Gettysburg is a beautiful small town in Pennsylvania that is home to some of the most historical attractions in the country. The area was the site of one of the most important Civil War battles and is now home to many historical landmarks and museums. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Gettysburg, from hiking and biking trails to golfing and fishing. So whether you’re a history buff or not, there’s something for you to enjoy.
In this blog post, I will highlight the 12 top attractions and things to do in Gettysburg. So, if you are planning a trip to this historic town, be sure to add these places to your list.
Things to Do in Gettysburg
1. Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg National Military Park is one of the top tourist attractions in Gettysburg that contains several monuments and memorials commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg. It also includes markers, cannon, battle lines, trenches, and earthworks built by soldiers in 1863.
The Battle of Gettysburg started with the Union army pursuing Confederate soldiers. General Robert E Lee led his Confederate troops into the town to engage with Union soldiers who were defending it. During this battle, there was heavy gunfire that lasted for three days, ending with a confederate retreat on July 4th.
Today, visitors can see how these historical events shaped this small town into the present day. Overall, this is a great attraction not only for history buffs, but also for those that enjoy hiking and exploring trails.
2. Gettysburg Museum of History
Gettysburg Museum of History is a great place to learn about the Civil War as well as local history. Located in downtown Gettysburg, this museum contains exhibits on local history and Civil War history. This makes it a good place to learn about the Battle of Gettysburg while getting an understanding of what life was like in Gettysburg before the war.
The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, dummies dressed in period clothing, interactive exhibits, video presentations, and rides. You will also find full-scale dioramas that depict different parts of the battlefield. These dioramas are made with special effects lighting to make it seem like you’re walking through time as you move from display to display.
I highly recommend this museum to people of all ages. There are many interesting things displayed throughout the museum about Civil War history. So you will learn something new no matter how much you already know about this period. Therefore, this top attraction is definitely one of the best things to do in Gettysburg.
3. Jenny Wade House
The Jenny Wade House is considered to be among the top attractions in Gettysburg that should be on the list of things to do in this town.
The house is named for Jenny Wade, who lived during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was one of the only civilian casualties of the battle when she was struck by a stray bullet that killed her while baking bread during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Today, visitors can tour the home to learn more about Jenny Wade and her family’s experience during the American Civil War. The Jenny Wade House has been designated a historic landmark by both Pennsylvania and the National Park Service. It also features period furniture, which makes it an authentic place to explore what life was like at that time.
4. Eisenhower National Historic Site
The Eisenhower National Historic Site is a historic house museum dedicated to the life of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was one of the top generals during World War II and later became the president of the United States.
The interior has been restored to its original condition, so you can see how living conditions were back then. There are exhibits about his life before he became president, which helps visitors better understand who he was when he was younger. You can also see imported gifts from other top world leaders such as Khrushchev, Churchill, De Gaulle, and MacArthur. The museum focuses on both his military campaigns and life in politics.
It’s an amazing opportunity to learn about one of the most beloved presidents. So I highly recommend it for history lovers who want to tour this place during their stay in Gettysburg. Not only will you get some great pictures while you’re there, but your visit is also bound to be very educational.
5. See the Gettysburg Civil War Reenactment
One of the best things to do in Gettysburg is the chance to see the Gettysburg Reenactment that takes place every year from July 1st to 3rd. The reenactment is performed by living history groups who attempt to portray both armies in an authentic way. You also get a chance to see historic artillery demonstrations, which are held throughout both days.
This event takes place each year at the Presidential Range Overlook on top of Little Round Top Mountain. This is where the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment made its stand against Confederate forces during the Battle of Gettysburg. The main goal of this annual reenactment is to show participants what life was like for soldiers during this tumultuous time in America’s history.
The event starts at 10:30 am each day. So you definitely want to ensure you’re there no later than 9 am if you want to catch all of the action. This activity is best enjoyed with friends and family because it’s just plain fun. You’ll feel like you’re back in time watching these performances.
6. Little Round Top
Little Roundtop is one of the top attractions in Gettysburg and a popular attraction among history buffs. Located on top of a hill, Little Round Top played an important part in the Battle of Gettysburg. The Union army managed to defend this area with a bayonet charge successfully. This prevented Confederate soldiers from gaining control of nearby hills, which would have enabled them to shoot at the Union’s center.
This attraction is named after its shape, and it looks like a small dome or ‘little round top’ compared to surrounding mountains. If you’re visiting this site, you should walk up the hill to get an idea of the topography and why the Union army was able to successfully defend it.
This place is filled with not only history, but also a great spot for hiking and exploration. The views from atop Little Round Top are very pretty. You can see the town of Gettysburg as well as several mountains and hills throughout the park. So, if you’re looking for some of the best places to visit in Gettysburg, then check out this attraction.
7. Soldiers’ National Cemetery
The National Cemetery in Gettysburg is the final resting place for more than 3,500 Union soldiers who died during the Battle of Gettysburg. The cemetery is known for its impressive background, which features a row of trees that are several hundred years old, and it also has some beautiful monuments that were erected after the Civil War to honor those who gave their lives on that fateful day in 1863.
There are many events that take place at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery throughout the year. Just recently, they held an annual commemoration ceremony commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address speech. You can even watch park rangers give personal tours of this impressive site.
An interesting fact about this cemetery is that on top of being one of the top tourist attractions in Gettysburg, it’s also a popular place for people who enjoy visiting graveyards and experiencing a bit of history. From its beautiful headstones to its historical significance, this location will give you a deeper understanding of the Civil War and how it affected the people of that time.
8. Savor Gettysburg Food Tours
If you are looking for unique things to do in Gettysburg, why not try a food tour? There is no better way to learn about this area than by experiencing it through its foods. Savor Gettysburg Food Tours takes participants on walking tours that pass many historic sites while also giving them the opportunity to taste delicious foods at different participating restaurants.
The tours are led by guides who know everything there is to know about local history and dishes. They will tell you fun facts about the region, like what tavern was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg, civil war stories, etc. While walking along the trail, you will occasionally stop at shops and eateries where you can sample Pennsylvania Dutch specialties like shoofly pie and hand-churned ice cream.
So if you love to eat and you want to learn more about the area, then I definitely recommend Savor Gettysburg Food Tours for a unique experience. It’s one of the best things to do in Gettysburg.
9. Antique Shopping in New Oxford
If you’re into antiques, then New Oxford may be the place for you. It’s located a few miles east of Gettysburg, and it is home to many antique shops that sell old furniture and other collectibles to shoppers who enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
Generally, the prices are also quite reasonable, and many items for sale look like they came from another era entirely. It’s hard not to feel like you’re walking into a time machine when strolling through these shops. And one thing that makes this such a unique experience is that most of the stores only carry antiques. You won’t see any new items mixed in with anything else here. This is definitely one way to avoid clutter and to help you feel as if you’ve stepped into another time period.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys looking for antiques and vintage items, you will love touring the many wonderful shops that New Oxford has to offer. And it makes for a perfect day trip from Gettysburg, one of the best things to do there.
10. Gettysburg Heritage Center
The Gettysburg Heritage Center is one of the fascinating attractions in Gettysburg, filled with artifacts and exhibits that commemorate the historic battle. This is one of the best places that will provide hours of entertainment for any history or Civil War buff.
Among some of the interesting pieces on display at this center are photographs, letters, weaponry, and uniforms from both Confederate and Union soldiers. One aspect of this center that makes it unique is that it allows you to engage with many of these objects through touch screen technology throughout the exhibit hall.
There’s also an audio-visual presentation entitled “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion,” which takes viewers on a virtual tour through 1863 as well as telling them about the current-day battlefield park. And if you like to shop, there’s also an interesting gift shop on site.
11. Shriver House Museum
The Shriver House Museum is a historic house museum that was the site of many significant events during the Battle of Gettysburg. It was here where Confederate sharpshooters were stationed during the Battle of Gettysburg, where they made two holes which they used to shoot union soldiers. This house also served as a hospital for sick soldiers, so many wounded soldiers were treated here during the battle.
If you can, I would recommend joining one of their guided tours. Throughout the tour, you will learn about the family that once lived in this home and how they dealt with the aftermath of this important battle that took place on their property.
The Shriver House Museum is not only a great place to learn about history, but it can also be a fun date or family outing if you’re looking for the best things to do in Gettysburg with kids. It will definitely give you a sense of what it was like back then.
12. Sachs Covered Bridge
Sachs Covered Bridge is one of the top attractions in Gettysburg that was a very popular meeting place for both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. Featuring a covered bridge structure, the bridge was built in 1854 and crosses over Marsh Creek. It stands 105 feet long and 25 feet wide.
The beauty of this covered bridge makes it one of the best things to do in Gettysburg. The bridge retains its original shape, design, and materials which makes it one of the best places to visit in Gettysburg. It’s the perfect spot to take pictures and admire nature since it lies on top of a running creek which adds an element of tranquility to the scene.
Gettysburg is one of America’s most historic places offering visitors a wealth of attractions that are all worth checking out. From the Gettysburg National Military Park to the Sachs Covered Bridge, there are plenty of things to do in Gettysburg for those who want to learn about American history.