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15 reasons Pittsburgh is completely underrated

1. Pittsburgh ranks as one of the most livable cities in the US.

It’s true, Pittsburgh used to be covered in smog and soot from the steel factories. Half a century later, in 2014, the Economist ranked Pittsburgh as one of the most livable cities in the US, second only to Honolulu.

2. It grows “greener” every day.

Yes, it snows a heck of a lot in Pittsburgh, but that doesn’t stop the construction of some of the most energy-efficient buildings in the nation. With LEED-certified buildings like the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and 60 more similar projects on the way, Pittsburgh is making a name for itself in the environmental arena.

3. Pittsburgh has a state park within city limits.

Yeah, yeah, New York has Central Park and Chicago has Millenium Park, but those aren’t state parks. Pittsburgh has Point State Park right where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. Sitting on the point, the fountain itself is a pretty rad site to see.

4. Even nature and animal lovers can find a home in Pittsburgh.

Philippine crocodiles and other island creatures are being introduced in June at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Across town, Phipps Conservatory houses everything from Joshua Trees to Miracle Fruit. What’s not to love about that?

5. Heard of the Great Allegheny Passage?

The Zoo and Botanical Garden are great, but there’s nothing like a 335 mile trail for the hikers, bikers, and campers out there. Starting at the fountain in Point State Park, the Great Allegheny Passage goes straight down to Washington D.C. through the Cumberland Gap.

6. Nothing compares to the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Boston. NYC. Chicago. Los Angeles. They all have major marathons. Unlike those, when the runners enter Bloomfield (the homestretch), they’re greeted by music, cheering, and an energized atmosphere. Nothing can beat the hospitality of strangers on marathon day.

7. Looking to get away with the family? Pittsburgh has that covered also.

From one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, Kennywood, to the planetarium in the Science Center. Pittsburgh definitely doubles as a family vacation stop, what with all of the Carnegie Museums.

8. The top of the Duquesne Incline has an impressive view of the city below.

One of two remaining coal transporters, nothing beats the view from the top of the Duquesne Incline. It’s impossible not to smile at the sight of the cityscape from the observation deck.

9. Only in Market Square is it possible to shop at a farmer’s market one day and practice yoga the next.

Whether it’s yoga on Sunday mornings, a farmer’s market on Thursday, or local musicians adding to the ambiance, Market Square is always changing. Don’t forget Prantl’s Bakery, selling their award winning burnt-almond torte.

10. The restaurant scene continues to grow.

Looking for a Mediterranean-style lamb shank? Check out Casbah. Have a hankering for parmesan swordfish? Look no further than Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. In the mood for a funky monkey waffle? Waffles INCaffeinated sits on East Carson Street. Whatever yinz are in the mood for, it can be found in Pittsburgh.

11. Pittsburgh is experiencing a third renaissance.

After cleaning up its act from WWII and improving the city’s infrastructure, Pittsburgh is experiencing a third renaissance, a cultural renaissance. Just visit the cultural district in downtown. Here, the Benedum Center and four other theaters house everything from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. A culturist’s delight.

12. Pittsburgh is the Hollywood of the East.

The Dark Knight Rises. The Next Three Days. Love and Other Drugs. Night of the Living Dead. Inspector Gadget. The Perks of Being a Wall Flower. These are all movies filmed in Pittsburgh,thanks to the Pennsylvania film tax credit incentive.

13. Festivals, upon festivals, upon festivals.

From the Three Rivers Arts Festival held in June to Little Italy Days in September, there’s always something going on in one of the city’s neighborhoods. Even the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh holds an annual May Fair celebrating the students’ work.

14. Pittsburgh is the City of Champions.

Penguins. Steelers. Pirates. All familiar sports teams. They’re class acts with great stadiums. But what about the Pittsburgh Passion and the Riverhounds? The Passion won the 2014 Independent Women’s Football League Championship. The Riverhounds are currently competing in the US Open Cup. Talk about a full house, Pittsburgh’s full of Champions.

15. It’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood, regardless of the weather.

Come rain or come shine we can thank Mr. Rogers for making Pittsburgh such a beautiful neighborhood. Won’t you be my neighbor?

[Note: Jeromy was a guest of Visit Pittsburgh.]

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