Pittsburgh is consistently ranked among the top places to live, work, and visit in the United States, and even the world. Major travel and financial organizations regularly mention Pittsburgh as one of the most livable cities with first-hand cultural attractions and a healthy economy.
- 10 Cheapest Last-Minute Getaways 2012 - Hotwire.com
Pittsburgh was named the #1 cheapest last-minute getaway by Hotwire.com in this 2012 list of 10 destinations in the United States where travelers found the most significant last-minute hotels bargains, versus general rates on Hotwire.com. Pittsburgh, billed as the "Paris of Appalachia," was praised for its "thriving arts scene," inexpensive hotel rooms, and great shopping bargains (clothing is exempt in the state of PA from sales and use tax).
- Top 7 Family Destinations for 2012 - ABC City Guides for Kids
ABC City Guides for Kids ranked Pittsburgh a #1 travel destination for families, stating "The Heinz History Center and the Carnegie Science Center are world class. Ride the Duquesne Incline for the best view of Kidsburgh and the city's 3 Rivers. Visit Primanti Bros., the Strip District and Andy Warhol Museum."
- 10 Most Literate Cities - CCSUThis annual survey, conducted by Central Connecticut State University, has consistently ranked Pittsburgh on its 10 Most Literate Cities list since the survey began in 2003. Rankings are based on number of bookstores, newspaper circulation, educational level and libraries.
- 25 Best Places for a Working Retirement - Forbes
Pittsburgh ranked #20 on Forbes' 2012 ranking of 25 best places for a working retirement. Citing an unemployment rate of 6.6%, and solid job growth, Forbes also praised Pittsburgh for its low cost of living (6% below the national average) and high numbers of physicians-per-capita, but warned that the winters here are cold.
- Best Places to Retire 2012 - AARP
Pittsburgh ranked #7 in AARP's 2012 list of "10 Best Places to Live on $100 a Day," with accolades for the city's beautiful skyline, affordable arts, terrific food, and recreational opportunities. According to the article, Pittsburgh has 194 sunny days per year and a median home price of $106,500.
- 10 American Comeback Cities 2012 - ForbesLauded for its economic turnaround begun in 2009, Pittsburgh is discussed extensively in Forbes' article on 10 American Comeback Cities, a version of which appeared in the March 12, 2012, issue of Forbes Magazine. The city is recognized, among other things, for its strong new economy built around higher education and healthcare, as well as the presence of tech-leaders such as Google, and the world’s largest “living” green building at the Phipps Conservatory.20
- Best Trips 2012 - National Geographic Traveler
National Geographic's Traveler magazine named Pittsburgh among its 20 best trips to make in 2012, one of only two American cities to make the list, joining such world destinations as the fjords of Iceland, the oasis of Oman, and the sun-drenched beaches of Thailand. Pittsburgh was especially noted for its art, architecture, and "quirky sense of humor," mentioned for its role as a stand-in for Gotham City in the 2012 blockbuster Dark Knight Rises.
Some of the city's other honors in recent years
- One of the seven best ballparks in America, ABC News.
- Best place to buy a home, Forbes magazine.
- One of the best U.S. "made-over towns to visit," Lonely Planet travel guide.
- No. 1 sports city, Sporting News magazine.
- Most livable city in the U.S., The Economist magazine (Britain).
- "First-Class Second City: Where To Go Instead," Frommers.
- One of the world's most stunning skylines, ForbesTraveler.com.
- No. 1 commercial real estate market, Moody's Investors Service (seven-county region).
- Second best place to raise kids, BusinessWeek.
- Best football fans in the NFL, ESPN.
- No. 1 for relocating families, Worldwide ERC and Primacy Relocation.
- No. 1 traditional amusement park (Kennywood), National Amusement Park Historical Association.
- First Heart, Liver, Kidney Transplant - December 3, 1989
The first simultaneous heart, liver and kidney transplant was done at Presbyterian-University Hospital.
- The First Internet Emoticon - 1982
The Smiley :-) was the first Internet emoticon, created by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman.
- First Robotics Institute - 1979
The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University was established to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies relevant to industrial and societal tasks.
- First Mr Yuk Sticker - 1971
Mr Yuk was created at the Poison Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh after research indicated that the skull and crossbones previously used to identify poisons had little meaning to children who equate the symbol with exciting things like pirates and adventure.
- First Night World Series Game - 1971
Game 4 of the 1971 World Series was the first night game in World Series history, a series that Pittsburgh went on to win, 4 games to 3.
- First Big Mac - 1967
Created by Jim Delligatti at his Uniontown McDonald's, the Big Mac debuted and was test marketed in three other Pittsburgh-area McDonald's restaurants in 1967. By 1968 it was a mainstay on McDonald's menus throughout the country.
- First Pull-Tab on Cans - 1962
The pull-tab was developed by Alcoa and was first used by Iron City Brewery in 1962. For many years, pull-tabs were only used in this area.
- First Retractable Dome - September 1961
Pittsburgh's Civic Arena boasts the world's first auditorium with a retractable roof.
- First U.S. Public Television Station - April 1, 1954
WQED, operated by the Metropolitan Pittsburgh Educational Station, was the first community-sponsored educational television station in America.
- First Polio Vaccine - March 26, 1953
The polio vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 38-year-old University of Pittsburgh researcher and professor.
- First All-Aluminum Building - ALCOA - August 1953
The first aluminum-faced skyscraper was the Alcoa Building, a 30-story, 410 foot structure with thin stamped aluminum panels forming the exterior walls.
- First Zippo Lighter - 1932
George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in 1932 in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The name Zippo was chosen by Blaisdell because he liked the sound of the word "zipper" - which was patented around the same time in nearby Meadville, PA.
- First Bingo Game - early 1920's
Hugh J. Ward first came up with the concept of bingo in Pittsburgh and began running the game at carnivals in the early 1920s, taking it nationwide in 1924. He secured a copyright on the game and wrote a book of Bingo rules in 1933.
- First U.S. Commercial Radio Station - November 2, 1920
Dr. Frank Conrad, assistant chief engineer of Westinghouse Electric, first constructed a transmitter and installed it in a garage near his home in Wilkinsburg in 1916. The station was licensed as 8XK. At 6 p.m. on Nov. 2, 1920, 8KX became KDKA Radio and began broadcasting at 100 watts from a make-shift shack atop one of the Westinghouse manufacturing buildings in East Pittsburgh.
- Daylight Savings Time - March 18, 1919
A Pittsburgh city councilman during the first World War, Robert Garland devised the nation's first daylight savings plan, instituted in 1918.
- The First Gas Station - December, 1913
In 1913 the first automobile service station, built by Gulf Refining Company, opened in Pittsburgh at Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in East Liberty. Designed by J. H. Giesey.
- The First Baseball Stadium in the U.S. - 1909
In 1909 the first baseball stadium, Forbes Field, was built in Pittsburgh, followed soon by similar stadiums in Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and New York.
- First Motion Picture Theatre - 1905
The first theater in the world devoted to the exhibition of motion pictures was the "Nickelodeon," opened by Harry Davis on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh.
- First Banana Split - 1904
Invented by Dr. David Strickler, a pharmacist, at Strickler's Drug Store in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
- The First World Series - 1903
The Boston Pilgrims defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in baseball's first modern World Series in 1903.
- First Ferris Wheel - 1892/1893
Invented by Pittsburgh native and civil engineer, George Washington Gale Ferris (1859-1896), the first Ferris Wheel was in operation at the World's Fair in Chicago. It was over 264 feet high and was capable of carrying more than 2,000 passengers at a time.
- Long-Distance Electricity - 1885
Westinghouse Electric developed alternating current, allowing long-distance transmission of electricity for the first time.
- First Air Brake - 1869
The first practical air brake for railroads was invented by George Westinghouse in the 1860s and patented in 1869.