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Pittsburgh was named by General John Forbes in 1758 in an honor to a British statesman Sir William Pitt. There has always been some confusion about the spelling of the word ‘Pittsburgh'. Initially people spelled it as ‘Pittsborough', but in 1794, it was officially named as ‘Pittsburgh' by the House of Representative and Senate of Pennsylvania. In the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people started to spell it as ‘Pittsburg' (avoiding the h at the end of it). However, in 1921, the Pittsburgh Press finally changed its name of the city to Pittsburgh and asked the people and sports team to follow the given name. Pittsburgh is the second largest city of Pennsylvania and is considered the 22nd largest city of the United States. Pittsburgh was known as ‘The Steel City' and ‘The City of Bridges'. Its economy is largely based on technology, healthcare, robotics, and financial services. According to the July 2009 census, the current population is 311,647, which is a decline of 6.8% since the year 2000. Pittsburgh occupies an area of 58.3 square miles, with land accounting for 55.6 square miles while the remaining 2.8 square miles being covered with water. The city enjoys all the four seasons with hot and humid summer and cold and snowy winters. Spring and fall are comfortably mild and warm. The hottest month of the year is July with occasional heat waves while the coldest month of the year is January, which is snowy with extreme blizzards.

Pittsburgh – A History of the City

The city of Pittsburgh began as a result of the continuous battles between the Native Americans, British and French. These battles were fought over the strip of land when the Monongahela River meets the Allegheny River, which is the point at which the Ohio River forms. Having control over this area would give the ruling party control over the entire Ohio Valley.

In the early 1700's, the European traders began to build a settlement in the area and in 1754, the French forces built Fort Duquesne employ earlier claims on territory made by Robert de La Salle, a French explorer. He believed that land forks in the area that would later become the city of Pittsburg were the key to the “western passage.” It was also an attempt to unite French Quebec with the French Louisiana via the rivers which made the British forces cautious, later resulting in the French and Indian War. After British General John Forbes took over Fort Duquesne from the French, he ordered the building of Fort Pitt and gave the settlement the name “Pittsborough.”

After the American Revolution, the settlement continued to increase in size. One of its first industries was the building of boats for early settlers looking to enter the Ohio Country. In 1794 the Whiskey Rebellion occurred, when farmers revolted against the federal whiskey taxes. The War of 1812 stopped the influx of British supplies, arousing American manufacture and by the year 1815, Pittsburgh was manufacturing significant amounts of iron, tin, brass and glass goods. By the 1840's, Pittsburgh has grown as one of the major cities to the west of the Allegheny Mountains, although this expansion was hindered by large fire in 1845, which burned thousands of buildings. The city bounced back from the fire and by the year 1857, Pittsburgh had over one thousand factories. During the middle of the 1800's, Pittsburgh saw a dramatic arrival of German immigrants. One of them was a brick mason who's son Henry J. Heinz founded the H.J. Heinz Company in 1872.

Lifestyle & the People - Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is considered as an all-in-one city. People here enjoy its cultural activity and it's a home of quite a few sports in which it participates, such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey etc. One aspect that makes this city worth living in is its low cost. The real estate in Pittsburgh is very low compared to the national average in the United States. Besides that, it is one of the few cities in the world to have a very little risk of having a natural disaster such as earthquake, hurricane, tornado etc.

Pittsburgh has a bus way system and a rail system running within the city. Besides that it is also known as the city of bridges, a title it holds with Venice, Italy, with 446 bridges in total. The good network of transportation makes the city accessible to everyone for shopping, going to work, and travelling. Over 3.9 million people visit Pittsburgh in a year. It is a town that can steal your heart with amazing sights and attractions. The residents and visitors enjoy the world class culture, dancing and live music with an amazing night of fun and entertainment. This city is full of life day and night and the icing on the cake is its low cost living which compels people to live in this city. As a result of all these advantages, Forbes magazine has listed Pittsburg as the most livable city in United States.

Career & Employment in Pittsburgh

The city centers on many places to work and start a new business. The main source of income that spurred growth of the economy was the extensive trade of steel. However, it has lately ingrained itself into other businesses as well such as healthcare, robotics, education, technology, and financial services. There are quite a few companies that are on the list of Forbes Fortune 500 companies, like PNC Financial Services, U.S Steels, H.J. Heinz Company, WESCO International, and CONSOL Energy etc. Education plays as important role as an employer, from primary to highly ranked universities. In fact, many universities are currently the largest employers in the city hiring more people than any other companies. University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre hired 48,000 employees while University of Pittsburgh hired 10,700 employees. Recently, Google has set up a facility in Pittsburgh and is currently hiring.

The recession has hit Pittsburgh too as the rest of the world. Data shows that its unemployment rate is 8.5% compared to the country's 10%. Pittsburgh welcomes individual and other companies to start new businesses in the city, which is overflowed with various facilities. The Expansion magazine has ranked Pittsburgh among the top 10 cities for climate favorable for the expansion of business. The government itself assists people with tools and information on financial incentives, regulations, permits and taxes.

Distinctive Experience of Pittsburgh Restaurants

Unlike many other cities in the United States, you won't find many restaurants because of the hills and rivers that make the terrain tricky to have restaurants in all the neighborhoods. However, each district has exclusive restaurants, like the Strip District, South Side and, of course Downtown. Mt Washington, Shadyside, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Oakland, and Squirrel Hill contain a wide variety of restaurants. Primanti Bros sandwich to Pittsburgh is what hot dog is to New York. One can find it at many places but the original is in the Strip District. Squirrel Hill has more ethnic restaurants like Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian, and Contemporary American.

The most famous restaurant is Monterey Bay Fish Grotto - Mt. Washington - which is quite famous for its sea food. Morton's The Steakhouse is the nation's primary steakhouse group that specializes in classic fare, serving generous pieces of lobster, beef, fresh fish and chicken entrees. Angelo's Restaurant is another example of great Italian food with amazing ambience, both indoor and outdoor. There are many restaurants in Pittsburgh that give a romantic feeling for a couple, with fine dining experience. Hyeholde, Stone Mansion Restaurant, Le Pommier, 17th Street Café, Isabela on Grandview are a few examples of romantic dining experience spots with great food and pleasing ambience.

Pittsburgh's Affluent Art, Culture & Entertainment

Pittsburgh is rich in the field of art, culture & entertainment. It has music venues such as Heinz Hall and Benedum Centre. Both places provide venues for many groups such as Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, and River City Brass Band etc. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Pittsburgh Dance Council and host a multitude of dance functions. Polka, square, folk, and round dancing all have a distinct history in the city.

Pittsburgh has many museums, which include the Andy Warhol Museum, a one-of-a-kind performance center and gallery devoted to an American pop culture icon; the Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the top five science museums in the nation; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Mattress Factory exhibit and collect new site-specific installations created by artists in residence. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has a dinosaur collection and an Ancient Egypt wing. The Carnegie Science Center is very much technology oriented. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center are located in the Strip District in the heart of the city. The city also has a zoo, by the name of Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, which is ranked as the fourth best zoo in the United States.

Exploring the City of Pittsburgh

There is a series of outstanding, world-class sights awaiting visitors and locals in Pittsburgh. This is a huge city and the level of the attractions here, including America's National Aviary - a vast indoor aviary and the biggest in the United States, having around 600 birds. Attractions are extremely diverse and range from outdoor bird shows and, feeding displays, to personal encounters with penguins. The other enormous attraction is the Heinz Field baseball stadium - a magnificent stadium is situated within downtown Pittsburgh and is an addition to the city's sporting attractions, completed in 2001, at the cost of $300 million.

Other than that, the main attraction for tourist is the Monongahela Incline. It's a historical railway that is the only constantly operating funicular railway of its kind in all of America. It was started in 1870 and still is popular as a fun outdoor activity. Then it has a Riverboat Cruise that provides an eye-pleasing and a relaxing way to sightsee along Pittsburgh's three main rivers and pass plenty of interesting riverfront sights along the way. People also prefer rowing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting along this region's rivers and creeks. And the hundreds of miles of walking, hiking and bike trails along waterfronts show the spectacular view of Pittsburgh.

An Energetic & Sparkling Nightlife of Pittsburgh

By day, Pittsburgh follows the scuttle of the business crowds, but by night the beeper gives way to the hip-hop of the city as visitors and the residents enjoy world-class culture, live music, dancing and a well-earned night of fun and entertainment. Pittsburgh's wealth of music, theater, dance and nightclubs includes everything from the delicate strings of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to the heart of industrial dancing at Metropol; from the expressive moves of the Pittsburgh Dance Council to the classical dialogues of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. The Pittsburgh Opera presents grand opera, which is sung in original languages with English translations. Regional theatres such as Pittsburgh Public Theater, the O'Reilly Theatre and the local theater, City Theater, enjoy award-winning productions in eye pleasing surroundings.

Pittsburgh is very serious about its drinking. The city of Pittsburgh has its fair share of night clubs and bars that get going around midnight and the electronic music and strobe lights are more popular among the college-going group. Wine bars, casual pubs, historic breweries, and cool, underground cocktail bars tend to draw the more sophisticated clientele, college professors, and professionals. It is said that Pittsburgh has a bar at every corner of a street. The most popular ones are Zen Social Club, Z: Lounge, Kelly's Bar and Lounge, Shadow Lounge, Le Mardi Gras, and Piper's Pub.

The Glory of Shopping & Fashion in the City

The downtown Pittsburgh is a nice place for shopping, due to its compact, walk-able business district. People here enjoy shopping, walking around and dining. There is an abundant shopping in the city with no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Through the Squirrel Hill, there are other malls including Monroeville Mall in the Miracle Mile. On Parkway West between downtown Pittsburgh and the airport, Mall at Robinson and The Pointe at North Fayette offer restaurants, shops and home-décor stores. In the North Hills are the Northway Mall and North Hills Village. Exciting department store branches and boutiques wait at Ross Park Mall. In South Hills are the Village Square Mall, Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, and South Hills Village. Century III Mall offers two hundred specialty shops. The Prime Outlets at Grove City, north of Pittsburgh, have more than 140 outlet stores. The Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills has more than 175 anchor stores and shops. Youngsters love to wear fashionable trendy outfits while the professionals go for a rather corporate wear, which gives a rich blend to the city's fashion.

Other great places to shop in Pittsburgh include Burlington Coat Factory. For fine men's clothing and accessories, Larrimor's in the Union Trust Building is highly recommended by the locals. Lastly, the Pittsburgh's Diamond District, located in the Clark Building is known widely for its fabulous display of wholesale, retail and antique specialty jewelers.

Perfect Looks with Fitting Health and Beauty in the City

The two largest health care providers are the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre and West Penn Allegheny Health System. At present, it operates many academic and community hospitals, with 400 outpatient sites, more than 50 services for physical, speech, occupational and specialty therapies. UPMC is an $8 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the United States. UPMC has advanced the efficiency and quality of healthcare and developed internationally recognized programs in neurosurgery, cancer, orthopedics, transplantation, psychiatry and sports medicine.

West Penn Allegheny Health System is the second largest healthcare provider in Pittsburgh. It serves Pittsburgh and the surrounding five-state area, with a capacity of nearly 2,000 beds. It employs more than 13,000 people, admits nearly 79,000 patients, log over 200,000 emergency visits and deliver more than 4,000 babies each year. Pittsburgh beauty and personal care service businesses provide you with everything you need to look good. Beauty and hair salons offer hair cutting, styling and beauty services. Day spas and destination spas offer a range of skincare services including skin beautification, facials and anti-aging procedures. Medical spas and personal care centers offer a variety of medical health techniques to keep you looking good. The most famous spa and beauty salons are Capristo Hair Salon and Day Spa, Rainy Day Hair Salon, Dawn's Creative Styles etc., with rates ranging from $100 to $400 per service.

Comfortable Lodging in the City - Pittsburgh

There are many hotels and inns in the city of Pittsburgh. It is a very popular destination, especially during the special event period and the summer season. The major hotels give the impression of stunning architecture meeting the modern amenities. All the hotels, especially the hotels in the downtown area, are given thoughtful attention to detail - which mix seamlessly with charming accommodations to form an inviting experience.

Visitors find a welcoming variety of Pittsburgh hotels, with prices to fit just about any budget and amenities to suit most tastes. Business tourists can take advantage of national chains that cater to those with work to do. Families and tourists can sleep comfortably and inexpensively, and business travelers find these hotels in Pittsburgh affordable and attractive options as well. The Renaissance Pittsburgh is known to be the most rated and liked hotel in the city, with great amenities and service. Besides it, there are many others, including Doubletree Hotel, Radisson Hotel, Pittsburgh Crowne Plaza, and Pittsburgh Resident Inn etc. The prices of these hotels can range from $150 to $500. Pittsburgh also has some cheap hotels, especially for bed & breakfast customers; like Econo Lodge, Candlewood Suites, Super 8 Motel, Motel 6 Crafton etc. The prices of these hotels range from $50 to $75.

Getting an Education in Pittsburgh

There are a large variety of different educational facilities in Pittsburgh, starting with elementary schools and ending with several collages and universities. Pittsburgh Public Schools is the school district in Pittsburgh. Public education was established in 1835 and the public school system was formed in 1911. Today the area of this district is 55.3 square miles and the population is around 342,000 making it the largest school district in Allegheny County. There are 66 schools with 29,500 students and 5,200 employees in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Schools in Pittsburgh include 21 K-5 schools, 12 K-8 schools, 7 6-8 schools, 4 6-12 schools, 9 high schools, 6 special schools and 7 preschools. Half of the students are African American, 1/3 is white and there are some Asian, Hispanic and Multi-Racial students as well. 71% of the students qualify for free or reduced meals. In 2009 two schools in this district achieved bronze ranking by US News and World report that compared 21,000 schools in the US.

Pittsburgh offers education and support for students with special needs like visually challenged or deaf students. There is also a center for gifted children. There are many private schools in Pittsburgh; some of the most important are Bishop Canevin High School, Central Catholic High School and The Ellis School. There are many colleges and universities in Pittsburgh, such as the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University. The University of Pittsburgh started as a small private school in 1787 and it located in a small cabin near Pittsburgh rivers. Today it's a well-known learning and research center. There are 12,000 employees for 34,000 students. University of Pittsburgh has a 132-acre main campus and regional campuses in Greensburg, Johnstown, Bradford and Titusville. Carnegie Mellon University is known for its arts and technology programs as well as its innovative approach on education. Duquesne University serves 10,000 students and offers a Catholic-Spiritan approach on education.

Getting Around Oakland

The best way to arrive in Pittsburgh is by plane. The Pittsburgh International Airport is only 10 miles from the city. The airport operated more than 110 destinations until 2007, when it was a major hub of US Airways. Today they only have around 70 departures a day. There are also some smaller airports in the area.

The public transportation system in Pittsburgh is called PAT Transit (Port Authority of Allegheny County). It is among the 15 largest transit agencies in US. PAT operates bus routes, railway, light rail system and subway. Their 875 buses and 83 light rail vehicles can access every part of the city. Pittsburgh has also a special means of transportation – Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines. Thousands of tourists run up and down Mount Washington every year and enjoy the breathtaking view of the whole city that lies below. Locals also use those inclines to get down of Mt. Washington to get a bus ride to downtown. Inclines operate under PAT like the rest of the public transport. A Zone fare structure is used on all buses, trains and inclines.

Taxi service is available mostly in downtown Pittsburgh. Two largest taxi companies are Yellow Cab and People's Cab. Pittsburgh also has 50 Zipcar vehicles available. If you want to drive your own car, you also have the option to hire one from the airport or several car hire companies around the city. Driving in Pittsburgh can be rather tricky, there are many slowpokes and local drivers are very polite and can stop suddenly to let someone cross the road or make a left turn. You also need to watch out for pedestrians and bikers, as the roads are very narrow with a lot of sudden turns and twists. Like in most cities, parking in downtown area is hard to find and expensive. Cheaper parking is available in the suburbs.

Local government services for the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Mayor's office of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is open to the public for information on all inner workings of the city. Advice centers also operate throughout the year and citizens need only make an appointment if they wish to discuss any matter with the city. The City Clerk's Office plays a more behind the scenes role but is also open to the public for accessing information or archives. The Finance Department, administered and managed by the Mayor's Office, holds public records on city budgets and spending and, in collaboration with the Economic Development Department (URA), it keeps the city profitable and progressive.

For further information on development plans, the City Planning Department will offer information by request. The Urban Redevelopment Authority plays a more targeted role in working with the neglected areas of the city but operates similar functions to the City Planning Department and so logs a lot of its activity with this office. Environmental preservation is at the heart of all city initiatives and the Bureau of Building Inspection keeps a keen eye on maintaining this. Both CitiParks and the Public Works Department work alongside the bureau from a local habitat perspective and any citizens keen on getting involved locally should consult CitiParks. Crime prevention in the city is run by the Police Bureau which is kept clean and transparent by the Citizen Police Review Board. The Law Department is involved with the work of both and the Municipal Investigations Department completes the network of protectors of the peace. Pittsburgh Housing Authority maintains affordable accommodation for all, and the city's Water and Sewer Authority provides modern sanitary services to all. The commission on Human Rights makes sure that everyone in the city is in equal standing for these services and the Equal Opportunities Review Commission takes these initiatives into the business heart of the city and individual work places.