Things to do in Harrisburg

About Harrisburg

Visitors to Harrisburg should not miss the Pennsylvania State Capitol, renowned for its resplendent architecture and beautiful murals. The National Civil War Museum and The State Museum of Pennsylvania both offer enriching glimpses into America's history and Pennsylvania's heritage. For outdoor splendor, the Susquehanna Riverfront provides picturesque beauty and recreational opportunities.
Families with children can enjoy a fun-filled day at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts with interactive exhibits, visit City Island for sports and games, or learn about animals at the hands-on exhibits at ZooAmerica. These attractions offer engaging and educational experiences for young ones.
Outdoor enthusiasts can relish biking or walking at the scenic Riverfront Park, engage in sporting activities or miniature golf at City Island, and wildlife spotting at Wildwood Park. These attractions are perfect for visitors looking to engage with Harrisburg's natural landscapes.
When indoors, visitors can explore the myriad of exhibits at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, watch a live performance at the Whitaker Center, or step back in time at the National Civil War Museum. These venues offer cultural enrichment and historical education regardless of the weather.
Among the best tours in Harrisburg are the self-guided tour of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, taking in art and culture on the Harrisburg Art Walk, and enjoying the informative and scenic Harrisburg Riverboat tours. These provide diverse ways to explore the city's landmarks and beauty.
The most visited museums include The National Civil War Museum for its comprehensive portrayal of the Civil War, The State Museum of Pennsylvania for its extensive collections, and Susquehanna Art Museum for its art exhibits. These museums are celebrated for their educational and cultural offerings.
For rainy days, the Pennsylvania State Capitol tour offers a dry and informative indoor experience, while the many galleries and exhibits at The State Museum of Pennsylvania provide sheltered educational explorations. Additionally, art lovers can partake in the Susquehanna Art Museum guided tours.
Short and informative tours in Harrisburg include the self-guided audio tour of the Pennsylvania State Capitol; the Susquehanna Art Museum's quick tour, which offers a dose of culture; and the brief but enjoyable Harrisburg Riverfront Park walking tour, ideal for a quick outdoor adventure.

Best Things to Do In Harrisburg

Discover the heart of Pennsylvania with a multitude of attractions, from historical landmarks to scenic beauty.

Harrisburg: Fort Hunter Mansion and Park

What is it?
A historically significant mansion and park with picturesque views along the Susquehanna River.
Why you should go?
Steeped in history, Fort Hunter Mansion and Park offers visitors a glimpse into Harrisburg's past. The beautifully preserved mansion, dating back to the 18th century, showcases period furnishings and architecture. The surrounding park provides a scenic backdrop for picnics, hikes, and cultural events. A visit here is ideal for those interested in antiques, history, and outdoor activities—all within a breath-taking riverfront setting.

Harrisburg: Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

What is it?
A unique venue where science, the arts, and education converge for an engaging experience.
Why you should go?
The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is the premier destination for curiosity seekers of all ages. With its interactive science exhibits, state-of-the-art digital cinema, and performance theater hosting a variety of shows, the center delivers endless entertainment and educational prospects. It's a place where the wonders of science and the beauty of the arts come together, promising a compelling and enjoyable visit.

Harrisburg: City Island

What is it?
An entertainment and recreational hub situated on an island in the Susquehanna River.
Why you should go?
Accessible via the picturesque Walnut Street Bridge, City Island is a bustling locale offering activities for the entire family. From miniature golf and batting cages to scenic train rides and beach volleyball, there's something here to delight every visitor. The island is also home to the Harrisburg Senators baseball team, offering sports fans the chance to catch an exciting game in a beautiful riverside stadium.

Harrisburg: Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat

What is it?
A historic paddlewheel riverboat offering tours on the Susquehanna River.
Why you should go?
Step aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna, one of the last remaining paddlewheel riverboats in the United States, for a leisurely cruise that's both informative and charming. As you glide along the gentle waters, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Harrisburg's skyline, learn about the river's history, and perhaps even partake in themed events or dinner cruises for a memorable experience that combines history, sightseeing, and entertainment.

Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center

What is it?
A massive exhibition center hosting the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country.
Why you should go?
An epicenter of agricultural education and statewide heritage, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is the venue for the renowned annual farm show. Throughout the year, it also hosts numerous other trade shows, sporting events, and exhibitions. This attraction is a must for those who appreciate agricultural prowess and want to experience the region's deep-rooted connection to farming and rural life amidst the setting of a bustling exposition.

Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Capitol

What is it?
A majestic historical building and the seat of Pennsylvania's government.
Why you should go?
Intricately designed in the American Renaissance style, the Pennsylvania State Capitol is not only a hub of political activity but also a testament to architectural brilliance. Visitors can explore the resplendent rotunda, gaze at the decorated chambers, and admire the impressive art and sculptures adorning the interior. Stepping into this landmark offers a deep dive into the state's legislative processes and provides an enriching educational experience for history buffs and curious minds alike.

Harrisburg: National Civil War Museum

What is it?
An extensive repository dedicated to the American Civil War.
Why you should go?
As one of the foremost museums dedicated to the American Civil War, this institution provides a comprehensive, unbiased look into one of the most critical periods of American history. With a vast collection of artifacts, personal effects, and educational displays, visitors can gain a poignant understanding of the war's impact, the soldiers' experiences, and the societal changes that followed. It's a moving testament that resonates with all who enter its doors.

Harrisburg: Wildwood Park

What is it?
A serene natural haven known for its wildlife and wetlands.
Why you should go?
Offering a tranquil escape from city life, Wildwood Park beckons nature lovers with its picturesque trails, verdant habitats, and a vibrant array of flora and fauna. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalks, discover the park's environmental education center, and perhaps catch a glimpse of local wildlife in their natural setting. It's a perfect destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and photographers seeking the beauty of Pennsylvania's diverse ecosystem.

Harrisburg: Midtown Scholar Bookstore

What is it?
A beloved and expansive independent bookstore in Harrisburg's vibrant Midtown.
Why you should go?
Nestled in the heart of Midtown, this warm and inviting bookstore is a treasure trove for bibliophiles. With shelves stocked with a vast selection of new, used, and rare books, visitors can lose themselves in literary worlds for hours. The Midtown Scholar Bookstore also serves as a cultural hub, offering a cozy café, frequent author readings, live music events, and art exhibits—a must-visit for anyone wanting to soak in Harrisburg's local arts scene.

Harrisburg: The State Museum of Pennsylvania

What is it?
An immersive museum offering insights into Pennsylvania's rich heritage and natural wonders.
Why you should go?
The State Museum of Pennsylvania stands as a custodian of the state's extensive history, from its prehistoric origins to contemporary times. Visitors are treated to an array of exhibits showcasing geological specimens, historical artifacts, fine art collections, and interactive displays suitable for all ages. Whether interested in archaeology, astronomy, or art, this museum offers educational and entertaining experiences that shine a spotlight on Pennsylvania's multifaceted story.

TOP-5 tours in Harrisburg for first time visitors

  • Uncover the past and things to see in Harrisburg with the "Capitol Complex Chronicles" tour, exploring the iconic state buildings and their storied history.
  • Immerse in culture with the "Harrisburg Art Walk" tour, highlighting the best places to visit in Harrisburg for art enthusiasts seeking vibrant murals and galleries.
  • Enjoy the "Susquehanna Riverfront Ramble" as a top option for what to do in Harrisburg, featuring riverfront parks and memorable spots for leisure and photos.
  • Discover fun things to do in Harrisburg with the "Midtown Exploration" tour, showcasing the unique shops, eateries, and the famous Broad Street Market.
  • Indulge in Harrisburg activities with "Historic Neighborhoods & Homes" audio tour, a journey through architectural gems and tales of local heritage.

Fun things to do in Harrisburg with kids

Families visiting Harrisburg are in for a delightful experience with a variety of kid-friendly destinations. The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is a treasure trove for little explorers, offering hands-on exhibits that make learning about science a fun and interactive adventure. Meanwhile, City Island presents a perfect outdoor escapade where kids can enjoy miniature golf, arcade games, and ride the historic carousel. Long summer evenings are best spent watching a Harrisburg Senators baseball game, where the spirit of America's favorite pastime is alive and perfect for creating lasting family memories. Lastly, no visit to Harrisburg with kids is complete without a jaunt to the charming ZooAmerica. Located a short drive away, this North American wildlife park features over 200 animals from five regions of the continent, providing an insightful and captivating journey into the animal kingdom. Combining education and excitement, these locations are sure to keep the entire family entertained.

Things to do in Harrisburg with family

Harrisburg welcomes families with a roster of attractions that cater to all ages. A family's itinerary should undoubtedly include Harrisburg's City Island. This scenic oasis in the Susquehanna River captivates with miniature golf, a vintage carousel, and the pride of local baseball, the Harrisburg Senators. For a touch of nature and education, take a stroll through Wildwood Park where children can spot local wildlife and learn at the nature center. Enrich a family trip with history at the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, offering not just an insight into the area's heritage, but also ample space for picnicking and recreation along the river. Each attraction within Harrisburg provides a unique opportunity to bond, explore, and create unforgettable family memories, blending entertainment with a splash of education and the scenic beauty of Pennsylvania's capital.

Free things to do in Harrisburg

Harrisburg offers an array of complimentary activities that are perfect for travelers on a budget without compromising on the richness of experience. Take a self-guided tour of the grand Pennsylvania State Capitol building, an architectural masterpiece, and dive into the state's legislative history. Relish the great outdoors at Riverfront Park, where the picturesque setting along the Susquehanna River provides a serene backdrop for jogging, biking, or simply watching the sun set. For a combination of history, art, and community life, visitors can explore the Broad Street Market, the oldest continuously operating market in the country, and while purchases are optional, the atmosphere is abundantly free. These venues offer a glimpse into the cultural and natural allure of Harrisburg, ensuring that budget-friendly options do not limit the exploration of this charming city.

Cheap things to do in Harrisburg

Exploiting the riches of Harrisburg doesn't have to break the bank, as the city offers a vast spectrum of low-cost attractions. Engage in a historical exploration of The State Museum of Pennsylvania, where for a small fee, one can delve into the commonwealth's vast heritage, from natural history to local art. For a modestly priced activity, take a leisurely cruise on the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat to absorb the stunning river views and cityscape. Meanwhile, take advantage of the affordable fresh produce and local goods at the Broad Street Market. Established in 1860, you can soak up the bustling ambiance and taste regional delicacies without a hefty price tag. These cost-effective experiences in Harrisburg provide visitors with an enriching and enjoyable insight into the city's culture and beauty while keeping expenses to a minimum.

Things to do in Harrisburg for couples

Harrisburg offers couples an array of enchanting activities that can turn any outing into a romantic escape. Stroll hand in hand through the Italian Lake Park, a picturesque setting with its beautifully maintained gardens, tranquil lake, and classical sculptures, perfect for an amorous walk or picnic. Indulge in a taste of refined culture at the Susquehanna Art Museum, where art installations and contemporary exhibits provide ample conversation starters and shared cultural experiences. For an unforgettable evening, couples can savor a sunset cruise aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, offering striking views of the city skyline against the radiant hues of the sky. These activities in Harrisburg not only provide charming locales but also allow for meaningful moments and connections, ideal for couples seeking both relaxation and adventure in Pennsylvania's capital.

Things to do in Harrisburg at night

Harrisburg transforms as the sun sets, offering an ambiance that caters to those seeking evening entertainment. Experience the vibrant nightlife at the city's restaurant and bar scene found in the eclectic Midtown area, where local spots present diverse cuisine and craft brews in a lively social atmosphere. Take in a performance at the renowned Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, where the stage comes alive with theater, music, and dance, providing an elegant night out. For outdoor enthusiasts or couples looking for a romantic backdrop, the illuminated pathways of Riverfront Park create an ideal setting for a moonlit walk along the Susquehanna River. This park provides a peaceful respite from the urban hustle and a twinkling vista of the waterway at dusk. Each of these nocturnal attractions in Harrisburg promises to deliver a memorable evening packed with culture, cuisine, and scenic beauty.