If you’re not from Pittsburgh, or haven’t been here recently, that title could really throw you. Not steel? What does that even mean? After all, Pittsburgh is the Steel City.
Not so fast, friend. There was a time when Pittsburgh was the Steel (only) City. But nowadays there’s a whole lot more to this place. It might come as a surprise to out-of-towners to discover that in recent years Pittsburgh has become hub for healthcare, education, technology, arts, good eats and much, much more.
If you’re wondering what much more might entail, keep reading. Here are 11 examples of what we’re really making in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh has a rich history in the arts. From museums and galleries to performing arts venues, there’s a thriving community of maker spaces and supporters of the arts, including the Cultural Trust, Mattress Factory, Warhol, Radiant Hall, Glass Center and Randyland to name a few.
Maybe you’ve heard of Mac Miller? How about Wiz Khalifa? If the big names don’t impress you check out the up and comers like Tairey, André Costello, Steve Moakler, and the Cool Minors, Red Western, and 1,2,3. And if you’re lucky maybe you can catch one of these artists at an outdoor concert of music festival near you.
There’s been a brewery boom in the Burgh over the past few years. There’s the local leaders including Penn Brewing, East End Brewing, and Church Brew Works as well as newcomers like the Brew Gentlemen, Hitchhiker, Roundabout, Independent, Aurochs and Hop Farm.
Cider + Spirits
Not to be outdone by their alcoholic counterparts, Pittsburgh-made cider and spirits are on the rise. In case you didn’t know, Wigle Whiskey, Boyd and Blair, Stay Tuned Distillery and Maggie’s Farm Rum are crushing it. So too is Arsenal Cider House, a one-of-a-kind place to sip cider or fill up your growler.
While we’re busy watching movies at sweet independent spots like Row House Cinema and the Manor Theatre, Hollywood directors and actors are busy invading Pittsburgh to film their next blockbuster. The Dark Knight, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Jack the Ripper and Fault in our Stars were #madeinPGH.
In 1999, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Pittsburgh, “Roboburgh.” But for some reason, that name didn’t stick. Which is surprising because the Pittsburgh-based space robotics company Astrobotic Technology is the Fedex of lunar delivery. If that doesn’t impress you, take a look at what CMU Professor Raj Rajkumar is up to. Just building a driverless car. No biggie.
From the outside looking in, many people still think of Pittsburgh as a “dirty” city. While we still have some cleaning up to do, the smog and soot are not what they used to be. In fact, soon Pittsburgh will be home to two of the greenest buildings in the world: the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and the Tower at PNC Plaza.
Combine top-tier universities, like Pitt and CMU, with top-tier accelerator programs, like Alpha Lab, and you’ll have a recipe for a thriving startup community. Some standouts include Deeplocal, NoWait, Thread, the Resumator, Duolingo and Solepower.
Don’t let the pierogies and Primanti Brothers fool you, the Pittsburgh food and restaurant scene is on the rise. If you don’t believe us, consult Bon Appetit Magazine who called Pittsburgh, “America’s next big food town.” Maybe that’s because places like Cure, Butcher and the Rye, Smoke and Bar Marco continue to crush it.
In 2002 Jesse Schell launched his company, Schell Games. Thirteen years later Schell Games, a full-service game design and development company, has become one of the largest independent game studios in the country.
Pittsburgh is going from Steel City to Composite Central thanks in part to the work of Rapid TPC, a local startup enabling the mass production of carbon fiber composites that are green and in high demand. Talk about an 180 degree turn around.