7 Cool Things Totally Unique to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh sits at the junction of three rivers and has moved far beyond its former reputation as a steel town. Today, it embraces both its industrial past and its millennial future. Pittsburgh is routinely touted as one of a handful of American cities that offer affordability along with a high standard of living. Trying to break free of its gritty image and moving toward a hipper vibe, this is a city on the rise. Here are seven really cool things that are totally unique to this historic city.

Image via Flickr by Always Shooting

Conflict Kitchen~

Absolutely unique in the world, Conflict Kitchen began as a takeout restaurant that sought to expand global understanding. This spot rotated its menu every six months to offer up the cuisine of a country in conflict with the U.S. Along with a rotating menu, Conflict Kitchen would offer discussion, events, and performances that highlighted the unique culture of these countries. Although this spot closed its kitchen in spring 2017, other events related to the mission remain as the organization rebuilds and reorganizes to make an even bigger impact on global understanding.

Canton Avenue~

Canton Avenue is the steepest short street in the world with a grade of 37 percent. Bikers and hikers alike struggle with a 37-foot elevation gain for every 100 feet, and many fail to make the climb time after time. This is one street that will give you a run for your money and make you want to retire to the comfort of your hotel.

Funiculars~

Funiculars are fun, but this form of street transportation is relatively rare. Pittsburgh, like many other hilly cities, used to have dozens of these incline railroads meant to transport people from downtown to the city’s residential areas. Now only two of these historic means of transport exist, allowing residents and visitors alike a chance to step back in time and view a great sunset for a bargain price.

Bicycle Heaven~

If you’ve ever wanted to see PeeWee Herman’s famous bike, it’s time to head to Bicycle Heaven. The world’s largest bike museum houses over 3,000 bikes from classics to such rare finds as Bowden Spacelanders, a rare British design. Also a working bike shop, Bicycle Heaven is just that, heaven for all things bike-related.

Bridges~

Pittsburgh is the bridge capital of the world. While Venice may be close, Pittsburgh reigns supreme with over 445 bridges in the city and with a whopping 1,700 bridges in the surrounding county for an astonishing 2.3 bridges per square mile. Take some time to pick a favorite among the many bridge styles.

Pittsburgh Protractors~

Perhaps some of the oddest attractions in Pittsburgh are the hundreds of numbered protractors located all throughout the city. In spite of many theories, their appearance and meaning remain mysteries. Superglued into place in huge numbers all around the city, they seem to have as many detractors as fans.

The Fence~

For over 70 years, Carnegie Mellon University students have spent nights painting this fence, causing the Guinness Book of World Records to name it the most painted object in the world. Tradition dictates that the fence only be painted from midnight to 6 a.m., and the fence has become a charming campus message board.

No longer the industrial town of the past, Pittsburgh is emerging as an up-and-coming city of the future.

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