Suzie & Peter

September 5, 2010

Suzie and Peter photo

Why Pittsburgh?

Neither of us had ever been to Pittsburgh before we came down to check out Carnegie Mellon School of Design when Peter was looking at grad schools in Fall 2005. Though we got a little confused when coming over the bridges and through the tunnel when we first arrived, we were struck by the feel of the city.

Pittsburgh's history as a dirty coal and steel city has given way to, in our opinion, a wonderful, green liveable city. It has a big city feel in an affordable small city setting. After living here for a few years while in school, we've decided to make Pittsburgh our first home and wanted to show it off to our friends and family who haven't had the opportunity to visit.

One of the most important parts of the city, in Suzie's eyes at least, is the Duquesne Incline. The 133-year-old incline runs from the river level to the top of Mt. Washington, just west of downtown. We rode it just for fun on our first trip to Pittsburgh and have been back many times since then. From the observation platform outside the top station you can look out at the point, the three rivers, downtown and a dozen or so bridges.

The abundance of rivers and hills mean Pittsburgh is also home to an abundance of bridges. By most counts, it has the most in the world, many with very unique designs. Suzie particularly likes the 10th Street Bridge where four dinosaurs are painted near the top of one of the towers. Every time she passes by them, she says hello!

Though Pittsburgh has lost about half its population from its height just after World War II, it's retained an impressive number of cultural institutions. The downtown Cultural District, just across the street from Peter's office, is full of theaters and galleries. We enjoy catching a good show or exhibit every now and then and have been subscribers to the Pittsburgh Symphony for a few years. The collections of the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are fantastic (our favorites are the dinosaur and architecture halls) and Phipps Conservatory's spring flower show has been a repeat destination.

One favorite Saturday morning activity is a trip to the Strip District, the historic market district centered on Penn Avenue and Smallman Street. We brave the crowded sidewalks and shops for fresh produce at the farmer's market and various produce stands, delicious bread and baked goods, fresh mozzarella cheese and authentic Italian pasta and sauce. Peter especially loves the entrance at Wholey's filled with fresh and frozen seafood, with meat around the corner. Being so close to the raw food somehow makes it taste so much better.

We also love spending time outside and find many different ways to have fun. We'll rent a kayak through Kayak Pittsburgh and paddle up the Allegheny River from downtown or explore the rivers from land on the extensive network of bike trails that hug the banks. Or we'll spend time wandering through Schenley or Frick parks and marvel at the stillness and lack of city noise even when we're right in the middle of everything.

In short, we're inviting you to Pittsburgh to share the city we've fallen in love with and we hope you'll find it as enjoyable as we do.