Whether you're planning a visit to the Keystone State or are considering a move there, Pennsylvania is filled with great things to do. In fact, sometimes it's hard to determine which are the best things to do, so we've come up with a list of our 10 favorite activities and attractions in Pennsylvania.
Admire the Bell
The famed Liberty Bell is housed in a magnificent glass chamber within the Liberty Bell Center in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, on Market Street between 5th and 6th streets. The building is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. year round. How did the Liberty Bell crack? On its first ring in 1753, the too-heavy, 44-pound metal clapper cracked it.
Recall the Invasion
Commemorating the Civil War's bloodiest battle and its 51,000 casualties, Gettysburg National Military Park remembers the Union victory that ended Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North. The battleground also inspired President Abraham Lincoln's immortal “Gettysburg Address,” and today the touring facility is maintained by the National Park Service.
Have a Colorful Time
In Easton, the Crayola Factory demonstrates to the public how the iconic crayons are manufactured, while a 21-attraction exhibit called Crayola Experience allows children to explore art and technology to express their creativity through color. The Crayola Experience ends with a souvenir shop that has one-of-a-kind products, including a two-pound crayon that kids can customize with their name.
Explore the Carnegies
Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Museums in 1895, and nowadays the complex features four individual places of exploration. They are Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums are renowned throughout the world for their artworks and scientific collections.
Satisfy Your Sweet Teeth
Open every day, Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey features attractions like the Hershey Trolley, Factory Works Experience, Chocolate Tour Ride and shops and restaurants with Hershey's chocolate products. Also in the same entertainment complex are Hersheypark, Hersheypark Stadium, Hersheypark Arena, Hershey Museum, and Giant Center. Most tourist sites are open from 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Go Back in Time
History buffs and military enthusiasts will be in their intellectual glory with a trip to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. The museum showcases more than 24,000 artifacts, manuscripts, documents and photographs that detail the struggles of battles such as Antietam, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Wilderness. An individual display highlights the war's conclusion at Appomattox Court House.
Be a Good Sport
A wide array of professional teams take the field (and ice and court) in Pennsylvania, with major U.S. sports well-represented in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Philly fans root for the Phillies (MLB), Eagles (NFL), Flyers (NHL) and 76ers (NBA), while fans in Pittsburgh virtually live-and-die with the exploits of their Steelers (NFL), Pirates (MLB) and Penguins (NHL).
Smell the Roses
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, awaken your senses at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, in the city's Oakland neighborhood. A cluster of buildings and grounds grace the park, with eye- and nose-pleasing highlights that include 17 botanical gardens and a steel-and-glass Victorian greenhouse that dates to 1893.
Visit Valley Forge
No battle ever took place there, but Valley Forge remains famous in American history for the brutal 1777-78 winter encampment of Gen. George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War. More than 2,000 soldiers died from frostbite, hunger and disease, and today the Valley Forge National Historic Park showcases several exhibits that include Washington's headquarters building.
See Oscar the Grouch
A popular theme park in Langhorne called Sesame Place is based on the long-running Sesame Street television program. The outdoor attraction offers 17 dry rides and 10 water rides suited to very young children, with ride names like Big Bird's Rambling River and Bert & Ernie's Slip & Slide. Sesame Place opens from May through October.