Battle of the Cities: Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh

Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Primanti or Panini’s?

Lake Erie or Three Rivers?

Strip District or West Side Market?

Great Lakes Brewery or Iron City Beer?

Pittsburgh Steelers or Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are very similar, yet unique in their own special way. Both cities have a rich past and promising future, and offer residents and visitors alike recreation, shopping and nightlife that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. For us who call the Mahoning Valley home, we have the distinct pleasure to experience the best of both worlds, being located smack dab in the middle of both metropolitan areas.

City Structure & Economics

Let’s start with the basics. This includes population, economy and real estate.

Cleveland, OH Pittsburgh, PA
City Population 385,525 302,407
Metro Population 2,055,612 2,360,867
Median Household Income $26,583 $42,450
Median Home Value $67,500 $100,800
Median Rent $660 / Per Month $844 / Per Month

Cleveland and Pittsburgh encompass the Rust Belt, the area once known for steel production and heavy industry. For decades, both regions struggled to find a new identity as jobs vanished and people left the area to seek better opportunities. But, there’s been a shift in the past decade, mentally and physically. Cleveland and Pittsburgh have invested in its universities such as Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon to establish the foundation of smart workers that in turn can generate new technology hubs. In addition, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are home to the world’s top healthcare facilities with Cleveland Clinic and UPMC.

This transformation has gone off without a hitch in Pittsburgh as tech giants such as Google and Uber have invested in hundreds of new employment opportunities and resources. The Steel City’s resurgence has even caught the eye of Amazon as Pittsburgh is one of 20 cities across North America in the running for Amazon’s HQ2. This could result in the creation of nearly 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Water, A View & Some Rock & Roll

What is the one thing Pittsburgh and Cleveland have in common? Water! It just comes in different shapes and forms. For Clevelanders, there’s no better way to escape the summer heat than a dip in Lake Erie. Cleveland and the surrounding area are home to dozens of sandy beaches to soak up the sun and enjoy the waves.

Pittsburgh is a little different. Sand is hard to come by, but you can experience water recreation on any of Pittsburgh’s three rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela & Ohio). Interesting enough, it serves as host of one of the largest motorboat festivals in the country.

However, you can’t top the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Get up close and personal with memorabilia belonging to the best-known and most influential musicians, bands and producers that influenced the music industry.

Let’s Have Some Fun

So, you want to experience a night out on the town that turns into an early morning? Cleveland and Pittsburgh have their exclusive nightlife spots. In Cleveland, East 4th Street and Flats East Bank come alive at night with world-class dining and entertainment with live music on the daily at venues such as House of Blues and Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.

As for Pittsburgh, if you have a taste for beer and pizza, then this is your place. The Steel City has 12 bars per 10,000 residents. That’s more per capita than any other city in the U.S. Hotspots include the Strip District featuring a number of authentic eateries and warehouse dance clubs and of course, East Carson Street on the South Side. This section of the city, once home to iron and steel mills and various immigrants, is a mecca for millennials to enjoy all the city has to offer in term of bars, clubs and restaurants.

Which city comes out on top? Pittsburgh and Cleveland both have their advantages and it’s hard to pick a winner. But, if we had to, wouldn’t the Mahoning Valley be the clear favorite? It’s hard to name another location in the nation this close to so much action.