Looking for things to do in Harrisburg that won’t break your budget?
Pennsylvania’s capital city is filled with opportunities to learn, relax and enjoy yourself, no matter the time of year, even if you’re on a budget. If you’re searching for attractions in Harrisburg, PA, here’s a look at some of the most popular options for under $30:
1. National Civil War Museum
The only museum completely dedicated to the entirety of the Civil War is located right here in Harrisburg. Visit the National Civil War Museum seven days a week, and enjoy affordable tickets — $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $10 for students.
2. State Capitol
President Theodore Roosevelt once called the Pennsylvania State Capitol the “handsomest building” he ever saw. See it for yourself by taking a self-guided tour or participating in one of the 30-minute guided tours available through the Welcome Center for free.
3. Broad Street Market
Broad Street Market is a place to buy local goods and enjoy the sights and sounds of commerce the way it used to be. The Broad Street Market is the oldest farmers market in the country. This is nothing like doing your shopping at the grocery store. The market is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 a.m., and is also home to special events throughout the year.
The area around Broad Street Market is fun to explore, as well. While you’re nearby, visit the Millworks, an eatery that serves farm-fresh food in a bohemian atmosphere, located right next to the market. In the same building, you can visit local artists and see their work. Across from the market is the Midtown Scholar. Explore the winding rows of books in this historic bookstore with a coffee shop and bakery located inside.
4. City Island
City Island is the 63-acre focal point of Harrisburg, filled with recreational opportunities as well as things to do and see. You can spend a few dollars to ride a steam train or a riverboat, and there’s also a beach and bath house — plus a whole lot more.
5. Festivals in Harrisburg
Enjoy Dutch food and artistic goods at the three main festivals in the area. The Patriot-News Artsfest is typically in May at Riverfront Park in Harrisburg, and street parking is free on Sundays. During Labor Day weekend, enjoy the Kipona Festival at the same location. Just outside of the city, Jubilee Day is the largest, longest running one day street fair on the East Coast. It usually takes place in June on Main Street in Mechanicsburg.
6. Italian Lake
Step outside and walk along the water of Italian Lake, one of the most beautiful parks in the city. The concept for the park first emerged as part of the City Beautiful Movement in 1901, and it remains a jewel in Harrisburg today. The City Beautiful Movement extended into the 1920s, and included the creation of a system of parks encircling the city. Numbers 7 and 8 on our list are available today, thanks to those forward-thinkers.
7. Capital Area Greenbelt
Get in some exercise with a ride along the Greenbelt. This 20-mile bike/recreation path surrounds the city and has several parking areas specifically for trail-riders. The part of the trail that goes along the Susquehanna River is an easy, flat ride with spectacular views. Feeling really fit? Do the whole trail with other riders every June when Capital Area Greenbelt Association (CAGA) holds their fundraiser, the Tour De Belt.
8. Wildwood Park
Wildwood is another park created during the City Beautiful movement. The park features miles of trails, including boardwalks to take you into the marshy habitat of many ducks and shorebirds. Wildwood is also home of the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center with kid-friendly exhibits, a glass-enclosed “bird blind” to allow for up-close birdwatching areas, and rotating wildlife art displays. There’s no charge for the center or for parking, making it a perfect spot to start your Greenbelt bike path ride.
9. Fort Hunter Mansion
Discover how life was once lived when you visit and tour the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. This beautifully restored historic site is open Tuesday through Sunday, May through December. Cost to tour is only $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for children. Fort Hunter hosts several events throughout the year, so keep your eye on their calendar for any that might interest you.
10. FNB Field
Enjoy a night at the ballpark, and take in all the quirky fun of minor league baseball when you visit FNB Field. The Harrisburg Senators are the Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, and you can see them in action for as little as $9 when you buy a ticket in advance. Bring some extra cash for parking, too.
11. State Museum of Pennsylvania
Enjoy both permanent and special exhibits for visitors of all ages. The State Museum of Pennsylvania is the perfect way to spend time with kids during summer vacation or to enjoy some warm entertainment on a cold Saturday in January. Admission is just $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for kids over one.
12. Appalachian Brewing Company
Hunker down and enjoy a local beverage at the Appalachian Brewing Company. The brewery started operation in 1997, though the building dates back to 1915, and portions of the lagering room date back to 1890. You can even take a tour of the brewery itself.
13. Farm Show and Other Events
Whether you’re a local to Harrisburg or a PA resident looking for a weekend getaway, the Farm Show Complex hosts several exciting events throughout the year. At the beginning of January, enjoy freshly made mozzarella cubes, milkshakes and pulled pork sandwiches at the Pennsylvania Farm Show while you visit nearly 6,000 animals and hundreds of exhibits. While admission is free, parking usually costs around $15 per car.
There’s no shortage of fun things to do on a budget in Harrisburg, PA. Keep watching our blog for additional features on how to enjoy all that cities across PA have to offer without breaking the bank.