Pittsburgh, the main metropolitan center of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, is known as the "Steel City" for its multiple steel-related corporations. You might also hear it called "The City of Bridges," since Pittsburgh holds a world record of 446 bridges! It has been named America's "most livable city" by sources such as National Geographic and Forbes magazine, so we're sure you'll enjoy a stay or visit here during your program.
Getting to the city
Just flew in? Pittsburgh International Airport welcomes you!
If you just got off the plane and are too exhausted to find a place to sleep for the evening, you can stay at the Hyatt Regency at the Pittsburgh International Airport, which provides 336 guest rooms with complete amenities. Free high-speed wireless Internet service for Wi-Fi capable devices is provided! Air Ambassadors are always available to address any concerns or lend a helping hand to visitors.
If you ever need a ride to or from the airport, you can rely on the SuperShuttle so you don't miss your flight. Don't have time to book online reservations but looking to rush to the hotel? Have no fear! You can always head towards the SuperShuttle customer service counter after claiming your luggage.
Major car rental carriers can all be found in the baggage claim area of the airport. You may also want to check out our blog, "How to Rent a Car in the USA" for helpful tips.
Inside the city
Navigating Pittsburgh is easy. In Allegheny County, you can take the light rail, also referred to as the "T." If you want to ride within downtown Pittsburgh, the fare is free. If you want to travel to different zones, you may pay a low fare. The "T" will take you to all of your desired destinations. See the Port Authority site to plan your trip and get more information.
If you don't want to rely on public transportation, you can rent a bike. Ride the city displays bike routes to and from any destination of your choice! Just enter your destinations for step-by-step directions and calculations of total distance and time estimates.
Yellow Cab Co. has served Pittsburgh since 1913. Planning your commute online will help you determine the best rate. Just simply enter your pick-up location and destination addresses. If you do not have cash, this taxi company takes major credit cards as forms of payment.
Weather and climate
Located in the Northeast region of the United States, Pittsburgh climate is made up of four distinct seasons, in which winters are frigid and snowy and summers are hot and humid. The coldest month is January, with temperatures reaching as low as 15F (-9 C) and the warmest month is July, with temperatures reaching as high as 90 F (32 C). Pittsburgh sometimes experiences blizzards and hurricanes. Rainy days occur throughout the year, mostly in the spring season.
Most popular landmarks in the city
The Grant Building – The Grant Building is located on… you guessed it… Grant Street. Standing at 485 feet tall, this building was constructed in 1930 and is most known for its aviation beacon at the roof of the tower that spells out P-I-T-T-S-B-U-R-G-H in Morse code.
Hartwood Acres Park – This beautiful 629-acre park is the home of a country estate (a Tudor Mansion cottage) erected in 1929. See their calendar of events to find out when events such as the Garden & Nature discussion or Holiday Mansion Candlelight Tours will be.
Trinity Cathedral – The origins of this church dates back to 1787, when the land that the church was built upon was used by the Native Americans, French and British were used as a burial ground. Today, it is one of the most enchanting cathedrals around, and one of the few with a display of flags from all over the world.
Duquesne Incline – This attraction was voted "one of the top twenty sites in the world for viewing a cityscape by USA Today. If you have never ridden an incline, then you're in for a treat. You will have a chance to discover Pittsburgh's history and see a beautiful view of the city from the observation deck.
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens – If you love seeing flowers and insects in their natural habitat, come to the Phipps Conservatory. There are 90-minute tours that will take you around the 19 indoor and outdoor gardens within the glass Victorian greenhouse, where you can see exhibitions such as the Summer Flower Show or the Tropical Forest India.
Most popular attractions
Scare House – If you will be in Pittsburgh during the month of October, visit Scare House, voted Number 1 Haunt in the World by tophaunts.com. You may see some zombies, clowns and weird elves lingering through the haunted house.
Kennywood – For under $40, you get to spend the whole day riding roller coasters! Who wouldn't want that? It's your chance to feel like a kid again. Check the website for special discounts and events.
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Claiming to be "the only convention center in the world with LEED certifications," this high-tech building hosts a variety of events such as health and fitness expos, law seminars and engineering conferences.
Andy Warhol Museum – If you have ever seen the paintings of repetitive pictures of Campbell's Soup Cans or eye-grabbing colorful pictures of Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley, then you have been exposed to the artwork of Andy Warhol. Visit the museum and you will see more than 4,000 works of art from this native Pittsburgh artist.
The Mattress Factory – Yes, you read that correctly! This art museum used to store mattresses, but now features contemporary art exhibitions, tackling concepts such as feminism, the use of mirrors, and the renovation of unused urban spaces.
Station Square - This historic site in Pittsburgh was once the meeting spot for passengers aboard the Pittsburgh and Lake Eerie Railroad. Nowadays, it is the heart of the city's nightlife, filled with places to dine, shop and party. You can find souvenir shops, the classic Hard Rock Café, and beautiful attractions such as the Fountain at Bessemer Court (where there are fountain shows every 20 minutes) and the Station Square Express (where you can ride around the Freight House Shops for just $1)! At night, you can dance at the Beach Club or ride a mechanical bull at Saddle Ridge. You'll never find yourself bored at Station Square!
Cultural District – The Cultural District is filled with daily events hosted by seven different venues. Whether you are in the mood for a Broadway play, comedy show, or even an art exhibit, this is the place to spend your night! Many of the free events include "Spring Sketch Crawl" and "Al Bright: Abstract Jazz Works." Be sure to check out the calendar to plan your visit.
Primanti Brothers – This famous sandwich shop in the Strip District of Pittsburgh is considered a must-stop in the area. The corned beef and Pittsburgher cheesesteaks are among the favorite sandwiches. We also hear that the French fries and cole slaw might be the best you will ever have—and they come on the sandwich.
Nicky's Thai Kitchen – If you're a Thai food lover, come on over to 856 Western Ave., North Side and try the classic Phad Thai noodles or the Chef's special: Garlicky chicken with shiitake mushrooms and ginger in a homemade brown sauce.
Sree's Foods – This Indian/Pakistani restaurant is perfect for vegans and vegetarians. The Tomato Dal and Green Bean with Lentils are sure to entice your taste buds. If you're a meat-lover, then we recommend the Tamarind Chicken.
The Pretzel Shop – This is the signature pretzel store to visit while in Pittsburgh. Try selections such as the Ham and Cheese Pretzel Sandwich or the Chicken Salad Pretzel.
Pastitsio – Named after a popular lasagna-style dish, Pastitsio offers reasonably prices for excellent food. You can order the falafel, lamb sandwich, baklava, and, of course, the pastitsio!
Barb's Country Kitchen – If you're looking for a good, home-cooked, classic diner spot, then head on over Barb's Country Kitchen! This is the go-to place for breakfast at any hour of the day!
Not As Cheap
Avenue B – This American-style cuisine restaurant takes international ingredients and integrates them into classic American dishes. One dish you might taste is Kobe meatloaf with goat cheese and chive whipped potatoes.
Dinette – If you're looking to take a new spin on pizza, we recommend trying the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Pizza, which comes with Grilled Scallions, Tripe Cream Brie, Bacon and Fresh Mozzarella! Just head on over to 5996 Penn Circle South.
Kaya – Are you in the mood for Caribbean food? Don't miss Happy Hour Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m. or Fried Chicken Nights every Thursday at 5 p.m! If you do, don't despair! You can still try the Jerked Tofu Tacos, among other tasty dishes.
Umi – If you don't mind spending a bit more money on Japanese cuisine, Umi is the place for you! We've heard that the food is worth your money! Come try the signature dish, omakase, which is a multicourse meal: perfect for a romantic dinner for two!
Nine on Nine – Fresh, colorful ingredients are guaranteed regardless of which dish you order. If the Tigerfish with cornbread, pineapple, squid ink, citrus and pistachio doesn't sound good, then I don't know what does.
Other helpful sources
Also visit our "Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh for Under $10" blog!
InterExchange Career Training USA is a top J-1 Visa sponsor for university students and young professionals who have already secured internships or training programs with companies in the U.S. If you still need to find an internship or training program in the U.S., check out our resources and start the J-1 Visa sponsorship process early.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.