After three years living here, I have finally been able to publish the complete guide on what to see in Pennsylvania. Surely this is not the first place that comes to mind if you are planning a road trip through the United States, but I assure you that there are many places to visit in Pennsylvania.
Throughout these three years, we have discovered many interesting things to see in Philadelphia, the city in which we live, but we have also explored other areas of this state on the weekends and I can assure you that there is a lot to do in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and has played a key role in American history, so visiting is a must. I recommend the Sightseeing Flex Pass or the Sightseeing Day Pass to access the main tourist attractions while saving money. However, Pennsylvania is not just about history and culture, as there are also beautiful landscapes among forests, waterfalls, wildlife, and night skies.
I admit that I did not always like living in PA since the first impression I got is that it was a bit of a boring state. However, as soon as I got to know her, I discovered that there are many fun things to do in Pennsylvania, you just have to know where they are. So it doesn't matter if you just moved to PA or are visiting. In this guide, you will find essential places that you must know in Pennsylvania.
Also, at the end of this guide, I have left you a map of Pennsylvania with the main tourist attractions so that you can quickly locate them and plan your route. Now, here are the 5 best places to see in Pennsylvania.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PARKWAY AND PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ARTThe Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the avenue that connects City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Along this street, there are several interesting museums to see in Pennsylvania, and you will also see that it is full of flags of countries from all over the world.
The best thing you can do is walk quietly down this street, as you will come across Love Park, named for its famous LOVE sculpture; the Philadelphia Public Library, the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Franklin Institute, where there are numerous natural science exhibits. These two museums are included in the Sightseeing Flex Pass and the Sightseeing Day Pass.
When you get to the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway you will find the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is one of the largest museums in the world and contains works of art that span several centuries and continents. Best of all, it's free on Wednesdays starting at 5 p.m. and the first Sunday of each month, so if it coincides with your trip, visiting it can be one of the best things to do inPennsylvania for free. This museum has other buildings, such as the Perelman and the Rodin Museum.
The museum is also well known for the Rocky Steps, which have become a popular tourist attraction in Pennsylvania. And you shouldn't forget the Rocky Balboa statue, right next to the stairs. And if you are a big fan of the Rocky saga, I recommend this cinematographic tour of the city.
LIBERTY BELL AT INDEPENDENCE MALL, SOMETHING TO VISIT IN PENNSYLVANIAThe Liberty Bell is something to see in Pennsylvania and, above all, it is essential if you want your visit to Philadelphia to be complete.
The bell was built in 1752 and weighs about 932 kg. It is located inside a glass display case in the historic district of Philadelphia, right in front of the Independence Mall, where one day it made history, as explained to us on this walking tour, since its sound announced the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776.
Today, despite its iconic fracture, it is the jewel in the crown at the Liberty Bell Center, on the Independence Mall, which is part of the Independence National Historical Park. This is where you will find all the historical monuments related to Philadelphia and its role within the declaration of American freedom.
Inside the Independence Mall, there are other places to visit in Pennsylvania, such as the National Constitution Center, an interactive museum related to the writing of the United States Constitution. Although the original document is not here, you will find interesting exhibits.
Another Pennsylvania landmark, which is included in the Sightseeing Flex Pass and Sightseeing Day Pass, is the Betsy Ross House on Arch Street. This is where Betsy Ross lived and wove the first American flag. And not far from here is Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in the United States.
Also in the area is the Philadelphia City Hall, which in addition to being an important historic site, is where we got married. Here is the statue of William Penn, founder of Philadelphia. Until the construction of One Liberty Place, it was the tallest building in the city. Both have an observation deck whose entry is included in the Sightseeing Flex Pass and Sightseeing Day Pass. I have been to both and I recommend that you visit them if you are touring Pennsylvania.
GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK, A MUST SEE IN PENNSYLVANIAThe Gettysburg National Military Park is one of the historical places to see in Pennsylvania, as it is the scene where the Gettysburg War took place in 1863, during the American Civil War. Right here is the Gettysburg Battlefield, which is where Union and Confederate soldiers fought from July 1-3, 1863.
At the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, located in the same park, you can see live re-enactments of history. There are also several galleries, exhibits, and a cyclorama of the battle.
Also, one of the places to visit in Pennsylvania is the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where Union fighters are buried. This is where Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address four and a half months after the battle.
If this is the first time you visit this place and you are passionate about history, I advise you to book this tour to learn more about the battle, which, although it lasted only three days, was a turning point in the history of the country. With this tour, you will also see other important places, such as Devil's Den, Litte Round Top, and the place where Pickett's charge took place.
Of course, before leaving the place be sure to stop by the Eisenhower National Historic Site. Here is the home and farm of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. So one of the things to do in Pennsylvania tour the house where he lived his last days.
LANCASTER AND THE PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRYLancaster is located near Gettysburg and is one of the oldest cities in Pennsylvania. This city is known especially for its Amish community, which although they are also found in other states, in Pennsylvania is more predominant.
Near Lancaster, you can visit the Amish Village, something to see in Pennsylvania. You will be able to travel almost 5 hectares that belong to the Amish to know their way of life, as well as see horse-drawn carts, what works in a blacksmith is like, or how important agriculture is to them. You can take advantage of your visit to the village to buy some homemade sweets in the market.
In addition, you can visit an Amish farm and house by hiring this tour, which will allow you to deepen even more in their culture. It is one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania.
If you go by car, I advise you to take the opportunity to visit two nearby towns. One of them is Strasburg, home to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, which has an impressive collection of more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars. The other town is Intercourse, which attracts attention by name (it means quiet in English) and where you can learn a little more about the Amish culture through shops and restaurants.
I also have to tell you that Lancaster is much more than the Amish community as it is the ideal city for shopping, theater shows, and some of its many trails. One of the weirdest things to do in Pennsylvania is driving down the Musical Road in Lancaster, a road that has some kind of metal grooves that play a song when you drive on it. And if you are looking for places to visit in Pennsylvania with children, here is the Dutch Wonderland amusement park.
POCONO MOUNTAINS, ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO SEE IN PENNSYLVANIAAnother impressive wilderness to see in Pennsylvania is the Pocono Mountains, where we spend a winter weekend every year. This is one of my favorite places in Pennsylvania. It is located in the northwest of the state and this mountainous area overlooks the Allegheny Plateau and the Delaware Water Gap.
If you are looking for a little adventure, the Poconos will find some interesting activities to do in Pennsylvania. For example, here are the best-known ski resorts and most popular resorts in Pennsylvania, such as Blue Mountain, Camelback, and Jack Frost / Big Boulder.
If you travel during the summer months, don't worry, because you will enjoy this place just the same. For example, I recommend the Promised Land State Park, one of the places to visit in Pennsylvania that you cannot miss. It has two lakes and almost 130 kilometers of trails. In addition, the park is perfect for camping and enjoying endless outdoor activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, or mountain biking. Of course, black bears live here, so be very careful.
Not far from the state park is the Bushkill Falls, where there are eight waterfalls and numerous hiking trails. The tallest waterfall, known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, has a drop of more than 100 feet, making it a beautiful site to photograph.
The Lehigh Gorge State Park is also very worthwhile, especially if you want to go rafting. To do so, I advise you to hire this tour, although if water is not your thing, you can rent a bicycle. If you visit, do not forget to stop by Jim Thorpe, considered one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in Pennsylvania for its privileged location, next to the gorge. Here you will find shops, restaurants, pubs, and entertainment of all kinds, even wine tastings.
Another very popular state park to visit in Pennsylvania and located within the Poconos Mountains is the Hickory Run, but this one deserves a separate point, so I'll tell you about it later.