The University of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States, founded in 1787, and a respected state-related research university. The school is located in the city's Oakland neighborhood, just 3-miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The 132-acre Pittsburgh campus is home to a large population just under 20,000 undergraduates. The city itself has experienced a renaissance in the last few years, attracting artists, chefs, and young millennials, and an influx of new restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels—all while still retaining its Rust Belt roots. There are city bus stops right on campus, and students can ride public transportation into the city for free with a school ID.
Transportation: The nearest major airport is Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT / KPIT). This airport has international and domestic flights and is 20 miles from the center of University of Pittsburgh. Amtrak runs two eastbound, two westbound, and one southbound train each day. Connections can be made in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. The Amtrak station is located at 1100 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. Greyhound and Mega Bus also serve the city of Pittsburgh.
Stay: Conveniently located on the University of Pittsburgh campus, within walking distance of Alumni Hall, the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center is our top choice for touring families. The Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place, Residence Inn Pittsburgh University/Medical Center, Quality Inn University Center, and Hampton Inn Pittsburgh University / Medical Center are also convenient choices, all very close to the university. If you prefer boutique hotels, check into the Ace Hotel, in the recently hip East Liberty area of Pittsburgh. The Ace, housed in a former YMCA serves Stumptown Coffee in its lobby coffee bar and breakfast at it's in-house restaurant the Whitfield, one of the city’s hottest tables. Giving the Ace some healthy competition, the new Kimpton Hotel Monaco housed in the iconic Beaux-Arts James H. Reed building also has its owns in-house attractions such as The Commoner, an English style , and an open-air rooftop Biergarten. Downtown, many families like to stay at the Fairmont Pittsburgh in the PNC Plaza or the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.
Pittsburgh Fun Facts: Did you know there are over 440 bridges in Pittsburgh, a large number for a city of just over 300,000 people, hence it’s nickname “City of Bridges.” Pittsburgh is also often referred to as “The Steel City”, dating back to when the city was the steel making capital of the world, though the industry collapsed in the 80’s the common nickname still remains.
Coffee: You can find freshly brewed Starbucks everywhere on campus, but if you have more time start your day at popular Crazy Mocha, a favorite of students and locals with numerous locations throughout the city. The Oakland Ave. spot is easy to get to when on campus, and is always busy with students on their laptops thanks to free WIFI and numerous outlets. Other popular spots include Redhawk Coffee and Commonplace Coffee, a mini-chain with six locations throughout the city. (The Julius Street location is not far from campus.)
Breakfast: Ask most Pitt students and they’ll steer you towards Pamela’s Diner, a longtime campus staple. Listen to them when they recommend the crepe style hotcakes—so good covered with fruit and whipped cream! If you’re in a rush, there are two on-campus locations of Einstein Brothers bagels at Benedum and Posvar Halls.
Lunch: Want to stay on campus? Market Central is an all day dine in spot, home to six different food concepts, all made to order. For a quick bite after the tour head to Petersen Events Center Food Court or to The Schenley Café in the lower level of the William Pitt Union. Off-campus, thanks to a lively Pittsburgh food scene there are many options. To experience a Pittsburgh institution a must is Primanti Brothers, a counter service sandwich chain that dates back to the 30’s, famous for their French fry-stuffed creations. One alumnus said she still dreams of late night visits for a roast beef and cheddar, stacked with fresh-cut fries, coleslaw, and tomatoes. Another college tradition, if your game, is to get a hot dog at the “O”, The Original Hot Dog Shop, an Oakland neighborhood fixture for over 52 years. Other student haunts include tacos at Las Palmas, pub food at Fuel and Fuddle, burgers at Stack’d, pizza at Sorrento’s, Malaysian and Thai fare at Spice Island Tea House and sushi at Oishii Bento. Located in Schenley Plaza, enjoy sandwiches, salads, and pizzas all made from fresh local ingredients at The Porch at Schenley. (There’s a popular walk-up window for quick breakfast fare.) For a unique Pittsburgh dining experience in the Strip District check out the Smallman Gallery, a 6,000 square foot food hall and a launch pad for new restaurant concepts with four innovative restaurants, a full bar, plus a coffee & espresso bar. It’s been so successful they just opened another one called Federal Gallery. The Vandal in nearby Lawrenceville is an elevated all day order at the counter café, we hear its well worth the wait for the fried chicken sandwich or the cheeseburger.
Casual: In the Lawrenceville neighborhood, Driftwood Oven, open Wednesday through Sunday, has attracted a following for what some say is the best pizza in Pittsburgh. Recently named to Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants 2018 list, expect its popularity to rise even more. Enjoy soup, sushi, salads, and seafood-focused dishes at the Penn Cove Eatery. Another popular seafood spot is the Merchant Oyster Co. an oyster bar and chowder house, the lobster rolls and crab cakes are a house specialty. In East Liberty, the Twisted Frenchmen is a bi-level space, upstairs is the more formal restaurant, but head to the first floor La Riviera Bistro, a casual French bistro focused on the food of southern France.
A Step Up: As we mentioned above the Whitfield in the Ace is a great dinner choice, and also extremely popular for brunch, known for its locally sourced beef and in-house butchery, there is also a full vegetarian tasting menu. In Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, Cure serves Mediterranean-inspired plates. Spanish stunner, Morcilla, from the same team as Cure, is one of Pittsburgh’s hot spots for pincho style small plates and larger platters meant for sharing. Tiny Legume’s daily menu is posted online every day at 5:00 p.m., known as one of the city’s best for upscale eats. Or The Whale, located in a soaring bi-level space downtown (once a former Salvation Army building part of the Distrikt Hotel) serves French Inspired seafood-centric fare, much of which is cooked over a wood-fired grill. Superior Motors, located in an old Chevy dealership, was just named one of the ten best new restaurants in the country by Food and Wine Magazine, stating the restaurant has “exceptional food, deep sense of commitment to its community, powerful narration and special voice in the region.” It sounds like it's well worth the drive to nearby Braddock, about a 20-minute ride from the university.
Sweet Treats: Last year, the Huffington Post declared Pittsburgh’s Burnt Almond Torte to be “probably the BEST cake America has to offer." Prantl's Bakery's cake has been a local icon for 45 years. Do not leave town without bringing some home! Make a stop at the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company with many locations throughout the city and a branch right in Oakland. It’s worth the short drive for a scoop or two at Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Shadyside.
Local Attractions: The city is home to powerhouse professional sports teams, such as the Steelers and Penguins, and countless worthy cultural institutions, such as the Andy Warhol Museum. The museum has the largest collection of Warhol’s work in the world, including an impressive collection of his pre-factory early works, personal photos, and you can even try out his signature silk screening technique during your visit. A short walk from the Warhol is the Senator John Heinz History Center, Pennsylvania's largest history museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Another worthy stop is the nearby August Wilson Center, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Pittsburgh native, is also worth a visit. The center contains performance and gallery spaces. There are four Carnegie Foundation museums in Pittsburgh, art lovers head to the Carnegie Museum of Art while science fans should allow time for a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world. Explore the outdoor gardens and Victorian glasshouse at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, set in Schenley Park. As Pittsburgh is bordered by three rivers, sailing, kayaking, and fishing opportunities are also plentiful.
— Quotes From Campus —
PITT FAST FACTS
Blue and Gold
Average - 1330
Average - 29
Large - 20,000 Undergraduates
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(p) (412) 624-7488
NCAA Division I
Just toured the Pitt Campus? Are you a Pitt student, parent or Alumni? Fill out this 2 minute survey to supplement our Daytripper University Guide for Pitt!