Best Things to Do in Harrisonburg, PA

Pennsylvania State Capitol

The Pennsylvania State Capitol, designed by architect Joseph Miller Huston, boasts a magnificent dome inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Completed in 1906, its intricate artwork, including Edwin Austin Abbey’s murals, narrates the state’s history. The Capitol’s 272-foot dome offers stunning views from the observation deck. Guided tours delve into the architecture, politics, and artistry behind this national historic landmark.

State Museum of Pennsylvania

Absolutely, let’s delve further into the exciting features and offerings of the State Museum of Pennsylvania:

Step into Prehistoric Worlds

At the State Museum of Pennsylvania, visitors are transported into immersive prehistoric worlds. The colossal diorama meticulously recreates scenes from ancient times, allowing guests to wander among life-size dinosaurs, mammoths, and other Ice Age creatures. The attention to detail in these exhibits provides a captivating experience, offering insights into the fauna that once roamed the region.

Uncover Ancient Artifacts

Beyond the prehistoric exhibits, the museum houses an impressive collection of Native American artifacts, showcasing the cultural heritage of Pennsylvania’s indigenous peoples. Among the prized exhibits is the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, a significant archaeological site dating back over 8,000 years. This rock shelter offers a rare glimpse into early human habitation in North America and is renowned as one of the oldest known inhabited locations on the continent.

Journey through the Stars

The museum’s planetarium elevates the experience with awe-inspiring shows exploring the cosmos. Visitors can embark on immersive journeys through the night sky, discovering celestial wonders, planetary systems, and the mysteries of the universe. The state-of-the-art technology within the planetarium provides an educational and visually stunning experience for all ages, fostering a deeper understanding of astronomy and space exploration.

Additional Engaging Exhibits

Moreover, the museum features a wide array of exhibits covering diverse aspects of Pennsylvania’s history, natural sciences, and cultural heritage. Rotating displays frequently offer fresh perspectives on topics ranging from geology and wildlife to industrial advancements, ensuring there’s always something new and fascinating to discover with each visit.

Educational Opportunities

The State Museum isn’t just a treasure trove of exhibits; it’s also a vital educational resource. School groups and visitors of all ages benefit from engaging programs, workshops, and educational initiatives designed to complement Pennsylvania’s school curriculum and foster a deeper appreciation for history, science, and culture.

Preservation of Pennsylvania’s Legacy

With a mission to preserve and showcase Pennsylvania’s rich history and cultural legacy, the State Museum stands as a testament to the state’s heritage. Its commitment to providing an immersive and enlightening experience cements its place as a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike seeking to explore the diverse tapestry of Pennsylvania’s past and present.

City Island

This recreational hub on the Susquehanna River boasts the City Island Railroad, a vintage carousel, and the Metro Bank Park hosting minor league baseball games. Families can picnic, play volleyball, or rent pedal boats. The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat offers relaxing cruises with historical narration, and concerts often liven up the island during summer.

Mini-Golf at Water Golf on City Island

Enjoy a round of mini-golf at Water Golf, a scenic course overlooking the Susquehanna River. With challenging holes and a relaxing atmosphere, it’s perfect for families or friends seeking a fun challenge.

Harrisburg Senators Baseball Game at FNB Field

Catch a minor league baseball game at FNB Field, home of the Harrisburg Senators. Cheer on the team amidst the lively atmosphere, indulging in classic ballpark snacks while taking in the beautiful riverside views.

Riverboat Cruises on the Pride of the Susquehanna

Embark on a leisurely cruise along the Susquehanna River aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat. Choose from narrated sightseeing tours, themed cruises, or evening sunset excursions for a relaxing time on the water.

City Island Railroad

Hop aboard the City Island Railroad for a charming ride around the island. Perfect for kids and families, this miniature train offers a delightful tour of the island’s key attractions.

Relaxation and Recreation at City Island

Savor a leisurely day outdoors by picnicking in the park, playing volleyball on the sandy courts, or simply strolling along the riverfront. The island’s scenic beauty provides an ideal backdrop for relaxation and various recreational activities.

National Civil War Museum

Situated on a hilltop, this museum showcases artifacts, uniforms, and weaponry from both Union and Confederate forces. Its exhibits delve into the complex causes and consequences of the Civil War, providing an unbiased narrative.

Fort Hunter Mansion and Park

Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, situated along the Susquehanna River, is a historical gem offering a multifaceted experience. The mansion, constructed in the late 1700s, showcases elegant period furniture, providing visitors a glimpse into early American life. Guided tours illuminate the estate’s history, including its role as a fortified outpost during the French and Indian War.

The park surrounding the mansion spans 40 acres and features beautifully landscaped gardens, scenic trails, and riverfront views. Its diverse habitats make it a haven for birdwatchers, with over 200 species of birds sighted throughout the year. Additionally, Fort Hunter hosts various events, including art exhibitions, craft fairs, and live music concerts, celebrating the region’s cultural heritage.

Moreover, the estate’s colonial-era tavern, The Tavern at Fort Hunter, offers a taste of history with its period-inspired menu, often featuring locally sourced ingredients and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dishes. The site’s commitment to education is evident through its educational programs, workshops, and hands-on activities that engage visitors of all ages in the rich history and natural beauty of the region.

Riverfront Park

This expansive park offers scenic river views and is a prime spot for jogging, cycling, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll. It hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the popular Kipona Festival celebrating arts, music, and culture.

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

With interactive science exhibits, an IMAX theater, and live performances in the Sunoco Performance Theater, the Whitaker Center engages visitors of all ages. The Harsco Science Center boasts a rock climbing wall and exhibits on physics, biology, and space exploration.

Broad Street Market

Established in the 1860s, the market is a bustling hub for local produce, artisanal foods, and international cuisine. The market’s vendors offer a diverse culinary experience, from freshly baked goods to international delicacies.

Bradley’s Steaks

Known for its sizzling hot cheesesteaks and hoagies, Bradley’s Steaks is a go-to spot for those craving savory, satisfying sandwiches. Using premium cuts of meat and fresh ingredients, they serve up classic Philly-style fare with a delicious twist.

Tep’s Fresh Seafood

Tep’s Fresh Seafood brings the ocean’s bounty to Harrisburg with an impressive selection of fresh catches. From succulent shrimp and flaky salmon to exotic varieties, their stall offers seafood enthusiasts an array of options for home cooking or immediate consumption.

Radish & Rye Food Hub

This stall champions farm-fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and locally sourced meats. With a commitment to supporting regional farmers and producers, Radish & Rye offers a variety of seasonal goods, inviting customers to indulge in the best flavors Pennsylvania has to offer.

Harrisburg Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Judo

Beyond food, this unique stall focuses on wellness, offering classes and information on martial arts. Whether beginners or experienced practitioners, visitors can explore the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo through expert guidance and equipment available for purchase.

Alaura Kitchen

Alaura Kitchen tantalizes taste buds with homemade baked goods and sweet treats. From decadent cakes and cookies to wholesome bread, their stall is a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth or a passion for freshly baked delights.

Fasta & Ravioli Co.

Pasta aficionados rejoice at Fasta & Ravioli Co.’s stall, where handmade pasta takes center stage. Offering an assortment of pasta varieties, from classic spaghetti to gourmet ravioli, this stall elevates mealtime with its authentic, artisanal creations.

Susquehanna Art Museum

Situated in a historic bank building, the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg celebrates a diverse range of art forms through its dynamic exhibits. Rotating displays feature both regional and international artists, showcasing thought-provoking contemporary artworks alongside traditional pieces. Noteworthy exhibits have included immersive installations exploring social issues and interactive displays encouraging visitor engagement with various mediums. The museum’s commitment to accessibility extends through programs catering to diverse audiences, such as sensory-friendly exhibits for individuals with special needs and educational workshops fostering artistic expression across age groups. Moreover, collaborations with local schools and artists-in-residence programs enhance the museum’s role as a cultural catalyst, bridging communities through the transformative power of art.

Wildwood Park

This 210-acre oasis features over 6 miles of trails winding through diverse habitats. Visitors can explore the Nature Center, observe migratory birds, and participate in nature programs and guided walks.

Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra

With performances ranging from classical masterpieces to pops concerts, the symphony attracts world-class musicians. The historic Forum Auditorium serves as the venue for these captivating performances.

Midtown Scholar Bookstore

Housed in a renovated 1920s movie theater, this bookstore stocks over 200,000 books across various genres. It hosts author readings, book signings, and discussions, often accompanied by coffee from its in-house café.

Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat

The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, an iconic symbol of Harrisburg’s river history, embodies a bygone era of elegant river travel. Constructed in 1988, this authentic stern-driven paddlewheel riverboat offers scenic cruises along the majestic Susquehanna River. Measuring 110 feet long and capable of carrying up to 225 passengers, the riverboat boasts a classic design reminiscent of 19th-century vessels.

Its themed cruises, ranging from sunset dinner outings to lively pirate adventures, cater to diverse tastes and ages, promising an unforgettable experience. Narrated tours offer insights into Harrisburg’s history, highlighting landmarks along the riverbanks. The riverboat’s spacious decks provide panoramic views of the river and the city skyline, creating an ideal setting for special events, including weddings, corporate gatherings, and private parties.

Beyond entertainment, the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat remains a significant cultural asset, fostering educational programs and preserving the heritage of river travel for generations to come.

Fire Museum of Greater Harrisburg

The Fire Museum of Greater Harrisburg, housed within a charming 1899 Victorian firehouse, immerses visitors in the riveting history of firefighting. This unique museum showcases a collection of vintage fire engines, equipment, and memorabilia dating back decades. Interactive exhibits engage patrons with hands-on experiences, educating them about fire safety practices and the evolution of firefighting techniques.

The museum’s commitment extends beyond preservation; it actively hosts fire safety workshops for children, ensuring the community learns vital prevention measures. Through its displays and educational outreach, the museum honors the bravery and dedication of firefighters while offering a fascinating glimpse into the advancements in fire suppression and rescue efforts over time.

Dine at Local Eateries

Enjoy Harrisburg’s culinary scene, highlighting diverse cuisines like Pennsylvania Dutch, Italian, and fusion fare. Local favorites include the iconic Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels and farm-to-table dining experiences showcasing regional flavors and ingredients.

Harrisburg boasts a vibrant culinary scene, and five standout eateries to savor include Home 231, renowned for its farm-to-table ethos and innovative American cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients. For authentic Italian flavors, Cork & Fork offers a cozy atmosphere and an extensive wine list complementing its delectable dishes. Millworks, a unique dining destination set in an art gallery and brewery, serves up artisanal pizzas and seasonal fare paired perfectly with their craft brews. For an upscale dining experience, Char’s Tracy Mansion combines exquisite riverfront views with a diverse menu of steaks and seafood, while Jackson House stands out for its classic diner ambiance and mouthwatering burgers, a local favorite since 1946.

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