Harrisburg Tourist Information and Tourism

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - PA, USA)

Lying alongside the Susquehanna River is Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg, a fairly small and unassuming city with limited tourism appeal. However, the city's relatively compact nature means that it is highly walkable, with its principal attractions often being found on State Street or close by.

Especially striking is the enormous dome of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, which towers high above the skyline and originally drew its inspiration from the acclaimed Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. The Capitol is certainly one of the principal tourist attractions, with frequent guided tours ensuring that you get the very most out of your visit.

Roughly 10 miles / 16 km to the south is the somewhat controversial Three Mile Island nuclear power station, while day trippers may like to consider visiting Chocolate World and the rollercoasters of Hershey Park in the neighboring town of Hershey, to the east. For tourist information in the city itself, the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau on South 2nd Street is the place to come and sits just across from the Market Square Presbyterian Church, a couple of blocks away from both the Dauphin County Courthouse (southwest) and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (north).

Harrisburg Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

This is a particularly walkable city, with many scenic pathways being found alongside the Susquehanna River and plenty of pathways around the downtown Market Square area. One of the laziest and easiest ways for holiday makers to sightsee in Harrisburg is by simply joining a river cruise, with the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat offering 45-minute trips down the river, where you pass by numerous attractions en route whilst listening to the informative commentary. For evening entertainment, you may be lucky enough to catch a concert at the Forum Auditorium, where the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra regularly performs. Alternatively, Shakespeare plays are often staged at the Gamut Classic Theater on Strawberry Square, and community based productions are the order of the day at the Theater Harrisburg on Hurlock Street. Comedy gigs, concerts and live mic nights are all frequently on offer at the very informal Stage On Herr entertainment venue at the Midtown Arts Center, which advertises itself as being the city's premier live music venue. More information about Harrisburg Tourist Attractions.

A number of the most striking and instantly recognisable landmarks in Harrisburg stand along State Street or one of its many intersecting streets, such as the very imposing Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick and its twin bell towers. Further sites of note are located on North Front Street, right next to the Susquehanna River, such as the Fort Hunter Mansion, which was formerly known as the Archibald McAllister House and dates back to 1814. Located roughly 15 minutes to the south and just across from City Island, on South Front Street, the John Harris Mansion (also known as the Simon Cameron House) ranks amongst the most historic buildings on the whole of Harrisburg and was built way back in the 1760s.

Hard to miss and towering at over 33 meters / 108 feet, the Dauphin County Veteran's Memorial Obelisk resides within Uptown Harrisburg, close to the Italian Lake, being first erected in a more central setting in the 1860s before being moved to its present site in 1960. Its Roman and Egyptian influences are clearly apparent, with its stone actually being cut from the banks of the city's very own river. More information about Harrisburg Landmarks and Monuments.

Some of the most obvious tourist attractions in this capital come in the form of museums. On North Street, the State Museum of Pennsylvania was established in 1907 and welcomes in excess of 300,000 visitors each year. Much of the information on exhibit here relates to the renowned English philosopher William Penn, with additional displays concentrating on subject matters such as the American Civil War, industrial innovation, local wildlife and astronomy, and regular star shows at its spacious planetarium. Within Reservoir Park, the National Civil War Museum boasts in the region of 25,000 exhibits, as well as pleasant landscaped grounds. Sitting close to the campus of the Harrisburg University, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts offers a further taste of culture, as does the Susquehanna Art Museum on Cadler Street, the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center on Herr Street, and the Art Association of Harrisburg gallery on North Front Street. More information about Harrisburg Museums and Harrisburg Art Galleries.

Harrisburg sits on the southeastern side of Pennsylvania and therefore lends itself to excursions to nearby cities such as Allentown (northeast, via Interstate I-78), Lancaster (southeast, via Highway US-283) and Reading (east, via Interstate I-76), all of which have larger populations than Harrisburg, even though this is the state capital. Slightly further away and considerably larger is the easterly metropolis of Philadelphia, which is easily the biggest city in Pennsylvania and at a little more than 100 miles / 161 km away, is quickest to reach by rail. Considerably closer to home is the historic town of Millersburg, where the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art is one of the principal highlights. Day trips to the borough of Milton are also popular, with its cluster of attractive 19th-century buildings and rather elegant Pennsylvania Canal and Limestone Run Aqueduct being especially impressive. An excursion to Carlisle is another possibility that many tourists based in the capital choose to consider, often coming here to catch a show at the Carlisle Theater and Performing Arts Center. At nearby Gettysburg, both the American Civil War Museum and the National Military Park Museum are the star draw cards. More information about Harrisburg Attractions Nearby.

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