Pennsylvanian road trips are a great way to explore the scenic countryside, and Harrisburg is just 45 minutes northeast of Philadelphia. It’s an easy day trip for anyone looking to enjoy things like museums, art galleries, restaurants, architecture tours, and more.
Harrisburg is a great way to have fun in just one day. There are things for all ages including children, teens, and adults! If you’re staying longer, there are still plenty of things to do to keep you busy and entertained.
We’ve compiled things to do in Harrisburg below!
- State Museum of Pennsylvania
- Wildwood Park
- Pennsylvania State Capitol
- Susquehanna Art Museum
- Riverfront Park
- Harrisburg Midtown Art Center
- National Civil War Museum
- City Island
- Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
- Pennsylvania National Fire Museum
- Fort Hunter Mansion and Park
- Susquehanna Riverboat Cruise
- Broad Street Market
- Appalachian Brewing Company
- Spring Gate Vineyard
State Museum of Pennsylvania
The State Museum of Pennsylvania is a great place to start your visit to Harrisburg. It’s home to exhibits on the history, culture, and natural resources of the state. It’s a must-see for both history buffs and anyone who wants to learn more about Pennsylvania.
You’ll see history from the beginning of Earth to the modern-day from the eyes of Pennsylvania. One of the highlights of the museum is the largest Civil War painting on a single canvas.
Expect hours of entertainment when you visit The State Museum of Pennsylvania.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, Wildwood Park should be your next stop. There are miles of hiking trails, as well as fishing spots and a network of biking trails. There’s also an 18-hole golf course, disc golf course, and tennis courts. It’s also a great place to relax or do some bird watching.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset. You can do picnics, long walks, or visit the Olewine Nature Center inside.
Pennsylvania State Capitol
The Pennsylvania State Capitol is a beautiful example of architecture from the Gilded Age. The complex is made up of several buildings, including the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. The Capitol is open for guided tours, which are available Monday through Saturday.
The building is decorated with marble, mosaics, paintings, and more. It’s a thing of beauty and is worth a visit if you’re interested in architecture or history.
Guided tours are available, or you can explore on your own. Be sure to check out the rotunda and murals by American artist John Trumbull.
This is one of the most popular attractions in Harrisburg and shouldn’t be missed!
Susquehanna Art Museum
The Susquehanna Art Museum is located in the historic Market Street Bridge. It’s home to works by artists including Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, and more. The museum has a permanent collection and also hosts rotating exhibitions.
It’s a great place to learn more about art, and the building is beautiful in its own right. The Susquehanna Art Museum is definitely worth a visit!
If you’re looking for a place to relax, Riverfront Park should be your next stop. It’s located on the banks of the Susquehanna River, and it’s home to things outdoor concerts in the summer.
You’ll be surrounded by lush green gardens, park benches, and public art. It’s a beautiful green space in the heart of Harrisburg. It’s home to things like a playground, riverwalk, and amphitheater. There are also walking trails and exercise equipment in the area. If you’re with family or friends, this would be a great picnic spot.
Many locals and tourists enjoy the park for its stunning views. What you can see from here includes the Susquehanna River, City Island, Wormleysburg, and Blue Mountain.
Harrisburg Midtown Art Center
The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center is a great place to see live performances, including theater, music, and dance. It also has art galleries and studios where you can watch artists at work. If you’re looking for a place of good music and parties, this is the place to go.
Located in downtown Harrisburg, this is a great spot for things to do at night! You’ll see local talent and some nationally recognized names too. The venue hosts poetry slams, film screenings, improv shows, open mic nights – whatever you’re looking for there’s something here for everyone!
National Civil War Museum
The National Civil War Museum is part of the Harrisburg City Island development. It tells the story of the American Civil War from all perspectives. This museum explores the significant role that Pennsylvanians played during this period including soldiers from all walks of life.
Exhibits here are all about the human experience of the Civil War. It’s home to hundreds of rare artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, and other things you can’t see anywhere else in the world!
The museum is open every day from ten in the morning to five in the evening. Admission is free for children six and under, and discounts are available for seniors and students. This museum is a great place to learn more about American history!
Harrisburg City Island is a great place to spend an afternoon. There are restaurants, bars, a playground and more. You can also take a walk or bike ride on the riverfront trails. It had a significant part in history as a resting place for Union Soldiers on their way to defend the city.
It’s a great spot for things like picnics, concerts, and parties – you’ll find people of all kinds here enjoying the beautiful green space! It’s located on an island in the middle of the river so it has stunning views as well. The island complex is mainly used for recreation and entertainment. There are a lot of places dedicated to sports like a golf course, stadium, etc.
Visitors can access the island by ferry. The island also has excellent views of the sunset.
Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is a museum and performing arts center in one. It’s home to exhibits on science, history, and the arts. The theater hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and more. It’s three stories of hands-on exhibits, displays, and performing arts venues.
Some of the highlights of the center include a four-story cinema screen, the Sunoco Performance Theater, and even an Esports area.
Pennsylvania National Fire Museum
The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is the only one of its kind in the state. It’s dedicated to things like firefighting tools, uniforms, and equipment. There are things like real fire trucks and other exhibits here.
The museum is home to an extensive collection of items that chronicle Pennsylvania’s history with fires and the way it’s been fought since then. It also has things like old uniforms, equipment, photos, tools – all things you won’t see anywhere else in the world!
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park is a beautiful historic site that’s open to the public. You can take a guided tour of the mansion, or explore on your own. There’s also a nature center, playground, and picnic area.
The mansion was built in 1725 and is one of the oldest surviving homes in the area. It’s decorated with things like period furniture, artwork, clothes – everything that would have been available at this time!
Fort Hunter Mansion has beautiful gardens too, spanning 40 acres. There are hiking trails on-site as well so you can explore things like old mills and the Susquehanna River. Aside from that, there are more than 10 buildings to explore on the property with some remnants of the Pennsylvania Canal Trail.
Susquehanna Riverboat Cruise
If you want to see the Susquehanna River from a different perspective, take a cruise on the riverboat. There are several cruises to choose from, including dinner and sightseeing cruises. The cruise is on one of the only remaining paddle-wheel boats in the country. It operates every spring to fall from City Island. It’s got amazing views of the Harrisburg skyline and is one of the best ways to see the city.
Some highlights are their special-themed cruises like wine night or the murder mystery cruise.
Broad Street Market
The Broad Street Market is a local favorite. It’s home to dozens of vendors selling things like fresh produce, cheeses, and baked goods. It’s a great place to grab things from local vendors and shop for things you’ll find nowhere else.
The market is open daily, but hours vary by vendor. It also has things like art exhibits and other events going on so there’s always something happening here! It’s also a great way to interact with the locals and get an authentic taste of life here in Harrisburg.
Appalachian Brewing Company
If you’re looking for a place to have a drink and some food, the Appalachian Brewing Company is a great option. It has a large selection of beers on tap, as well as sodas and other spirits. The brewpub was the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania State Capital since 1951.
Inside the brewery, you’ve got some comforting vibes with antique brick walls and wooden beams. It’s got things like live music events as well as trivia nights to keep things fun for visitors! You can also take tours of the brewing process too, so you know how your beer gets made. It’s one of those things that makes this place really unique.
Spring Gate Vineyard
Looking for someplace to have a drink with friends? Check out one of the local wineries in the area, including Spring Gate Vineyard. You’ll find the 60-acre vineyard between Lancaster County and Blue Mountain.
It’s a family-owned and operated vineyard that has been producing wine since the 1740s. Three families have taken the rein of the vineyard and continue to be a spot loved by locals and tourists alike.
You can take tours of the vineyard or enjoy a bottle of wine outdoors. The place also has a great view of the surrounding streams and fields.
These are just 15 of the things to do in Harrisburg! There are still so many more places to explore in the city. Hope this helps in your trip and have a good time in the city!