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Downtown Pittsburgh: Wikis


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Coordinates: 40°26′28″N 80°00′00″W / 40.441°N 80.000°W / 40.441; -80.000

(Central Business District; Golden Triangle)
From Mt. Washington
Pgh locator central business district.svg
Neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°26′28″N 80°00′00″W / 40.441°N 80.000°W / 40.441; -80.000
Population (1990): 3785[1]
Population (2000): 2721[1]
Area: 0.64 mi² [1]

Downtown Pittsburgh, officially called the Golden Triangle or Central Business District,[1] is the urban downtown center of Pittsburgh. It is located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River whose joining forms the Ohio River. The "triangle" is bound by the two rivers. The area features offices for major corporations such as PNC Bank, U.S. Steel, PPG, Bank of New York Mellon, Heinz, Federated Investors and Alcoa. It is where the fortunes of such industrial barons as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Mellon and George Westinghouse were made.



The Central Business District is bounded by the Monongahela River to the south, the Allegheny River to the north, and I-579 (Crosstown Boulevard) to the east. An expanded definition of Downtown may include the adjacent neighborhoods of Uptown/The Bluff, the Strip District, the North Shore, and the South Side.


Historic buildings on Fourth Avenue, Pittsburgh's early financial district in the Firstside neighborhood. Many of these are being converted to residential uses.
The Smithfield Street Bridge
Triangular Wood Street subway station below the Wood Street Galleries in the Cultural District
Allegheny River bridges. Most Downtown bridges are painted a special "Aztec Gold" in honor of the Golden Triangle and the city's official colors, black and gold.
Famous mural on the 300 Sixth Street building

Public transportation

Downtown is served by the Port Authority's light rail subway system (known locally as the "T"), an extensive bus network, and two inclines (Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline). The Downtown subway has 6 stations, with 2 more in the construction phase:

Current T Stations

  • Station Square on the South Shore in the Station Square development (street-level station)
  • First Avenue near First Avenue & Ross Street, Downtown (elevated station)
  • Steel Plaza at Sixth Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown (underground station)
  • Penn Plaza near Liberty Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown (underground, limited service)
  • Wood Street at the triangular intersection of Wood Street, Sixth Avenue, and Liberty Avenue, Downtown (underground station)
  • Gateway Center at Liberty Avenue & Stanwix Street, Downtown (underground station)

Future T Stations

  • North Side near General Robinson Street & Tony Dorsett Drive on the North Shore (to be underground)
  • Allegheny near Allegheny Avenue & Reedsdale Street on the North Shore (to be elevated)

Downtown is also home to an Amtrak train station connecting Pittsburgh with New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. to the east and Cleveland and Chicago to the west. Greyhound's Pittsburgh bus terminal is located across Liberty Avenue from the Amtrak Station, in the Grant Street Transportation Center building.


Major roadways serving Downtown from the suburbs include the "Parkway East" (I-376) from Monroeville, the "Parkway West" (I-376) from the airport area, and the "Parkway North" (I-279) from the North Hills, and (I-579) in Downtown Pittsburgh. Other important roadways are Pennsylvania Route 28, Pennsylvania Route 51, Pennsylvania Route 65, and U.S. Route 19.

Three major entrances to the city are via tunnels: the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Squirrel Hill Tunnel on I-376 and the Liberty Tunnels. The New York Times once called Pittsburgh "the only city with an entrance,"[2] specifically referring to the view of Downtown that explodes upon drivers immediately upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Also Traveling I-279 south and I-376, the city "explodes into view" when coming around a turn in the highway.

Local streets

Downtown surface streets are based on two distinct grid systems that parallel the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. These two grids intersect along Liberty Avenue, creating many unusual street intersections. Furthermore, the Allegheny grid contains numbered streets, while the Monongahela grid contains numbered avenues. And, in fact, there are cases where these numbered roadways intersect, creating some confusion (i.e. the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 7th Street/6th Avenue).


Pittsburgh is nicknamed "The City of Bridges" for good reason. Just in Downtown, there are 10 bridges (listed below) connecting to points north and south. The expanded definition of Downtown (including the aforementioned surrounding neighborhoods) includes 18 bridges. City-wide there are 446 bridges. In Allegheny County the number exceeds 2,200.

Downtown Bridges

Sixth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh

Bridges of Expanded Downtown

  • West End Bridge carries US Route 19 from the West End/South Shore to the North Shore/North Side just west of Downtown
  • 16th Street Bridge carries 16th Street from the Strip District to Chestnut Street on the North Side
  • West Penn Bridge (pedestrian/bike-only) is part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail connecting the North Side to Washington's Landing on Herr's Island
  • 30th Street Bridge connects River Avenue on the North Side with Waterfront Drive on Washington's Landing at Herr's Island
  • 31st Street Bridge connects PA Route 28 on the North Side with 31st Street in the Strip District
  • 33rd Street Railroad Bridge connects the North Side to the Strip District and crosses Herr's Island
  • South 10th Street Bridge connects the Armstrong Tunnel at Second Avenue just east of Downtown with the South Side at South 10th Street
  • Birmingham Bridge connects East Carson Street on the South Side with Fifth and Forbes avenues in Uptown

Downtown districts

The skyline of Downtown Pittsburgh as viewed from PNC Park across the Allegheny River on the North Shore.

Downtown contains a wealth of historic, cultural, and entertainment sites. While most people still consider the entire Downtown as one neighborhood, there are several significant subdistricts within the Golden Triangle.

  • Point State Park area: At the triangle's tip is Point State Park with its giant fountain and the Fort Pitt Museum. This park was the original site of both Fort Duquesne by the French and the subsequent Fort Pitt by the British.
  • The Cultural District along Penn and Liberty avenues on the Allegheny River includes numerous theaters, galleries, and concert halls including Heinz Hall, Byham Theater, O'Reilly Theater, Benedum Center, and Wood Street Galleries as well as restaurants and housing. The Penn-Liberty Historic District encompasses the Penn & Liberty avenue corridor in the Cultural District.
  • The Fifth & Forbes Corridor is Downtown's shopping district along Fifth and Forbes avenues and includes historic Market Square. In addition to numerous independent retailers and restaurants, Downtown is home to three department stores: Saks Fifth Avenue, Burlington Coat Factory, and one of the nationwide Macy's flagship stores as well as numerous other large retailers like Brooks Brothers and Office Depot.
  • The Grant Street area is the seat of Pittsburgh's and Allegheny County's government and is also a prestigious corporate address with many of the city's tallest skyscrapers.
  • The Firstside neighborhood along the Boulevard of the Allies and Fort Pitt Boulevard adjacent to the Monongahela River is an educational and residential district. It is home to Point Park University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh both of which have high-rise student housing in the neighborhood. Numerous other residential projects are also under construction in this neighborhood.


Pittsburgh has long been a headquarters city, with numerous national and global corporations calling the Golden Triangle home. Currently, Downtown is still home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies (8 in the metro area, 6 of which are in the city in 2009, which ranks Pittsburgh high nationally in Fortune 500 headquarters):

- headquartered in PPG Place

- headquartered in the Heinz 57 Center

- headquartered in One PNC Plaza

- headquartered in PPG Place

- headquartered at Station Square

- headquartered at the US Steel Tower

Downtown is also home to GNC, Dollar Bank, Equitable Resources, Duquesne Light, Federated Investors and Highmark as well as the regional headquarters for National City Bank, Citizens Bank, Ariba, and Dominion Resources. Regional healthcare giant UPMC has its corporate headquarters in the US Steel Tower.

Major buildings

View of the sweeping roofline of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on the Allegheny River


View of the Roberto Clemente Bridge crossing the Allegheny River from the North Shore into Downtown with the Renaissance Hotel at the bridge's end

Downtown is home to the following hotels:

  • Pittsburgh Hilton & Towers
  • Omni William Penn
  • Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
  • Renaissance Pittsburgh
  • Fairmont Pittsburgh
  • Westin Convention Center Hotel
  • Doubletree Pittsburgh City Center
  • Courtyard by Marriott Downtown
  • Hilton Garden Inn (under construction)
  • Hampton Inn & Suites (located on the edge of the Strip District)
  • Sheraton Station Square (located in the South Shore's Station Square)
  • SpringHill Suites (located on the North Shore)
  • Hyatt Place (located on the North Shore)
  • Residence Inn by Marriott (located on the North Shore)
  • Holiday Inn Express (located on the North Shore)

Parks and plazas

View of the 1950s-era Gateway Center office/park complex with Fifth Avenue Place and PPG Place in the background

Downtown is home to numerous parks, large and small:

  • Point State Park at the tip of the Golden Triangle
  • Mellon Square located in the square between Oliver & Sixth avenues and Smithfield Street and William Penn Place
  • Market Square at Forbes Avenue & Market Street
  • Mellon Green located at Grant Street & Sixth Avenue
  • FirstSide Park located between Grant & Ross streets and First & Second avenues.
  • Gateway Center plazas located around the Gateway Center skyscrapers near Liberty Avenue & Stanwix Street
  • Plaza at PPG Place near Third Avenue & Market Street
  • US Steel Tower Plaza at Grant Street & Sixth Avenue
  • Katz Plaza at Penn Avenue & Seventh Street
  • Triangle Park bounded by Liberty Avenue, Fifth Avenue & Market Street
  • Allegheny Riverfront Park along the Allegheny River below Fort Duquesne Boulevard
  • Mon Wharf Landing along the Monongahela River below Fort Pitt Boulevard (under construction)
  • North Shore Riverfront Park opposite Downtown along the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, part of the larger Three Rivers Park

Educational facilities

View of Point Park University's Lawrence Hall

While Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood is known as the educational center of the city, Downtown is home to several higher education institutions as well as a branch of the city's Carnegie Library system and a Pittsburgh Public Schools 6-12 school:

Surrounding neighborhoods

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Census: Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. January 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  2. ^ "Top Ten Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh". Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Franklin Toker (1986, 1994). Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6. 

External links


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