Alright, this might sound absurd, but I ran across a picture of Pittsburg on the internet and it looked really nice so I did some research and it sounds like a pretty nice place to live as well. My family and I live in small town in Oregon but my job is fairly flexible and we have often discussed moving someplace new. I'm wondering if anyone is willing to share their experience and/or impressions of Pittsburg? Thanks for any info!
Pittsburgh is a pretty nice city in my opinion. There's a lot of stuff to do in the area - mtb, whitewater paddling, skiing, National Forests within an hour or two etc. There are an amazing amount of trails right close to (or in ) the city.
Try posting on the local club's forum and asking your question for more particulars:
I just celebrated four years in Pittsburgh. There were a lot of places I was looking at, primarily in the New England states. A career opportunity became available in Pittsburgh before the others, and so here I am. One reason I looked at Pittsburgh is because of it's strong and growing by the day bike culture. I'm about to go ride in a 563 acre park that is called Frick Park, which is literally my back yard. The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County offer a tremendous park system, and our bike organizations have done so much to make mountain biking very enjoyable, especially North Park. Do some searching and reading, Pittsburgh is an up and coming city with lots to offer.
Originally Posted by Sizzler
Lived there for one summer during a job transition.
Numerous places to ride, but expect rocky and steep at most of them. Several "fast and flowy" trails exist, but they are not the rule.
Summers are humid with lots of rain. Muddy trails are a frustration. Did I mention the mud?
It's a fairly compact/crowded city. The people are welcoming of newcomers, but you'll never be "one of them".
My take was that it was "OK", and better than a lot of places, but if I could live "anywhere", it wouldn't be Pittsburgh. In the end I chose SW WI (where the right job was) and much prefer it.
Last edited by steadite; 11-12-2010 at 06:38 PM.
I grew up 20 miles East of Pittsburgh, lived somewhere different for four years and eight years ago moved back to the area. I'll vouch for it.
Culture (museums, theaters, history, restaurants, etc)
Activities (mt biking, skiing, hiking, etc all close to the city with great options an hour or so away)
Sports (except baseball a great sports city)
Low cost of living -- a decent salary goes a lot further in Pittsburgh than it does in many other metro areas
climate my wife would prefer warmer winters and we can have wet spells, our weather really doesn't bother me but I love having 4 distinct seasons, so I see this as a pro/con really
I would say people here are pretty welcoming...my wife is from the South and she says the Western PA area is one of the most similar places to the South she's been outside of the South. Come spend a long weekend and see if you like it.
Either way, good luck.
I'm the first person to be critical of locals/natives, they are just very behind the times and often don't like the fact that Pittsburgh is evolving in to an internationally known metro area.
Originally Posted by steadite
Lots of rain? I don't know about that. Allegheny County along with most of SWPA has been under a drought warning since late summer. When we have had rain, the trails get a bit muddy for a day or two at most, but I was out riding today, and the singletrack is so dry it's like riding on pavement or concrete.
I live about 45 mins north of the city but worked downtown for several years. all the pros everyone has mentioned are true, great access to trails, and multiactivities- hiking, fishing, kayaking, skiing (not as much). Some the of cons are by far the weather- hot, humid summers- you will need to ride early or late in the summer months. Depending on the trail system, dont expect too much in the fast dept. Due to the geography, lots of steep short hills, rocks, roots, you know appalachian kind of stuff. But, I dont mind it at all, and you would probably come to appreciate it for what it is. I have seen vids on here of trails out west, and they just look so fast and open. Around here, you go 10 feet then turn, go 10 feet crank uphill, all good, just different.
I can't say anything about the mountain biking, but growing up in pittsburgh i found the road biking to be phenomenal. The thing that i really like about pittsburgh is that the ring of sprawl is pretty contained. its really easy to get the hell away from the urban side and be in rolling countryside. as others have mentioned, the culture is really great, there is lots of good food, incredible museums, and a really progressive consciousness. the biggest downside is the weather. i don't think that its easy to get a clear picture of it based on rain, because it really doesn't rain that much. it does, however, get very overcast, sometimes for long periods of time. i remember growing up and pushing close to 200 overcast days one year. so that part can be miserable. and yes, some of the really old school picksburghers can be closed minded and ignorant, but i have always found (especially after i moved away to go to college in 2002) that the city is very progressive, and open to new ideas and discussion. fwiw...
Thanks for all your input, please keep it coming.
In regards to the pros, such as culture, sports, and various other opportunities, Pittsburgh sounds very appealing. The region I live in Oregon is certainly lacking in those particular departments.
However, the cons sound a bit problematic. The weather here would not be considered "nice". We average 200+ overcast days a year with a near constant drizzle for 9 months, but the summers are pleasant and the winters are mild. The idea of a miserable humid summer does not sound very appealing, but I haven't heard much about the rest of the year?
I also suppose I would need trade the notion of living "close to nature" for a more urban oriented lifestyle, which I'm not opposed to, but it would take some getting used to. With the exception of Portland, much of western Oregon is vast, uninhabited timber land and the east is a sparsely populated desert. Looking at google earth, it appears there are some forest lands just outside of Pittsburgh. Are those mostly privately owned or are there some National Forests and parks available to the public?
I've lived here all my life and don't think I will ever move if I don't have to. As others have said, the summers can get pretty humid. Especially in late July and August. I would say average temperatures that time of year are in the 80-90°F range. Could look up the averages on Weather.com. Spring and fall is definitely the best time to ride here if it isn't raining. Winters can be a little sporadic regarding snow, but typical winter day is grey, overcast and cold.
With regards to living "close to nature" it depends on where you live. Locals tend to think of "Pittsburgh" as being a much larger area then just the city and close suburbs. I live about 25 minutes south of the city and I can be riding in a 3450 acre state park (game lands) in about a half hour mountain biking or be riding my roadie in rural farm land in about five minutes right from my house.
Here is the website for the PA DCNR with the state parks/forests in the Pittsburgh area:
Sizzler -- as a response to your most recent post:
I personally don't think the weather here is bad. If I had to pick a negative word to describe it I would say "inconsistent."
This Fall we've been spoiled rotten. It has been nice, warm and dry for the most part. This summer was dry (as someone else mentioned, even drought conditions at times). With that said, there have been times I can remember in the last 5 years where it seemed like it rained for 2 weeks straight and that get's kind of lousy. Last winter, we had more snow than we've had in years. If you ski, you were pumped, if not, you were sick of shoveling your walks and drive.
And in the late summer months (July/August) it isn't always oppressively humid, there are plenty of cooler days. And when it is hot/humid, it's light so early and late in the day that you can hike/bike/etc early morning or late evening and you're fine.
Most of my family lives there and I have lived there. It's not a bad place. No where near as bad as its reputation. However, taxes are insane. State taxes, Real Estates, Sales taxes, WAGE taxes (never heard of those outside NYC but yes, even if you rent, you will be required to pay your local municipality a percentage (1 up to 3.5% as I recall) of your gross wages just for the privelidge of living somewhere. Check out the unfunded pension liabilities for State and Local employees and think about where taxes are headed. No taxes on pension distributions though so if you are retired, it's a great place to be old. I recall hearing that Allegany County was the oldest (population) county in the country. No clue if that's really true or not but you may feel the urge to dye your hair blue just to fit in. Go Steelers!
Nice no rass
Pittsburgh/Western PA is where you go to die.
Coming here from the West is a bad, bad, very bad idea. I'll get lots of people arguing against me on this, but if you've never lived in the West, you just won't get it.