1. Independence National Park and the Liberty Bell
One of America’s most historic areas and home to the Liberty Bell, Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia is a national treasure. See where the Declaration of Independence was signed, including the table and chair used by George Washington. Walk along the cobbled streets past Congress Hall, Old City Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and numerous other historic buildings and museums.
2. Hershey Park
Families will enjoy an outing to this famous amusement park in Hershey, a town also closely associated with chocolate. Hershey Park is the town’s main attraction with 90 acres of rides and entertainment for kids and adults, ranging from roller coasters to aquatic shows. The park was originally built in 1906 as a recreational area for Hershey’s workers but expanded over the years to attract visitors from all over.
3. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art houses one of America’s largest collections of art, but is also somewhat of an iconic building in the city. From the steps leading up to the museum, which were featured in all of the “Rocky” movies, is a grand view down Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the landmark tower of City Hall.
4. Eastern State Penitentiary
Once one of the leading high tech prisons in the United States, Eastern State Penitentiary housed such infamous inmates as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The stories and legends that surround this facility are as impressive as the building itself, which remains largely unchanged since it closed in 1971. The facility was built in 1829, with arched ceilings and long corridors that make it particularly interesting for photography.
Official site: www.easternstate.org
This small town in Lancaster County is known for its Amish culture and railroad history. One way to appreciate this area is to take a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road, which offers 45-minute scenic journeys aboard the country’s oldest turn-of-the-century steam trains. The locomotives pass through Amish country and farms. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania displays historic railroad artifacts with over 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Also in town, the Sight and Sound Theater is another popular attraction which presents theatrical and musical performances based on Bible stories.
6. Andy Warhol Museum
Located in Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum offers an insightful look at the life of this great American pop artists. On display are some of his most famous pieces, including the Marilyn and Elvis portraits, and the Tomato Soup Cans. In addition to his art are exhibits related to his life from his early years through to the end of his life.
Address: 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5890, United States
Official site: www.warhol.org
7. Gettysburg National Military Park
The Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg is the site of Gettysburg Battlefield, where in 1863 this Civil War battle took the life of some 51,000 people over a 3 day period. Hundreds of markers and monuments now grace the park. Key highlights are Seminary Ridge, which was the primary Confederate position west of Gettysburg for days two and three of the battles; Cemetery Ridge, the site of Union Lines for the final two days of battle; and Oak Ridge, the site of the opening day battle of the Civil War.
Just a short drive east of Lancaster on SR 340 is Intercourse, a quaint town with an old style country atmosphere. In People’s Place, on Main Street, visitors are introduced to the history and the crafts of the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. Local craft products, cakes and pastries, etc., can be bought in the Old Country Store. In Kitchen Kettle Village are dozens of shops selling craft goods and local culinary specialties. The Quilt Museum displays beautiful examples of traditional patchwork quilts.
9. Valley Forge and Valley Forge National Historic Park
Valley Forge stands as the ultimate symbol of suffering, sacrifice, and triumph of the American Revolutionary War. During the winter of 1777-78 American soldiers endured some 2000 casualties related to hunger, disease, and poor conditions after the British razed this key supply center. This piece of history is illustrated through exhibits, tours, and a film. On site are Washington’s Headquarters, a National Memorial Arch, as well as trails and recreational space for visitors to enjoy. Located on the north-western outskirts of Philadelphia, Valley Forge is an easy excursion from the populous city.
10. Pennsylvania State Capitol
Situated in Harrisburg may be the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, among the finest bits of architecture in this small city and the encompassing area. It had been built-in 1906 and includes a huge dome, along with some interior designs in line with the Paris Grand Opera House.
Address: Room 129, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120, USA
Official site: www.pacapitol.com