Nicknames for Pittsburgh include the city of bridges, iron city, the city of champions, and dirty burgh.
The city of Pittsburgh is the second-most populated area in the state of Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia coming in at first place. Located in the southern regions of Pennsylvania, it has something for everyone.
Known in the past as the largest steel producer, it then took its passion and turned it towards sports. The city also boasts hundreds of bridges, numerous stunning skyscrapers, and several urban communities sitting on the city’s countless hillsides, all surrounded by the breathtaking Allegheny Mountains.
Here’s a fun fact: there are more bridges in Pittsburgh than in any other region in the world.
Its 446 bridges help districts, communities, and neighborhoods connect more easily over the three major rivers, numerous ravines, and steep hillsides.
Now, do you see how it got this nickname?
‘City of Bridges’ is actually the city’s most famous nickname, and is known by both locals and outsiders alike.
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There are many US cities with names ending in -burg, which is a German word that means a castle, fort, or an area that’s fortified and secure. A few examples include Harrisburg, Petersburg, and Altenburg.
Yet, few of them, and none in Pennsylvania, end with an ‘h’ at the end of -burg. This is just one thing that gives Pittsburgh its unique character and captivating ambiance.
It also makes it much easier to spell.
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Both these nicknames refer to when Pittsburgh and its neighboring regions were primarily steelmakers. In fact, this area was home to the largest producers of steel in the world, helping it gain international recognition and fame.
The Steel Building, also known as the US Steel Tower, is the headquarters for the steel company. This 64-story skyscraper in downtown Pittsburgh is the tallest building in the city and the fifth tallest in Pennsylvania.
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Being the world’s largest producer of steel came with consequences, mainly pollution in all its forms. The smoke and smog filled the air, and the waste toppled into the streets and somehow made its way into the rivers.
So, it’s easy to see how this nickname came about. While they may not be the largest steel producers anymore, the good news is that they’ve drastically reduced pollution levels. Unfortunately, nicknames are hard to shake off, especially those with a notorious past.
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If you’re into any type of sport, then you’re familiar with how competitive Pittsburgh can be. Over the years, the city has enjoyed a large number of sports championships in different types of sports.
In fact, the first-ever American football game was played in Pittsburgh in 1892. So, even before the American Civil War, this city has been playing sports and racking up the wins.
Then, by the 1970s when the city’s various teams kept winning year after year, the city became known as the ‘City of Champions.’
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This nickname comes from the name of the city and that of the university as well.
The name also refers to the city itself being in a sort of ‘pit.’ The reason is that most of the neighborhoods surrounding the city are on a hill, so the downtown area of Pittsburgh is located in the center between all those communities sitting high up on the hill.
The Appalachian region includes 420 counties over 13 states. It starts with Mississippi and Alabama in the south to Pennsylvania and the southern parts of New York.
Out of all those counties and states, Pittsburgh is considered the largest metropolitan hub in the region. It’s also the most populous city in Appalachia, being a busy cultural center with a booming economy and a rapidly growing infrastructure.
That’s where people started seeing the resemblance between Pittsburgh and Paris, France. So, giving it the nickname, Paris of Appalachia, seemed so fitting.
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This nickname is in reference to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2009, they became tied with the New England Patriots as the only two teams with six Super Bowl wins under their belt.
The Steelers won in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2006, and 2009. So, if you hear Pittsburghans call their city ‘Blitzburgh,’ or also sometimes ‘Sixburgh,’ know that they’re referring to those six Super Bowl victories.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a major source of pride for the locals, even those who aren’t necessarily football fans. This team is notorious for their great moves on the field, especially their defense. In fact, rival teams often refer to them as the ‘Steel Curtain’ because nothing could get past their defense.
The only major roads leading into Pittsburgh are either Liberty Tunnel or Fort Pitt Tunnel. Then, as you make your way out of them and head out from under Mount Washington, you’re met with your first captivating view of the city’s mesmerizing skyline.
It’s worth mentioning that Mount Washington isn’t actually a mountain. It’s a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that sits atop a hill. Because it’s so high up, you can get a clear view of the city and sometimes even beyond on a clear day, which is why many locals refer to it as ‘Charming’ Mount Washington.
In 1868, the Boston writer James Parton, once described the city of Pittsburgh as ‘hell with the lid off.’ He was referring to all the smog, smoke, and fire that were common and widespread in the city back in its days of steelmaking.
Luckily, the air pollution subsided. However, the name stuck.
After reading our list of Pittsburgh nicknames, you now know just how unique this city really is. With its rich history and breathtaking landscape, Pittsburgh has developed its own way of doing things. As a result, Pittsburghers and outsiders have come up with these distinctive names that represent their love and pride for their city.
Jason Dempsey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Home City Living. After abandoning the corporate world in order to indulge his wanderlust, Jason founded Home City Living with his partner Rose to create the premier source of travel information and inside local knowledge on the web to help other would-be global explorers and seekers learn to spread their wings and fly.