While it is probably Philadelphia or Pittsburgh that jumps to mind when you think of Pennsylvania, it is Harrisburg that has the pride of being the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The city is full of historic buildings and capital edifices along the Susquehanna River and also has a bustling Downtown area with unique local shops, top-quality restaurants, and local brew beverages.
Things to See & Do
The first stop for most visitors to the city is the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex, which is one of the most impressive government complexes anywhere in the country. It includes a one third scale replica or St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. There are free tours available of the 475-room complex, bursting with artwork, statues, murals, and history.
There are lots of other historic 18th and 19th-century buildings in the area that are worth visiting, including the Simon Cameron Manion, the Fort Hunter Mansion, and Park. Continue your history tour with a visit to the National Civil War Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate museum, which was opened in 2001. The museum holds many priceless artefacts, including objects that belonged to General Robert E. Lee and President Abraham Lincoln. It is one of several good museums in the city, including the Whitaker Center for Science and Arts, the Susquehanna Art Museum, and the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum.
For more modern entertainment head over to the City Island Complex, a 65-acre island in the middle of the Susquehanna River. It has been converted into an entertainment district with a golf course, batting cages, walking trails, and much more.
For more outdoorsy fun, head to the Capital Area Greenbelt along the Susquehanna River for lots of activities such as kayaking, fishing, trekking, and cycling. You can also take a relaxing river cruise, it’s the best way to get an overview of the city. Take a trip outside the city to the Indian Echo Caves, magnificent underground structures used by Native Americans for shelter.
Where to Eat & Drink
Foodies will love Harrisburg as there are lots of fantastic culinary delights all within a short distance of one another. Start at the Broad Street Market for fresh produce and tasty treats. There are quite a few shops here owned by local Amish families. They are always happy to chat about their way of life.
For lunch head to the Millworks, which is a reclaimed warehouse with a seasonal, organic restaurant and brewery on site. The building also offers a number of artists’ lofts, and their work is displayed throughout. When it comes to dinner, there is a surprising range of options available. Get Vietnamese food at Pho Kim’s, try Korean at Korealicious, enjoy Japanese at M Sushi House, or tantalize your taste buds at Bollywood Bar.
For drinks, head to the Appalachian Brewing Company Brewery, which supplies a number of brewpubs in the area. Near to this is the Zeroday Brewing Company, which makes wines and ciders as well as excellent beers. If you prefer the stronger stuff, try the Midstate Distillery for local vodka and gin tasting, and grab at Midstate Mule in their superb cocktail lounge.
Chocolate fans should head to the nearby town of Hershey, home of the famous chocolate. The town has become a bit of a chocolate theme park, with street lights shaped like Hershey kisses and streets with names like Chocolate avenue. The best thing to do is taste chocolate from around the world at the Hershey Story Museum.
Where to Stay
The Harrisburg accommodation scene is thriving, you’ll find beautiful places to stay across the city. However, you should look for options around the historic district or Downtown. If you are looking for a luxury hotel all the amenities, you’ll find loads of them around. But for more comfort, you can stay in a self-catering apartment equipped with modern amenities in most accessible and stunning locations. Need accommodation? Take a look at some of our Harrisburg apartments.
Harrisburg isn’t a big city; you can do most of your exploring on foot. You can walk from the Harrisburg Area Community College in the north of the city to Downtown in the south in less than an hour. If you need to travel further, the Capital Area Transit bus system operates Monday to Saturday around the city and nearby villages, including Hershey, Middletown, Halifax, Carlisle, and Shippensburg. At other times of day, taxis are an affordable option for getting from A to B. For safety reasons, it is a good idea to get taxis after dark.
While Harrisburg might have a small-town feel, you should be cautious of crime and your safety. Always secure your belongings, stick to the main streets, travel in groups, and use taxis to get around after dark.
Where to Stay
If you’re in the city on business or leisure vacation or wanting to visit Hersheypark, you can stay in one of our beautiful apartments equipped with a wide range of amenities in the heart of Harrisburg
Need accommodation? You can book a memorable stay in one of our Harrisburg apartments.