20 Things Pittsburgh Is Known And Famous For

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Pittsburgh is one of the biggest cities in Pennsylvania. Located in the western part of the state, the city sits at the intersection of the Allegheny and Monongahela River. While Pittsburgh was known as the industrial capital of the US from the mid-19th through the 20th century, any visitor will soon find that Pittsburgh is known for much more than that today. 

What Is Pittsburgh Known For?

Pittsburgh is known for being the “Steel City,” home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The city also has a claim to fame, through notable creatives, such as Andy Warhol and August Wilson. Plus, Pittsburgh is famous for its eclectic food, from pierogies to Primanti Bros sandwiches. 

Check out Pittsburgh for a fun, city getaway, full of historic charm, great food, and unique landmarks! This city is definitely worth a visit! 

History, Culture And Traditions Pittsburgh Is Known For

Steel Hub Of The US

Above all, Pittsburgh is famous for its role in US industrial growth, through the production of steel. Andrew Carnegie built his steel empire in Pittsburgh and with its success, the city became an industrial giant. This success brought entrepreneurs and workers to the city in droves. 

Although steel is no longer Pittsburgh’s primary industry, you can still see the effects of years past. If you want to get a feel for Pittsburgh’s ties to the steel industry, check out Rivers of Steel. This national heritage site captures the culture and influence of steel production in the region; you can see the museum, take a tour or even get some hands-on experience. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

What is Pittsburgh known for? Sports, of course! The Pittsburgh Steelers proudly carry on the city’s roots with their name. Although the team was originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933, they adopted the name, the Steelers, seven years later. 

Since then, the Pittsburgh Steelers have played in 8 Super Bowls and won six. If you can catch a game while in Pittsburgh, it’s a great way to get a feel for the city. As a bonus, you’ll get to see Acrisure Stadium (formerly Heinz Field, named after the condiment king from Pittsburgh), which is proudly decked out in Steelers’ colors. 

Sarris Candies

If you have a sweet tooth, you need to visit Sarris Candies! Sarris Candies offers a wonderful assortment of goodies, with favorites being their chocolates and chocolate-covered pretzels. While their treats are sweet, Sarris Candies has an even sweeter backstory. 

The founder, Frank Sarris, started making chocolates to win over his future wife, Athena. Over time, he improved his skills by making chocolates for local consumption in his basement. Eventually, the production grew into an entire store, with chocolates, penny candy, and ice cream. 

You can still enjoy the candies and the nostalgic charm of this local delicacy! Though it isn’t inside Pittsburgh proper, it is something Pittsburgh is known for! Make sure you stop in and treat yourself to something sweet!

Andy Warhol Museum 

Andy Warhol is arguably the most prominent artist to come out of Pittsburgh. He was an instrumental part of the Pop Art movement, starting in the 1960’s. He produced many famous works, such as Campbell’s Soup Cans and Shot Marilyns

With his great stature, Andy Warhol has become one of the legends Pittsburgh is famous for. If you want to pay homage to this great artist, you can visit the Andy Warhol Museum on the north shore of the city. Fun fact: it is the biggest museum devoted to one artist in all of North America. 

In the museum, you can explore Andy Warhol’s life and story, as well as a large permanent exhibition of his work and archives. It makes for a nice visit, but be warned: most of Warhol’s most famous pieces are not housed in this museum. So don’t expect to see the original Campbell’s Soup Cans here. 

Duquesne Incline

The Duquesne Incline is one of the still-function funiculars that Pittsburgh is famous for! Designed by Samuel Diescher, the Duquesne Incline originally transported cargo up and down the steep inclines between the general city and Mount Washington area. 

Later, the funicular was adapted to carry people instead of cargo. It fell out of use in the 1960’s, but was later restored. Now, visitors can use the Duquesne Incline to take in the views and make an easy way up to Mount Washington. (Keep reading to learn more about the Mount Washington area!) 

There is only one other functioning funicular in the area, the Monongahela Incline. Almost all visitors say that a trip up the Duquesne Incline is worth it. This Pittsburgh classic is one of the famous landmarks in Pennsylvania, so make sure you don’t miss out on it!

Districts And Areas Pittsburgh Is Known For 

Mount Washington

Once you take a ride up one of the inclines, you’ll find yourself in the Mount Washington area.

Foodies rejoice! Because there are plenty of bakeries and restaurants here where you can fill your belly. Make sure to check out the renowned “Restaurant Row.” Enjoy a nice meal, while you appreciate some of the best views in the city. 

Other things of note in Mount Washington: spend some time exploring Emerald View, a new park. The beautiful, green space provides a welcome break from the surrounding city. You can also visit the Point of View Park, which features the Point of View Sculpture. 

Most photo collections of Pittsburgh include a shot of this iconic bronze sculpture. Created in 2006 by James West, this work of art shows George Washington (who famously surveyed the area) and local Seneca figure, Guyasuta, gazing at each other. This sculpture pays homage to the early days of Pittsburgh. 

Strip District

The Strip District is one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic neighborhoods, bringing industrial history with modern hustle and bustle. The area is full of old mills and foundries, as well as production sites. This fun shopping area that incorporates the city’s history is emblematic of the mix of old and new that Pittsburgh is known for. 

As industry became less prominent, Pittsburgh repurposed the space. It is now full of small shops, grocery stores, wineries, bars, and some of the best restaurants in the area. In fact, this area is so notable that there are specialty tours! 

So whether you want to wander or do a guided visit, make sure you see the Strip District! Your stomach won’t regret it! 

Randyland  

Head to the Northside of town to get your first glimpse of Randyland! Randyland is best known for its colorful collection of art installations. That makes it a great spot for photos and a local gem Pittsburgh is famous for. 

Randy Gilson founded Randyland in 1995, when he bought a few buildings on a line of credit and turned them into a living art exhibit. Over the years, Randyland has expanded in both area size and acclaim. It is open on most days, but is best enjoyed in nice weather!

Kennywood Amusement Park

Kennywood Amusement Park has also been an entertainment staple in Pittsburgh for years, making it one of the many places Pittsburgh is known for. The park has been open since 1899, starting as a trolley park, where families could relax and have fun after their trolley rides. The park retains its historic charm! 

This amusement park has grown over the years, and is still a fun family destination, even for the local community! It features over 40 rides and attractions to keep you on the edge of your seat.

If you have a flair for roller coasters, make sure you check out Phantom’s Revenge – one of the best coasters in the park! Thrill seekers will have plenty of options here as well.

Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

The Pittsburgh Zoo has been part of the city for over 200 years! In its many years, the organization continuously strive to provide visitors with experiences that create an appreciation for their animals and their conservation mission. We can say this zoo certainly accomplishes that. 

The zoo houses over 8,000 animals of 600 species, so there’s plenty to see! With lots of educational programs and activities for kids (and adults), the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium is a great way to spend an afternoon. 

Landmarks And Architecture Pittsburgh Is Known For 

Phipps Conservatory And Botanical Gardens

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are historic landmarks in Pittsburgh! Located inside one of Pittsburgh’s best neighborhoods, Oakley, this urban retreat is a breath of fresh air.  You can go from the city straight into nature’s beauty, with 15 acres of land and over 20 different gardens. 

Seasonal exhibitions and shows keep the experience exciting for even the most seasoned visitors. The Phipps even offers classes for learners of all ages, so whether you have a green thumb or not there’s always something to enjoy! 

Carnegie Museum Of Natural History

Linked to its history as a steel hub, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History borrows its name from its famous founder, Andrew Carnegie.

With his enormous wealth, Andrew Carnegie was a great philanthropist, investing in several museums. Carnegie committed to the museum because he believed everyone should be able to witness the natural wonders of the world. 

Over time, Carnegie and his philanthropic mission became part of what Pittsburgh is known for. The museum still carries out this mission, with exhibitions on varied topics, such as dinosaurs and Ancient Egypt. It’s an engaging way to spend an afternoon, with activities for visitors of all ages. 

PNC Park

Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park is one of the things people come to Pittsburgh to see. The stadium was originally built in the 1970s and maintains some of its old charms. 

PNC Park is actually among the smallest baseball arenas in the United States when it comes to seating capacity. Nevertheless, when you visit PNC Park, you can also get a different view of the city.

The Pittsburgh downtown skyline rises behind the stadium, including the Roberto Clemente Bridge. This bridge commemorates baseball star, Roberto Clemente, who was a famous right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Enjoy a game and the views from PNC Park!  

Fallingwater 

Fallingwater is a big attraction that Pittsburgh is famous for. Just an hour’s drive outside of Pittsburgh, This beautiful house is a notable masterpiece of American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Wright designed the home with organic architecture in mind, incorporating nature, architecture, and human life into one cohesive whole. The house runs over a waterfall on Bear Run, within the Laurel Highlands. 

The forest itself and the surrounding area is a nice break from the city. At the house, you can visit the museum and cafe, which is notable for its creative dishes. Pair a trip to Fallingwater with Ohiopyle State Park, also in the Laurel Highlands. 

Ohiopyle State Park 

If you feel like getting out of Pittsburgh, head an hour outside of town to Ohiopyle State Park. Although this park isn’t right inside the city, it’s one of the day trip destinations Pittsburgh is known for.

With over 20,500 acres of natural preserve, Ohiopyle State Park offers tons of activities for visitors. From hiking and biking to hunting and fishing, there is plenty of things to do at this nature paradise.

In the park, you will also find Cucumber Falls, a 30-foot-high waterfall, which is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Pennsylvania. Take a walk, enjoy nature, and make sure to snap a few photos of the breathtaking views!

Food Pittsburgh Is Known For 

Pierogies

There are few better places than Pittsburgh to get your fill of pierogies! These are THE iconic Polish food.

Polish immigrants introduced this dish to Pittsburgh originally, and since then, pierogies have become a staple food that Pittsburgh is known for. You’ll find pierogies on basically every menu around town, so make sure you try some during your visit. 

And menus aren’t the only place you’ll see pierogies! Pierogies are so ingrained in Pittsburgh culture, you can even experience pierogi festivals or catch the Great Pierogi Race. The Great Pierogi Race puts several contestants, dressed as giant pierogi mascots, into a race around historic PNC Park. 

Pittsburgh Salad

Local legend has it that the Pittsburgh salad originated from an odd customer order at the Jerry’s Curb Service drive-in. They say “the customer is always right.” Well, this customer got their “steak sandwich, add french fries, no bun, add dressing” order, and the Pittsburgh Salad was born! 

You can find this off-beat salad, with its unique blend of french fries, grilled meat, and vegetables, at lots of local places. That said, you want to give it a try in Pittsburgh. You can even go to a Jerry’s Curb Service if you want the original taste of this legendary salad that Pittsburgh is famous for!

Primanti Bros. Sandwiches

A trip to Pittsburgh is not complete without a stop at Primanti Bros. It is one of the many things Pennsylvania is famous for.

This iconic sandwich restaurant actually started as a sandwich cart on the streets of Pittsburgh. Now you can find them all over town, including their original location in the Strip District. 

If you want to fit in with the locals, try the Pitts-Burgher cheese – one of the most popular items on the menu. As compared to its cousin, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak with thinly sliced beef, the Pitts-Burgher cheese features a classic hamburger patty. 

Why is this sandwich shop such a big part of what Pittsburgh is known for? Well, Primanti Bros. has actually been featured on several TV shows! From Man vs. Food to Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich, Primanti Bros. has had plenty of screentime! 

Famous People From Pittsburgh 

August Wilson

Any theater fan will recognize August Wilson as a key American playwright. Many of his plays are set in Pittsburgh and draw on his experience growing up in the Hill District, during the Civil Rights Era. In fact, the Pittsburgh Cycle, a collection of ten plays, is his most notable work and contributes to what Pittsburgh is known for worldwide. 

Among his many awards, August Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1987 and 1990 for Fences and The Piano Lesson. He also won the Whiting Award in 1986, and the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities in 2004.

Get a closer look at August Wilson’s life by visiting the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh! The center features a permanent exhibit dedicated to this prominent playwright’s life and work.

Mark Cuban 

From entrepreneurship to sports, Mark Cuban is a highly known figure around the United States. Although he grew up in a modest household in Pittsburgh, Mark Cuban gained ground quickly in the entrepreneurial space. He founded and sold two major companies, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions, during the dot-com bubble. 

He is also a big sports contributor. In 2000, Mark Cuban acquired the Dallas Mavericks and became part of the NBA universe. He’s been known to show up with incredible enthusiasm and even sit amongst real Maverick fans. 

If you know Mark Cuban, you’ve probably seen him featured as a “shark” (investor) on the popular show, Shark Tank. Although this shark is found primarily in Dallas now, Pittsburgh still proudly claims him as one of their own. 

Discovering More Things Pittsburgh Is Known And Famous For 

Visit Pittsburgh to see and experience all of the things Pittsburgh is famous for. From its foods and museums to the natural sights just outside of the city, you will get to know this unique region.

Make sure to get a look at what Pittsburgh is known for, but don’t forget to also do some of your own exploring! Pittsburgh has many things to offer. You are bound to find plenty more interesting things and maybe even peculiar traditions and cultures.


WHAT IS PITTSBURGH KNOWN FOR? PIN IT FOR LATER!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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