Your Pennsylvania holiday tour begins with one of the nation’s most historic cities and birthplace of America. Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall, the famous Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States, and at the Reading Terminal Market, visitors can choose from homemade specialties, fresh produce and many ethnic restaurants at one of the largest of its kind.
Just a short drive away is Philadelphia’s countryside, where visitors can experience artistic small towns like New Hope, history at Valley Forge where George Washington once encamped during the American Revolution and attractions like Longwood Gardens with acres upon acres of awe-inspiring flower gardens and water features. Philadelphia also offers a diverse mix of urban shopping districts and some of the nation’s largest retail centres, including King of Prussia Mall and the high-end shops of Rittenhouse Row.
The city of Pittsburgh may be famous for sports and its rivers, but it’s also a growing hub for green technology and culture. For art and history lovers, the world-renowned Carnegie museums and the Andy Warhol Museum are sure to impress, and the Duquesne Incline offers an incredible view of the skyline. Pittsburgh also has 89 distinct neighbourhoods celebrating ethnic cultures from around the globe.
Just outside of Pittsburgh, gorgeous, four-season resorts can be found in the Laurel Highlands. The Great Allegheny Passage offers stunning trail passes for biking or hiking, and visitors can experience some of the best white-water activities in the eastern U.S. This region is also home to three Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces, all of which are open to the public.
Pennsylvania’s popular destinations of Gettysburg and Lancaster are filled with history and small-town charm. Gettysburg National Military Park provides a full range of group programs and battlefield tours that honour the significance of the Civil War’s most important battle: the Battle of Gettysburg. And nearby Lancaster may be known for its bucolic countryside and Amish heritage, but the historic city has also blossomed into a fine arts destination.
Guided tours of the state’s capitol building in Harrisburg explore its unique Pennsylvania history and architectural design. And known as the Sweetest Place on Earth®, Hershey is an iconic destination for families from all over the world. Visitors can go behind the scenes to learn how the famous chocolates are created on Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour, and Hersheypark offers a fun experience for all ages with its roller coasters, water rides and shows.
Home to millions of acres of unspoiled forests and mountains, as well as the largest free-roaming elk herd in the eastern United States, the Pennsylvania Wilds region is composed of 11 distinct and beautiful counties, each with its own heritage, character and outdoor adventure. This region is where visitors can find breathtaking views, miles of waterways, trails and plenty of wildlife. In between are lovely tucked-away towns that welcome visitors with a friendly smile.
Pennsylvania is home to outdoor recreation and historic sites, cultural attractions and natural beauty which are second to none.
Don't leave without tasting...
A draft of Yuengling Lager from America’s oldest brewery, a pierogi in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, a Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s in Philadelphia and a 'whoopie pie' from Lancaster’s Central Market.
You might be surprised by...
Caution: Elk Crossing! The Pennsylvania Wilds region is home to about 600 elk—the largest free-roaming herd in the Northeast. Winding through 23 state forests, the Elk Scenic Drive offers a close-up view of the creatures along a 127-mile corridor.
Top photo opportunities
- Pretending you’re Rocky Balboa as you run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum
- The spectacular view of Pittsburgh from the top of Mt. Washington, reached via one of the world’s few remaining inclines
- Sunset at Sunset Point, in Erie’s Presque Isle State Park
- The state capitol building in Harrisburg, declared by then-President Teddy Roosevelt at its opening as the most beautiful he had ever seen.
The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia displays 20,000 provocative items designed to give a beneath-the-surface perspective of what physicians study—and it's not always pretty. Inside the Museum, you'll find a wide smattering of abnormal body parts preserved in fluid and skeletal formations (like that of a man over seven feet tall) that don’t seem quite possible.
Classic road trip
A few seconds into your drive, you'll see why National Geographic called Route 6 "one of America's most scenic drives". The picturesque view of the Susquehanna River and the Endless Mountains will leave you breathless, and there's lots of small-town charm along the way.
Famous people from our state
The actor Jimmy Stewart's home town in Indiana, PA, boasts a museum dedicated to its famous son. Plus, the town goes all out each December with the It's A Wonderful Life parade. It's also affectionately known as the 'Christmas tree capital of the world'. As coal mining in the region dwindled, it was discovered in 1918 that while traditional crops did not grow exceptionally well, evergreens did.
Pennsylvania has no sales tax! So head towards Valley Forge in King of Prussia, where you'll find the largest, most luxurious mall on the East Coast. Or go to the Waterfront in Homestead, near Pittsburgh. Built on the site of a former steel mill, it is a shopping complex with 260 acres of shopping, entertainment and dining.
Philadelphia's LOVE sculpture was unveiled during the 1976 bicentennial celebration and has since become the most popular sculpture in the city. To really be alone, however, you'll be better off in the Pocono Mountains, a long-time honeymoon destination. Once famous for heart-shaped tubs, accommodation in the Poconos now leans towards saunas, massage tables, fireplaces and whirlpool baths.
History happened here
- At Independence Hall in Philadelphia, discover the site where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written, and the second continental congress was held. And did we mention the Liberty Bell?
- Recognised as one of the most famous American battlefields, Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War and was the site where President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.
Just want to indulge?
- Bedford Springs Resort’s Springs Eternal Spa is one of the few spas in the country that utilises natural spring water in all of its treatments
- The Spa at the Hotel Hershey uses chocolate for innovative spa treatments
- The Woodlands Spa at Nemacolin is located in a breathtaking Laurel Highlands setting.