Next on the hit parade is Pittsburgh. Descending in to Pittsburgh, I was immediately surprised with the beauty of the area. Tall hills and lots of trees. Not as appealing as North Carolina, but with the Steel City stereotype running through my head, I was surprised to find anything but rundown buildings and old factories.
The city itself is quite breathtaking. It sits at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which form the Ohio River. Downtown is right where the rivers meet and the combination of the rivers and tall glass buildings is striking.
Walking around the downtown and Oakland areas of the city, I got the impression that the city is on the edge of something big. There are the normal signs of decay, but much of the decay is surrounded by the recently built and newly renovated. The attitude of the people and business was very much, "Just wait a few years!" It was nice to be there.
Of late, large tech companies have been coming to Pittsburgh to take advantage of low taxes and inexpensive real estate. Interestingly enough, it is only about 3% more expensive in Pittsburgh than in Oklahoma City. Amazingly enough, taxes in Pittsburgh are CHEAPER than in Oklahoma City. The PA income tax is set at a flat rate of 3.07%. No deductions, no exceptions, no complications. Love it.
Though Pittsburgh is tech heavy, I have not seen a lot of SharePoint work in the area, however there is a ton of development work around the city. I might have to do some looking, but I think I could find a comparable position as a developer or solution architect.
Pennsylvania is a Shall Issue state, and Pittsburgh is much more gun friendly compared to its interstate rival Philadelphia. The cities are run by Democrats, but the rest of the state is as red as they come, so a good job is kept to keep the laws fair.
There is little aviation in the area. One major general aviation airport seems to be the spot to rent and fly. Not good...
There isn't a lot of BJJ around the area... Gracie Barra is in town, as well as a Renzo Gracie affiliate, but both schools are far away from the city center, where I would be living. There is one pure Muay Thai gym, but their times are later at night (8pm or later). Training might be difficult to find.
Over all not a bad place to live and work. The city was nice, and seemed to be ready to go to the next level. Three strong major professional sports teams can keep you busy rooting for a local team, and with Happy Valley not more than a few hours away, I could catch the Huskers.
Not my top choice, but not an awful place to live.