Pennsylvania is a vast state, width-wise especially. The placement of its two largest cities on either side doesn’t exactly help with making each half see eye-to-eye– undoubtedly, there are numerous cultural differences within the state. It is often apparent upon meeting a Pennsylvanian which side of the state he or she is from, and sometimes these differences are like night and day. Here are ten of the most notable differences between eastern and western Pennsylvania. Admittedly, many of these distinctions are specific to Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, but many can be generalized to include the surrounding areas or half of the state.
Rival sports teams hail from both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, including the Steelers vs. Eagles, Phillies vs. Pirates, and Penguins vs. Flyers. Interestingly enough, Pittsburgh doesn't have an NBA team.
In western PA, french fries find a delicious home within sandwiches, popularized by Primantis in Pittsburgh. In eastern PA, cheesesteaks are all the rage.
Anyone who's spent time on both sides of the state will notice some differences in language. In eastern PA, you drink soda and might say "yous," while in western PA, you drink pop and say "yinz."
Scrapple is a particular eastern PA treat composed of... Well no one will say exactly what it's composed of. Western Pennsylvania is home to delicious foods such as chipped ham and the famous Wholey's fish sandwich.
5. Day Trippin
If you find yourself living not the western side of the state, fun destinations within proximity might be Lake Erie or one of the other Great Lakes, Ohio, or Chicago. When you're in eastern PA on the other hand, you might find it easier to visit the shore, New York City, or Washington, D.C.
6. Art Museums
Here's another one specific to each region's largest cities-- when eastern PA residents get a hankering for some art, they can go check out the Philadelphia Art Museum or the Rodin Museum. On the western side, Pittsburgh is home to such wonderful institutions as the Carnegie Art Museum, the Mattress Factory, and the Andy Warhol Museum.
The modern oil industry began in Titusville, PA, where the world's first oil well was drilled to extract petroleum from the ground. Also in the western half of the state, in Pittsburgh in particular, the French set up Fort Duquesne in what is now downtown Pittsburgh in 1754. In eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in particular, the United States' experienced much of its earliest history. Philadelphia was once the capital of the country. Both sides of the state have varied and interesting histories.
8. Convenience Stores
Wawa is a regional treasure in Philadelphia and the surrounding regions, a haven for those who desire delicious gas station food. In western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh in particular, residents can be found making trips to CoGos or GetGo for all their late night snacking needs.
9. What We Manufacture
Heinz Ketchup and the Utz snack food company are both headquartered in or near Pittsburgh, while eastern PA is home to Crayola in Easton and Hershey's chocolate.
10. Amusement Parks
When talking roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls, western Pennsylvania residents are most likely to pledge allegiance to Kennywood in Pittsburgh or the Six Flags in Ohio. Those in the east side of Pennsylvania are located within closer proximity to Hershey Park, Dorney Park, or the Six Flags in New Jersey.
There you have it… A brief summary of the distinctions between east and west Pennsylvania. Did we miss anything or get anything wrong? Go ahead and let us know in the comments.
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