Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Harrisburg, PA


By Kristy Tolley

Welcome to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania! This vibrant capital city offers a plethora of top-rated attractions and exciting things to do for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or food enthusiast, Harrisburg has something to offer everyone. From its rich historical landmarks to its beautiful outdoor spaces and thriving culinary scene, you’ll find plenty of reasons to fall in love with this charming city.

One of the must-visit attractions in Harrisburg is the Pennsylvania State Capitol. This architectural masterpiece is not only the seat of government for the state, but it’s also a stunning piece of art in itself. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this iconic building, or simply admire its grandeur from the outside. With its magnificent dome and beautiful landscaping, the Pennsylvania State Capitol is a sight to behold.

If you’re a fan of history, you won’t want to miss the National Civil War Museum. Located on a hill overlooking the city, this museum offers a comprehensive look at the Civil War and its impact on the nation. Explore the exhibits to gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal event in American history, and take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from the museum’s observation deck. It’s a truly immersive experience that history enthusiasts will appreciate.

For those who prefer the outdoors, a visit to Riverfront Park is a must. This expansive park along the banks of the Susquehanna River offers stunning views, walking trails, and recreational activities for all ages. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the river, enjoy a picnic in the lush green spaces, or simply relax and watch as boats sail by. Riverfront Park is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, perfect for unwinding and enjoying the beauty of nature.

No visit to Harrisburg would be complete without trying the local cuisine. The city boasts a vibrant food scene with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks to choose from. Sample traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, savor a farm-to-table meal made with locally sourced ingredients, or indulge in international flavors from around the world. Whatever your taste buds crave, you’re sure to find a culinary delight in Harrisburg.

With its rich history, natural beauty, and diverse culinary offerings, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is a destination that’s worth exploring. Whether you’re visiting for a day or planning a longer stay, you’ll find plenty of top-rated attractions and exciting things to do that will make your time in Harrisburg unforgettable.

Discover the Rich History

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is a city that is rich in history, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. Explore the city’s fascinating past and learn about the important role it played in shaping the history of the United States.

Start your historical journey by visiting the State Capitol Building, a magnificent architectural gem that showcases Harrisburg’s rich heritage. Take a guided tour of the building and admire its beautiful rotunda, grand staircase, and intricate murals.

Next, head to the National Civil War Museum, where you can delve into the history of the Civil War and its impact on the nation. The museum features exhibits that highlight the stories of soldiers, civilians, and leaders who shaped this pivotal time in American history.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, an elegant historic house that offers a glimpse into the lives of the city’s early pioneers. Walk through the beautifully restored rooms and learn about the influential figures who once called this mansion home.

If you’re interested in military history, make sure to visit Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. This well-preserved fort complex provides a fascinating look at the region’s military history from pre-Revolutionary War times to the present day.

For a taste of local history, take a stroll through the Old Uptown Historic District. This charming neighborhood is filled with beautifully restored Victorian homes that date back to the 19th century. It offers a glimpse into Harrisburg’s past and showcases the city’s architectural heritage.

Wrap up your historical exploration of Harrisburg by visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives. Here, you can dig deeper into the history of the state and uncover fascinating stories from the past. Browse through the extensive collection of documents, photographs, and records that provide valuable insights into Pennsylvania’s rich history.

With its wealth of historical attractions and sites, Harrisburg offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and discover the rich history of the region. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, this city is sure to captivate and educate you.

Explore the Capital Complex

Located in the heart of Harrisburg, the Capital Complex is a must-visit destination for history and architecture enthusiasts. This complex serves as the seat of government for the state of Pennsylvania and is home to several key buildings and attractions.

Start your exploration at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, a stunning architectural masterpiece that offers guided tours for visitors. Marvel at the beautiful dome and interior adorned with exquisite artwork and impressive murals. Don’t forget to check out the Capitol’s beautifully landscaped grounds which offer a perfect spot for a picnic or peaceful stroll.

Next, head over to the State Museum of Pennsylvania, located adjacent to the Capitol Building. Immerse yourself in the state’s history, art, and culture through interactive exhibits and artifacts. Learn about Pennsylvania’s natural resources and the important role it played in shaping American history.

Adjacent to the State Museum is the State Library of Pennsylvania, a treasure trove of knowledge and resources. Browse through its extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and electronic resources. The library offers a quiet and serene atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a place to read or study.

Another highlight of the Capital Complex is the Governor’s Residence, the official residence of the governor of Pennsylvania. Although not open to the public, the beautifully maintained exterior and grounds provide a glimpse into the state’s political history.

Lastly, don’t miss out on exploring the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Bridge, a historic bridge that connects the Capital Complex to City Island. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and enjoy breathtaking views of the Susquehanna River.

Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply want to admire stunning architecture, the Capital Complex offers something for everyone. Plan your visit today and discover the rich cultural heritage of Pennsylvania’s capital city.

Admire the State Museum of Pennsylvania

Located in the heart of Harrisburg, the State Museum of Pennsylvania is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. This iconic museum showcases the rich and diverse history of the state, offering a glimpse into its past, present, and future.

Explore the Exhibits

Step inside and immerse yourself in the fascinating exhibits that tell the story of Pennsylvania. Discover artifacts and relics from Native American cultures, explore the state’s natural history, and learn about its industrial heritage.

The museum also houses an extensive collection of fine art, including paintings, sculptures, and crafts created by Pennsylvania artists. Marvel at the talent and creativity showcased in the galleries.

Visit the Planetarium

The State Museum of Pennsylvania is home to a state-of-the-art planetarium that offers a unique celestial experience. Sit back and relax as you journey through the cosmos and learn about the wonders of the universe.

Experience Hands-On Learning

The museum offers interactive exhibits and educational programs for visitors of all ages. Engage in hands-on activities that bring history and science to life. Participate in workshops, demonstrations, and special events to deepen your understanding and appreciation for Pennsylvania’s rich cultural heritage.

Take a Tour

To make the most of your visit, consider joining a guided tour of the museum. Knowledgeable guides will lead you through the exhibits, providing insights and anecdotes along the way. It’s a great way to learn even more about the history and artistry on display.

Note: Due to COVID-19, the State Museum of Pennsylvania may have certain restrictions or safety measures in place. It is advisable to check their website or call ahead for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit.

Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the State Museum of Pennsylvania and delve into the captivating story of this remarkable state. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, this museum has something for everyone.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at City Island

When visiting Harrisburg, PA, make sure to set aside some time to explore City Island, a beautiful outdoor oasis located in the middle of the Susquehanna River. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or a peaceful escape, City Island has something for everyone.

One of the main attractions on City Island is the Harrisburg Senators, a minor league baseball team. Catch a game at FNB Field and enjoy the excitement of live baseball while taking in the scenic views of the river and downtown Harrisburg.

If you’re more interested in water activities, City Island offers plenty of options. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and take to the river for a relaxing day on the water. You can also enjoy a leisurely ride on the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, a classic paddlewheel riverboat that offers sightseeing cruises.

For those looking to stay active, City Island has a number of sports fields and courts available for public use. Play a game of soccer or basketball, or challenge your friends to a round of mini-golf at Water Golf on City Island.

If you prefer a more leisurely experience, take a stroll along the walking paths that wind through the island. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, including lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and charming views of the river. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy a meal in one of the many picnic areas available.

No matter what your interests may be, City Island offers a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy. From sports and games to relaxing walks and scenic views, there’s something for everyone to appreciate on this picturesque island in Harrisburg.

Visit the Susquehanna Art Museum

Located in the heart of Harrisburg, the Susquehanna Art Museum is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. The museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary art from both local and international artists.

Step inside and you’ll discover a world of creativity and inspiration. The museum features rotating exhibitions that highlight various art forms, from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media installations.

One of the highlights of the Susquehanna Art Museum is its commitment to promoting local artists. The museum often hosts exhibitions and events that spotlight the work of artists from the Harrisburg area and throughout Pennsylvania.

Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or just appreciate beauty, a visit to the Susquehanna Art Museum is sure to leave a lasting impression. Take your time exploring the galleries, immerse yourself in the vibrant artistic atmosphere, and let your imagination run wild.

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the museum’s gift shop. It offers a wide selection of unique art pieces, books, and other creative treasures that make for perfect souvenirs or unique gifts.

If you’re looking to expand your artistic knowledge, the Susquehanna Art Museum also offers educational programs and workshops for all ages. From hands-on art classes to lectures and artist talks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

Plan your visit to the Susquehanna Art Museum today and experience the beauty and power of contemporary art in the heart of Harrisburg.

Take a Trip to the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum

If you’re interested in the history of firefighting or just looking for a unique and educational experience, the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is a must-visit attraction in Harrisburg. This museum showcases the rich history of firefighting in the state and offers an interactive experience for visitors of all ages.

Located in a historic 1899 firehouse, the museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, displays, and exhibits that highlight the evolution of firefighting equipment and techniques. You’ll be able to see antique fire engines, uniforms, tools, and memorabilia that date back to the early days of firefighting.

One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to explore a fully restored fire engine from the 1800s. You can climb aboard, ring the bell, and imagine what it was like to be a firefighter in that era. It’s a great photo opportunity and a chance to learn about the challenges these early first responders faced.

The museum also offers educational programs and events throughout the year. From hands-on workshops for kids to lectures and presentations for adults, there’s something for everyone. You can even book a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the exhibits and the history of firefighting in Pennsylvania.

Visiting the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is a great way to support the efforts of the firefighters who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities. The museum is run by volunteers and all proceeds go towards preserving and maintaining the collection, as well as promoting fire safety education.

Whether you’re a history buff, a firefighter enthusiast, or just looking for a unique and informative experience, a trip to the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is well worth it. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of firefighting and pay tribute to those who have risked their lives to save others.

Experience the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

Located in the heart of downtown Harrisburg, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is a must-visit attraction for both locals and tourists. This state-of-the-art facility offers a unique blend of science, technology, and art, making it an educational and entertaining destination for all ages.

The Whitaker Center features three main components: the Harsco Science Center, the Select Medical Digital Cinema, and the Sunoco Performance Theater. Each component offers a different experience, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

The Harsco Science Center is a hands-on science museum that encourages interactive learning. Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits and engage in experiments to understand scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way. From exploring the stars at the planetarium to discovering the wonders of the human body, there is no shortage of exciting activities to enjoy.

The Select Medical Digital Cinema is a state-of-the-art theater that showcases a range of films, from educational documentaries to Hollywood blockbusters. With its high-quality sound and picture, this cinema provides an immersive movie-watching experience that will captivate audiences of all ages.

The Sunoco Performance Theater is a venue that hosts a variety of live performances, including concerts, plays, and dance shows. With its excellent acoustics and comfortable seating, this theater provides an intimate setting for enjoying the arts.

Whether you are interested in science, cinema, or the arts, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts has something for everyone. It offers a unique and enriching experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this exceptional destination in Harrisburg!

Indulge in the Cuisine of Harrisburg’s Vibrant Food Scene

Harrisburg, PA offers a vibrant and diverse food scene that will delight even the most discerning palates. Whether you’re a fan of classic American comfort food or crave international flavors, this city has something to satisfy every craving.

Start your culinary adventure at one of Harrisburg’s many charming local cafes. These cozy and inviting spots are perfect for enjoying a morning cup of coffee and a delicious pastry. Try a flaky croissant or a delectable slice of cake while you soak in the cozy atmosphere.

For lunch or dinner, Harrisburg boasts a wide variety of restaurants offering cuisines from around the world. Indulge in mouthwatering Italian dishes at a family-owned pizzeria or enjoy a steaming bowl of traditional ramen at a trendy Japanese eatery. Explore the flavors of Mexico with savory tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole made from scratch. Or, savor the delicate flavors of sushi and sashimi at a sleek sushi bar.

If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, Harrisburg has several fine dining options. Treat yourself to a gourmet steak cooked to perfection or indulge in fresh seafood caught off the coast. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from a carefully curated list or enjoy a handcrafted cocktail made with locally distilled spirits.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Harrisburg’s farmers’ markets and sample the freshest local produce. From juicy tomatoes to crisp apples, you’ll find an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables to inspire your culinary creations.

Finish off your food-filled journey with a visit to one of Harrisburg’s charming dessert shops. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a decadent slice of cake, a scoop of homemade ice cream, or a perfectly crafted macaron.

Whether you’re a foodie at heart or just looking for a delicious meal, Harrisburg’s vibrant food scene won’t disappoint. From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, this city is a true culinary destination. So come hungry and explore the flavors of Harrisburg.

Take a Walk Along the Beautiful Riverfront Park

When visiting Harrisburg, PA, a stroll through the Riverfront Park is a must-do activity. This 20-acre park stretches along the scenic Susquehanna River and offers stunning views of the city skyline. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply enjoy a peaceful walk, this park has something for everyone.

One of the main attractions of Riverfront Park is the mile-long walking path, which is perfect for leisurely walks, jogging, or biking. As you make your way along the path, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, beautiful flowers, and the calming sound of the river flowing nearby.

The park also features various recreational amenities, such as playgrounds, tennis courts, and a baseball field. If you’re visiting with kids, they will love exploring the well-maintained playgrounds and taking a break to enjoy a picnic in one of the many picnic areas scattered throughout the park.

In addition to its natural beauty and outdoor activities, Riverfront Park is home to several historical landmarks. You can visit the iconic Market Street Bridge, which provides a picturesque backdrop for photos, or explore the remnants of the old Wild West town that used to be located on the site.

For a unique experience, consider taking a riverboat cruise along the Susquehanna River. These boat tours provide a different perspective of the park and allow you to admire the beauty of Harrisburg from the water.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, a walk along Riverfront Park is an enjoyable and refreshing experience. Take a break from the bustling city life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature in this beautiful park.

  • Admire stunning views of the city skyline
  • Enjoy a leisurely walk, jog, or bike ride along the mile-long path
  • Explore playgrounds, tennis courts, and a baseball field
  • Visit historical landmarks, such as the Market Street Bridge
  • Take a riverboat cruise for a unique perspective of the park

Shop at the Broad Street Market

If you’re a food lover or just enjoy exploring local markets, a visit to the Broad Street Market is a must when in Harrisburg. Established in 1860, it is one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the United States. Located in the heart of the city, the market offers a unique shopping experience and a chance to support local vendors.

The Broad Street Market is home to a wide variety of shops and stalls selling everything from fresh produce and meats to artisanal cheeses and baked goods. You can find a range of international ingredients, as well as locally sourced products. Whether you’re looking for a special ingredient for a recipe or want to stock up on some farm-fresh goodies, you’ll find it here.

In addition to the food vendors, the market also has a selection of non-food stalls offering handmade crafts, jewelry, and unique gift items. It’s a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.

Aside from the shopping, the Broad Street Market is also a hub of local culture and community. It’s not uncommon to find live music or other special events happening throughout the year. The market is a gathering place where locals and visitors come together, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you’re a foodie, a shopaholic, or just looking for a unique experience, make sure to include a trip to the Broad Street Market in your itinerary when visiting Harrisburg. It’s a true gem that showcases the best of local flavors and community spirit.


What are some of the top-rated attractions in Harrisburg, PA?

Some of the top-rated attractions in Harrisburg, PA include the Pennsylvania State Capitol, the National Civil War Museum, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

What can visitors do in Harrisburg, PA?

Visitors to Harrisburg, PA can explore the beautiful Pennsylvania State Capitol building, learn about the history of the Civil War at the National Civil War Museum, visit the State Museum of Pennsylvania to learn about the state’s culture and heritage, and enjoy educational and entertaining exhibits at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

Are there any outdoor activities in Harrisburg, PA?

Yes, there are several outdoor activities to enjoy in Harrisburg, PA. Visitors can take a walk along the scenic Riverfront Park, go hiking or biking on the Capital Area Greenbelt, or have a picnic in one of the city’s many parks.

What is the significance of the Pennsylvania State Capitol building?

The Pennsylvania State Capitol building is not only the seat of government for the state of Pennsylvania, but it is also considered to be one of the most beautiful and iconic capitol buildings in the United States. Its architecture and design make it a must-visit attraction for tourists in Harrisburg, PA.


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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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