The Best Things to Do in York, PA

Welcome to York, Pennsylvania! As you get ready for your trip, picture yourself enjoying local foods, checking out fun activities for the whole family, and learning about the city’s long history.

In this blog post, you’ll find out about York’s top fifteen must-do activities that will make your trip fantastic. These sights range from interesting historical sites to lively agricultural fairs. Get ready to find the city’s secret gems and enjoy your York trip to the fullest.

Agricultural & Industrial Museum

York County Heritage Trust’s Agricultural & Industrial Museum is a testimony to the city’s rich history. Over 20,000 objects in the museum’s collection depict the region’s shift from an agricultural to an industrial society. Visitors can see old machinery such as steam engines and tractors, as well as exhibitions emphasizing York’s agricultural background. Visitors can learn about the growth of farming practices, manufacturing, and the influence of industrialization on the community at the museum.

Downtown York

Downtown York invites visitors with its blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy. Central Market, operating since 1888, is a must-visit; it’s the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Here, locals and visitors mingle amidst stalls offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, and local delicacies. Beyond the market, the downtown area boasts architectural gems like the Colonial Courthouse and the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. Numerous shops, galleries, and eateries dot the streets, offering an eclectic mix of experiences. The area’s walkability and diverse offerings make it a delightful hub for exploration.

York County History Center

The York County History Center includes multiple sites. Each tells a different part of York’s historical story.

  • The Historical Society Museum has exhibits such as artifacts from Native American settlements and the Civil War era. 
  • The Bonham House and the Colonial Complex showcase colonial-era architecture and give glimpses into daily life during that era.
  • The Agricultural and Industrial Museum focuses on York’s industrial development, showcasing machinery and tools used in the region’s manufacturing history.
  • The Fire Museum displays vintage fire engines and equipment, highlighting the evolution of firefighting in the region.

Note: The York County History Center is moving locations. It is closed until Spring 2024. Check the Center’s website closer to April 2024 for reopening details.

Revolutionary War Exploration at the Colonial Complex

York’s Colonial Complex is a window into the tumultuous era of the American Revolution. The General Horatio Gates House served as a headquarters for General Gates during the Revolution, and visitors can explore its furnished rooms, gaining insights into life during that period. The neighboring Golden Plough Tavern, an 18th-century inn, transports visitors to colonial times with period furnishings and interactive tours. Through living history demonstrations and informative guides, visitors can immerse themselves in the events and atmosphere that shaped early American history in York.

Take a Factory Tour at Harley-Davidson

The Harley-Davidson factory tour offers a captivating behind-the-scenes look at the craftsmanship and precision that goes into creating these iconic motorcycles. Guided tours lead visitors through the assembly line, showcasing the various stages of production. Witnessing the meticulous engineering and dedication to quality craftsmanship firsthand is a testament to the brand’s legacy. The tour also delves into Harley-Davidson’s history, highlighting its impact on motorcycle culture and the broader manufacturing industry. It’s an engaging experience, providing a newfound appreciation for these legendary bikes and the artistry behind their creation.

Experience the York Fair

The York Fair, held annually in September, is a celebration deeply embedded in the region’s heritage. Established in 1765, it stands as one of the oldest fairs in America. The fairgrounds buzz with excitement, offering an array of attractions, from thrilling rides and games to agricultural exhibits showcasing prized livestock. Visitors indulge in a variety of culinary delights, from classic fair treats to local specialties. Entertainment options include concerts featuring renowned artists and a grandstand hosting events like demolition derbies and tractor pulls. The York Fair is a cherished tradition, providing a vibrant and nostalgic experience for all who attend.

Enjoy Nature at Richard M. Nixon County Park

Richard M. Nixon County Park sprawls across 187 acres, offering a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts. The park boasts a diverse ecosystem with woodlands, meadows, and Lake Williams, providing opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. Trails wind through picturesque landscapes, guiding visitors to scenic overlooks and historical sites like the early 19th-century Mansion House. The Nature Center educates visitors about local flora and fauna through informative exhibits and interactive displays. Whether hiking along the trails or simply enjoying the serene ambiance, Richard M. Nixon County Park offers a refreshing connection with nature.

Visit the Agricultural Fairs

York County hosts several agricultural fairs throughout the year, celebrating the region’s farming heritage. These fairs offer a glimpse into rural life, featuring livestock exhibits, agricultural competitions, and displays showcasing the latest farming technologies. Visitors witness the dedication and skills of local farmers, admire prize-winning animals, and learn about various agricultural practices. Events like tractor pulls, rodeos, and farm-to-table demonstrations further immerse attendees in the agricultural traditions and innovations that remain integral to York County’s identity.

Art Appreciation at YorkArts

YorkArts serves as a hub for local artists, promoting creativity and cultural expression within the community. The gallery hosts diverse exhibitions, showcasing works ranging from paintings and sculptures to multimedia art installations. Beyond exhibitions, YorkArts organizes workshops, classes, and community events, fostering artistic growth and engagement. Visitors can engage with artists, participate in interactive sessions, or even purchase unique artworks, supporting the local creative scene. YorkArts stands as a testament to the region’s artistic talent, providing a platform for both established and emerging artists to thrive.

Catch a Show at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts

The Appell Center enriches York’s cultural landscape with a diverse array of performing arts offerings. Housed in historic theaters, the center hosts Broadway shows, concerts by renowned artists, dance performances, and film screenings. The Strand Theatre, with its ornate décor, and the Capitol Theatre, known for its acoustics, create an immersive experience for audiences. From classic plays to contemporary performances, the Appell Center offers entertainment that appeals to various tastes, contributing significantly to York’s artistic vitality.

Family Fun at Maize Quest Fun Park

Maize Quest Fun Park offers an exciting and family-friendly adventure amidst sprawling corn mazes and interactive attractions. The park’s main highlight is its intricate and expansive corn maze, offering thrilling challenges for visitors of all ages. Alongside the maze, the park features wagon rides, pedal karts, and various games and activities suitable for families and groups. With themed events and seasonal attractions, Maize Quest Fun Park provides a day filled with laughter, exploration, and memorable experiences for everyone.

Taste Local Brews at Breweries

The craft beer scene in York is flourishing, and Liquid Hero Brewery and Mudhook Brewing Company lead the way. These places offer not just a wide range of handmade drinks but also unique taproom experiences. Visitors can tour the breweries and witness the beer-making process, from the grains to the glasses, while also learning about the different beer types and their ingredients. Tasting rooms allow exploration of various flavors, from hoppy beers to rich stouts. Food pairings and special events often complement the drinks. These brewers play crucial roles in York’s expanding food scene due to their dedication to quality and innovative ideas.

Delve into Science at York’s Science Center

York’s Science Center engages visitors with interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that make science fun and accessible for all ages. The center’s diverse exhibits cover various scientific disciplines, from physics and biology to space exploration and technology. Interactive displays allow visitors to conduct experiments, explore principles of physics, and delve into the mysteries of the natural world. Educational programs and demonstrations provide an immersive and entertaining experience, fostering curiosity and a deeper understanding of scientific concepts in an engaging environment.

Enjoy Great Dining

York’s food scene is growing, and there are now a lot of different places to eat. A historic bank building now houses the Left Bank Restaurant & Bar, a high-end restaurant serving creative American food with a European twist. The White Rose Bar & Grill, on the other hand, is a neighborhood favorite. It has a fun and casual vibe and serves basic American food and handmade drinks. Besides these, the city is packed with restaurants, shops, and bakeries, each adding its own unique tastes to York’s food scene. There are a lot of different kinds of restaurants, from fancy restaurants to cozy coffee shops, so people can enjoy the tastes of the area.

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