One of the original 13 colonies of the United States, Pennsylvania boasts a variety of attractions that continue to draw visitors today. From natural wonders like state parks to prolific historical sites, you’re sure to find something for everyone to enjoy.
Before embarking on your journey sightseeing through Pennsylvania, it’s a good idea to know what you’ll want to make time to visit. This list is here to help!
15 Best Attractions in Pennsylvania in 2023
When traveling somewhere new, deciding which attractions are a must-see is a hard choice. In a state like Pennsylvania, there are so many attractions to choose from it can seem like a nearly impossible task.
Having a list of some of the best stops can help narrow down which you will be adding to your itinerary.
The wide variety of offerings in Pennsylvania includes national parks, theme parks, historical sites, museums, zoos, and gardens. Here’s a list of 15 of the best Pennsylvania attractions you should add to your trip.
1. Hershey Park
Hershey Park started as a place for employees to relax and have fun. Now, it boasts 76 rides for kids and adults alike to enjoy. If you’re looking for some theme park fun on your visit to Pennsylvania, Hershey Park is the place.
They offer a theme park filled with rides appropriate for all levels of thrill-seekers and also feature a water park and zoo.
The best thing about it? It all smells like chocolate. Tickets to Hershey Park are around $56 for 2-day tickets and $76 for a 1-day ticket, and children 2 and under are free!
You can also stop by Hershey’s Chocolate World for a free chocolate tour ride experience, expansive gift shop, and other tasty chocolate treats!
2. Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battle Of Gettysburg is well known as one of the most pivotal battles of the Civil War. Gettysburg National Military Park showcases the battlefield of this historic moment as if frozen in time.
If you’re a big fan of history, Gettysburg is a great place to learn about the Civil War and explore all the park offers. The park offers guided tours, exhibits, and events that take you through what happened back in 1863.
While there are some experiences throughout the park that you can experience for a fee, general admission to the park itself is free.
Fallingwater is unique in that it is an architectural experience as much as it is a nature experience. Fallingwater, a building boasting several architectural feats, was created by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 and became open to the public in 1964.
A visit to Fallingwater will allow you to enjoy the mountain scenery of Pennsylvania and explore what the countryside has to offer. As a national historic landmark, Fallingwater offers tours for visitors to experience the unique architecture it has to offer.
A guided tour is $32 per person, while an in-depth guided tour is $85. If you just want to explore the exterior and the nature around the property, it’s an affordable $15.
4. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the country, which makes it a must-see when visiting Pennsylvania.
Home to more than 240,000 objects showcasing all kinds of art mediums, there’s no end to how much you can explore in this museum. They house over 200 galleries that showcase art from the western world to Asia.
On the first Sunday of every month, they offer to pay what you wish for admission. Otherwise, museum admission is $25 for adults, and those under 18 are free.
Strasburg is a historic town that showcases Pennsylvania dutch and all it offers. A trip to Strasburg will take you back in time as you experience an Amish village. Experience a multitude of museums, animals, and a theater.
Strasburg has a lot to offer on the side of 1693 history. Going to visit Strasburg is free, but you may encounter paid things like the museums, restaurants, and hotels.
6. Independence National Park and the Liberty Bell
Independence National Park is well known as the location where democracy got its start. History and life as we know it happened here in this location, making it a must-see for history buffs, American citizens, and the curious alike.
Home to the Liberty Bell, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the National Constitution Center, Independence National Park showcases the nation’s history.
You can explore the area on your own, or take one of the guided tours available for a more in-depth experience.
Admission to the area, not including the National Constitution Center, is free. You do have to reserve a ticket in advance (March through December) as they can only accommodate a certain number of visitors a day.
7. Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park gives you the best of both worlds if you’re searching for an experience that combines nature and history.
Here you can learn about how America was founded and utilize the 35 miles of trails. They offer multiple tours that will take you through all the historical monuments on site.
After exploring the area, there are plenty of shopping and dining experiences nearby to make for a well-rounded trip. General access to this historical park is free, but guided trolley tours are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 11.
8. Phipps Conservatory
Phipps Conservatory is perfect for those who love architecture and greenery. With its 15 acres of gardens and greenhouses, it’s home to many different flower collections.
Their glasshouse, built-in 1863, has forever changing displays showcasing the several species of flowers grown there year round.
If you’re looking for a relaxing experience Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a great place to explore either on your own or with one of their guided and group tours. Admission to Phipps is $19.95 for adults, $11.95 for children 2-18, and free for those under 2.
9. Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary is a unique experience that allows you to explore a world-famous prison. It showcases historic architecture as it once held many well-known criminals– including the infamous mobster Al Capone.
The prison holds many exhibits that dive into the history of the prison and how it came to be a museum today.
They even have special night tours and Halloween events to bring out the spookiness of this historic prison. Admission is $17 for adults, $13 for kids 7-12, and children under 7 are free.
10. Reading Terminal Market
If you’re a foodie, Reading Terminal Market is a must-see on your trip. Opened in 1893, it is a public market that hosts over 80 different vendors.
You can find a wide variety of food to choose from in this unique market. Not only does it have tons of food options, it is also home to vendors selling items like handmade crafts and flowers.
No need to worry if you have any dietary restrictions — there’s something for everyone as it has vegan food options as well. Visiting the Reading Terminal Market is free, but be prepared to spend a good amount on delicious food.
11. Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum is a great place to surround yourself with the famous pop artist’s life and contributions. This museum is home to more than 900 paintings, 1,000 prints, and 4,000 photographs– all dedicated to Andy Warhol.
Throughout the museum, you can learn about Andy Warhol’s life and his work from beginning to end.
Besides images, there are interactive exhibits you can explore throughout the seven-story museum. Admission to the museum is $20 for adults, $10 for children, and free for children under 3.
12. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a unique sanctuary in Philadelphia. This house features amazing Japanese architecture, koi ponds, and lots of gardens, all for you to explore.
This 1953 house has traveled all over the world. Originally built in Japan, it also once appeared in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
There are tons to enjoy here as you explore the traditional Japanese style. Admission to the Shofuso house is $14 for adults, $9 for kids 5-17, and free for kids under 5.
13. Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle
Fonthill Castle was built between 1908-1912. It showcases a combination of architectural styles, including medieval, gothic, and byzantine. It became a museum in 1930 and since then has been a historic house for people to explore and learn.
Mercer museum accompanies the house and showcases handmade objects pre-industrial revolution. Visiting the historic castle and museum will take you back to the pre-industrial revolution and give you an idea of what life was like back then.
Admission for the Fonthill Castle is $15 for adults, $8 for kids 6-17, and free for kids under 5. Admission to the Mercer Museum is the same.
14. Knoebels Amusement Resort
If you’re looking for a unique amusement park experience, Knoebels amusement park is for you. As the only theme park with a wooden bobsled coaster, they have over 90 years in the theme park business.
Opened in 1926, it is the largest free-admission amusement park in the country. With over 60 rides available, there’s plenty to see and do at this amusement park. If you’re looking for a longer stay, they have over 500 campsites to accommodate that.
Admission to the theme park itself is free, but you will have to pay for whichever rides you want to do. Ride ticket books are offered that range from $5 to $500.
15. The Philadelphia Zoo
As America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia zoo has over 1,300 animals on the property. Opened in 1874, the zoo features historic architecture all around.
Throughout this 42-acre zoo, there are over 340 species of animals for you to experience. One unique feature about this zoo is the Zoo360 experience.
Through the use of mesh trails placed above the crowd, you can look up and see the animals wander around different areas of the zoo in a whole new way. Admission is $24 for adults, $19 for children 2-11, and free for children under 2.
Read Next: The Best Zoos in the US in 2023
Things to Consider
When planning a vacation, organizing all the experiences you want to fit into your trip can be difficult. It’s always good to note when certain attractions are open and how much they cost.
Knowing what you’ll need to do to guarantee your trip there runs smoothly, such as booking reservations or dressing appropriately, will make your experience much smoother and stress-free.
Another thing to consider before traveling to any of these notable attractions is transportation. While some places have free parking, others may charge upwards of $20 for parking.
If you don’t want to pay for parking, you can always look at the local public transportation, as there is likely a route that will get you close to your destination.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you need clarification for any attraction, search for a “contact us” section on the main website. Better to have the answers before you go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you go to Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a lot to offer with its rich history. If you want to visit somewhere and learn while having fun, Pennsylvania has plenty of options.
When is the best time to visit Pennsylvania?
The best time of year to visit Pennsylvania is in the Spring. The winter can get too cold for some and the summer too hot. Between April and June, the temperature is between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which attraction brings in the most visitors?
Of the attractions on this list, Hershey Park brings in the most visitors a year. Hershey Park has around three million people visiting each year. This makes it one of the most visited parks in the U.S.
How is public transportation in Pennsylvania?
A lot of these attractions are in Philadelphia. Public transportation in Philadelphia was ranked in the top 10 in the country. Overall, Philadelphia has a great public transportation system you can utilize during your visit.
What is Pennsylvania known for?
Pennsylvania is most known today for its role in the industrial revolution. It was one of the first original colonies, so it is also known as a key component in the beginning of the United States.
Best Attractions in Pennsylvania: A Summary
There are too many great attractions to pick just one. Each Pennsylvania attraction offers a different experience than the last making them all great and unique in their own ways. The best way to decide which attraction is best? Plan a visit!