Located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers,
Pittsburgh is known as both "the Steel City" for its more than 300 steel-related
businesses, and as the "City of Bridges" for its 446 bridges. By
1910, Pittsburgh was the nation's 8th-largest city, accounting for between a
third and a half of national steel output. The industrial base continued
to expand through the 1970s with peak population close to 700,000, but beginning
in the early 1980s both the area's steel and electronics industries imploded
during national industrial restructuring. In the later 20th century, the
area shifted its economic base to education, tourism, and services, largely
based on healthcare/medicine, finance, and high technology such as robotics.
Although Pittsburgh successfully shifted its economy and remained viable, the
city's population (~300,000 in 2015) has never rebounded to its industrial-era
highs. In 2015, Pittsburgh was listed among the "eleven most livable
cities in the world"; The Economist's Global Liveability Ranking placed
Pittsburgh as the first- or second-most livable city in the United States in
2005, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Getting there ...
I had just returned from a business trip from Korea. After landed at
SFO at 11:30AM, I went directly through the transfer to meet Woanyu and Iris at
the departure gate for our flight (at 1PM) to Denver/Pittsburgh. After we
boarded our plane, we were told that there was some air traffic control because
the wind had just shifted and all flights needed to take off from an opposite
direction. We could see many planes were taxiing from one end of the
runway to the other to wait for take-off. Our plane stayed at the gate for
more than an hour before it was our turn to be pushed out for departure. When we
arrived in Denver, we had less than 15 minutes for our connecting flight to
Pittsburgh. It was almost mid-night (local time) when we got to the hotel
in Pittsburgh, and I had traveled for almost 24 hours in different airports and
Second Day (4/6) ...
- Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Founded in 1900 by Andrew
Carnegie as the Carnegie Technical Schools, the university became the
Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1912. In 1967, the Carnegie Institute
of Technology merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to
form Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon consistently
ranks in the top 25 in the national U.S. News & World Report rankings. It is
home to the world’s first degree-granting Robotics and Drama programs, as
well as one of the first Computer Science departments.
Iris has been
accepted to the CMU class of 2021. The main purpose of this trip was
to visit the school and to attend some activities arranged for admitted
students to understand more about the school and student lives. It was
snowing when we got to the campus, and it was a good opportunity to let Iris
know what the winter will be like in the east coast...
- Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh
Woanyu and I walked
to the Cathedral of Learning after lunch since Iris had a separate activity
during lunch. The Cathedral of Learning is the centerpiece of
the University of Pittsburgh's main campus. Standing at 535 feet, the
42-story Gothic Revival Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the
Western hemisphere. The massive "Common
Room" (served as a general study area) is so impressive that you feel
you are really studying inside a cathedral. The Cathedral is home to
30 Nationality Rooms located on the first and third floors; each nationality
room is designed to celebrate a different culture that had an influence on
After all the scheduled activities at CMU, we took a short
drive to the Shadyside area. Shadyside is a neighborhood in the East
End of Pittsburgh, and is home to many upscale stores and boutiques.
Iris was so happy to know that this area is not far from the CMU campus.
I hope she will not spend too much time (and money) here in the future :-)
- Pittsburgh at Night
After dinner close to PNC Park, we walked to the
waterfront at the North Shore to have a classic view of Pittsburgh's city
Third Day (4/7) ...
- Duquesne Incline
We had a brunch with Woanyu's high school classmate (although they did not
know each other before) in the northern Pittsburgh. After the brunch,
we drove to one of the top tourist spots, Duquesne Incline, to see the
iconic view of Pittsburgh's skyline. Opened on May 20, 1877, the
Duquesne Incline was rescued and restored by a group of local residents in
1963 and still delights residents and visitors with its original and elegant
wooden cable cars.
- North Shore
We went back to hotel to take a short break, and headed
downtown via the Roberto Clemente
Bridge from the North Shore. Along the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers,
the North Shore boasts great views of the city, and it is most famous for
its iconic sports venues – Heinz Field and PNC Park
Downtown Pittsburgh contains a wealth of historic, cultural,
and entertainment sites, and retains substantial economic influence,
ranking at 25th in the nation for jobs within the urban core and 6th in job
density. The downtown area is clean and organized, and we did not see
any homeless people wandering around the streets. There is a mix of
architecture (traditional and modern) in the downtown. The most
impressive is the PGG Place, consisting of six buildings (center on
One PPG Place, a 40-story office
building) within three city blocks and five and a half acres. The
buildings are all of matching glass design with a total of 19,750 pieces of
We walked to the Market Square to have an early dinner.
The Market Square is an interesting place that it feels like an old square
in an European city but surrounded by tall modern skyscrapers.
- PNC Park
Since the hotel I chose was right next to the PNC park, we
decided to go to see a baseball game there (Pirates vs. Braves). The
view here was incredible with bridges and downtown bathed in the sunset
Last Day (4/8) ...
I went to the South Shore (on Grandview close to Monongahela
Incline) where there are a few platforms providing nice unobstructed views
of the downtown skyline.
- Carnegie Mellon University
Since the weather was much better today,
we went back to CMU campus to take one more look (and more pictures).
We also met with a Bay Area family whose son was also accepted into CMU this
Going Home ...
After a quick lunch near the campus, we headed back to PIT airport. It is a
big modern airport but not as busy as other big cities (we did not see any other
airplanes on the runway when we prepared for take-off, and less than half of
gates with airplanes). Now Iris has decided where to go for the next
major milestone for her journey, Woanyu and I will need to start to prepare
[Back to Photo Page]