Neighborhoods can vary. Immediately in the vicinity of the universities there can be a lot of transient residents (as you might expect), and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Traffic in the university district (Oakland) is the 3rd-most congested in the state, after downtown Philadelphia and downtown Pittsburgh.
I don’t know what family-UNfriendly would mean, so yeah, I would call it family-friendly. Church atmosphere can vary widely from parish to parish, and the diocese is about to get a new ordinary, Bishop David Zubik, who is a native son lately having served in Green Bay. Not sure to what extent that might shake up the Church, but I wouldn’t hold my breath – Pittsburgh has been (IMHO) very parochial and old-school, as far as diocesan structure is concerned.
As an example: Catholics from other areas sometimes write about the ministries that the permanent deacons (plural) serve in their parish (singular) – Pittsburgh ordained a class in 1973 and a second in 1998 – Surely not more than 100 men total. A 3rd class is in formation now and a 4th is in the application stage, but the diocese just has not utilized men in this capacity historically. Seems to be trying to play catch up now, with priest retirements looming.
Places to play outside? Three large parks in the city, Schenley, Frick and Highland – 3-1/2 if you count Point State park. Lots of smaller parks dot the neighborhoods. The zoo and museums are world-class. PNC Park can be a great place to take the family for not much $$$ – If only they had a major league team to field there.
The demographic is graying, though lots of young families as well. Cost of living is generally lower than much of the country – You can make a huge profit selling a house elsewhere and buying in Pittsburgh, but that means it can be harder to move out, should that time come.
A lot of Pitt students live in the Oakland/Squirrel Hill area, which can get congested (especially down on Forbes, which is a huge road that runs through the campus). It’s not that bad whenever you finally learn how to manuever through the traffic though. I know a lot of people who live across the river and go to Pitt (it makes the commute longer, but they’re pretty nice neighborhoods). Actually Pitt isn’t a bad area to be in just because there’s a lot more to do in that area than in my area. The bad thing though: stores downtown close EARLY on Sundays, there really isn’t much open after 6pm. Which I guess isn’t a bad thing if you want to spend time with your family, but if you want to go out and get something there isn’t much available.
I’ve liked being here for the past four years, and it’s partly because I love Pittsburgh so much that I want to stay here for another three.
I’ve never lived there, but I have 3 immediate family members who went to college there and then lived there for awhile afterwards so I visited a lot. I really like Pittsburgh a lot. I think there is a lot to do and it’s not expensive. I LOVE the Children’s Museum and the Carnegie Science Center. As far as the traffic at Pitt - there are some places around there you could live and your husband could walk to campus.
I’ll pass this thread onto my dad and sisters. My dad went to Pitt back in the 70’s, my older sister lives there and my younger sister just graduated from FU of Steubenville (right down the road from Pittsburg). From my visits there I can say that they have some beautiful Catholic Churches and the geography with the rivers is beautiful too.
Another regarding the geography – Pittsburgh and other “civilization” is really defined by the rivers, which have historically controlled the urban sprawl that otherwise encompasses many other cities. Drive 20 minutes in any direction not along the rivers and you can be in some pretty farmland or woodland hills.
i was in Pittsburgh back in the early 90s for a conference, i took my car one night and just took off out of town - just heading out for a few hours to see where i end up, no particular destination in mind… within 45 minutes i was in a mall parking lot, nothing but Ford pick-ups with gun racks in the back windows… it went from urban to rural in VERY quickly.
Thanks everyone for your responses! I haven’t written back much b/c i am just back to work with a three-month old but all this info is so good to know. I feel better knowing that it isn’t too farto get to some beautiful scenery-I have trouble in big cities
Just a note – Pitt has a fantastic Newman Center staffed by Oratorian Priests along with FOCUS missionaries. It’s a very solid and faithful place, with extended Eucharistic adoration hours, Sunday vespers, and many different discussion groups geared toward those older than undergraduate age. The Masses are very well attended and the homilies are consistently some of the best I’ve ever heard. They have a Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday with tradional Latin hymns and the required smells and bells!
(I graduated with me MA from Pitt in 03 and I still get to the Oratory almost every day (Some days more than once)! I keep threatening to move in. )