14 Best Places to Visit in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is an amazing state with so much to see and do. From the bustling city of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the beautiful countryside and mountains, there’s something for everyone in this great state. In this post, I will highlight the 14 best places to visit in Pennsylvania that are worth exploring. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or just looking for a fun family vacation spot, I hope you’ll find something on this list that appeals to you.

Best Places to Visit in Pennsylvania

1. Philadelphia

Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, is one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania because it has a lot to offer any traveler. This American metropolis is now the largest city of Pennsylvania with a rich history as one of America’s capitals during the Revolutionary War times.

The first place that I recommend visiting is the Independence National Historical Park. There, you can visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, as they hold great significance in American history. There’s also a public garden with a lot of green space with many wonderful historical monuments from around the city. 

Another great place that I recommend visiting is the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which runs through Philadelphia’s cultural district. Here you can find many of Philly’s best museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. Both are worth visiting for their great art collections alone. 

My favorite attraction in this city was the Valley Forge National Historical Park. This park replicates all of the hardships endured by many soldiers who were fighting for their country during wartime. You can also go see the giant “LOVE” sculpture, which is a must-see.

While you’re exploring all of these cool places and pieces of history, you should follow that up by eating some great food. I liked going to South Street for some yummy cheesesteaks, as this street is known to have some of the best restaurants in the area. And the best place for cheese fries would definitely be Chickie & Pete’s, which has been voted as having the best in the tri-state area.

Philadelphia really is a great city to visit. It has good food, good people, and it’s incredibly historical. And because it’s in such a convenient location, I recommend stopping by and enjoying some of the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania.

Read More: 15 Top-Rated Small Towns in Pennsylvania

2. Pittsburgh

After you’re done in Philly, Pittsburgh is another of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania because it has a lot of culture and many historical attractions. Whether you’re there for a weekend trip or traveling all out on vacation, Pittsburgh has so much to offer.

The first place that I recommend visiting if you have time is the Carnegie Science Center. This science center is more than just a museum with just pretty exhibits. It also has a 4D Theater and an IMAX theater, making for one of the best attractions in Pittsburgh.

Next, if you’re more of someone who likes to walk around city streets, then the Strip District is the place for you. This district is filled with shops and restaurants of all sorts, so it’s really worth exploring on foot.

Another great place to visit is the North Shore. On this side of town, there’s a great view of the city skyline, and you can also take a ride on the Gateway Clipper for some fun on the water. Lastly, my favorite part of Pittsburgh is Station Square which has a large mall area as well as an outdoor entertainment section. 

3. Harrisburg

The next place I’d recommend is in the state capital of Harrisburg. This historical city has many great things to offer, and it’s one of the best places in Pennsylvania to visit for its large variety of activities.

The first place that I recommend visiting is the State Capitol Building, which was completed in 1906. This magnificent building features amazing architecture on an even more breathtaking interior filled with history and intricate details. You will see amazing portraits of past US presidents and other paintings depicting famous events from American history.

Another place worth mentioning would be the National Civil War Museum. The museum provides an interesting look at how America’s bloodiest war started, as well as how it shaped the US. The museum has a lot of interesting artifacts and an extensive collection of machinery used in the war.

And finally, my favorite place that I recommend checking out is Hershey Park. If you love roller-coasters and good food, this place has both in great supply. Their newest coaster was voted as the 3rd best steel coaster in America for its multitude of loops and drops at high speeds, which will certainly make any adrenaline junkie feel alive.

And while your stomach might be turning, you can visit Hershey’s chocolate world for some amazing free chocolate samples. And after all that sugar, you are sure to get tired, so hop into bed early or hit up Harrisburg’s nightlife which has something for everyone.

Read More: 14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pennsylvania

4. Gettysburg

Gettysburg, the location of one of the bloodiest wars in American history, is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania. Start your tour by visiting the Soldiers National Cemeterywhich contains over 6,000 graves from all Union soldiers who died during this fight for freedom. You can gain a lot of knowledge about what happened during this time by visiting the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.

In addition, take a tour to the Gettysburg National Military Park & Eisenhower National Historic Site. Here, you can walk among some of the greatest monuments of the war.

Another great place to check out while you’re in Gettysburg is Little Round Top. This is where General Gouverneur K. Warren successfully defended the Union flank against an attack made by Confederate troops during the second day of battle at Gettysburg in 1863. If you are interested, there are hiking trails here to explore as well as a marker commemorating the brave soldiers who lost their lives to protect this area.

This town is so important in history that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. That means all the historical attractions here are protected and maintained by an organization of historic sites from around the world.

5. Pocono Mountains

For a trip that’s full of outdoor recreation, the Pocono Mountains are one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania. This mountain range is located towards east-central Pennsylvania, and many people come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

One of my favorite spots in this area was Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which is a great place to go hiking or biking, depending on what you like. There are also many campsites, so it would be nice to visit if you want to spend some time around nature without having to sleep out in the cold wilderness.

Another one of my favorite places in this area was Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, where there’s nothing more fun than riding down the slides and making friends with people from all across America (and even Canada). Even though it can get crowded on hot summer weekends, I still think that it has enough activities for everyone. 

This national park is can also be said to be among the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania because it really does provide the best of both worlds. You can either hike through some scenic trails or go down water slides. So it’s definitely worth checking out if you have time to spare. After all, what are vacations for besides unwinding and seeing new things?

6. Erie 

The city of Erie, also known as “the gem city,” is another great place to visit in Pennsylvania. It’s a very scenic and beautiful city located at the mouth of French Creek. 

Some great places you can explore are Presque Isle State Park, which makes up the majority of Erie County’s shoreline. This park has all kinds of nature trails and activities like kayaking, biking, paddle boarding, etc.

Another great landmark that I recommend visiting is the Bayfront Convention Center, where Great Lake sailors set out to sea during the summer months. You can also go see countless historical monuments around this area. Another place that you should definitely check out while you’re in Erie is the Erie Art Museum, which is home to an art collection worth seeing. 

Overall, I recommend visiting this city because it has so many beautiful things that you will want to see/taste/smell. If I had more time during my trip, I would have spent my entire time here. So maybe next time I’ll come back here again just to do all of these fun activities.

7. Flight 93 National Memorial Park

The Flight 93 National Memorial Park is one of the most somber yet beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania. This memorial is a solemn tribute to the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives when Flight 93 crashed into a field after being hijacked on September 11, 2001.

The memorial is located entirely outdoor and consists of two parts: the ‘Field of Honor,’ which features forty glass blocks engraved with each passenger’s name, and a visitor’s center. There is also the 93 feet high Tower of Voices, an art structure that contains 40 wind chimes, one foot for each of the victims who died in the crash.

The entire memorial site is designed to accurately reflect the terrain where Flight 93 crashed. There are trails cut into the hills around the crash site that give visitors a sense of what it looked like that day, and visitors are even allowed to visit the crash site itself. The staff there are very helpful, allowing you to take pictures of the memorial if you wish.

As I wandered around the visitor’s center, I felt a strong sense of respect and admiration for those who lost their lives. I also had a much greater understanding of what happened on September 11.

8. Bethlehem

The historic town of Bethlehem is one of America’s oldest cities and still continues to thrive today even though it once had very little appeal. It was founded in 1741 by Count Zinzendorf and other Moravian missionaries. They were responsible for developing the town into a safe haven for Christians fleeing persecution from their homeland (due to religious differences).

Here, you can find the historic colonial streets, which are very much like walking through the 18th century when people coming from Germany settled down. Pay special attention to the Old Chapel (constructed in the mid-1700s), Gemeinhaus (constructed in 1741), and Brethren’s House (constructed in 1748)

I recommend you also take a tour of the Bethlehem Steel Works site. This landmark is important because it shows Bethlehem’s rich history as an industrial city and how its economy has changed over time. There’s also a nice trail that you can take which goes around part of this area and makes it easy to see everything on foot.

You should also stop by at Christmas time for some unique holiday cheer as this city really pulls out all the stops. You’ll see beautifully decorated houses lining the streets with lights galore, which makes my favorite time of year even more special. Also worth mentioning is Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem if you’re interested in gambling. This spot has lately been voted as having one of the best casinos in the area. 

So whether you’re planning a trip for this holiday season or just want to check out some great historical landmarks, Bethlehem is definitely worth your time. Therefore, it deserves a spot on your list of best places to visit in Pennsylvania.

9. Knoebels Amusement Resort

Knoebels Amusement Resort is one of the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania, and it’s located just outside of Philadelphia. This location was founded in 1926, making it one of the oldest theme parks in the USA. 

It has more than 60 rides, including roller coasters like the Twister and Phoenix. If you get tired of riding on rides, there are also many other things to do here. You can go swimming at the Wave Pool, relax on sun loungers at Splash Lagoon, or admire Knoebels’ beautiful botanical garden.

Visiting this amusement park is a fun-filled adventure for all ages. Of course, if you have young children, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the kiddie area, but I highly recommend going on at least one of the roller coasters. The park also has a carousel, a haunted house ride, and many other attractions that will certainly keep you entertained.

10. Lancaster

If you want to travel to Pennsylvania and you’re considering visiting a bunch of cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Erie, I strongly recommend that you stop by Lancaster. It’s one of the most charming places in the state, and it has a lot of amazing experiences for tourists who come through this area.

The first place that I’d recommend is the Amish Farmland. Here you can see a bunch of Amish people going about their everyday life and see how they still manage to farm without using modern technology. It’s an interesting way to learn about a culture that has been largely forgotten in modern society.

Another great place for people who love art would be the Fulton Opera House, where they have a ton of events, shows, and other fun things are frequently taking place. Even if art isn’t your thing, this place is worth checking out because it’s great seeing how other people live in other countries.

The last attraction that I recommend going to is Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park. This is one of Pennsylvania’s most popular amusement parks for families and kids who love roller-coast rides and kiddie land. And if you’re into museums, there are some museums around that may be worth checking out. Other attractions and historical landmarks worth seeing are farmer’s markets, carousels, and art galleries

11. Ligonier

Ligonier is the ideal place to visit in Pennsylvania for anyone who wants a quiet, relaxing environment to explore nature. This small town is very scenic and charming with many wonderful little shops that are fun to explore. 

My favorite attraction in this city was Idlewild Park & SoakZone, which is known as one of the best amusement parks for kids around. I recommend spending an entire day there because you can get on dozens of different rides depending on your preference. 

You can also get a tour inside Fort Ligonier, which was used as a fort to fight off many different wars. I also recommend going on a carriage ride through Ligonier’s countryside. If you enjoy horses, this will be a nice break from driving and can offer some great views of the town and its surroundings.

12. Laurel Highlands

If you’re seeking adventure during your trip, the Laurel Highlands is one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania. This national park is located within the Laurel Mountains of western Pennsylvania, and it’s known for its outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, horseback riding trails, zip-lining adventures, winter sports, you name it.

This area also boasts some pretty spectacular scenery, as there are several incredible waterfalls in the area that are well worth visiting. Ohiopyle State Park is another great place to visit in the Laurel Highlands. It’s home to Cucumber Falls and 14 miles of trails for hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers.

Cultural attractions in this area include the Laurel Caverns, which is one of the oldest commercial caverns in Pennsylvania. It’s also home to a number of colorful mineral formations, including several that are over a million years old. In addition to being a huge tourist draw, this cavern attracts geologists from all over the world due to these ancient fossils.

The Laurel Highlands is a great place for people who love outdoor activities and natural beauties. And thanks to its central location, it’s easy to reach from most parts of Pennsylvanian. So if you’re planning a trip there soon, make sure you visit the Laurel Highlands as well.

13. Allegheny National Forest

Allegheny National Forest is a beautiful piece of Pennsylvania’s natural landscape. It’s located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, and it gets its name from the Allegheny River and the Allegheny Mountains. The forest stretches over 500,000 acres and consists of woodlands interspersed with rivers and streams.

There are also tons of different trails. From simple paved pathways that meander through spectacular foliage to challenging rock scrambles that take hikers into the heart of the forest itself. And one thing that makes this place stand out is its gorgeous scenery.

The hills are lush, the trees are green, and you’ll see all sorts of amazing wildlife. There are also some great historical spots to check out, such as old canal locks that were used for the transportation of goods on the Allegheny River during the early 1800s.

The Allegheny National Forest is a great destination for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. You’re sure to have an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind experience here.

14. Strasburg

If you are a train enthusiast, then Strasburg is one of the best places to visit in Pennsylvania, as this will be an experience you won’t forget. This quaint little town in Lancaster County was originally settled by a group of Germans who immigrated in 1708.

The most famous landmark in this town would have to be the Railroad Museum, which is undoubtedly one of the best places to go. You can find lots of different locomotives from all over the county, both big and small. It’s also an interesting museum to check out if you want to learn more about American history. This is because each locomotive has a certain significance that is explained in detail by docents throughout the museum.

There are also other interesting things to do there, such as go on wagon rides, explore nature trails, or take tours through caves. And with so much to offer, I think this town deserves more attention from tourists.

In summary

As you can see, there is no shortage of beautiful, historic, and interesting places to visit in Pennsylvania. I hope this article has helped give you the information necessary to make an informed decision when it comes time for planning your next trip or vacation.