Pittsburgh International Airport
(PIT) is conveniently located 16 miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. The airport is easy to reach from most major U.S. cities and operates daily international flights to and from Toronto, Ontario and Paris. As you make your way to the baggage claim, be sure to check out the T-Rex skeleton. During football season, he can sometimes be spotted holding a Jurassic-sized Steelers "Terrible Towel.” To get into the city you can take a metered taxi, but there are no flat rates, so we don’t recommended this during rush hour. Fares to Downtown average between $30-$35. Alternatives include hotel shuttles (when applicable), rental cars and the Port Authority bus service. Take the "28X Airport Flyer via West Busway" route, which departs every 20 minutes and goes into downtown or out as far as Oakland for $2.60.
The Amtrak station is located on the edge of downtown Pittsburgh near the Liberty Center and is convenient to many of the city’s bus lines. The Pittsburgh station, PGH, is on both the Pennsylvanian and Capitol Limited lines, which travel from New York to Pittsburgh (about nine hours) and from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. The train from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. takes about eight hours; it's longer than driving, but far less stressful, and you can enjoy the scenery and do some work or reading along the way.
If you want to go old school, you can get to Pittsburgh on the Greyhound Bus
. There's a station located downtown at the historic Grant Street Transportation Center, and another in nearby Monroeville. Typical bus service from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh takes about about seven hours, an hour less than the train. Greyhound also happens to be rolling out new vehicles equipped with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, low carbon emissions and more. It's really not a bad way to travel.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County, or PAT, is in charge of the buses, light rail ("The T") and incline transportation in Pittsburgh. Two of the historic inclines, cable cars (or funiculars) running up and down Pittsburgh’s hills, remain in operation and are great fun to ride. Bus fares (412-442-2000) are typically $2.75 or less (adult rate) and are calculated using a zone system. If you'll be in town for multiple days, it might be a better deal to purchase a weekly pass. To avoid looking like a tourist when riding a PAT bus, memorize the following:
On buses headed into downtown, you pay when you board.
When riding an outbound bus, you pay when you exit.
You will need exact fare or a pass.
Taxicabs are easy to find at the Pittsburgh International Airport and at the major Downtown hotels, but that's about it. Rather than hope to flag one down, it's better to call. Three reliable cab companies in the city are Checker Cab (412-664-5600), People’s Cab (412-441-3200) and the largest, Yellow Cab (412-321-8100). Typical fares from Downtown to Pittsburgh International Airport are $30-35. Fares are all metered.
Pittsburgh can be difficult to navigate by car, but anyone who's used to city driving should be just fine. A tip from the locals: don't cross a bridge or go through a tunnel if you don't have to; these are the most likely places to be congested, especially in summer due to construction. As in most cities, you must be aware of the usual rush hour times (Fort Pitt tunnel is no fun in gridlock traffic) and be careful where you park—the Grant Street Transportation Center is a great place to ditch a car for the day on the cheap (from $4.50 for two hours to $13 for 24 hours). A car will give you the opportunity to explore scenic drives through quaint towns in the outlying area.