.
DoubleTree Downtown Pittsburgh, 1 Bigelow Sq, +1 412 281-5800 . Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, this $12 million in recent renovations hotel is within walking distance of the U.S. Steel Tower and Mellon Arena. It also hosts the Bigelow Grille; an American-themed restaurant; and a complementary swimming pool, on top of all the normal DoubleTree features, such as the warm cookie at check-in and SweetDream bedding.
Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport, 1 Industry Lane, +1 724 695-0002, . Luxury Pittsburgh hotel offers business amenities and luxury for the weary traveller.
Microtel Inn & Suites Pittsburgh Airport, 900 Chauvet Drive, +1 412 788-7200 . Offering convenience and comfort for the traveller looking for a great deal.
Omni William Penn,530 William Penn Place, +1 412 281-7100 . Located in the heart of the downtown business district, the renowned Omni William Penn Hotel is a historic landmark elegantly renovated for the 21st century traveler, while retaining its 1916 charm. Just steps away from the Convention Center, sporting and cultural venues, and a variety of shopping.
Wyndham Garden Hotel - University Place, 3454 Forbes Avenue, +1 412 683-2040, . Minutes from downtown and close to many of Pittsburgh's renowned universities, including UPMC Health System, Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh.
Wyndham Pittsburgh International Airport Hotel, 777 Aten Road, +1 412 788-8800, . Just outside the state-of-the-art Pittsburgh International Airport and only 20 minutes from downtown, the Wyndham Pittsburgh Airport Hotel is a regular hub of business and cultural diversity.
Pittsburgh is routinely ranked as one of the safest cities among others of comparable size in the US. Nonetheless, as with all cities, there are areas which visitors should avoid wandering into (especially at night), including the Hill District (the area between Downtown and Oakland), Homewood, some parts of the North Side, and Wilkinsburg. Common sense guidelines regarding safety apply at all times.
As with any city, Pittsburgh has a fair share of homeless people. Many will ask for money but simply ignoring them will keep you safe.
Pittsburgh is one of those cities where you must use an area code even when dialing locally. There are three regional area codes 412, 724 and 878. Use of a "1" prefix when dialing these codes locally is optional.
Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces are about 50-75 miles to the southeast of the city in Fayette County.
Flight 93 Memorial about 50 miles to the east of the city along the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76/I-70)
St. Vincent College about 25 miles east in Latrobe, summer camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the first Monastic brewery in the U.S. along with being one of the top catholic colleges in the area.
Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton, Ohio about two hours west via the PA/Ohio Turnpike then south on I-77.
Seven Springs award winning ski resort/golf course about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Mystic Rock golf course home of the PGA 84 Classic and rated among the top courses in the world.
Wheeling Downs, racetrack (horse) in nearby Wheeling, West Virginia (west on I-70).
Ohiopyle is a beautiful state park with 19,052 acres of majestic mountains and the Youghiogheny [yaw-ki-GAAY-nee]River. The Youghiogheny River is 14 miles long and creates a great white water rafting experience from beginner to professional. There are many different activities to do such as Hiking, Biking, Trail Biking, Horseback Riding, Picnicking, Fishing, and awesome natural water-slides. This is a great family activity.
Cady Shak is not to far from Pittsburgh, located near Fallingwater and Fort Ligonier. There are many fun family activities, such as batting cages, go- carts, mini golf, driving ranges,and bumper boats with water cannons. There is a sweet arcade and snack stands for when you want to take a break. This destination may be targeted for families with some younger children but it is easily enjoyable by all.
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum About 45 minutes south of the city in the town of Washington. Great family location that includes a ride on a working trolley and the (alleged) title star of the film A Streetcar Named Desire.
Cleveland - with the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame and other attractions, a couple of hours to the northwest (though no Pittsburgher would ever advise you to visit willingly).
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!