Pittsburgh ranks amongst America’s finest cities for out of doors actions


Pittsburgh is celebrated for its bridges, its dominating role in US industrial history, and for being home to one of the world’s largest conventions for anthropomorphism. Now people are finally realizing that Pittsburgh is a destination for outdoor activities.

A study by real estate company CommercialSearch ranked Pittsburgh the 8th best place for outdoor enthusiasts among cities with populations under 500,000.

The study examines multiple factors such as parks, outdoor facilities, outdoor walking trails per inhabitant, air quality, number of clear days per year, walkability, and recreational locations.

“In our busy lives, it may be becoming increasingly difficult to connect with nature and spend time outdoors,” writes Lucian Alixandrescu for CommercialSearch. “Therefore, living in a city where such opportunities are easier to find can contribute to physical and mental well-being. Our goal was to find out which cities are the best in this regard.”

Pittsburgh has more than 165 parks with amenities for everyone like biking, hiking, swimming, hiking and disc golf. Pittsburgh received a park rating of 21.5 out of 30, with 67.3% of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. The city received the best rating of any small town for its outdoor fitness zones per capita, with nearly one fitness zone for every 10,000 residents.

“From urban oases to the Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts willing to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature both within the city and beyond its borders,” says Alixandrescu. “In addition to hiking and biking, the city also offers kayaking with eight rivers within an hour’s drive, as well as camping and many other recreational opportunities.”

Image courtesy of CommercialSearch.

Valerie Beichner, President and CEO of Venture Outdoors, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of being outdoors, agrees.

“Access to outdoor spaces is vital to everyone’s mental and physical health and well-being. Parks provide opportunities to be physically active and connect with nature. They also provide spaces for communities to gather and engage,” she says.

According to Beichner, Pittsburgh residents tend to bike and walk the most because they are so accessible. She adds that kayaking is becoming increasingly popular around town.

“Pittsburgh has everything,” says Beichner. “We have seemingly endless miles of hiking trails along the riverbanks and in our forested hills; multiple waterways such as rivers, streams and lakes to choose from; and countless clubs, non-profit and for-profit organizations with a mission to get you to enjoy the natural surroundings.”

This story is part of the new Outdoor Guide series for NEXTpittsburgh, which focuses on outdoor recreation within about a three-hour drive from Pittsburgh.