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I am willing to answer any question about living in Pittsburgh to the best of my knowledge.

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Guest econapp2

http://business.tepper.cmu.edu/default.aspx?id=142499

 

http://www.housing.cmu.edu/CommunityHou ... hoods.html

I live in Oakland and it's a 10-minute walk to CMU. If you choose to live in a neighborhood that is not within walking distance, you should be able to take a bus to school. We pay about $35 per semester for unlimited bus rides and of course that's only for one person. The bus pass sticker is on your CMU ID so it can't be shared.

The off-campus apartments or shared houses have reasonable rents. If you're willing to share a place with another person, the rent could range from $350-500. Studio rooms are about $450-600. Pittsburgh is on craiglist so you can check it out for the current rates.

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Guest Lambda

You can check craigslist for some idea of rents, but I don't suggest apartment hunting in Pittsburgh using craigslist. It hasn't really caught on much there, so not many landlords use it to advertise places to live.

I lived in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill while I was there, and both are great neighborhoods with easy busline access to campus. Oakland is okay, too, but it's dirtier and more drinking/party oriented. If you're looking for a quiet residential area, head to Shadyside.

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Guest CMU student

check out apts on centre .. there are 2 grad student apts ... around centre and millvile ... i live in one of them .. it's a really good apt ... also make sure you either 1) have a car, 2) live near the CMU shuttle, 3) live near campus, or 4) live near a bus stop .. cause walking in the snow sucks

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Guest Chem

Hi , is the area around UPitt safe to walk around later at night (11pm-2am)? I have heard some people say it's not a safe city, but I live in Harlem right now...I don't think it can be any worse. Also, if anyone has any great tips on apartment hunting, I am all ears. Thanks a bunch guys.

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Guest Lambda

I felt perfectly safe walking alone (I'm female, btw) in the area on/near campus at that time of night, as well as in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. There will be an occasional violent problem at "The O", so it's best to avoid that late at night. It's also best to avoid the large parking areas, as there are sometimes muggings in those places. If you stay on the well-lit sidewalks, you'll probably feel just fine. There are homeless people on the streets around campus who will ask for money, but they're not dangerous. Less safe areas at night are the parts of South Oakland and North Oakland further away from campus, and Downtown Pittsburgh. If you're going to be in those areas, be sure to take a friend (or more than one!).

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I completed my UG at Pitt and here are a few suggestions (some have already been mentioned already...)

Stay away from South Oakland, especially if you are a graduate student. It is very noisy there and a lot of slum lords like to take up business there (I fell victim my Junior year).

Shadyside is a great place to live, its very hard to find a place if you aren't a graduate student (they won't rent to UGs) and the rent is more reasonable there than in Oakland (in my experience).

Squirrel Hill is also a great neighborhood with lots of eating options! If you want to have a large Jewish presence, Squirrel Hill is the place to be in Pittsburgh! Squirrel Hill is also rather close to the Waterfront where there are options for weekend fun (and a Giant Eagle with cheap gas!) such as a great movie theatre and an outdoor shopping center.

If I were to have stayed in Pittsburgh for my graduate career, I would have lived in either Shadyside or Squirrel Hill. I never felt unreasonably uncomfortable walking around in Pittsburgh at night (I'm female and the most I did to protect myself was arming myself with my keys at ready) and came home late from work nearly everyday.

I'm more than happy to answer specific questions regarding Pittsburgh or Pitt if anyone has them!

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Guest asdf

Pittsburgh sucks. CMU sucks. And yes I'm a CMU student. I'm lucky enough to get out early and head for a PhD program far away. The problem with CMU is that it smells like shit in the spring, it's too hot to go outside in the summer, it's too cold to do anything in the winter - but I guess Fall - e.g. mid October early November is OK. You need a car if you want to shop. The ghetto eagle closed down and fucked over all the students without cars in walking distance. The food here is subpar all around. Everything but rent is over priced. IMO food is wayy over priced. It's like the delivery places are all colluding to keep prices well above MC.

Life is better with a car but I wouldn't really know. Needless to say I'm glad I'm leaving here.

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Looks like I'm re-opening the thread first this year.

I have been offered a PhD at CMU. The stipend should be about $1'850/month after taxes.

I read that rent is cheap ($700 for 1-bedroom apt. + utilities). How about the rest of living expenses?

How about having a car?

How much will a single person spend, with a (modest) car, and having some fun downtown (eating out twice a week, cinema, pubs and the like)?

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I live in Bloomfield (phd student with funding at pitt) and love it here... I currently live with my s.o. in a single family home (three bedrooms, basement, yard, super nice fixtures and appliances, $875/month plus utilities). When I started grad school (four years ago), I lived alone in this neighborhood and paid $500/month (incuding heat) for a huge one bedroom... and compared with my friends who also lived in the Bloomfield/Friendship/Lawrenceville area, I paid a lot even by today's standards.

Also think about Morningside, Highland Park, and even parts of East Liberty (near where Whole Foods, Borders, and Trader Joe's moved in) as they are up and coming but still reasonably priced.

I honestly wouldn't bother paying Shadyside, South Side, or Squirrel Hill rents... Shadyside in particular is just an overpriced post-adolescent business casual South Oakland. When my partner lived there, we dealt with the same loud party trains, the same rowdy drunkards, and the same amount of litter/broken glass as I did as an undergrad in the student slum neighborhood.

The best way to find an apartment in Pittsburgh is to go to a neighborhood about a month or so before you plan to move in and walk around taking down numbers. You can also do the craigslist thing but the rent prices there are very inflated.

If I could do it all over again, I'd start looking for a house to buy in Highland Park, Lawrenceville, or Bloomfield since mortgages can be about the price of rent in those areas... And you'll (most likely) be here long enough to build equity.

 

Also, the bus system is decent enough that I survived living in the city (as a grad student and prior to that) for five years without a car. It wasn't a glamorous time in my life, hulking bags of groceries the blocks home from the bus but it worked out fine. There are also campus shuttles for both CMU and Pitt that will take you to the neighborhoods that border campus.

I have a car now that I rarely use though it is a lot easier to get groceries. I have laundry in my building so that hasn't been a problem. You can take buses to the retail shopping districts in Shadyside, the Waterworks, the South Side Works, and the Waterfront. You can also take them into the suburbs to go to some of the malls.. And the Trolley (called the T) goes to the suburbs to another pretty nice mall if that's your thing. This stuff will take up the bulk of a day but as long as you don't have a shopping addiction, you should be fine.

I never drive to campus.. I always take the bus or walk. A lot of people bike too but I get nervous riding in traffic. I don't know anyone who lives in Bloomfield, Friendship, Squirrel Hill or Shadyside who works/studies in Oakland (where Pitt and CMU are located) that drives to campus.

I make less than you per month on my Pitt humanities Teaching Fellow stipend and don't take out loans to supplement my income during the year. I don't have a bunch of money left over for savings or anything but I do go out to eat and to bars regularly, I shop often, I buy organic groceries, and generally have a lovely life on my modest stipend with no trouble.

To be fair I pay a little more than half of what you guessed would be your monthly rent, but you can find cheaper places than that if you look in the neighborhoods I listed.

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I am going to UPitt for grad school in August, and I have no idea where to live.

My friend suggested an apartment at Atwood Street. What is the area like? Is it a good choice?

How about somewhere in N. Dithridge St.?? Atwood St. versus N. Dithridge St., which one is better?

Or can anyone suggest a place which is good to live in?

Thanks

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Hi!

I guess I will open the thread for 2008. I will be a grad student at CMU next year. How about Neville Street in North Oakland? The apartment seems nice and it is about a mile to campus? Thanks.

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Neville Street Isnt' bad...not too far from campus...a bit of a walk, but you can catch a bus. However, the closer you get to Center avenue the worse the area gets. center avenue and in north oakland is not the best place to live.

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If funding negotiations don't work through with other schools, I will be a UPitts grad student starting this Aug. Like a maniac, I have researched the area and like what I see so far. I hate to self-categorize myself but I'm sort of into the artsy, chic type of neighborhoods and look forward to finding a place in either Lawrenceville or Bloomfield. I was just wondering how feasible these areas are to the university (I won't have a car) and whether this is a good choice in general. I also would not mind biking. I've noticed rent is a lot cheaper than what I'm used to (born and raised in Southern CA) which is a plus. If there's any other insight into nightlife, that is also appreciated :) I think the weather might be my biggest challenge but I did exchange in Holland for 6 months so I think it won't be too much of an issue. Thanks!!!

:D

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Hi again!

Thanks for the comments. I will keep looking for a place within my budget that is further from Center and North Craig. Perhaps on 5th street?

Also, I have been told many times that I should not be out on the streets by myself at night. Better to be too scared from the start than be stupid I guess..

Lynz0r, I heard that biking becomes quite an issue in winter because of snow.:(

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Bloomfield is much much safer than Lawrenceville. Although Lawrenceville has a distinct art sector, most of the area is not the greatest. There are lots of drug dealers that live in and around Butler Street, not to mention you will see prostitutes. Once again, it all depends on the area in Lawrenceville. You may want to plan a visit before you sign a lease and scope out the area, talk to neighbors, etc. Get a feel for the streets immediate around your house.

Nightlife in Pittsburgh focuses mostly on bars....and bars in the Southside area tend to be popular. You may look into Southside for a place to live also. It's very eclectic. A blend of young professionals, old steel workers, old religious ladies, and artists. It's generally very safe, but because of its proximity to downtown and increased popularity, rents have skyrocketed. You could bike to Oakland, but it will take a lot longer than if you lived in Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. Just a tip though, biking in Pittsburgh can be difficult...some areas are super flat, others are on large hills...and I do mean large hills! lol

Other areas of nightlife, the Waterfront (a suburb of Pittsburgh) has restuarants, a movie theater, and shopping. Shadyside and Squirrel Hill have some smaller bars and theaters. You should try to bring a car with you because the bus system can be a pain.

As far as the weather, it's not so bad, but the city does a horrible job with snow and ice removal, especially if you live on a side street!

Fifth Avenue is a good location, a lot of kids from CMU and Chatham College live there. It's generally a very nice area, lots of old mansions turned apartment buildings and some schools. Like you said, just be cautious and careful at night. My friend was just robbed on fifth, in shadyside...which is highly unusual for that area. It can happen to anyone, just be cautious!

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If funding negotiations don't work through with other schools, I will be a UPitts grad student starting this Aug. Like a maniac, I have researched the area and like what I see so far. I hate to self-categorize myself but I'm sort of into the artsy, chic type of neighborhoods and look forward to finding a place in either Lawrenceville or Bloomfield. I was just wondering how feasible these areas are to the university (I won't have a car) and whether this is a good choice in general. I also would not mind biking. I've noticed rent is a lot cheaper than what I'm used to (born and raised in Southern CA) which is a plus. If there's any other insight into nightlife, that is also appreciated :)

wow, are you me? kidding, but i'm in the exact same boat. i would love to live a little further from campus and especially in an area with good nightlife. i don't mind a walking/biking/bus commute at all, in fact i would gladly trade a short commute for a more fun/"hip" area to live.

can anyone offer some insight about when is the best time to visit and look for apt's? i've scoured craigslist like a madwoman, but it generally seems to not be the best source for pittsbutgh.

and i have a cat, so that's a concern as well b/c i will NOT be leaving my baby behind.

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I'm a 2nd year Engineering PhD student at Pitt. My first year I lived in Squirrel Hill, and while I know several people who biked, I tried and, well, the hills were more than I bargained for, at least with the used bike I got from Craigslist! Maybe a nice road bike would be better. Anyways, you can definitely bike most of the year, I would just say that you need to have some experience biking (unlike me!). On the other hand, I was surprised what someone said about the bus in Pgh. I feel that the public bus service is excellent, it's one of the best in the country from my understanding. Pitt (and I believe CMU) students can ride the bus, day or night, for free with their student IDs. This has come in SO handy for me, not only for daily commute but especially for off-hour transit. You can get to wherever you need riding the bus, and there are buses that go to places like the Waterfront, etc. that offer grocery stores and other things. If you're up for a longer ride, there's plenty of buses that head to the suburbs, right to some large malls (Monroeville, Ross Park, among others), if you're need to do some shopping. There's also some nice parks here, Schenley and (my favorite, used to live across the street from) Frick Park. Love the name :)

In my opinion, Squirrel Hill is VERY safe and quiet, but rent prices seem a bit higher there than some of the surrounding areas - you can get a pretty good feel for this just by scanning Craigslist though. Shadyside seems to be a bit more popular in terms of "the cool place to live" for grad students, but Squirrel Hill suited me just fine. Lots of students there.

In general, I would stay away from living in Oakland, lots of undergrads live there, lots of partying, can be somewhat trashy, etc. Oh, and watch out for the rental company with the pink sign "Los Lobos". Their spanish name suits them, they definitely act like wolves! I have heard good things from Walnut Capital - very professional, albeit pricey. There's also tons of local landlords with just a property or two. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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On the other hand, I was surprised what someone said about the bus in Pgh. I feel that the public bus service is excellent, it's one of the best in the country from my understanding.

If you live in or around Oakland, or in the east hills...yes. If you live in the South Hills or in South Pgh..not so much. When I lived in Southside, the buses were great. I moved 10 minutes up the hill...and it takes me an hour and 15 minutes to get to Oakland by bus (because I have to walk 6 blocks to a stop up the hill, catch a bus to Southside, and transfer to another bus.....by car its 15 minutes...lol. Since I live on a giant hill....the buses may or may not come when there is snow. It's hit or miss.

So I would have to say that PAT uses are good depending on your location!

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If you live in or around Oakland, or in the east hills...yes. If you live in the South Hills or in South Pgh..not so much. When I lived in Southside, the buses were great. I moved 10 minutes up the hill...and it takes me an hour and 15 minutes to get to Oakland by bus (because I have to walk 6 blocks to a stop up the hill, catch a bus to Southside, and transfer to another bus.....by car its 15 minutes...lol. Since I live on a giant hill....the buses may or may not come when there is snow. It's hit or miss.

So I would have to say that PAT uses are good depending on your location!

You are right, I agree that the bus service depends on your location, and that they are less frequent into Oakland from the South Hills area. I live near Dormont now and I either need to walk about a mile to catch a direct bus to Oakland (44U, only operates around the morning and evening rush hours), or else catch more frequent buses that go downtown, and then transfer (or catch a ride downtown with my wife in the morning, then transfer!). Total time about 45-60 minutes. But that's me, I chose this way on purpose, I get more exercise now, and my point is that there ARE ways to get to Oakland on public transportation, it's free and, for the most part, reliable. True that they may take longer from some areas in Pgh, like the South Hills area (bring a book!), but then again I wouldn't recommend new students coming to live in the South Hills either.

Best bet - if you are coming to Pgh, planning to use public transportation, then before deciding on where to live, check out http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/Sched ... fault.aspx - just enter your potential new intersection, an intersection near school, and it will give you the buses that travel that way. Since I new I needed to have reliable bus transportation, that's how I was able to figure out what buses come to my new neck of the woods :) Also, you can obtain a PDF copy of the whole schedule once you know the route number - just replace the XX with the appropriate route number in the following URL (there is also a way to get them directly from the site, but this seems more direct!): http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/apps/pdfs/XX.PDF

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Hi, I'm going to be a grad student at Pitt this summer. How's the climate there? I hear it's very depressing during the winter. Lots of snow and rain. Some people said that it's hard not to see a cloudy sky even in the spring and fall. Since I'm a type of person whose mood gets affected by the weather a lot, I am wondering if I can survive there without going insane for six years or so... Also, does anyone know how the climate in pittsburgh is compared to the one in Columbus, Ohio? I've lived in Columbus for a year almost 10 years ago and I thought the climate there was pretty good for me. :-)

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soybean said:
Hi, I'm going to be a grad student at Pitt this summer. How's the climate there? I hear it's very depressing during the winter. Lots of snow and rain. Some people said that it's hard not to see a cloudy sky even in the spring and fall. Since I'm a type of person whose mood gets affected by the weather a lot, I am wondering if I can survive there without going insane for six years or so... Also, does anyone know how the climate in pittsburgh is compared to the one in Columbus, Ohio? I've lived in Columbus for a year almost 10 years ago and I thought the climate there was pretty good for me. 🙂

I don't know how Columbus is, but Pittsburgh's climate can vary. In the winter, there is a lot of snow and ice and it can be very overcast. However, some days it will be bitter cold and bright and sunny. The spring tends to have very nice sunny days, btu when it does rain..it will rain all day! In summer we get a lot of sun, humidity, and severe thunderstorms. In the fall we tend to get a lot of rain and then snow. I have to admit that when it rains all day, people around campus seem to move slower and just generally feel more tired. My advice, find a hobby or something you like to do to pass the time during the rainy days.

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I am coming at the end of August to Pittsburgh to start grad school at Pitt. I am an international student and I was wondering how early I should start look for a place to live. Are there any websites that could be helpful?

Hey!

Craigslist would give you an idea I guess. Also, Franklin West, Walnut Capital and Meyers Management have a lot of nice places. Mozart also has a lot of properties but I read some terrible things about them on the net.

As for the date, I am looking to move in August and most realtors told me that they will know about availability in May.

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I am coming at the end of August to Pittsburgh to start grad school at Pitt. I am an international student and I was wondering how early I should start look for a place to live. Are there any websites that could be helpful?

I have friends that found a place as late as late August / early September, but if you had the choice I would obviously recommend getting here sooner to find a place, should be more opportunities and should save you some sanity :mrgreen:

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nazzaz99 said:

Hey!

Craigslist would give you an idea I guess. Also, Franklin West, Walnut Capital and Meyers Management have a lot of nice places. Mozart also has a lot of properties but I read some terrible things about them on the net.

As for the date, I am looking to move in August and most realtors told me that they will know about availability in May.

Thank you for all this information! I will definitely start checking these places. I am so glad we have internet :D It is so useful for this kind of stuff!

 

andyT said:

I have friends that found a place as late as late August / early September, but if you had the choice I would obviously recommend getting here sooner to find a place, should be more opportunities and should save you some sanity :mrgreen:

I will have to come at the end of August as I still need time to solve issues such as VISA and other documents. Plus I am planning to spend some time with my family and probably going in some nice trip with my friends as I won't be seeing them for a while.

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