Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US state of Pennsylvania behind Philadelphia, and the economic and cultural hub of Western Pennsylvania. It is located at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers combine to form the Ohio River, and has more bridges than any other city in the world (even beating Venice, Italy by three). It was originally named after William Pitt The Elder, later Prime Minister of the UK, for his role in the Seven Years' War. It is the only city in the United States that was allowed by the Postal Service to end in "burgh" throughout the 20th century; see the entry under Please Select New City Name for details.
Home of KDKA, the oldest commercial radio station in the nation and one of the few exceptions to the "W*** east of the Mississippi, K*** west of the Mississippi" rule. Pittsburgh is more of a Midwestern city unlike the solidly East Coast Philly; given the vast countryside ("Pennsyltucky") between them, they're practically worlds apart - Pittsburgh is sometimes called the capital of Appalachia. It is also known as Steel City, due to being a booming (and polluted) mill town for much of its history. Most of the steel industry has left, putting the city in an economic slump for several decades. This tends to be the only thing most outsiders know about Pittsburgh.
However, the city is having a renaissance as a health care, high-tech, and media center, helped by the fact that several prestigious universities are in the area. Very few factories remain within city limits (only two steel mills currently exist in all of Allegheny County); all the others have been either replaced by or converted into offices, shops, and upscale housing. This change has proven healthy for the city, as 2011 population estimates showed the first increase in sixty years (incidentally, Philly saw the same thing in the 2010 Census). Some of this is starting to rub off on the mainstream, as the city is increasingly used as a setting for trendy yuppies in film. It helps that many movies are filmed here anyway, the filmmakers are now less likely to call it something else.
The combination of rivers and Appalachian hills leads to countless natural vistas of the region. Many people would pay to see the kind of view that the average Pittsburgher gets from the parking lot of their grocery store or on their daily commutes. As much of the terrain is too rugged to build on, many urban and suburban areas are interrupted by acres of woodland. Seeing deer stroll through your driveway is a common sight, regardless of whether you live in the city limits or on a farm the next county over.
Pittsburgh has arguably the best pro baseball stadium in the country, which houses the Pirates. Its pro football team, the Steelers, had more Super Bowl trophies than any othernote and was tied with Dallas and Denver in having the most Super Bowl trips until New England surpassed them all in 2016. They also have a longstanding rivalry with Cleveland (against whom they have a lot of Curbstomp Victories). The Penguins are most known for Sidney Crosby, who you've probably heard of, along with his rival Alex Ovechkin even if you don't watch hockey. Pittsburgh has no pro basketball team, which is another interesting play on Cleveland, which lacks a pro hockey team. All three of Pittsburgh's major league teams—and more than a few minor league clubs—wear black and yellow, the colors on the city flag (known officially and by every Pittsburgher ever as "black and gold").
Despite rumors (and colorful accent) to the contrary, Pittsburghers do not import R's from New England. The most noteworthy colloquialism is "yinz", which is generally used in the place of "you all". Other, lesser used terms are "nebby" (nosey), "gum band" (rubber band), "buggy" (shopping cart), and "n'at" (a Verbal Tic that stands for "and that," meaning "and so on"). Another habit is to turn the "ow" sound into "ah," such as "downtown" becoming "dahntahn". The city's residents themselves are something of a Broken Base. Depending on whom you ask, Pittsburgh is either a clean, beautiful, artsy, vibrant city with affordable housing, relatively low crime, and plenty of good schools and job opportunities; or a rusted-out, uncultured shithole with dreary weather.
Pittsburgh International Airport (official abbreviation: PIT), located about 20 miles west of downtown in Findlay and Moon Townships, is notable for a few reasons. When the current terminal opened in 1992, it included a full-blown shopping center known as "AirMall" (after the company that operates it), featuring over 100 name-brand retailers. It was the first major shopping center located in an airport anywhere in the world. Additionally, the AirMall company and the airport authority reached an agreement that all retail chains that operated within the airport had to charge the same prices as locations outside the airport. This policy remains in force today. It was also the first airport in the world to offer email fare alerts. In arguably an even more notable event, in 2017 PIT restored full terminal access to the non-ticketed public (though only during normal working hours on all days of the week), making it the first US commercial airport to allow general public access past the TSA checkpoint since 9/11. Visitors must sign up for the program at the airport's website, and must pass the same TSA security checks as ticketed passengers. (A similar program was later introduced at Tampa International, and is set to be trialed at Detroit Metro during the 2019 holiday season.)
Anthrocon, one of the largest furry conventions in the world, moved to Pittsburgh in 2006 and takes over downtown annually. The city has embraced the con, not the least because of the considerable revenue (in the millions) it brings to the city over the weekend it's held. The affection is reciprocated; when downtown cafe Fernando's was threatened with closure, the furry community donated over $20,000 to keep the doors open.
As a side note, Pittsburgh is also the filming location of our very own Echo Chamber.
The city of Pittsburgh is officially divided into 83 different neighborhoods. Besides Downtown, the city is divided into North, South, and East, based the three rivers.
Downtown: Sits at the point where the three rivers meet. At the very point is a lovely city park that was once a Revolutionary War fort, then later the site of numerous factories and railyards over the years before the space was bought by the city in the 50's for...something (the park's construction took over twenty years due to numerous idea changes). Downtown has a fascinating architectural blend of modern office buildings with elegant 1800's and early 1900's structures. Its most notable buildings include PPG Place, which looks like a futuristic glass castle, the county courthouse, which was built in the 1800's and looks like a medieval castle, and the US Steel Tower—the tallest building in Pittsburgh—which sports the widest roof in the world for a building its size. The area is known to Yinzers as "Dahntahn".
East End: The area that fans out east of Downtown, between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Contains the wealthiest, as well as arguably the roughest neighborhoods in the city. There's no special Yinzer pronunciation here, since the neighborhoods are distinct enough to warrant their own mention. The following are the most well-known, though there are many others:
- Squirrel Hill: The thriving and quaint center of Pittsburgh's Jewish population. The neighborhood has the highest concentration of Jews in the US outside of New York City. Yinzers call it "Scroll Hill."
- Lawrenceville: Composed primarily of rowhouses that once provided cheap housing for factory workers. With the factories gone, Lawrenceville is now trendy and artistic, the nucleus of Pittsburgh's hipster community and a frequent focal point in articles raving about Pittsburgh's coolness (much to the chagrin of people who live elsewhere in the city). It has gotten a bit pricey these days, but it's still seen as a lower-cost alternative to...
- Shadyside: Perhaps the wealthiest and trendiest neighborhood in the city. Some consider it Pittsburgh's gayborhood as well, though more for well-off gays in the IT field. It borders East Liberty, once a notorious ghetto before gentrification (including some forced relocation...) turned it around. Nowadays the distinction is increasingly blurry.
- Oakland: Contains the primary campuses of both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University, giving the area a "college town" vibe...also meaning it's easy to feel old here if you're over the age of 25. The Cathedral of Learning, in the northern section, is the second tallest educational building in the world, and one of the most beautiful and recognizable buildings in the city. Since you can see it from anywhere in Oakland, it has the dubious nickname of "the drunk compass" since many college kids use the building to guide themselves back to their dorms/apartments after a night of partying.
- The Hill District: Long considered the nucleus of Pittsburgh's African American community. In its heyday it was favorably compared to Harlem, but the neighborhood suffered due to poor planning. Construction of the Civic Arena in 1961 had cut off the Hill from downtown, causing the area to lose business even before Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing base, but with the Arena now gone, road access has been restored and revitalization efforts are underway. Yinzers call it "The Hill", which may sound indistinct given that the city is nothing but hills, but people will know exactly what you mean.
- Bloomfield: "Pittsburgh's Little Italy," as the welcome signs will gladly tell you, though the actual populace is fairly diverse as the neighborhood has a healthy middle class.
North Side: The area north of the Allegheny River. Formerly the city of Allegheny, the population is predominantly African-American and Slavic. A very working-class area with many picturesque Orthodox churches. Heinz Field and PNC Park, the stadiums for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates, respectively, are located here, as are several museums. The Mexican War Streets are here as well, but don't let the name scare you, since it's one of the nicer neighborhoods in the region.note Yinzers call it "Da nor'side".
South Hills: South of the Monongahela River, but not to be confused with "South Side"—Pittsburgh's largest nightclub district—which serves as the entry point for the South Hills. It is an economically diverse region. In addition to said nightlife district, the neighborhoods range from million-dollar mansions and condos atop Mt. Washington as tourists line up to ride the inclines, to middle class neighborhoods like Crafton Heights and Brookline which seamlessly blend into the suburbs they border, to rougher areas like Mt. Oliver and Knoxville. To any Yinzer, it's pronounced "Sahth'ills".
The 'Burbs: The city limits of Pittsburgh contain just over 300,000 people, but has an extended metropolitan area of 2.3 million. The region extends into parts of northern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio. The suburbs range from industrial towns such as Clairton, Braddock, Ambridge, and Aliquippa to middle class areas such as Beaver and Center and to the extremely upper-crust Upper St. Clair and Fox Chapel.
- Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! featured briefly in its origin story Pittsburgh's Earth-C counterpart, "Piggsburgh" (home of Peter Porkchops, aka Pig-Iron).
- The Pitt. In Star Brand, one of the books in Marvel Comics' short-lived The New Universe, jerkassy Pittsburgh auto mechanic Ken Connell is given super powers by the titular Artifact of Doom. When Connell decides he wants to get rid of his powers, he accidentally winds up destroying the city. All that's left is a huge crater, which soon becomes a Forbidden Zone called "The Pitt".
- In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin wonders where people go when they die. Hobbes offers "Pittsburgh", which prompts Calvin to ask "if we're good or if we're bad?"
- In one Get Fuzzy comic, Bucky asks a travel agent if there are any vacation packages based primarily on smell. She suggests he look at a pamphlet for the tourist department of Pittsburgh. This got Darb Connely into quite a bit of hot water with many Pittsburghers, even though the strip wasn't run in any Pittsburgh papers. Conley claimed the whole thing had been meant as an in-joke towards a friend who lived in Pittsburgh.
- The Kingdom Hearts AU fanfic Dark Hearts largely takes place in Pittsburgh, particularly in and around the suburb of Monroeville
- The Phineas and Ferb fanfic verse Soulmate AU places Danville 20 minutes west of Pittsburgh.
- Abduction. The film includes a sequence not in the original script where the star slides down a portion of the scaffolding in PNC Park, thus once again proving that, at the time, the Pirates played second fiddle to their own stadium.
- Adventureland was takes place in and around Pittsburgh and was filmed at Kennywood in West Miflin, PA. The park itself, however, was based on the actual Adventureland in Farmingdale, NY, where director Greg Mottola worked as a teenager.
- The original 1951 version of Angels in the Outfield takes place in Pittsburgh and dealt with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Bloodsucking Pharaohs In Pittsburgh
- The 2015 film Concussion tells the story of how a local coroner's assistant began his study into the prolonged effects of concussions on football players by studying the brains of Pittsburgh Steelers, starting with his autopsy of Mike Webster.
- The Deer Hunter
- Dogma - pretty much every scene was shot around Pittsburgh.
- Fences - 2016 adaptation of the 2010 revival of the 1987 play by the same name.
- The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
- Flashdance: The main character is a steelworker by day and the movie prominently features the Carnegie Museum/conservatory.
- Groundhog Day: Most of the action takes place in Punxsutawney (actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois), 85 miles away, but there's an Establishing Shot of the golden triangle at the beginning as they drive to Punxsutawney.
- Gung Ho- Faked-up Westmoreland County
- Houseguest takes place in Pittsburgh and some of the surrounding suburbs(Sewickley, specifically)
- Innocent Blood: A vampire in Pittsburgh.
- Inspector Gadget: The 1999 live-action film featured Pittsburgh landmarks prominently under the vague guise of "Riverton" (which was implied to be in Ohio). (The second film was filmed in Australia, though.) Because for all of the movie's faults, PPG Place is Dr. Claw's castle.
- Jack Reacher was filmed and set there (The book is was based on was set there, too). Locally it was filmed under the name "One Shot", and you can actually see the sniper nest in the page image above (between the closest two bridges on the left).
- Love & Other Drugs, a 2010 romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhall.
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: More than one local Monty Python fan has been surprised to hear the Steelers name-dropped by John Cleese in the philosophy conversation scene. It was a scene poking fun at Americans, and at the time it was made in the 1980's the Steelers had just won four Super Bowls in the 1970's, so while nice it probably wasn't an intentional reference, but just grabbing the biggest "current" references in sports.
- In The Muppets Take Manhattan Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem are doing polka gigs in Pittsburgh.
- The Next Three Days, a 2010 thriller with Russell Crowe about a Great Escape from the Allegheny County Jail.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Land of the Dead. George A. Romero went to college in Pittsburgh and did a lot of early work there, including a segment of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in which Mr. Rogers gets a tonsillectomy. This experience inspired Romero to get into the horror genre.
- Creepshow, also by Romero, was partly filmed on Carnegie-Mellon University campus, a fact pointed out by most of the tour guides along with that the cricket population stems almost entirely from descendants of a spilled cage during the filming.
- The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon's first novel and second film adaptation.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Author Stephen Chbosky grew up in the area and set his novel here in the early 1990s. The film adaptation was also shot in various locations around Pittsburgh, mostly in the South Hills area. There's a very cute story about how a local dance instructor had to keep a "Hollywood-sized" secret from her students for six weeks - that Emma Watson was using the studio for dance workouts after hours.
- She's Out of My League, the 2010 What Does She See in Him?, Give Geeks a Chance comedy.
- The Silence of the Lambs.
- Smart People, a comedy-drama film starring Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker, was also partly filmed on Carnegie-Mellon University campus.
- Striking Distance, the 1993 Bruce Willis Cowboy Cop movie set and filmed on Pittsburgh's streets and rivers.
- Sudden Death, taking place during the final game of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals game, where the city's Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks in the former home of the Pens, the iconic, now-demolished Pittsburgh Civic Arena. The majority of the film is set in and outside of the arena, the latter's scenes showing nighttime downtown Pittsburgh.
- Videodrome: The titular program is broadcast from a station in Pittsburgh.
- Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon's second novel and first film adaptation.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno
- Pittsburgh was one of the shooting locations for The Dark Knight Rises. Many folks around here joked about how Alfred would be putting out the "Batchair" to save the Batmobile a parking spot. note Once the movie came out, picking out local landmarks and figures became popular with viewers in the city, which had a similar effect with Chicagoans for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
- Most of the films by Toetag Pictures, such as the August Underground trilogy.
- While largely filmed at Conneaut Lake Park in nearby Conneaut Lake, Scream Park features scenes set at the University of Pittsburgh and the name of the town is emblazoned on most of the props.
- Dominick and Eugene is about two brothers who live in Pittsburgh, one of whom wants to study medicine at Stanford.
- Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, depicting a World War II which took place in a world in which the South won the Civil War, featured the Battle of Pittsburgh as the series' analogue to Stalingrad.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower. See above.
- Pittsburgh gets destroyed by aliens in the Lensman novel Triplanetary (they have invaded Earth in order to steal iron).
- Stephen King's novel Christine, was entirely set in Pittsburgh. The narrator, Dennis, has a summer construction job working on Interstate 376 note . Also, King shows that he was familiar with the area when writing the book, as he mentions Monroeville and it's "miles of malls." At the time the book was written, Monroeville, PA was (and is even more so today) a hub of mall- and strip mall-based retail commerce. It had two: Monroeville Mall and Miracle Mile Shopping Center as well as several other retail stores and restaurants.
- Tinker is set in a Pittsburgh which occasionally intersects with a world populated by elves.
Live Action TV
- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (Fred Rogers was born in Latrobe and lived most of his life in Pittsburgh. The show was produced by the local PBS affilate: WQED. They've even got an (admittedly odd-looking) statue of him on the North Shore.)
- Queer as Folk - But really shot in Toronto
- In the second season of Weeds, Shane went through a phase of being obsessed with Pittsburgh.
- Three Rivers based on residence at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals. The pilot was filmed at a hospital in Butler County, but production was moved to Los Angeles to cut down on costs. Shots seen of the city are stock footage.
- The TV movie version of The Stand, the local Armstrong Tunnel (which goes under Duquesne University and empties out onto the 10th Street Bridge), stands in for the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City.
- Season 2 of Stranger Things has a short scene in Pittsburgh - you see a shot of downtown from the Strip District.
- The TV and web series about vampires, The Weakness, is set and filmed in Pittsburgh.
- The Kill Point is about a protracted Hostage Situation at a bank in downtown Pittsburgh.
- This Is Us is set in Pittsburgh but filmed in Los Angeles
- Three Rivers is set in Pittsburgh.
- Man with a Plan is also set in Pittsburgh but filmed in Los Angeles
- August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle, a series of 10 plays, each set in a different decade of the 20th century, dealing with the history of Black America and race relations. As the name implies the plays (except one) are set in Pittsburgh. The most famous installment is the 1950s one, Fences.
- Fallout 3's second expansion, The Pitt, is centered on the post-apocalyptic version of the city. Many landmarks like PPG Place and the Cathedral of Learning make appearances.
- Amusingly, one of the unique items you can get there is a special suit of Power Armor said to be decorated in livery honoring the natives' tribal gods. It's painted in Steelers' colors.
- Screenshots of the demo for The Last of Us show pictures of a post-apocalyptic version of Pittsburgh, featuring such Pittsburgh landmarks such as the US Steel Building, One Mellon Center, Oxford Center, and the Fort Pitt Bridge.
- Pittsburgh Dad
- Our own Echo Chamber
- The Pittsburgh SOAPranos is filmed in Pittsburgh, and consists of a fictional soap opera about a real-life soap shop in Munhall.
- On Teen Titans, "Steel City" is the hometown of Titans East and is quite clearly based on Pittsburgh (the regular team is based in an expy of San Francisco).
- Home base of ...Super Chicken!
- Though not actually shot in Pittsburgh, Nickelodeon's Action League NOW! utilized several on-air personalities from local radio station WDVE's morning show as the primary voices; the voice of "his dishonor" The Mayor originated on WDVE as a parody of then-mayor Tom Murphy.
- Innocent Blood:
- The city side of the Fort Pitt tunnel does not face the rising sun - it faces northeast. Vampire Sal should be fine.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- While we're on the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Bridge, "Perks" is set in 1991-1992, so the "Consol Center" (opened in 2010; full name Consol Energy Center) signs are a pretty big anachronism. Even more so since it became PPG Paints Arena in 2016.
- Striking Distance:
- The route of the Chase Scene in Striking Distance only sort of makes sense - you can assume people who live in cities with a lot of chase scenes filmed in them deal with this often. The radio says they are "At the 31st Street Bridge, going westbound on Liberty", so Tom and his father take Bigelow Boulevard to downtown to meet up with the chase. They hook up with 7th Street, passing by the post office and crossing Grant to get to Liberty. Then they connect with Liberty from the other side of the street than they should. They pass Oxford Center and inexplicably pop into the Armstrong Tunnels, under Duquesne University. Out of the tunnels they cross the Monongahela River at the Smithfield Street Bridge... odd considering the tunnels they just pulled out of end at the 10th Street bridge ... why did the suspect backtrack 2 miles to cross the river? note There's the standoff at what looks like Carson Street under the Liberty Bridge, and then he manages to escape that and somehow gets to and drives up the PJ McArdle Roadway to Mount Washington. He skids to a turn down Grandview Avenue, runs into an Iron City truck, and from there it's hard to tell where they're going - but there's nothing like the area they end up in down Grandview.
- Sudden Death
- You know when they open the roof of the arena and Jean-Claude Van Damme hangs from it over the ice? That's the last time any Pittsburghers saw it open, too. They never opened it - it got too windy inside. The arena was later redesigned to include more box seats, which made it so the roof could never open again. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins have moved across the street to PPG Paints Arena, and a group of people unsuccessfully fought to save the historically unique building from being demolished...which couldn't even do the thing that made it historically unique anymore.
- Driving Video Games
- A missed opportunity - Pittsburgh would be great for one of those "drive anywhere" video games. We have some of the most confusing side streets and steep surprise hills you'll find in a major metropolitan area. We have spots that could give San Francisco a very good run for its money.
- Not to mention the road conditions.
"I think there's a bug. My car keeps taking damage while I drive down the road." "That's not a bug. That's a feature."]
- Queer as Folk:
- Liberty Avenue is an average downtown street in real life and not Pittsburgh's Gayborhood, which the city lacks (gay-owned bars and business are scattered amongst downtown and the city's trendier neighborhoods). This may be due to the fact that Pegasus, once Pittsburgh's most popular gay club, used to be located on Liberty and the annual Pride festival is held there.
- The city's distinct terrain is conspicuously absent, as the show was filmed in Toronto.
- There is no such town in Pennsylvania named Stanton. There's a New Stanton in Westmoreland County, and Stanton Heights is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh proper, but there's no original Stanton anywhere in the state.
- Judging by the views outside the windows of both the office and meeting room, the headquarters of AVWR Railroad seems to jump between Mellon Center and Fifth Avenue Place.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno
- The titular characters go to their ten-year reunion at Monroeville High School. Graduates from their class would have attended Gateway High School, which hosts students from Monroeville and Pitcairn.
- They also live in Monroeville, but their apartment scenes were shot in Hazelwood, PA, which is several miles southwest of Monroeville.
- They visit Pittsburgh in one episode (with a healthy dose of Vancouver doubling), because Bobby's visiting a friend of his who's a doctor at what is only referred to as the university, which is an obvious stand-in for UPMC.
- Atlas Shrugged, Part II
- The area around Daggard's coal plant area is remarkably hill-free.
- Jack Reacher
- At the very beginning the white van is driving east, away from the city, down 376, about a mile from the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. In the next shot it's still on 376 eastbound... but it's coming out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel into the city, several miles west from its previous eastbound location.
- And later in the film it is suggested the shooter would have been better off stopping on the Fort Duquesne Bridge to have all of his targets lined up. Anyone who has driven across that bridge on the lower deck knows the traffic is insanely busy there during all daylight hours, and the shooter would never have time to line up a shot before he started getting honked at.
- During Reacher's escape from the cops, he is seen speeding through what can only be the Armstrong Tunnel. Except the chase through the tunnel happens for quite some time, making it seem as if it's miles long. In fact, the tunnel is 750 feet long and has a noticeable curve at the end. Oh, and there are no water barrels for Jack to crash into, as they would be blocking traffic on Forbes Avenue. Jack is then shown standing in a crowd of onlookers, as if it's a busy working-class neighborhood. Except that area is the campus of Duquesne University, so the majority of people there should be students.
- The Dark Knight Rises The chase scene through Gotham near the end could be described as "Back and forth on Smithfield Street", which in reality isn't all that long.
- 42: Forbes Field is missing its third base bleachers, "Greenberg Gardens", its distinctive ivy-covered walls, and the Cathedral of Learning is turned the wrong way.
- Pittsburgh Dad is a web video comedy series about a Pittsburgh Dad.
Pittsburgh provides examples of these tropes:
- Alien Geometries:
- The downtown area is triangular, but the angles are wide enough, and streets that curve ever-so-slightly that you can think you're making three 90 degree turns but somehow ended up right back where you began.
- You get get that quite a bit throughout the entire city. Since the roads have to follow all the hills, Pittsburgh is one of the least beginner-friendly cities in the country to navigate.
- It doesn't help that downtown has both numbered avenues and numbered streets - Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street are right next to one another, in particular.
- At the Crossroads:
- Two rivers join to form another here, and the National Road passed just south. Through history lots of people stopped here on their way west - Pittsburgh was (and still is) the first major city past the Appalachians.
- In a more modern sense, we have several colleges and universities. Many young people find themselves at a crossroads here when they graduate.
- Berserk Button: for the love of God, don't badmouth the sports teams or the fans of said teams. The Pirates used to be an okay team to poke fun of, but... not anymore.
- A common one tends to be outsiders looking down on the city. This one popped up a few times such as when a Denver sportswriter made allusions that the city was dirty because of the long gone steel mills and when reporters audibly laughed at President Obama's decision to have the city host the G20 Summit. Both instances sparked the anger of the city's residents.
- California Doubling: Goes both ways. Pittsburgh has long been a popular filming location, though this doesn't stop shows based here from being filmed elsewhere.
- "Common Knowledge": Almost every Steelers fan knows about the Immaculate Reception, one of the most surprising plays in football history. Many people and fans who were born after that reception took place are surprised to hear that the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs in their next game. It is simply the play that heralded in the Super Bowl dynasty Steelers who brought in four Super Bowl wins over the next few years.
- Dying Town: For the second half of the twentieth century due to the loss of steel and manufacturing jobs. However, the region is starting to turn itself around and 2011 population estimates have seen the first increase in decades.
- Eiffel Tower Effect: PPG Place, the castle-like glass tower in the picture, is often used in establishing shots of Pittsburgh.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Pirates used to play at Three Rivers Stadium, located right at the aforementioned fork where two rivers merge to become a third.
- Fan Nickname:
- Steeler Nation or "Stiller Nation" for the gigantic fanbase of the Steelers
- Cradle of Quarterbacks named since some of the best Q Bs in NFL history came from the region
- The Bucs or Buccos for the Pittsburgh Pirates
- The Pens for the Penguins
- Yinzer A local of the Pittsburgh area
- Fans of Fallout will never stop calling it The Pitt
- The Oakland Zoo Basketball student section for the Pitt Panthers (the university is in the Oakland neighborhood)
- Gayborhood: As mentioned earlier, this is averted. GLBT residents and related businesses are decentralized and scattered throughout the city. However, the real Liberty Avenue, in addition to hosting a couple gay bars and the annual Pride, also has a reputation for transgender prostitutes.
- Ghibli Hills: The outskirts and beyond are covered in lush decidious forests and rolling hills.
- Government Conspiracy: On January 31, 1956, a Mitchell B-25 bomber crashed in the Monongahela River, just outside of Pittsburgh. The crew of 6 survived the crash, but two were later claimed by the icy waters of the Mon river. No one ever found the bomber. Theories abound in the area that the government covertly brought it up because of a top secret payload.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Inverted. "Mill Hunky", or just "Hunky", is a term that blue collar people of Eastern European descent use affectionately regarding themselves and their culture. At worst, it is a good-natured jab. However years ago it was a derogatory term for Eastern European immigrants, particularly Hungarians, who worked in the steel mills. The term was almost completely reclaimed, but in the 1990s it was still a sensitive topic at least for a small group who complained until the sculptor of a statue depicting a steel worker that was on display in Point Park for a summer had to change its name from "Mill Hunky" to something else.
- It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Inverted. The suburb of North Versailles is pronounced "ver-SALES" rather than the French "ver-SIGH". Other Pittsburgh area towns with French names are pronounced similarly. The only exception is anything with "Duquesne" in the name, where the French pronunciation "du-KANE" is kept.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Pittsburgh is home to two champion sports teams... and the Pirates. The Bucs got better, though, although they haven't won a World Series again yet.
- Named After Somebody Famous: You'll keep running into many of the same names of places.
- Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville: Was instrumental for the French in the French and Indian War and Fort Duquesne was named after him. And Duquesne University and the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
- John Forbes: Who took Fort Duquesne from the French and named his new fort "Fort Pitt" (after William Pitt, see the next name down), thus becoming the man responsible for naming the area "Pittsburgh". Forbes Field is long gone, but is steeped in Pittsburgh sports history. Forbes Avenue is one of the longest streets in Pittsburgh.
- William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who led England as Prime Minister in the French and Indian War (Called the Seven Years War in England). Pittsburgh itself. Even today his coat of arms forms the template of the City of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh. There's also Fort Pitt, and the Fort Pitt tunnels and bridge. Chatham University in Pittsburgh is also named after his title.
- Andrew Carnegie: Moved to Pittsburgh from Scotland when he was 12. The local/Scottish/correct pronunciation is "Car-NAY-gie". Started as a factory worker and worked his way to the top and beyond. The Carnegie Steel Company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. In his later years, he turned to philanthropy, building libraries and schools. Despite all his giving, he still died a very wealthy man. Institutions named after him include the Carnegie Library System, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center (the last three are all operated together as "The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh"), Carnegie Mellon University (as well as one of its predecessors, the Carnegie Institute of Technology), and the suburb of Carnegie. Also Diplodocus carnegii, whose life-size dinosaur statue, "Dippy", is located outside the enormous Oakland museum/library/music hall complex.
- Henry Clay Frick: Was an American industrialist, financier, and art patron. He founded the H. C. Frick & Company coke manufacturing company, was chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company, and played a major role in the formation of the giant U.S. Steel steel manufacturing concern. Did not get along well with Carnegie at all - partly due to Carnegie ignoring his suggestions, leaving Frick as the bad guy and Taking the Bullet figuratively and literally after the bloody Homestead Steel Strike. When Carnegie tried to make amends late in life, Frick famously said to the courier "Tell him Ill see him in Hell, where we both are going." Frick Park, Frick Art and Historical Center, the Frick Building...
- Andrew Mellon: was an American banker, industrialist, philanthropist, art collector, and Secretary of the Treasury from March 4, 1921 until February 12, 1932. Carnegie-Mellon University (and CMU's other predecessor, the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research), Mellon Bank, Mellon Park, Mellon Arena (a sponsored name for the now-demolished Civic Arena), Mellon National Bank Building, The BNY Mellon Center is the second tallest building downtown...
- General John Stanwix: The English General who oversaw the construction of Fort Pitt. The fort's blockhouse still remains and has been turned into the Fort Pitt Museum, currently located in Point Park. Stanwix Street was named after him.
- Andy Warhol: actually Andrew Warhola, but definitely from Pittsburgh; he's buried south of the city. Mr. Pop Culture has the world's largest museum dedicated to a single artist, as well as the Andy Warhol Bridge.
- Lest you think only white guys have things named after them in Pittsburgh, there are bridges in town named after Roberto Clementenote , Rachel Carsonnote , and the Homestead Graysnote .
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Mexican War Streets. It's actually a lovely, diverse neighborhood even if the name sounds like a violent gang movie. In reality, the streets in this district were named after battles and generals in the Mexican-American War. Palo Alto Street, Resaca Place, etc.
- Neologisms/Separated by a Common Language: Pittsburghese — In the Burgh, yinz redd up your room, buy pop and p'rogies note at Jye Neegle note , eat hoagies, bind things with gumbands, and jagoffs neb in your business n'at cuz you say "whenever" whenever most people say "when."
- Never Live It Down: When the city was heavily polluted due to its Steel Industry. When the steel industry moved out of the area, the unemployment rate skyrocketed-nearing 25% in the 80s-and the region went into economic meltdown. Some still refer to the area as "economically depressed" despite the fact that many international corporations are headquartered here in addition to the area being a large hub of education and health care, resulting in a relatively low unemployment rate compared to other areas of the US. Andrew Carnegie, for as awesome as that Scotsman was, never lived down the Johnstown Flood and the Homestead Strike.
- Older Than They Think - though many hockey fans like to look down at Pittsburgh fans as up-and-comers and bandwagoners. However, Pittsburgh's hockey history is nearly as old as the sport. In fact, the first artificial ice arena in North America was in Pittsburgh and the first professional players were in Pittsburgh while the sport was still amateur in Canada.
- Polluted Wasteland: In the 1940s, though it has cleaned itself up unrecognizably since then. There were times during the steel industry's heyday when the smog was so bad the streetlights had to be left on at midday.
- Recycled INSPACE: Pittsburgh Steelers Fans... IN SPACE Emworth, PA native Col. Mike Finke was the commander on the International Space Station, and showed his team spirit when the Steelers played (and beat) the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: In city terms Pittsburgh is usually the Blue Oni to Philadelphia, unless you trigger the Berserk Button above.
- The Rival: Cleveland, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, primarily involving pro sports, though it does trickle into everyday attitudes. Each rivalry has its own flavor:
- Philadelphia is a Sibling Rivalry. Despite being in the same state, they're culturally a world apart (Philly is thoroughly East Coast while Pittsburgh is a mix of East, Midwest, and Appalachian). There is a reason why when the Penguins and Flyers play, it is called the Battle of Pennsylvania. That said, many Steelers fans rooted for the Eagles as they faced the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII, as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports fans have a mutual disdain for Boston sports teams, and after the Eagles ended up winning, some Steelers fans were satisfied that a Pennsylvania team won after all.
- The rivalry with Cleveland is mostly geographic, since it's the closest major city and is similar in culture and industry (though Pittsburgh has fared better economically). But while the Browns are almost always inferior to the Steelers, making the rivalry a bit one-sided, Cleveland still tends to support Pittsburgh at the Super Bowl. It should also be noted that if someone insults Pittsburgh, such as with the Sienna Miller incident, Clevelanders will leap to their defense and vice versa. Steelers owner Dan Rooney was one of only 2 owners who opposed Art Modell's proposal to move the Browns to Baltimore, and during their last game before the move, many Steelers fans wore orange armbands to honor their longtime rival.
- Baltimore is a Worthy Opponent. Despite all the trash talking between players and fans, the Steelers and Ravens show great respect for one another due to their similar ways of playing the game. This could also be considered a legacy rivalry, as the Baltimore Ravens were created as a result of the original Cleveland Browns being moved to the city of Baltimore; and it's even a little bit geographic, as Maryland's western panhandle is nearby (less than two hours' drive) and the Steelers and Ravens fan areas border each other (they blend somewhere between Cumberland, MD and Hagerstown, MD). This doesn't stop Pittsburghers from coming up with interesting epithets for the Ravens, such as the "Ratbirds" and the "Maryland Work-Release Program" (thanks mainly although not entirely to Ray Lewis' legal troubles).
- Scenery Porn: The hilly terrain provides some truly beautiful views, especially in the summer and fall. Mt. Washington is particularly famous for this; that's why every photo of the Pittsburgh skyline is taken from the exact same angle.
- Short Cuts Make Long Delays: The roads weren't planned as the city grew and usually follow the hills rather than going over or through. You can take what you think is a short cut and if you're lucky you'll just end up right back where you started an hour later. If you're unlucky, you wind up in a river.
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Given its evolution from an industrial giant to a technological center, the city runs the entire scale, from the sleek, modern skyscrapers of downtown to the historic brick buildings seen in the outskirts.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Or rather, an "H" on the end, one of the few "burg"'s in the United States to do so: Pittsburgh. It's a complicated story you can read about on Wikipedia.
- Technology Marches On:
- The structure atop the Gulf Tower is lit in different colors depending on the weather. The current system is explained here, though the structure has been a weather beacon in some form or another since the building was completed in 1932. As you can imagine, it's a little obsolete nowadays. Not only do most modern-day Pittsburghers not know the system (rather, they know it exists but not the details), but they're more likely to just check their cell phones for the weather. Instead it's a cool trivia more than anything else.
- The city's shift from dirty industry to advanced technology makes it a literal case of this trope.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Folks in Pittsburgh see Cleveland as their Butt-Monkey and vice versa, especially when it comes to the football teams, but if someone not from either city insults one or the other, they have each others' backs.
- Took a Level in Badass: The Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. After 20 years of losing seasons (the last two being collapses), they broke said streak, made the playoffs, and defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the first ever playoff game held in PNC Park. They would go on to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals, but they have kept up their winning ways since that year.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The Primanti Sandwich, named after Primanti's Restaurant. It's a sandwich, fries, and cole slaw all in one. The story goes that they started putting the fries and cole slaw on the sandwiches so the truck drivers in the strip district could eat the full meal as they drove.
- Pierogies are another favorite, particularly among the Eastern European crowd.
- Don't forget the hotdogs and fries down at the O note in Oakland!
- Or Pamela's pancakes. Presidentially endorsed!
- Oh and Vincent's Pizza Parlor and Shelly Pie... or pizza in general, as the greater Pittsburgh area seems to have a pizza parlor on every street corner, to the point that anyone who resorts to Pizza Hut or Papa John's is simply not trying (unless one did try and honestly prefers them over the local options). Considering that Fox's Pizza Den actually started in Pitcairn, and the large Italian population that's still there, this isn't particularly surprising.
- Speaking of pizza, the competition between Mineo's and Aiello's for best pizza place in Squirrel Hill has been ongoing for years.
- Verbal Tic n'at: "N'at", a Pittsburghese contraction of "and all that," meaning "and so on." Example: "I play a lot of medieval RPG's like The Elder Scrolls n'at."
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Hill District is the most notorious ghetto in Pittsburgh, though there are others.
- Yellow Brick Road: The Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile off-road bike trail that starts at the Point where the three rivers meet and, in Cumberland, MD, joins up with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, a rougher off-road bike trail that runs another 180 miles to Washington, DC. Yep, Stay on the Path, and you can ride your bike off road all the way to the nation's capital. (Elite athletes can make the whole trip in 3 days; amateurs, in about a week.)
- Young and in Charge: Former mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who was the youngest mayor of a major city in American history, taking office at 26 years old. This fact was not lost on political cartoonists, who often portrayed him as a toddler. Fun trivia: he played the kicker for the football team in The Dark Knight Rises.
- Zeerust: Many buildings in the city are over a hundred years old and have ornate outer fixtures as was common back then. In the 1960's and 70's however, there was a push to "modernize" many of the buildings by covering them with cheap metal or concrete facades. Unfortunately, these efforts have not aged well and most of these facades became eyesores◊ over time. Nowadays, the older buildings are either being restored to their former beauty, or torn down and replaced with current modern architecture such as the PNC Tower◊, which replaced the previous photo subjects.
- George Marshall
- Jeff Goldblum
- Zachary Quinto
- Michael Keaton - Born in Coraopolis, he can be seen semi-regularly in town, usually at a sporting event. He's such a passionate Pittsburgh sports fan that he usually gets his contracts to allow him time off of filming in case the Steelers, Pens, or Buccos make the playoffs so that he can come home and go to the games.
- Gene Kelly
- Fred Rogers - Born in Latrobe and spent most of his working life in Pittsburgh; perhaps the world's—or at least America's—most beloved yinzer (his soft accent is characteristic of middle-class Pittsburgh people of his generation).
- Tom Savini
- Jimmy Stewart - From the town of Indiana, about 40 miles east, and now part of metro Pittsburgh.
- Dennis Miller
- George A. Romero
- Chuck Cooper - First African-American drafted into the NBA (yes, there was a time when the NBA was all-white), where he played for the Boston Celtics.
- Mark Cuban Tech entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and panelist on Shark Tank, the US version of the Japanese reality series Dragons' Den.
- Stephen Foster
- Donnie Iris
- Christina Aguilera
- Andy Warhol
- Craig McCracken
- Mary Cassatt
- John Calipari Current University of Kentucky men's basketball coach (born and raised in suburban Moon Township).
- George Karl Longtime NBA coach.
- Countless NFL players. To name just a few of the more notable ones:
- Joe Montana (from nearby Monongahela)
- Johnny Unitas
- Dan Marino
- Joe Namath (from nearby Beaver Falls)
- Tony Dorsett (from nearby Aliquippa)
- Matt Schaub
- Bill Fralic
- Lynn Swann Born in Tennessee and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but spent his entire NFL career with the Steelers, and remained in the Pittsburgh area for decades after retirement, only leaving in 2016 when he became athletic director of his alma mater of USC. Also politically active; one of the country's more notable Black Republicans, he served in a minor post in the George W. Bush Administration and was the GOP nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2006.
- Jason Taylor (retired linebacker/defensive end, currently working as an analyst for ESPN)
- Steve Breaston (Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver}
- Ryan Mundy (Pittsburgh Steelers' safety)
- Ryan Malone
- Arnold Palmer - Golf legend from nearby Latrobe
- Kurt Angle
- Bruno Sammartino - Born in Italy, made his home in Pittsburgh.
- Neil Walker - Pittsburgh Pirates' second baseman
- Andrew Carnegie Immigrant from Scotland who made his fortune in Pittsburgh's steel industry, and then gave much of it away, most notably for libraries throughout the U.S. and Pittsburgh's Carnegie Institute of Technology, one of the two schools that merged into today's Carnegie Mellon University.
- Andrew Mellon
- Thomas Mellon
- George Westinghouse
- Henry J. Heinz - Founder of the ketchup company. Eating Hunts ketchup in Pittsburgh is blasphemy.
- Madalyn Murray O'Hair - Founder of the American Atheists.
- Charles Taze Russell - Founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses
- Rush Limbaugh - Originally from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about two hours' drive south of St. Louis, but before he became the king of American talk radio and the unofficial spokesman for the nation's conservative-leaning citizens, Limbaugh — who used the name "Jeff Christie" — spent some time in The '70s as a DJ for Pittsburgh's KQV-AM radio.
- Ron Paul Though now identified mainly with Texas, where he's lived (when not serving in Congress) since the late 1960s, he was born in Pittsburgh and raised just outside the city in Dormont.
- Jonas Salk
- Joe Manganiello
- Signs Of The Swarm
- The Vogues
- Julie Benz
- Perry Como
- August Wilson
- Billy Gardell - Alternated his youth between Florida and Pittsburgh. Considers Pittsburgh his hometown, and he proudly displays his accent in his stand-ups and acting roles.
- Wiz Khalifa - black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow...
- Donald P. Bellisario - From nearby Charleroi
- Sharon Needles - Drag Queen and winner of the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Originally from Iowa, she traveled the country before settling in Pittsburgh where she established her drag career.
- Alaska Thunderfuck - Drag queen and Sharon's former partner who was a finalist in the fifth season and winner of All Stars 2. The two were the Official Couple of Drag Race until their split in 2013. Originally from Erie before moving to Pittsburgh after college.
- Thomas Bell (birth name Thomas Belachak) - author of Out of This Furnace.
- Ed O'Ross (birth name Edward Orosz) - American character actor.
- Ming-Na Wen - Born in China but emigrated to the US with her family as a child; they eventually settled in the Pittsburgh area. She went to high school in Mount Lebanon, studied theatre at Carnegie Mellon, and worked as a waitress at Chinatown Inn, a fancy Chinese restaurant downtown that her family still owns.
- Gillian Jacobs
- F. Murray Abraham
- Scott Glenn
- Rapper Mac Miller
- Sports YouTuber Urinating Tree is a shameless fan of the local teams and has dedicated multiple videos to them, usually calling out their shortcomings.
- Duolingo is headquartered in Pittsburgh.