ADVERTORIAL • February 2019
Yes, it’s nicknamed the Steel City. Yes, it’s where Andy Warhol spent his formative years. And yes, it’s home to the Pittsburgh Steelers – American Football’s most successful franchise – but what else should we know about Pittsburgh now that British Airways has launched direct flights to this rapidly evolving Pennsylvanian city? US-based travel writer Jonathan Thompson investigates…
Recently named the best food city in the US by Zagat, Pittsburgh knows how to do warm and gooey like no other. Local favourites include DiAnoia’s, an Italian eatery renowned for its cheesy gnocchi served in bread bowls (pictured), and Driftwood Oven – a cosy pizza spot serving naturally leavened pies and hot sourdough sandwiches. Not to mention Primanti Brothers – famed for its meat and French fry-stuffed sandwiches. There’s also Pie for Breakfast in the Oakland neighbourhood, and Meat and Potatoes in the vibrant Cultural District – both of which speak for themselves.
One of Pittsburgh’s many nicknames is the ‘City of Bridges’ – and for good reason. There are no less than 446 of them spanning the city’s three rivers (nearly 50 more bridges than Venice), knitting together more than 90 distinct neighbourhoods. Among the most famous include the trio of bright yellow suspension bridges known as the Three Sisters, which span the Allegheny River at the heart of downtown.
Pittsburgh has more than its fair share of grand museums – the Andy Warhol (pictured) and the Carnegie Museum of Art for starters. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find some truly unique permanent exhibitions and installations right across the city. Bicycle Heaven, for example, is an eclectic museum housing the world’s largest display of bicycles, while Randyland is a wacky, colourful townhouse dedicated to outsider art.
It might be tiny by major league baseball standards (seating just over 38,000 people) but countless neutrals would agree that PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, is the most beautiful ballpark in the country. The stadium boasts sweeping views of the Allegheny River and downtown from pretty much every seat, and it’s a genuine treat to watch a game here on a balmy summer’s evening – however well the team are doing.
Affordable rents, a significantly younger-than-average population and the talent emerging from Carnegie Mellon University have all encouraged tech giants to invest heavily in Pittsburgh. Google, Facebook, Uber and Argo AI have all recently opened headquarters here, as Pittsburgh increasingly emerges as a leading centre for technology, social media and robotics.
Pittsburgh has been the location for more than 120 films and major television productions since 1990 – a mindboggling rate of around 40 a year. Well known blockbusters shot here range from The Silence of The Lambs to The Dark Knight Rises, via Groundhog Day and Kingpin, while on the small screen, scores of hit TV shows including My So-Called Life and Suits have filmed in this cinematic city.
From the historical chic of the Mansions on Fifth to the achingly hip Ace Hotel (pictured), the Pittsburgh accommodation scene boasts an abundance of cool factor at the moment. The property that’s been garnering the most attention of late is Distrikt – a unique hotel housed in a Gothic revival-style former Salvation Army headquarters – boasting roomy, industrial-style suites and a gorgeous rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Pittsburgh.
British Airways will be the first airline to connect London and Pittsburgh, thanks to a four-per-week service launching from Heathrow starting in April 2019. To read more click here