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Insider's Guide to Living in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is as strong as the steel it’s known for. Fire couldn’t slow it down in 1845; flood couldn’t damper its spirits in 1936. Its indominable soul has forged a robust energy that makes visiting or living in Pittsburgh such a dream.

Decades of industry experience means the award-winning team at DRB Homes is singularly poised to make your Pittsburgh dream come true as we build our next outstanding home just for you. A home that meets your unique needs, designed by our experts to truly personalize your new home. We partner with some of the most sought-after and well-respected vendors to ensure that everything—from the countertops and flooring to the appliances and Smart Home technology—creates a space that will be both beautiful and functional for years to come.

And to help you decide that Pittsburgh is the right place for you to call home, we’ve put together this Insider’s Guide. Explore this area’s rich history, discover some of the best things to do in the city, find your new favorite coffee place, and learn how much fun living in Pittsburgh truly is.


Pittsburgh History

The Pittsburgh we know started developing shortly after the birth of our nation. It got its name earlier but was incorporated in 1794. It’s located in a very special part of Western Pennsylvania where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River combine to create the Ohio River (“The Point”), putting it in a prime place for industry. And as industry grew, so did Pittsburgh’s size, importance, culture, and diversity.

After WWII, two revitalization projects were launched— “Renaissance” and “Renaissance II”—that focused on cleaning up the city’s air and water quality and improving neighborhoods and culture. The result? Pittsburgh was reborn! 

Pittsburgh Outstanding Livability

The Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates rouse the crowds. Healthcare, education, and tech industries are growing and thriving. Tourists are visiting in droves to sample the city’s flourishing dining experiences. It’s no wonder institutions like Livability and The Economist Intelligence Unit have recently touted Pittsburgh as one of the “most livable” and “best places to live” in the US!

With almost 2,000 acres of green in city parks alone, Pittsburgh makes sure residents can take advantage of natural ways to relax. Downtown Pittsburgh has an almost perfect Walk Score® of 99, a Transit Score® of 95, and a Bike Score® of 77, making it incredibly easy to get around without using your car. Indeed, you’ll find beautiful urban vistas as you travel over the many bridges (400+) throughout the city.


As one of the “best places to live,” Pittsburgh always has something going on. From a bustling and happening nightlife scene to more family-friendly places to explore, every age is ready to be wowed here.

The Blockhouse

With the history of the city preserved in many protected buildings, every new adventure connects you even closer to the soul of Pittsburgh. The Blockhouse is one such construction. It’s the oldest building in Western Pennsylvania and the sole surviving portion of Fort Pitt built in 1764. Now, it’s part of Point State Park, which also features the Fort Pitt Museum—a 12,000 sq. ft. learning center built on top of the original Fort Pitt’s Monongahela Bastion (once the second largest fort in North America). Here you can enjoy interactive exhibits, life-like historical figures, and artifact collections dating back centuries.

The Pittsburgh Inclines

Pittsburgh has been such a successful industrial city due to its rich mineral deposits in its many hills. To get workers up to the mines, inclines were built: wooden cable cars that went from the bottom of a hill to the top. In its prime, almost two dozen inclines were in use, but now only two remain. Instead of transporting miners, however, they bring visitors up to the top of hills to take in spectacular city views. The Duquesne Incline, built in 1877, has an upper station with a Pittsburgh history museum and giftshop of unusual souvenirs. The Monongahela Incline was built in 1870 and was the first passenger funicular railway built in the United States. The Mon Incline (as it’s known to locals) takes you up Mount Washington, where you’ll find some delicious, authentic Pittsburgh restaurants and shops to enjoy.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Another mainstay is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which has been captivating hearts and imaginations since 1893. Spread out over 15 glorious acres are 23 distinct gardens including a 14-room glasshouse. Phipps champions sustainable architecture and the latest in green building technology. From the LEED®-certified Welcome Center, you’ll explore an ever-changing, seasonal array of flora and exhibits. And don’t forget to marvel at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes which is proudly one of the greenest buildings on the planet.

The Frick Pittsburgh

When you want the most museum experiences all at once, visit The Frick Pittsburgh, which is an entire collection of museums and historical buildings. There’s the restored Frick mansion: Clayton, The Frick Art Museum, The Car and Carriage Museum (closed for upgrades until May 2023), the Greenhouse, Frick children’s playhouse, and The Café. And even better—especially for large families and groups—admission is free!

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

There’s certainly no missing The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Here kids can explore the arts and sciences from the depths of human kindness to the heights of innovation. With many different, kinetic, and experiential exhibits, young visitors don’t just look and hear, but also touch, create, play, crawl, twist, and climb their way through art, design, nature, and science.

Andy Warhol Museum

And speaking of galleries not to miss, visiting the Andy Warhol Museum is a no brainer. In the city of his birth, this museum boasts 17 galleries on 7 floors. Come experience the largest collection of Warhol art and archival materials in the world and see what made Andy Warhol such an icon and iconoclast all rolled into one.

Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop

It’s not soup, but we’re sure Andy Warhol would love all the bright colors at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. This Pittsburgh gem will reward your sweet tooth with a huge collection of retro candy, including over 250 candy bars (of course, Pittsburgh’s own Clark Bar is here) and 100 bulk candies. Enjoy unique gifts, old fashioned soda, and the $5 candy buffet—as much as you can fit in a box for only $5!


Pittsburgh is a destination for food lovers! Every neighborhood in and around town have some of the best, local restaurants you can find, especially when it come to Italian and Polish cuisine.

The Strip District

One of the first places you’ll want to explore is The Strip. Get ready for every sight, smell, and taste your mouth could ever desire. Multicultural grocers, produce stands, meat and fish markets, sidewalk vendors, roasted coffee, fresh bread: The Strip is where you come to get it all. Locals love it for its low prices and diverse culinary options, but you’ll love it for… well… exactly the same reasons!

Primanti Bros.

You’ll quickly find that many of Pittsburgh’s signature dishes evolved from its industrious past. As miners or truck drivers needed food during their working day, Pittsburgh cuisine invented self-contained and all-in-one options. And what satisfied that utilitarian hunger? Primanti Bros. lent a helping hand to truckers who needed to keep one hand on the wheel by putting everything into their sandwich. One bite gets you sandwich, coleslaw, and fries in this deliciously-Pittsburgh delight and cemented Primanti Bros. as an institution in the city.


Fries are very important to Pittsburgh. You’ll not only find them on sandwiches, but you’ll also find them on salads instead of croutons! But fries don’t get relegated to being on top of things: Sometimes, they’re the base of something unbelievable. We’re talking about loaded fries, topped with cheese and bacon and all sorts of other delicious things. Find unique things to do with your fries at restaurants all over the city.

Chipped Chopped Ham

Chipped chopped ham is another Pittsburgh staple you’ll find at sandwich shops all over the city, made famous by Isaly’s and now marketed at Isaly’s chipped ham, even though the Isaly’s stores no longer exist. This seasoned ham sliced super thin really gained prominence as a luncheon meat after World War II. Enjoy it multiple ways, but make sure to try it with BBQ sauce (or just ketchup and relish) for an authentic taste of the city.


When Pittsburgh was bustling as a steel city, large numbers of Eastern European immigrants came to the city looking for work. With them, they brought many delicious dishes which have been woven into the culinary fabric of our city. One of the most popular dishes is pierogi. Pierogi are filled dumplings full of love and history and flavors that celebrate the city’s rich cultural heritage. You can find them across the city from food trucks to high-end restaurants (and even costumed versions racing in between innings of Pirates games). One restaurant we recommend is Apteka. Open only for dinner, come early and come hungry to sample all their delectable creations—and don’t forget the pierogi!

Joseph Tambellini Restaurant

When you want to go to a place that’s extra fancy, we have the perfect recommendation. Since 2007, Joseph Tambellini Restaurant has been a staple in the Pittsburgh fine dining scene. Here, you’ll enjoy elegantly and impeccably prepared Italian-inspired meals. Market-fresh fish, steaks, pastas, chicken, veal, and handmade signature desserts combine to form an exceptional experience. Plus, the extensive Italian and Californian wine list is ready to perfectly complement any meal. And to add even more ambience, each floor has a different style and character, including the outdoor patio.


One big tip: When dining in Pittsburgh, if you want a soft drink, ask for “pop.” Not “soda” and not “soda-pop.” Just “pop.”


Cost of Living in Pittsburgh

According to Salary.com, Pittsburgh’s cost of living is 5.5% lower than the National Average, which means your homebuying money will get you more! That same report cites that the city is ranked number 8 in the country for public transportation availability, which is something Pittsburghers wholeheartedly take advantage of.

Affordable Housing Market in Pittsburgh

Money.com reports that the Urban Reform Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy call Pittsburgh the “most affordable housing market in the world.” Money also reported that data from Realtor.com showed the median listing price for a home in Pittsburgh is over $180,000 less than the national median listing. And with less competition than in other housing markets, Pittsburgh is an easier city in which to relocate.

Jobs and Education in Pittsburgh

After Pittsburgh’s two renaissances, the city became a beacon to the health care, education, and tech industries. Amongst the Golden Triangle (its Downtown section) and throughout all 90 neighborhoods, employment and education opportunities abound. Over 1,500 tech companies—including Google, Apple, Meta, and Amazon—and 68 colleges and universities are waiting to make your Pittsburgh dreams of advancement a reality.

Pittsburgh Sports

But it’s not just jobs and schools that unite the city: Pittsburgh’s lively and active sports culture brings the whole city together. Cheer for its MLB Pittsburgh Pirates (7 World Series wins), NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (6 Super Bowl wins), and NHL Penguins (5 Stanley Cup wins). Get your Terrible Towel ready as you become an instant fan too.

Living in Pittsburgh: First Steps

Your first step when moving to Pittsburgh should be checking out the city’s official website. Here you’ll find all sorts of links to everything from job opportunities to permits & licenses to visitor guides. And then, when you’re ready to find your new home, head to DRB Homes!


Visiting Pittsburgh is great, but living in Pittsburgh is even better. From the lower cost of living to all the culture and history, this city is a phenomenal place to call home. With a bustling sports scene, loads of unique things to do, and unbelievable dining options, Pittsburgh really does have it all.

One thing you do need to get used to, however, is the lingo. Here’s a primer from the Pittsburgh CityPaper to help get your ear attuned to some of the more creative ways they speak in the ‘burgh.

And never forget that without Pittsburgh, there would be no Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. So, when you’re thinking of moving, consider answering Pittsburgh’s call, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Check out new homes for sale in Pittsburgh, and start living your dreams today.