Are you thinking about moving to Pittsburgh, PA? “Steel City” may be known for Heinz Ketchup and its many bridges, however, there’s so much more to living in Pittsburgh, PA.
The bustling city of Pittsburgh is full of vibrant culture, international flavors, and distinct neighborhoods worth exploring. Whether you’re in the market to buy a house or rent an apartment in Pittsburgh, you’re most likely interested in hearing what residents have to say about the city. From the locals themselves, here are 11 tips for moving to Pittsburgh. With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why Pittsburgh is an attractive place to call home.
1. Embrace Pittsburgh’s history
“Pittsburgh is my adopted hometown,” shares Rudy, travel blogger at Backpack and Snorkel. “I moved here because I love the people, beautiful parks, top museums, top healthcare, high tech industry, and affordable cost of living, which all make Pittsburgh a livable city. But, Pittsburgh has so much more. You can visit the Meadowcroft Rockshelter where people lived more than 16,000 years ago, the original Fort Pitt Block House where Pittsburgh began, and the Carrie Blast Furnace which helped make Pittsburgh the Steel City. You can walk along 4th Avenue, Pittsburgh’s former Wall Street, and cross some of the bridges of which we have more than Venice. Pittsburghers even have their own language and food – there is so much to discover and so many reasons to move to Pittsburgh.”
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2. Taste the flavors of the city
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“Moving day can be hectic, so don’t forget to eat,” suggests Aimee DiAndrea Anoia, owner of DiAnoia’s Eatery. “We recommend grabbing something in the Strip District, though we may be a little biased our very own we own DiAnoia’s Eatery, Pane è Pronto take-out/bakery, and Pizzeria Davide (pizza: great moving-day food) are all located in the Strip. Our other favorite places to grab a bite include Bar Marco, Cinderlands and Wigle Whiskey, along with specialty markets like Penn Mac and Parma Sausage. The Strip is also home to Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (where I used to dance and work). Of course, the Strip is just one of Pittsburgh’s many diverse and vibrant neighborhoods – you have some fun exploring ahead of you.”
3. Explore the city’s neighborhoods
“If you’re planning to move to Pittsburgh, PA, be sure to explore the different neighborhoods before deciding on where to live,” suggests lifestyle blogger Kelsey Breisinger of Kelclight. “Each neighborhood in Pittsburgh has its own unique feel and character, so it’s important to find one that fits your vibe. I personally love the Shadyside area. It’s trendy, walkable and offers a ton of great local restaurants. I love going to Square cafe for breakfast, Mola is amazing for sushi and Millie’s of course for dessert.”
4. Don’t take the landscape for granted
“Pittsburgh has a good mix of small town charm and big city feels,” explains local blogger Cristina Zaragoza of Styleanthropy. “Coming from the big state of Texas, it took some time getting used to the narrow and steep roads. But that’s what makes this city so beautiful – the picturesque hills and rivers, all connected by 446 bridges. It’s vibrant and full of character, and the food scene is exceptional.”
5. Be ahead of the game on move-in day
“Be sure to have all belongings packed and ready to be loaded by the movers prior to their arrival,” says Made EZ Moving. “All boxes should be closed and sealed with tape to protect the items. And label, label, label as this makes it much easier for the movers to know where to place the items in your new home and easier for you to unpack. This will ensure all of your belongings are moved safely and efficiently and that your moving day is ‘Made EZ’.”
“The city and people of Pittsburgh are beautiful and unique, and one thing that makes us this way is our hills – they’re the steepest in the world,” says Ross Pritchett, owner of local moving company, Meta Movers. “These hills and tight streets also make it difficult come move-in day. Be sure to have parking reserved for the truck. Also, if you’re moving in during winter, make sure driveways and staircases are clear from snow and ice. Our day starts with a coffee at Black Forge in Allentown, brunch buffet between jobs at The Zenith in South Side, then grabbing a record from Pleasant Dream Records in Polish Hill to unwind at the end of the day.”
6. Save your spot, get settled, and start exploring
“If you, like me, are no stranger to snagging great collections from curb alerts and bulk trash night, be warned,” says Quelcy Kogel, local food stylist and cookbook author of With The Grains. “That chair sitting on a Pittsburgh road is not up for grabs. That’s a Pittsburgh parking institution, and it means the parking spot is taken. That’s right, you can use a chair to save space for your U-haul on your moving day. Once you’re settled, Pittsburgh is a delightfully approachable city. Try to meet your neighbors. Talk to your baristas. Support the local food scene, and hit the Bloomfield Farmer’s Market for local produce and some amazing food vendors like Wise County Biscuits and Fet-Fisk.”
7. Explore the restaurant scene
Pittsburgh is a large city, so finding your people right away might be hard. Find an area or community you resonate with before you move. If you’re a foodie, East Liberty may be just the spot for you. In the heart of East Liberty, you’ll find Bakery Square, an open-air shopping and office development with several food choices from, including Tako Torta, Alta Via Pizzeria, and Galley.
8. Be ready to experience all four seasons
“In your first few months in Pittsburgh, you can expect to experience the city’s four distinct seasons,” explains local moving, cleaning, and installation company, Fast & Efficient. “Summers are warm and humid, while winters can be cold and snowy. You’ll find a mix of historic and modern architecture, and a diverse population that takes pride in their city. Take advantage of the city’s many cultural institutions, such as the Carnegie Museums and the Andy Warhol Museum, and enjoy the outdoors at one of the many parks, such as Schenley Park or Point State Park. Living in Pittsburgh means you’ll have access to a wide range of entertainment and dining options. The city’s food scene is diverse and offers everything from classic Pittsburgh sandwiches to international cuisine.”
9. Be open to new traditions and experiences
“Pittsburgh is an incredible mix of old-school, small-town charm and high-tech, cutting-edge progress,” explains Susan Stabnau of Bona Fide Bellevue. “But what you’ll quickly discover are all of the quirky traditions and cool experiences that make the city special and such a great place to call home. First, you’ll have to get used to the Pittsburgh Left – aka, if you’re first in line to turn left at a red light and you get waved on by the driver coming at you – be ready to go. Long-term Pittsburghers are a friendly bunch so don’t be alarmed when people you don’t know strike up conversations; everyone is just a friend you haven’t met yet and they take that very seriously.”
Stabnau goes on to explain that Bellevue is a community within Pittsburgh that has recently undergone a resurgence. The area is home to great restaurants, coffee shops, a brewery, salons, and other small businesses. Bellevue also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Art & Wine Crawl, Rhythm & Brews, Farmers Market, Live Worship Shop House Tour, and Light Up Bellevue holiday celebration – all sponsored by Bona Fide Bellevue.
10. Become an expert on your new city
You might know that the steel industry was born here. Or, that Pittsburghers put fries on everything. But do you know Pittsburgh, for real? Consider signing up for this 12-part email course and learn the how’s and why’s of Pittsburgh and the region.
11. Live like a local and embrace the pride
“Pittsburghers are a welcoming bunch, and you can expect us to brag about our city and how lucky you are to be in it,” shares Monica Grunick, founder of local gift shop, love, Pittsburgh. “If we ask you a lot of questions it’s just our nebby (Pittsburghese for nosey) nature, and our way to get to know you. Pro tip: if you need to save a spot for your moving truck, put a parking chair on the street – our version of reserved parking.”