When we travel we prefer to keep some cash on us for things like taxis, tips, etc but for the most part we use our debit card. Judging by the exorbitant fees we have seen for ATM withdrawals it's a good thing to come with cash ready. Some fees we saw ranged from $2.50-$4 for a transaction which is ridiculous.
My friends have been living in Pittsburg for a long time now. According to them sunshine is rare but clouds and rain are a norm. When we visited it was mostly overcast and had some rain. Liz said it reminded her of London with the dampness and constant threat of rain. Desite the weather we had a good time and made sure to have an umbrella handy.
They know you're not from Pittsburgh........
Pittsburgh is a bit of a working class laid back place. ....try to blend in. At one of the bars Liz clearly stuck out with her accent and the bartender made it a point to mock how she said the word "soda" (she has a Bronx accent...it happens). We didn't know if he was being funny or trying to start with her but she played it off and smiled not wanting to cause a problem. We all left after the first round of drinks and moved on to the next place. I just think that some places are definitely for the "locals" and out of towners just happen to stick out more .
Always be aware of the many...
Always be aware of the many 'potholes' that pepper Pittsburgh's roadways, they'll tear a car apart sometimes. Also, prepare your driving paths and always get good directions because Pittsburgh's direction and street signs aren't all that helpful.
Areas to Avoid
If you find yourself wandering around or taking a Port Authority Transit tour (aka, just riding the bus as far as it goes to see what you can see), try to avoid Homewood and the Hill District at night. During the day, pretty much all of the city is fine to be in, but at night the crime in those two areas is comparatively high.
As a note:
Pittsburgh does not have gangs or any type of major crime problem. Most victims of violent crime in the area seem to be victims of domestic issues or involved with drugs.
Beware the Belt Roads
If you drive around the Pittsburgh area, you may come across signs indicating that you're on a "belt" route: Blue Belt, Orange Belt, etc. Visitors from cities that have actual beltways, like D.C. or Baltimore, may rejoice to think that they've found a way out of whatever neighborhood they are lost in. But no--Pittsburgh's "belts" are merely a series of random roads, mostly two-lane, that don't really lead anywhere. To make things worse, the area has recently implemented another series of routes designated by other colors that are intended to serve as emergency evacuation routes. Best advice? Use a GPS (although they often aren't right in Pittsburgh either.)
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Oh Come on....
I've lived in Pittsburgh for 26 years, i never been mugged or bothered with. This is all you need to do. If your visiting pgh the bad neighbor hoods dont have anything in the anyway so there is no need to go into them. You can drive through them and not have any problems. Just dont call attention to your self..ie. Blast music with your windows down... The Hill District/ Larmer/ East Lib/ Some of wilkinsburg/ allentown/ mt. oliver/ homewood/ homestead/north side thoses are all you have to worry about...you can drive through them but dont be an idiot.... the hill district is just east of the city where the mellon arena is.. thats where the pens play..the only reason u need to go there is for the mellon arena or to buy drugs..larmer there is nothing but houses and drugs no need to go there, east lib houses and drugs, wilkinsburg houses and drugs/ Allentown houses and drugs same with mt oliver , northside and homewood. now homestead is bad but its getting better...homestead has the waterfront in it which is a big development of high-end shops, restaurants, loews movie theater and comedy clubs. the waterfront development is not bad at all but 5th ave is still not that great. Anyway, places that have things to do and are not as dangerous as others, the southside, The southside is known for the longest street in the united states with the most bars on it... at night there is no need to worry about being mugged because there is so many people out and about...station sq, more expensive night out drinking but very safe. monroeville, robinson, greentree, plum, sq.hill, edgewood, west mifflin, cranberry, ross township are all family type suburbs. there is no crime at all the only thing that makes the news for theses neighbor hoods are too much snow, flooding, or fallin trees...as for oakland...everyone else on these post have said that oakland is not the great place to be at...first off oakland is not bad at all...everyone that lives there are between the ages of 18 and 26 because the whole town is a college town...i've walked through oakland at night many of times and have never been afraid...but come to pittsburgh to live...if you want to have a community that loves one another and loves there sports teams come to pittsburgh...its cheap to live and has plenty of jobs...
Downtown, inner-city Pittsburgh
These are relatively high crime areas of Pittsburgh, specifically past 2 or 3 AM.
- Downtown (Strong Police Presence)
- South Side (Moderate Police Presence)
- North Side (Less Police Presence)
- Strip District (Moderate Police Presence)
Most crimes in these areas are just robberies, violent robberies are a lot less common.
In the same light, the surrounding Pittsburgh Suburbs have a light police presence, but these cops are more likely to pull over confused looking people are night, partially due to the lack of crime and to help people out who need it. If this happens and you don't think you did anything don't react negatively, the cop is probably trying to help.
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Dangerous Areas of Pittsburgh
These are the most dangerous areas in Pittsburgh Metro in order of danger:
1. Homewood/Brushton - by far the most dangerous area in the region. There is no reason for anyone to visit this area and if you do.. good luck.
2. Hill District - also an extremely dangerous area. Right to the east of downtown. The only reason tourists would go here though is for the pens game and thats on the very edge.
3. East Hills - Next to Homewood. Same problems as Homewood but less dangerous.
4. Larimer - Also near Homewood and East hills. Entirely residential so theres no reason to visit here.
5. St. Clair Village - On the southern side of the city. Section 8 housing and nothing more.
6. North Side - Area north of PNC Park and Heinz Field. Not to be confused with the North Shore which is a very nice area with the 2 parks and lots of dinning and hotels. North Side is plauged with drugs and violence. Wise advice is not to go too far into this neighborhood.
7. Allentown/Arlington/Knoxville/Mount Oliver - Near St. Clair Village with the same types of problems with crime and drugs.
8. Wilkinsburg - Technically not a city neighborhood but a very dangerous area. Its a city right next to Homewood and the East Hills with a central business district.
9. Duquesne - Also not a city neighborhood. For an area of about 7,000 people and having 30 shootings in a year depicts this area as a very dangerous area. Next to Kennywood Amusement Park so just don't go into there.
10. Homestead/Hazelwood - Area by the Waterfront shopping area, which is a very nice shopping area by the way. Its just not wise drawing attention to yourself at night.
Overall Pittsburgh is a relatively safe city as a whole. Most of the crime occurs in these areas and its very well marked so just stay clear of these areas and i am sure you have a great time in the Steel City.
The Hill District has had its fair share of issues and it still has a poor reputation. I'm a student in Pittsburgh and I live in The Hill District because of the low cost of rent and its location relative to my school. I agree with most of the other comments regarding the area; the only reason you would have for being in or near this neighborhood, would be to attend an event at the arena. During hockey season I see a lot of drunk and clueless people from outside of the city walking through in the middle of the night. I would advise anyone not to do that. You stand out like a sore thumb and it's like walking around with a big target on your back. If you must walk through, just make sure to be in a big group.
Due to the poor reputation the neighborhood has (I've had more than a few cab drivers refuse to take me home at night), there is an eerie silence and sense of unease that falls over the area once the sun goes down. There's almost nothing to worry about during the day. For the most part, everyone keeps to themselves. People just need to remember to be aware of their surroundings, don't get distracted, don't stumble around like an idiot, and walk like you have a purpose and you know where you're going. Oh, and women, don't walk around swinging your purse...that is just asking for trouble!
To be fair, I've never had any problems that I haven't already encountered in other neighborhoods of Pittsburgh or any other city for that matter. In fact, the two or three MAJOR problems I've had since moving here took place in the Central Business District.
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Pittsburgh is a nice and freindly city for the most part.Like all major cities there are probelms however.The safest and smartest thing to do is to ask the locals what they think. Pittsburghers are very blunt and will not suger coat things. Most people will be glad to give you advice.They will only recommend areas that they would wanna go to.Also you can buy tourist guide that will keep you on the right track. If its not recommended then dont do it. Its not advised to wander around. You will know when your in a tourist area and when your not. The inner city can be very dangerous in some parts and so can the suburbs.Even tourist areas at night arent advisible to wander around passed 2 a.m. .Thats when the bars close and people go home.The rest are suspect.Do not try and buy drugs in Pittsburgh.The Police and people dont have any real tolerence for this.Even if a dealer offers dont do it.At this point anything can happen to you and nobody would care.Do not insult Pittsburgh in any way.Alot people in pittsburgh take it as an insult to them.This can end up violent.For instance at bar or sports game.Its not wise to brag much about where your from either.As this can also be seen as an insult.People here are very competitive.Do not mimic or over examines the local dialect.The locals will think your making fun of them.Most people dont have a thick Pittsburghese accent.Alot of peolple in Pittsburgh know the accent themselves and find it annoying.Not everybody in Pittsburgh is a hill billy and you should not pre stero-type anybody.The arent any amish peolpe in Pittsburgh with a horse and buggie.Pittsburghers can be anybody and anything so dont expect .Beside that, enjoy yourself.
Warning....my son is a college student and lives on mount washington . Last year him and his girlfiriend walked to a party at midnight ..they were causing no problems.... they were robbed by gunpoint. The police came , got their report, and left them on the street! never followed up at all .. terrible.. stay away!
South Side dont be a mark.
Pgh is a great sports town and we do like to drink. Problem, most people who come to our city arent always friendly drinkers and when they come to the party atmosphere of south side they tend to bring bad atitudes with them. South Side can be extremely dangerous on the weekends. You have the unpredictablity of drunken college frat scene mixed with local douche bags from areas out side of pgh such as the south hills. In addtion, south side attracts gang bangers and thugs from mount oliver and hill district looking for and easy mark. Drunk obnoxious white people who look like they got cash on them are easy targets for this group. If you think about it, if you were going to rob someone where would you go? You would go where the moneys at and thats why places like south side or shady side are high targeted areas. Also most of the police you will see down there are working the bars, most of them are off duty unfortunately and since there are no laws telling off duty officers they cant wear their uniforms while doing private securtiy so it can be confusing if you are in need of help. If you choose to hang out in south side on the weekends carry mace and a tazer with you, dont get so drunk you cant walk, dont have head phones on or be on the phone or texting while you walk, dont mouth ouff to aggressive drivers or if your riding your bike anyone that cuts you off. It can be very bad for your health.
city UN"neighborhoods" or simply hoods to avoid
every city has them. plain and simple. notorious goings on each night in the news. these are the ones that jump out to me in no particular order
the hill district, all of it. you got no business there unless you are lookin for drugs and trouble. basically visitors stay west and south of the consol (hockey stadium)
after dark excursions
there are almost no problems anywhere in pittsburgh if you travel during the day time. when the sun goes down it can be a different story. areas to avoid would be Larmer, Lincoln, Lemmington, Homewood and East Hills. Homestead, Hazelwood. North Side, South Side, Hill District. Sometimes Lawrenceville. Duquesne and McKeesport. most of these are high drug and hi crime areas. unless you are looking for drugs and prostitutes there is no reason to be walking in these areas at night. if you drive through always keep your doors locked. always leave a car length between you and the car in front of you at red lights and stop signs. the south side is a great place to drink and party but it is also a place to encounter assholes and robbers. if you run into problems and are arrested you will be taken to the allegheny county jail. this place is is just bad news all the way around.
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