Main menu Open search menu

Things To Do In Harrisburg

Harrisburg is located in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley. As a hub for both railroad and water transportation, Harrisburg played an important role in the American Civil War. Today, that historic tradition is maintained in the city’s many museums and renovated cultural centers. Its proximity to the entertainment in Hershey, PA and the Susquehanna River make it a prime destination for thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Here’s how to make the most of your time in this fun-loving city.

Pennsylvania’s capital has many different things to see. Explore the state capitol building or get front-row seats to a Senators game, just some of the top things to do in Harrisburg.

Below are some of the best things to do near Harrisburg:

  • Explore the Pennsylvania State Capitol, one of the most renowned capitol buildings in the nation for its priceless architecture
  • Spend an afternoon viewing civil war artifacts at The National Civil War Museum
  • Cheer on the Harrisburg Senators as they take on their rivals at FNB Baseball Field
  • Marvel at the natural beauty of the Susquehanna River on a lively 3-course dinner cruise
  • Make your own chocolate at the nearby Hershey Chocolate Museum in Hershey, PA

Harrisburg does a good job of offering budget-friendly activities. Find a trail to explore or tour a renovated cultural museum.

Free things to do in Harrisburg include:

  • Stimulating your senses on a trail hike around the shallow lake at Wildwood Park
  • Gazing upon the stars inside the planetarium of The State Museum of Pennsylvania
  • Touring the grounds of the renovated John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion
  • Going on a morning jog through the serene Harrisburg Cemetery
  • Exploring the rare collections area of the State Library of Pennsylvania

Ride a roller coaster at Hersheypark if excitement is the mood. For something more tranquil, go bird watching in a nearby nature preserve.

Below are a few popular attractions near Harrisburg:

  • Catch an exclusive touring performance at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center
  • Enjoy the serene stained glass scenes splayed across the walls of the Cathedral of St. Patrick
  • Venture to the Susquehanna Art Museum, a bank-turned-art-museum in midtown featuring original exhibitions and performances
  • Explore more than 35 acres of natural wildlife habitat at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo
  • Cast off from Penn’s landing to enjoy the panoramic sunset views aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia

Harrisburg offers something new to try each and every day. Try a variety of fine cheeses at a local creamery or bike along the riverfront.

Below are a few examples of exciting activities near Harrisburg:

  • Try an eccentric iced coffee cocktail at the Midstate Distillery
  • Picnic on the bluff of Fort Hunter Park before touring the Fort Hunter Mansion
  • Spend the day biking along Riverfront Park and the Capital Area Greenbelt
  • Catch some thrills on one of Hersheypark’s world class roller coasters
  • Milk an afternoon at the Caputo Brothers Creamery with a cheese tour or Farm Table Dinner

Looking for things to do in Harrisburg at night? Ghost hunt the city’s historic ghouls on a nighttime tour or enjoy a pint at one of the Harrisburg’s social brewery tasting rooms.

Below are some nighttime activities near Harrisburg:

  • Spend a few hours enjoying a variety of local ales and lagers at the Appalachian Brewing Co. Brewpub
  • Enjoy a night of orchestral music at the Harrisburg Symphony
  • Become a ghost hunter for an hour on a Gettysburg Ghost Tour
  • Choose from over 30 different wines by the glass at Ad Lib Craft Kitchen & Bar
  • Get down on the dancefloor at Level 2, an upscale lounge downtown

This weekend, spend your time wisely at a museum all about clocks. Or find the freshest ingredients for a dinner party at the farmers market.

A few examples of things to do in Harrisburg this weekend include:

  • Exploring a vast collection of fruits, vegetables, and snacks every Saturday at the West Shore Farmers Market
  • Finding keepsakes and treasures at the Antique Marketplace of Lemoyne
  • Discovering horology, which is the history, science, and art of timekeeping at the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, PA
  • Drinking your way across midtown on a Harrisburg Extreme Midtown Bar Crawl
  • Enjoying bottomless mimosas and a hearty brunch at Cafe 1500

Watch the kids rejoice at the chocolate-themed Hersheypark amusement park, engage with local heroes at the firefighter museum or burn rubber at the go-kart track. Harrisburg is brimming with fun things to do with kids.

A few family-friendly things to do near Harrisburg include:

  • Learning all about Pennsylvania firefighter heritage at the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum
  • Racing against friends and family in a personal go-kart at Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events
  • Delight kids and ‘kids at heart’ at Land of Little Horses Farm Park, where performing animals take the stage to share giggles galore
  • Entering a colorful miniature world of handcrafted buildings and operating railroads at Roadside America
  • Taking a family-friendly ghost tour with Gettysburg Ghost Tours for spooky stories and laughs

Romantic nights in Harrisburg are a breeze along the Susquehanna river. Dine together at an area eatery before settling in for a night of entertainment at a live show.

Continue reading for more date night ideas near Harrisburg:

  • Sip local brews while perusing art at Zeroday Brewing Co.
  • Share a freshly baked pastry before picking strawberries with your date at Strites Orchard
  • Enjoy a vineyard tour at the intimate Spring Gate Vineyard
  • Dress to impress and attend a symphony performance The Forum Auditorium
  • Glide along the river together in an authentic paddleboat on the Pride of the Susquehanna

Harrisburg offers adventure for groups of all sizes. If you’re with coworkers, work on your teamwork skills with an escape room or scavenger hunt. Alternatively, shopping is fun for the whole family.

Things to do with your friends near Harrisburg include:

  • Testing your puzzling skills at Escape Games Live
  • Exploring the souvenir shops and boutiques downtown
  • Learning the local culture with a scavenger hunt through the city led by Operation City Quest
  • Attending a live, theater-sized science experiment at Harsco Science Center in the Whitaker Center for Science & Arts
  • Grooving to classic funk music while bowling at ABC Lanes Cosmic Bowling Nights

If it’s raining, no need to stay at home. Harrison’s museums, movie theaters, and bookshops allow for plenty to explore.

A few examples of Harrisburg indoor activities include:

  • Visiting the Broad Street indoor Farmers Market, the oldest continuously operated market hours in the U.S., for fresh produce and meats
  • Seeing a blockbuster film at Westshore Movie Theater
  • Sipping a chai tea latte with your head buried in a book at Midtown Scholar Bookstore and Cafe
  • Exploring the atrium shops and upscale retailers at Strawberry Square
  • Enjoying the handmade sculpture and visual art inside the Village Artisans Gallery

Harrisburg is home to many green spaces that welcome visitors to relax for a bit. That includes Reservoir Park, Wildwood Park, Riverfront Park, and the Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area.

Here are a few outdoor things to do in Harrisburg:

  • Bike ride along the well-kept trails at Riverfront Park
  • Gasp at the drama of a Shakespeare in the Park Performance at Reservoir Park
  • Explore Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, the 5-acre corn maze, pumpkin patch, slides, wagon rides, and petting zoo
  • Leisurely sip a warm cider at Strites Orchard
  • Stargaze from your campsite at Little Buffalo State Park

Some local favorites are the city’s best-kept secrets. Try something new in Harrisburg with activities often missed on the itinerary.

Some must-see places near Harrisburg include:

  • Standing reverently in observance at the Harrisburg Holocaust Monument
  • Hiking in to the Doyle Hotel and stay at the hostel or enjoy a cheeseburger and fries
  • Checking out a local prank turned town icon at the Mini Statue of Liberty, which was built anonymously to commemorate original’s centennial
  • Adventuring along the Mason-Dixon Trail, which connects the Appalachian Trail to the Brandywine Trail
  • Taking a trip to northern Philadelphia to explore more than 50 miles of rugged trail at the Wissahickon Valley