Pittsburgh, PA

Destination Location

  • 40.440625, -79.995886:primary
  • 40.491472, -80.23286:secondary

Overview

While Pittsburgh was once known as the Steel City, it is now a modern day haven for art lovers, sports enthusiasts and a burgeoning cultural district.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, a seeming pop culture dream come true. The proud home of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh boasts artistic offerings spanning many different eras. A day trip to the countryside to explore the American Experience at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art is sure to satisfy art enthusiasts of all ages. The Carnegie Science Center features an actual submarine and a miniature railroad complete with live demonstrations. The Carnegie Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of contemporary art while the Carnegie Museum of Natural History houses a legendary dinosaur exhibit, home of the first discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers up family fun and features numerous interactive exhibits and live performances.

No trip to Pittsburgh is complete without experiencing events NFL Steelers, MLB Pirates or NHL Penguins events. There's even a Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Senator John Heinz History Center filled with artifacts and interactive exhibits devoted to athletics in the region. For outdoor enthusiasts, Pittsburgh boasts more than 1,700 acres of parks to explore in the city. Or discover the Duquesne Incline, complete with a breathtaking trip in a historic 100-year-old car taking you to an observatory deck with breathtaking views of the city.

The true taste of Pittsburgh is rooted in its "work-hard, playhard" love of hearty food and drink born of blue-collar roots. Whether it's your first time visiting or you're born and raised, The Primanti Brothers sandwich- an entire meal of meat, cheese, coleslaw and French fries stacked between two thick slices of fresh Italian bread - is a Pittsburgh staple, and will satisfy any foodie.

Take a walking tour of downtown through four neighborhoods showcasing nationally and internationally acclaimed artwork and artists. Since many of these artists were inspired by the Pittsburgh region when they created their pieces, this particular tour is a fantastic and engaging history lesson.

A plethora of world-class wineries are also at your fingertips while visiting Pittsburgh. Nearby Windgate Vineyards and Winery offers handcrafted, award-winning wines complete with a remarkable Amish-built, timber-framed building that houses the winery, tasting room, gift shop and a frontier museum. A mere 25 minutes north of Pittsburgh is The Vineyard by Mellon. This breathtaking must-see is located on top of Mellon's Mount and boasts some of the best panoramic views in Pennsylvania, complete with cozy overnight cabins.

WestJet is pleased to offer service to this destination through our code-share agreement with our great airline partners.

Destination basics

Summers in Pittsburgh are typically hot and humid, with temperatures averaging between 14 C (57 F) and 28 C (83 F). Winters are usually cold and snowy, producing average temperatures between 10 C (50 F) and -6 C (21 F).

Pittsburgh may not be as cosmopolitan as New York City or Chicago, but the sheer volume and variety of its dining and drinking options easily rival that of either of those aforementioned metropolises. An eclectic immigrant population accounts for streets dotted with restaurants serving French, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, and even some of the country's most beloved takes on traditional American fare; both the Big Mac and Heinz Ketchup originated here in Pittsburgh.

Downtown
First thing in the morning, Downtown is a bustling farmer's market. The same energy flows through the lunch hour, with hordes of locals and tourists alike devouring Rubens and matzo ball soup at the Smallman Street Deli. Once night falls, the neighborhood takes on a decidedly different vibe. Converted warehouses and factories house dance clubs like Rosebud Cafe and cutting-edge restaurants like Roland's. Start your evening off right with Happy Hour at Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle. For dinner, stop by Lidia's, the Pittsburgh outpost of a world-famous Italian-food empire. Once full, take in some rock 'n' roll (and a few more drinks) at the 31st Street Pub, a factory-workers' watering hole turned hipster hangout. When the time comes, slake your late-night munchies with one of Primanti Bros.' infamous Primanti Sandwiches (meat, cheese, coleslaw and fries piled high and packed between two thick slices of Italian bread).

Caffe Amante's got many similar offerings, albeit with a strong Italian foundation. Christo, the chef at Christo's, made a name for himself as Jackie Kennedy Onassis' personal cook aboard her personal yacht. If, rather than dinner and history, you'd prefer dinner and jazz, head on into Dowe's on 9th for soul food and live bands.

North Side
It is clear at this point that beer enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to on a trip to Pittsburgh, but perhaps none as surreal as Lawrenceville's Church Brew Works, an enormous beer hall on the site of a former church. Just a ways down Liberty Avenue is Del's Bar & Ristorante DelPizzo, in Bloomfield. Here, you'll delight in freshly baked gourmet pizza pies, or perhaps a rich veal entrée if you're feeling hungry.

This neighborhood is home to sports meccas PNC Park and Heinz Field, so the dining options tend toward the pub and tavern variety. Penn Brewery is a keeper, featuring authentic German-style lagers and hearty German cuisine, all served in a historic industrial building. The Triangle Bar is classic Americana, famous for its huge hoagies (with names like "Destroyer" and "Battleship") and popular with locals for keeping special hours in accordance with Steelers games.

Southside
This is the place to be on weekends. Carson Street is packed with a striking variety of restaurants and bars that attract everyone from yuppies to bikers. During soccer season, spend an afternoon at Piper's Pub, a place so authentically British that soccer here is called "football" and games are "matches." If you're up for it, sample a handful of the wide variety of scotches Piper's offers. Mario's/Blue Lou's Southside Saloon were two bars that went so well together, the proprietors knocked down the wall dividing them, opening up one massive complex for patrons to enjoy; stop in at Happy Hour and see this anomaly for yourself. When hunger strikes, the options never end. Try Fat Head's Saloon for a sandwich that is anything but simple. Their menu of colossal sandwiches (such as "The Artery Clogger") goes well with their startlingly global beer selection. Visit Dish for a contemporary yet traditional take on Italian. If you prefer surf to turf and you like your surf raw, step into Sushi Two.

 East End
Among other things, Oakland is home to some of Pittsburgh's most beloved Indian food. If spice sounds good, but you crave something with a little more of a South-of-the-border kick, venture into Mad Mex, an esteemed regional chain that serves up lovingly made monster-sized burritos (alongside your choice of a number of interesting microbrews). For a mellower meal than all of that, slip into Oakland's Spice Island Tea House, a tranquil spot specializing in pan-Asian cuisine. Vegetarians love it here!

Here, we depart from tavern-centric dining and get decidedly more eclectic. Sandwiches, salads, soups and more, all featuring fresh seasonal ingredients are the stars of the show at Cafe Zinho. Girasole also traffics in fresh and seasonal fare, this time with an Italian flair. While Italy may be on the Mediterranean, its cuisine is by no means the only dining option there. Casbah presents a broad range of specialties from countries and cultures all around the storied sea. While Casbah celebrates a whole panoply of cultures, La Feria sets its sights on just one. It is a restaurant/craft gallery dedicated to preserving and honoring Peruvian culture. Enjoy some South American soul food and then peruse the gift shop. Finally, sometimes you just crave sushi. When the mood hits you, hit Sushi Too.

Pittsburgh has three rivers—the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio-- and five main districts—North Side, West End, South Side, East End and Downtown, all of which are comprised of many other smaller districts. Everything else, such as the Pittsburgh International Airport, is in the surrounding Allegheny County.

Downtown
It's a short trip from the airport to Downtown. Here stand the old, classic parts of Pittsburgh, including Fort Pitt Museum and Blockhouse, the original settlement built by the British settlers in the 18th Century. Here too are the modern economic structures of the Golden Triangle district that reflect Pittsburgh's dynamic economy. The smaller neighborhood of the Strip District provides a satisfying place to find dinner and nighttime entertainment. Restaurants and bars like Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle Irish Pub, and Primanti Bros. Restaurant give you plenty of ways to experience the eclectic community. The Strip offers a wide choice of coffee shops, cafes, and some living history in the wholesale produce markets.

North Side
The North Side is dominated by two baseball and football stadiums. It's an old working-class neighborhood that is noteworthy for the interesting architecture of the many 19th-century homes that line the streets, such as the Preserve Cottage. Stroll through and take a look at the intricate woodwork, decorative ceramic tile, slate roofs, and stained glass. For those searching for a day out, you can take in a game and then have something to eat at a place like Penn Brewery or the Church Brew Works.

West End
This neighborhood is often overlooked for its busier counterparts, but West End holds its own treasures. It encompasses the Mount Washington district, and the best view from the 400-foot top of Mt. Washington. The whole city and the mighty, muddy Monongahela River are laid out below, like a postcard. Among its most interesting features are its inclined railways, or funiculars, that run up the Appalachian hills in and around the city, a remnant of the old mining industry. Still, there are many things to do in this district. The Meter Room hosts modern art pieces in a contemporary setting. A tasty meal can be had at Cain's.

South Side
This is the place to be on weekends, with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance of each other. Once the crowded home to thousands of mill workers, this has become a trendy place to live and also a great place to scope out art. Houlihan's keeps its customers satisfied with stellar cuisine. The Carson Street and Shadyside neighborhoods also have some galleries, like the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

East End
This area is primarily known for its universities and ritzy neighborhoods. Both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh call this district home, and the businesses have shaped themselves accordingly. The street-side cafes, restaurants, and bookstores all exude academia, all the while mingling with the high-end residential neighborhoods that surround them. Prantl's Bakery, La Feria and Caesar's Designs are all must-stops.

Whether you like opera or alternative music, ballet or football, concerts or museums, Pittsburgh has something for you.

Performing Arts
Near downtown is Pittsburgh's cultural district, a six-block area containing the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Heinz Hall and the Byham Theater. These are the heart of culture and performing arts in Pittsburgh.

Museums & Galleries
For those who prefer to view the Masters, the Carnegie Museum of Art is a must. The museum balances impressionism and cubism with modern art and photography exhibits. On the other side of the building, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History enthralls visitors with exhibits on Native Americans and ancient Egypt. But the favorite exhibit is the Dinosaur Hall. One of America's first teams of paleontologists was sent in search of fossils and dinosaur bones. They brought back a skeleton, which they named Diplodocus Carnegie in honor of the museum's founder, Andrew Carnegie.

If you like to learn while you have fun, be sure to visit the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side. In addition to a variety of exhibits and interactive stations for kids, the museum has an Omnimax Theater, which thrills visitors with its huge screen and breathtaking films.

Parks
Schenley Park is the site of many summertime concerts and events, while the pool and baseball field at Riverview Park attract many locals. Hikers spend long hours exploring Highland Park, and the Allegheny County Parks attract fisherman, boaters and golfers. The many species of plants and flowers at Phipps Garden Center, as well as the restaurant, pull in many visitors and locals alike.

Sports
Also on the North Side, two new stadiums dominate the north side of the Allegheny River. Pittsburgh may no longer be the City of Champions (as it was known in the 1970s), but Pittsburghers still love their sports teams. Every Steelers game is sold out at Heinz Field and devoted fans continue to support the ailing Pirates, especially on nights featuring fireworks after the game at PNC Park

Pittsburgh

State: Pennsylvania

Country: United States

Pittsburgh By The Numbers 
Population: 304,391
Elevation: 1,223 feet / 373 meters
Average Annual Rainfall: 35 inches / 89 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 41 inches / 104 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 28°F / -2.2°C
Average July Temperature: 75°F / 23.9°C

Quick Facts 

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: EST- 5; Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 412; 724; 878

Did You Know?

Pittsburgh is one of the few cities that has retained the “h” at the end of its name. Though this was initially a rather lax rule with the ending often dropped, the old spelling was officially restored to “Pittsburgh” in 1911.

Orientation

Located in western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is lies next to where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet and form the Ohio Rivera. The city is about 300 miles (483 kilometers) west from Philadelphia, PA and 245 miles (394 kilometers) from Washington DC.

The earliest inhabitants of Pittsburgh were the Iroquois Indians, part of a larger nation of Native American tribes living in the region. The first European influence came from visiting British and French traders who began establishing trade routes along the nearby rivers. The first written record of the area is from 1749, when two French explorers visited the location, centered on the point at which the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. In 1754 the French built Fort Duquesne at this critical junction, but the English overtook it in 1758 during the French Indian War. Seeing the strategic benefits of this location, the British built another fort at the same site and named it Fort Pitt after their Secretary of State, William Pitt the Elder. As it was the first of their forts not to be burned down by the French, the name stuck, and the surrounding region soon became known as Pittsborough. During this time, many farmers were drawn to the security of the fort and the area's fertile farmland, establishing strong roots in the region.

In 1770, farmers plowing the land discovered rich deposits of coal in an area near the fort. The great promise of wealth drew large numbers of people from cosmopolitan cities like Boston and New York. Minerals have been the prime industry here ever since: coal, glass, aluminum, and, of course, steel. By 1816, the booming manufacturing industry in the area prompted the incorporation of Pittsburgh as a city, and by 1840, it was one of the largest metropolitan areas in the region. A devastating fire destroyed large sections of the downtown five years later, but it was quickly rebuilt and continued to grow, modernizing its industries and cityscape accordingly. During the Civil War, the city's iron factories were major suppliers to the Union army, providing warships, armor plates and weaponry to troops. In the decades that followed, over 60 glass factories sprung up in what is now the South Side neighborhood, and in 1888, production began on a new material called aluminum, taking the manufacturing industry by storm.

Iron was a large industry here even before the Civil War, and by the time Andrew Carnegie built his mills in the 1870's, steel had developed into the giant industry of legend. Trains, suspension bridges, railways, and skyscraper girders were important exports of the factories, and by the beginning of the 20th century, new inventions like the electric toasters, light fixtures, and automobiles were keeping the city moving. Consequently, with the rise of commerce, came the birth of the labor movement- the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded here in 1881.

Pittsburgh was a major supplier of military equipment during the two World Wars, and consequently this dramatically worsened the already large pollution problem that had developed in the area. Following WWII, the city began a campaign called the "Renaissance" that was meant to promote efforts to clean the air and revitalize the cultural life of the city. These labors were not in vain, and a vibrant art world began to flourish in what was previously considered solely an industrial city.

The donations of many nonprofit organizations and wealthy benefactors helped create a strong artistic and cultural base in Pittsburgh. Dance, theater, film, and radio all have an important place in the country's entertainment industry. The city is home to many “firsts” in these sectors: in 1905 The Nickelodeon opened as the first theater in the world that only showed movies, while the world's first commercial radio station, "networked" television station, and non-commercial television station all have their roots here. This rich cultural tradition produced several well-known media figures as well. Perhaps the most famous is the late Andy Warhol, who popularized the style of Pop Art and was honored in 1994 by a museum celebrating his work. Another icon is Fred Rogers, the beloved figure of “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” who spent much of his life living and working in the Pittsburgh area.

Sports have a long history in Pittsburgh, both on the professional and collegiate levels. The Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team in Major League Baseball to field an entirely African-American team in 1971, while the Steelers have been five-time National Football League champions. With a number of coaching legends, Olympic winners, and all-star players, Pittsburgh has gained the appellation of the "City of Champions".

Despite the infamous dip in the American steel industry during the 1970's, the economic health of the region has generally been good. Though Pittsburgh initially suffered a great deal of job losses, it rebounded and has become an example of how cities can economically diversify following a major industry shake-up. It is still home to many large corporate headquarters, and has developed strong banking, technology, and health care industries. There are hundreds of research labs on the forefront of scientific discovery, and the city boasts one of the highest populations of scientists and engineers holding doctoral degrees. Academics have always been an important part of the life of the city as well. With nearly 30 universities in the region and 10 within the city itself, a great deal of focus is placed upon higher learning. Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh have a long history of important scientific discoveries and are among the top rated establishments in the country.

In 1977, the "Renaissance II" project was launched, concentrating on the development of a stronger cultural base and promotion of neighborhood health. In fact, the city usually rates as one of the most livable metropolitan areas in the country. The FBI named Pittsburgh as the safest metropolitan area with a population of 1,000,000 or more. With a variety of parks, restaurants, museums, artistic venues, it is no wonder that Pittsburgh continues to grow.

Points of interest in Pittsburgh, PA

See all points of interest Pittsburgh, PA

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

Explore our world.

or find your dream vacation with our Vacation Finder