Pittsburgh, PA

City Population: 305,704 | City Area: 58.3 sq mi (151 km2) | Population Density: 5,636 | Elevation: high – 1,370 ft (420 m); low – 710 ft (220 m)
Dates Visited: 09.11.12 – | Total Inter-City Miles Traveled: 1,322 miles| Total Hours Traveled: 27.5 hours
Inter-City Transportation: Megabus #5 | Origin: State College, PA

Historically known for steel manufacturing, Pittsburgh has had a reputation as a dirty, industrial city–but views of that are quickly changing. Home to one of the world’s greenest buildings and landscapes and a growing creative hub for talented artists, Pittsburgh has been climbing the ranks to become one of the most livable cities in the U.S.

The city was founded at the confluence of its three rivers: the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio River; a strategic location for trading, forts, and later, industry.

My Megabus ride into Pittsburgh from State College was easy and enjoyable, especially since I had a four-top all to myself. Once I arrived, I could the many similarities between Pittsburgh and my hometown city, Baltimore. From painted rowhouses and historic buildings to the industrial character, Pittsburgh is a lot like Baltimore, just with steeper hills and more bridges.

There’s probably a lot about Pittsburgh that would surprise a newcomer. When I told people that I’d be visiting Pittsburgh, the answer was usually the same: “Why?” And, especially as a non-sports fan, I also thought about passing up Pittsburgh. But this small-sized city is moving out from the shadow of Philadelphia into a spotlight of its own. From funky retrofits like this 105-year old church-turned-microbrewery Church Brew to the fantastically strange and contemporary art museum The Mattress Factory, the city’s is armed with strong arts, culture and architecture.

On my first day in, I spent the whole day today walking around and testing out the city bus system, which is reliable and clean. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.

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