It was an unlikely Memorial Day destination, but an unexpectedly pleasant one nonetheless. My family and I spent the recent holiday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an underdog city that is slowly rising above its label as simply The Steel City.
"Lovely" may not be the first word to describe Pittsburgh, but our experience there absolutely was. There is a sharp contrast between New York's bustling streets and Pittsburgh's quiet neighborhoods. Below the skyscrapers you will rarely find crowds of people, though not one moment felt unsafe or eerily quiet. Read on for just a few reasons why this up-and-coming city has been considered one of the most livable in America.
Fun fact: I am standing on just 1 of 446 bridges in Pittsburgh.
The lookout from Mount Washington offers the best views of the city, though half the experience is taking one of two funiculars to the viewpoint. We rode the Monongahela Incline, which has been in continuous operation since 1870. There was a point in time when this funicular was much more than a tourist attraction -- one man we met recounted the years his mother made the trip every day to work.
The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is an absolute gem in the heart of Pittsburgh's Schenley Park. It is a beautiful escape from urban life and a constant backdrop for local weddings. For an even quieter escape from an already quiet city, this is the place to be.
One of the best things about Pittsburgh is its versatility. Each of its 90 neighborhoods have distinct characters, from Lawrenceville's Brooklyn vibes to the Strip District's unique food scene. I can't say Pittsburgh is the most exciting city, but it certainly has a character unlike any other.