Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State for its role in building the foundations of the United States of America – it is here that the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Gettysburg Address were written. Tourists will find a plethora of historic sites and attractions, from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the Valley Forge and Gettysburg battlefields. It is also known as the Quaker State for the religion of the state’s namesake, William Penn. Pennsylvania The Dutch country is home to the unique culture of the Amish, whose dedication to simplicity and tradition continues to draw visitors looking for a quiet weekend getaway.
The city of Pittsburgh is known for its industrial roots and the cultural legacy of the Carnegie family, while the state capital of Harrisburg is loved for its small-town feel and historic buildings. Other Pennsylvania towns have earned their fame for less serious reasons, such as Hershey, which is known for its chocolate manufacturer and Punxsutawney for its weather forecasting groundhog. From the urban attractions of historic Philadelphia to the many parks and open countryside, there is something for everyone here.
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1 Independence National Park in from Liberty Bell
Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, one of America’s most historic areas and home to the Liberty Bell, is a national treasure. Independence Hall is the central attraction in the park, famous as the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution was drafted. The Liberty Bell is located across from Independence Hall and is surrounded by a series of exhibits detailing its history. Independence Mall, laid down in 1948, extends north from here and makes up the rest of the park, which is paved with old cobblestone streets. Here you will find historic buildings, such as the Convention Center and Old City Hall, and museums, including the Ben Franklin Museum and the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Adres: 143 S. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.nps.gov/inde/index.htm
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Philadelphia: Best Areas & Hotels
2 Hershey Park
Families will enjoy a trip to this famous theme park in Hershey, a city also closely associated with chocolate. Hershey Park is the city’s main attraction with 90 acres of rides and entertainment for children and adults ranging from rollercoasters to aquatic shows. The park was originally built in 1906 as a recreation area for Hershey’s workers but has expanded over the years to attract visitors from all over. Hershey Park continues to expand and offers a wide variety of things to do for all ages. In addition to kiddie rides, the park has all the family favorites, such as a carousel, train, bumper cars, and Ferris wheel. There are also several water rides perfect for a hot summer day and more than a dozen roller coasters designed for relaxation. Other points of interest include middle class games and two large video arcades.
Adjacent to the park and included in admission is ZooAmerica. Here, visitors can see more than 200 animals from North American habitats, including bald eagles, mountain lions, and even roadrunners. Zoo guests can also sign up for special behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look and an opportunity to help feed the animals. For those who want to skip the main park and visit the zoo, admission is available at a reduced price. Adjacent to the park and included in admission is ZooAmerica. Here, visitors can see more than 200 animals from North American habitats, including bald eagles, mountain lions, and even roadrunners. Zoo guests can also sign up for special behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look and an opportunity to help feed the animals. For those who want to skip the main park and visit the zoo, admission is available at a reduced price.
Adjacent to the park and included in admission is ZooAmerica. Here, visitors can see more than 200 animals from North American habitats, including bald eagles, mountain lions, and even roadrunners. Zoo guests can also sign up for special behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look and an opportunity to help feed the animals. For those who want to skip the main park and visit the zoo, admission is available at a reduced price. Zoo guests can also sign up for special behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look and an opportunity to help feed the animals. For those who want to skip the main park and visit the zoo, admission is available at a reduced price. Zoo guests can also sign up for special behind-the-scenes tours to get a closer look and an opportunity to help feed the animals. For those who want to skip the main park and visit the zoo, admission is available at a reduced price.
Adres: 100 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.hersheypark.com
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hershey
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3 Gettysburg National Military Park
The Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg is the site of Gettysburg Battlefield, where this 1863 battle claimed the lives of some 51,000 people over a three-day period. Hundreds of markers and monuments now grace the park. Major highlights include Seminary Ridge, the first southern position west of Gettysburg for days two and three of the battles; Cemetery Ridge, the Union Lines site for the last two days of the battle; and Oak Ridge, the site of the Civil War’s opening day battle.
The Park Museum and Visitor Center has several exhibits, including the Rosensteel Collection, one of the largest collections of Civil War uniforms, weapons, and personal items in the United States. The park also hosts living history and reenactment programs and has extensive horseback riding trails.
Adres: 1195 Baltimore Pike (Route 97), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Gettysburg
4 Presque Isle State Park
One of the top parks in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle State Park is located on a peninsula that empties into Lake Erie, creating Presque Isle Bay, a major transportation and transportation center. The park is open daily year-round and has a lot to offer, including eleven miles of beach and several hiking trails. Besides swimmers and sunbathers, many visitors come here to collect colored “sea” glass that has washed ashore. Kite flyers also love the open space and lake breezes, and Sunset Point is a favorite spot. The park also hosts seasonal events and summer concerts that are free and open to the public.
At the entrance to the park, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center houses exhibits about local history and ecosystems. The center also facilitates activities and has a 75-foot observation tower from which to admire the surrounding park and lake. There are also great views of the lake from the top of the Lighthouse on Presque Isle, which can be visited on a guided tour, as well as the lesser-known lighthouse on North Pier.
Location: Almost Isle, Pennsylvania
Official Site: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/PresqueIsleStatePark/Pages/default.aspx
5 Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is home to one of America’s largest art collections and is also an iconic building in the city. The museum’s steps were featured in all of the “Rocky” movies, and from the top of these steps is a great view down Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the City Hall tower. Inside, the museum’s permanent collections contain a wide variety of works of art, including an extensive European collection that includes works by Rembrandt, Cézanne, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Chagall, and Manet. Other galleries include those devoted to textiles and fashion, American colonial furniture, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
Adres: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.philamuseum.org
6 Falling water
Fallingwater is one of the most famous buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, known for its organic architecture that simultaneously harmonizes and contrasts with the natural world around it. In addition to the beautiful architecture, the collections of the house’s former residents, the Kauffman family, are a major attraction. Large and small sculptures adorn the property inside and out, including pieces ranging from Mexican folk art to the work of prominent Cubist sculptors. Some of the most impressive pieces include a cast-iron Buddha head (circa 906-1127), an Austro-Bohemian Madonna crafted in 1420, and an 8th-century statue of the Hindu fertility goddess Parvati. The house is furnished with an eclectic collection that ranges from folk craft to designer chairs. There is also an impressive international art collection with works by Picasso and Diego Rivera. The interior of the house can be seen through a guided tour, and there is a café and gift shop on site.
Adres: 1491 Mill Run Road, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.fallingwater.org
7 Valley Forge en Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge is the ultimate symbol of the suffering, sacrifice and triumph of the American Revolutionary War. During the winter of 1777-78, American soldiers suffered about 2,000 casualties related to starvation, disease, and poor conditions after the British destroyed this important supply center. This piece of history is illustrated by exhibitions, guided tours and a film. On-site are Washington’s headquarters, a National Memorial Arch, as well as trails and recreational space for visitors to enjoy. Located on the northwest edge of Philadelphia, Valley Forge is an easy day trip from the city.
Adres: 1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
8 Phipps Conservatory
This massive complex is located in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park, where the botanical gardens and facilities occupy 15 acres. Donated to the city in 1893, the conservatory has grown to include 23 gardens, in addition to the massive 14-room greenhouse, which is home to impressive collections of bonsai and orchids. The greenhouse also has several other permanent environments, including the Desert Room, which features cacti and the Tropical Forest Conservatory. Other exhibits change throughout the year, with seasonal flower shows and events. Outside, visitors will find traditional flower gardens and unique gardens such as the aquatic gardens. The Conservatory complex also includes the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, considered one of the ‘greenest’ buildings in the world. The center organizes educational programs
Adres: One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.phipps.conservatory.org
This small town in Lancaster County is known for its Amish culture and railroad history. One way to appreciate this area is to take a ride on Strasburg Rail Road, which offers 45-minute scenic journeys aboard the oldest turn-of-the-century steam trains. The coal powered locomotives go through Amish land and farms. The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum displays historic railroad artifacts with more than 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Strasburg is also home to the National Toy Train Museum , featuring extensive displays of model railroad collections from the 1800s to the present day, hands-on educational exhibits, and special events. In keeping with the city’s love of trains, Traintown USA features a 1,700-square-foot model railroad layout complete with animated figures and 22 trains. You can also stock up on your own model railway gear or start your hobby at their store, the Strasburg Train Shop.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Strasburg
Just a short drive east of Lancaster on SR 340 is Intercourse, a quaint little town with an old style country feel. One of the top attractions is the Old Country Store, where tourists can purchase local crafts and tasty freshly baked treats, as well as admire traditional handmade patchwork quilts. Quilt Museum . On Main Street, tourists can buggy ride and visit People’s Place to learn about the history, traditions, and folk art of local cultures, including the Amish, the Mennonites, and the Hutterites. Intercourse is also home to the American Military Edged Weaponry Museum, with an impressive collection of knives, swords, bayonets and similar weapons. Other popular attractions include tours of the local pretzel factory and the Leaman Place covered bridge that spans Pequea Creek.
Lodging: Where to Stay in the Intercourse
11 Pennsylvania State Capitol
The State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg spans 45 acres and is home to active government buildings as well as several tourist attractions. The Capitol Building itself is an impressive structure constructed of Vermont granite, the entrance of which is guarded by a pair of bronze doors weighing one ton each. Sitting atop the building is a large dome inspired by Rome’s Cathedral of Saint Peter, weighing some 52 million pounds. Tours of the Capitol building can be scheduled in advance.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania is also located on the complex grounds and includes a natural history museum, a planetarium, historical exhibits, and a collection of artifacts and documents from the state’s early years. Many statues and memorials can be found throughout the complex of historic and government buildings, including Soldier’s Grove Quadrangle, the Pennsylvania War Veterans Memorial Fountain, and a replica of the Liberty Bell.
Adres: Room 129, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.pacapitol.com
12 Eastern State Penitentiary
It was once one of the leading high-tech prisons in the United States. East State Penitentiary houses such notorious inmates as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The stories and legends surrounding this facility are as impressive as the building itself, which has remained largely unchanged since it closed in 1971. The facility was built in 1829, with vaulted ceilings and long hallways that make it particularly interesting for photography.
One of the most popular parts of the tour is Al Capone’s cell, which is shown with the lavish furnishings Capone managed to get his hands on while in prison. The Penitentiary Museum’s central exhibit looks at current statistics about prisons in the United States and conditions therein. In addition, it examines changes in policy and legislation and the negative effects they have had on specific groups and communities, especially minorities and non-whites. Audio guide and guided tours are available, as well as hands-on interactive tours that allow visitors to explore in more depth.
Adres: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.easternstate.org
13 Andy Warhol Museum
Located in Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum offers an insightful look into the life of this great American pop artist. Some of his most famous pieces are on display, including the portraits of Marilyn and Elvis and the Tomato Soup Cans. In addition to his art, there are exhibits related to his life from his early years to the end of his life.
Adres: 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Official site: www.warhol.org