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Can You Name All of the Lists Pittsburgh is On?

Pittsburgh's first significant nationwide ranking was more than three decades ago –– and a lot has changed since then.

photo by dave dicello


It’s been over 30 years since Pittsburgh was first named Most Livable City by Rand-McNally in 1985.

Since then, Tom Loftus, chief marketing officer at VisitPittsburgh, has determined two specific events that explain when Pittsburgh began to make headlines: when the steel mills closed in the 1980s and when the city hosted the G20 Summit in 2009.

“When the steel mills closed, the city was forced to figure out what to do overnight,” he says.

After the closures of the steel mills, Loftus says Pittsburgh began to lean toward making a name in education and medicine, but it wasn’t until the G20 Summit that it began to get attention for the current rejuvenation we see today.

“The G20 Summit opened up the eyes of the world to Pittsburgh,” says Loftus.

It was in 2009, the same year as the Summit, that the Economist Intelligence Unit began placing Pittsburgh at or near the top of its Global Livability Ranking. The city made an appearance again in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Pittsburgh’s traction continues internationally this year with Harper’s Bazaar ranking it No. 4 in Best Places to Travel in 2017 behind New Zealand, Canada and Finland. Loftus says Pittsburgh has become an international destination for residents from the United Kingdom, Germany and China for its “all-American” lifestyle.

This year, Pittsburgh pulled in everything from the “Best City to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day” to being named the 8th best place to retire in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report. Niche ranks Pittsburgh as the Best City to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day based on an A+ grade in bar access.

Here are a half dozen more of our favorite rankings:

  • No. 1 in Zagat’s Top 17 Food Cities of 2015
  • No. 1 Best City for Taking a Hike in 2017 by RewardExpert
  • No. 1 for beer lovers from Redfin’s “Best Cities for Beer Lovers”
  • No. 3 in the Best City for Football Fans according to WalletHub
  • No. 8 in Amazon’s Most Romantic City
  • No. 20 out of 100 for Best Places to Live by Livability.com

While it’s been awhile since Pittsburgh has been called the Most Livable City, it now ranks No. 41 on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 10th annual “Global Livability Ranking” behind five other U.S. cities. 

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