To a local native, Pittsburgh might appear to be a place that you know like the back of your hand, but the beautiful thing about the Burgh is that you could travel across every bridge, walk each neighborhood end to end, and there is always more to discover. Here are some of our favorite Pittsburgh facts that you probably didn’t know (but if you did, kudos!).

1. Pittsburgh administered the first Polio Vaccine

Today, Pittsburgh is known is a major player in the medical field, but that reputation isn’t exactly new. On February 23, 1954, Dr. Jonas Salk, head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, administered the first injections of the Polio Vaccine to student at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh. Within 18 months, over 4 million vaccinations would occur worldwide!

2. Pittsburgh has a trail that connects to Washington D.C.

The Allegheny Passage (steelvalleytrail)

Are you a fan of long walks? How about a trek from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.? The Great Allegheny Passage is a scenic walking/biking trail that spans over 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD, connecting to the C&O Canal Trail that leads directly to Washington! How’s that for a workout?

3. You can survey some of Pittsburgh most beautiful architecture

Coterie Pittsburgh
image via Coterie Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is home to some of the most breathtaking architecture, whether it be traditional or modern. Unfortunately, these buildings are not always open to the public. Fear not though, Doors Open is an annual two-day event that allows those interested to explore the architecture of building that may not normally be open to the public. In 2017, Doors Open featured over 50 different building to explore!

4. Pittsburgh has a museum for one of its greatest heroes

Clemente Museum (the point of the burgh)

One of the buildings featured during Doors Open 2017 was The Clemente Museum, a venue dedicated to one of Pittsburgh’s greatest athletes and humanitarians. The museum, located in Lawrenceville’s Engine House 25, is dedicated to the legacy of Roberto Clemente. The museum is full of relics and heirlooms donated by the Clemente family and fans alike, including Roberto’s first major league contract.

5. Pittsburgh is in the midst of a street art renaissance

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of street art across the Pittsburgh area. From Baron Batch’s colorful elephants adorning the South Side to the murals at Carrie Furnace, PGH has certainly become more colorful in recent years. A short walk from the above-mentioned Clemente Museum you can even find a giant mural of Marvel Comics’ Magneto on the back of Penn Avenue’s AAA Scrap Metal!

6. Pittsburgh has a Marvel Comics connection

Aside from the massive Magneto mural in Lawrenceville by local artist Jeremy Raymer, and a brief appearance in a 1987 issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Pittsburgh also sports another connection to the Marvel Comics Universe. The Burgh is home to Ed Piskor, the artist and writer responsible for Marvel’s X-Men Grand Design series. Piskor, a Homestead native, brings a savvy, retro-inspired style to the pages of the series that seeks to span the entire continuity of the X-Men.

7. Pittsburgh has its own music festival


Did you know that Pittsburgh has its own music festival? Since 2014, Thrival has been pairing its cutting-edge Innovation Conference with a live music festival. In 2015 the festival moved to Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood, turning 10 acres of former industrial fields into a bona fide music venue. Previous lineups have included Moby, Portugal, The Man, Panic at the Disco and Wiz Khalifa!

8. Pittsburgh was a major stop along the Underground Railroad

Pittsburgh is a city known for its eclectic neighborhoods and reputation as a melting pot of various cultures, but did you know that the Pittsburgh area was also a major stop along the Underground Railroad? In fact, many of the locations used to harbor enslaved people seeking freedom are still standing and can be visited today, such as the Bigham House on Mt. Washington.

9. Pittsburgh is working to jumpstart the music scene

Recently, WYEP-FM and the City of Pittsburgh have begun been working to jumpstart the music scene around the three rivers. The initiative began after a VisitPittsburgh survey revealed that the nightlife and music scene scored the lowest rating among other PGH experiences. Recently, a consultant from Austin, TX has been brought on to survey the new project, and local music industry professionals are being consulted.

10. Pittsburgh will give you a free lift to the South Side

The parking situation in South Side has always been hectic, but now you don’t have to sweat it! The South Side Nite Rider is a city-sponsored free shuttle that you can catch to and from South Side! You can hop on the shuttle at the Second Avenue Parking Plaza, where you can park your car for free, or any of the three stops along the way!


This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
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