According to The New York Times, Pittsburgh is "the only city with an entrance." Emerging from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to find a spectacular skyline framed by sparkling rivers is only one of many surprises to be found in America's Renaissance City. Once known as the greatest steel-producing city in the country and one of the nation's leading industrial centers, Pittsburgh's new image is that of a major corporate and high technology center. The city has earned an international reputation as a leader in the area of medical research through recent gains in organ transplant technology, and its advanced technology industries now involve more than 800 firms and 80,000 employees. With more than 170 academic, industrial and governmental research laboratories, Pittsburgh boasts more doctoral scientists and engineers per capita than Boston, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Further evidence of Pittsburgh's new image is the reclamation of its three rivers for recreation and entertainment. The tugs and barges of industry still have their place, but the Pittsburgh area now ranks first in the country in the number of registered pleasure craft. Restaurants on the shore and on floating barges feature open-air decks and glass fronts to capture the view, and the riverboats of the Gateway Clipper Fleet offer river tours and floating dinner dances year-round. The Three Rivers Regatta, held each August, is a grand celebration of the rivers, featuring a Formula One grand prix speed boat race.
Pittsburgh's reputation as the most fervent of sports towns is well known. Each year the Penguins skate toward the Stanley Cup in the Civic Arena, and the Steelers and Pirates make Heinz Field and PNC Park roar with excitement. Pittsburgh is also gaining a reputation as the preferred site for international professional and amateur competitions in sports such as golf, cycling, rowing, and running.
Visitors and natives alike are often surprised to find a vibrant cultural scene in the city. The world-class Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Civic Light Opera, as well as several other local and touring companies, provide a busy performance schedule for two beautifully renovated downtown concert halls, as well as several smaller venues. Many recent movies and TV shows have been filmed here. The Carnegie is a unique cultural center housing the Museum of Natural History ("Home of the Dinosaurs"), the Museum of Art, the Carnegie Public Library, and the Carnegie Music Hall all under one roof. The city's newest museum is devoted to the works of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol.
Another surprise to many is the beauty of Pittsburgh's surrounding countryside, which provides year-round opportunities for recreation and fun. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater is a scenic two-hour drive away a special treat in the fall when the leaves are turning. A forty-minute drive can put the avid skier on the local slopes or into the mountains of West Virginia. Ohiopyle Park, the Allegheny Forest and many state parks offer everything from camping and caving to whitewater rafting and windsurfing. Man-made thrills can be experienced at nearby Kennywood Park; one of the finest amusement parks in the country and a registered historic landmark, Kennywood was named "Roller Coaster Capitol of the World".
Pittsburgh is a lively and friendly community blending the cosmopolitan qualities of a large city and the charm of a small town. Students from the world over have found Pittsburgh to be an excellent environment for productive study and research and a great place to live.