100 Things to do In Pennsylvania:
This is a big one. I mentioned in my 100th post that I was thinking of using it as a “100 things to do in PA” blog but then thought better of it A) because it just seemed like a sad things to do B) because I wanted to get my 100th post published last week and this would require a little bit more of an effort.
So, here you have it: my list of 100 fun things to do in Pennsylvania. The only criteria was that each item needed to be located/occur in Pennsylvania. It’s a mix of some of my favorite things to do, combined with stuff I found online/things I’d really like to do in the future.
Since this is my PA Fun list, I’ve included places/events/destinations that appeal to the type of weekend fun I like to have. If you’ve been keeping up at all with my blog you’ve probably realize that my weekends aren’t necessarily for relaxing and that I prioritize convenience over comfort when it comes to lodging. I’m also not including any item “just because it’s a Pennsylvania thing.” I.E., you won’t find a trip to the Liberty Bell or a stop at the Pat & Geno’s great cheese steak rivalry. I’ve done those things, and frankly, they didn’t do a lot for me (lies: I’ve seen the Liberty Bell from a few hundred feet away but never actually waited in line to see it up close and don’t plan on doing so anytime soon). I did try and include some items which are inherently Pennsylvanian, but only items I’d actually be interested in doing.
*Note: this is not some “best of” list, just 100 ideas I was able to muster up.
Hope this gives you some fun ideas. Here they are, in no particular order:
1) Scranton Parade Day
2) Coalmining Tour
I’ve been on the Lackawanna Coal Mining Tour multiple times. It’s a lot more interesting and impressive then it sounds. There’s also a coal mine tour in Ashland PA ( . I pass signs for it on my way from Lancaster to NEPA, but don’t know if it’s any good or not.
3) Take a Full-Moon Ziplining Tour at Spring Mountain
4) Visit Lititz PA, one of Budget Traveler’s “Coolest Small Towns” of 2013
Lititz is a small town located directly north of Lancaster that I’m most familiar with because that’s where I go when I visit the driving range. It was recently named Budget travelers Coolest Small Town 2013.
5) Go on a ghost hunting in Gettysburg
This is not a ghost tour. It’s an actual ghost hunt. I probably wouldn’t do this on the fear of what you might find.
6) Make it to a Penn State Game
Even if you’re not a state college football fan, you have to make it to a game at least once, if only for the grade A tailgating.
7) Hike the Delaware Water Gap
8) Visit the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville
9) Go jetskiing on Lake Wallenpaupack
10) Take a wander around Centralia—PA’s number one ghost town
11) Hike and camp (and raft) at the PA Grand Canyon
Be sure you’re costumed up for both of these.
13) Go ATVing in an abandoned Limestone mine north of Pittsburgh
Mines and Meadows was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
14) Camp in a Yurt at one of PA’s State Parks.
15) Lancaster Brewery (and Winery) Tour
16) Philly Beer Tour
I’m really not a beer snob, I just like when free drinks are included in ANY admission price.
17) White water rafting at Ohiopyle State Park
18) Kayak the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio in Pittsburgh
Ever since I visited Pittsburgh kayaking the rivers there has been on my bucketlist. They’re so clean (at least appearance wise..if you know any better, don’t shatter my illusion).
Hofbrauhaus is happiness.
20) Rafting/hiking/ghost tour weekend in Jim Thorpe
21) Find a local rock gym
I know this isn’t necessarily an inherently Pennsylvanian thing to do, but rock gym’s are trendy and my mother raised me to follow trends.
22) Climb the Rocky stairs in Philly
This is completely cliché and corny (AND FREE!), but it’s something you have to do in Philly and it’s immensely rewarding. Trust me.
23) Cross Country Ski
PA is great for XC skiing and I legitimately don’t understand why it isn’t more popular (my personal goal is to get a new friend into this every year…so far I’m 0 for 27). PA has legitimate facilities you can visit with pregroomed trails or you could just make your own path (and most State Parks have trails if you’re too lazy to find your own)
24) Rent a houseboat for a concert at Susquehanna Bank Center
Technically you’ll have to cross the Delaware into NJ at some point, but this is still a very cool idea. A few friends of mine rented a houseboat for a Jimmy Buffet concert and judging by the photos they sent my all damn day, they had a blast (I’m still bitter I wasn’t able to attend).
25) Moped Amish country.
My sister got me gift certificate to do this for Christmas. I think we might try it in two weeks after the Lancaster Brewfest.
26) Take windsurfing lessons
Fun/Random fact: Modern windsurfing was invented on the Susquehanna River. It’s Pennsylvanian. You could take a windsurfing course at Marsh Creek State Park.
27) Go to the Turkey Hill and Wawa
Here in PA we love Turkey Hill and Wawa or I should say I love Turkey Hill (for their chocolate milk and chicken bacon ranch sandwiches) and Wawa (for their Buffalo Chicken Hoagies). I know, I’m real cultured food guy. If you love mini marts as much as me, you can visit the actual Turkey Hill and Wawa locales and if you really want take a virtual tour of the Turkey Hill Dairy (although I did this, alone might I add, and wasn’t super impressed).
*Note: this is not a paid endorsement. I’m simply a fan.
28) Take Scranton Office Tour
I know The Office put Scranton on the map in a nationally recognized sort of way, and I realize that for fans of the show who aren’t familiar with the city, this tour is probably a lot of fun, but being a native of the area I couldn’t help laugh that the tour descriptor reads that you’ll be visiting locations like Coopers and The Mall at Steamtown. That being said, I’m sure it’s a good time. I’m a natural Scranton apologist.
29) Visit Valley Forge National Historical Park
I recently discovered Valley Forge Park when I somehow got lost between Downingtown and Conshohocken. It’s where George Washington camped during the terrible winter of the Revolutionary War. I’m a history buff but find many historical attractions to be rather dry and whitewashed. This was interesting and the park was well kept and beautiful.
30) Snowshoe at Chet’s
31) Hike Elk Mountain in the summertime
32) Ride the Duquesne Incline
33) Mummers Parade in Philly
I’ve never been to the Mummers Parade, but have heard plenty/seen the very, very bizarre pictures. It occurs on New Year’s Day every year and is allegedly a drunk fest featuring grown men covered in feathers playing instruments: what’s not to love?
34) Take in a drive in movie
Fun fact: the oldest drive-in movie theatre in the country is located in PA.
35) Take a hike in Scranton’s Nay Aug Gorge
36) Camel Back Mountain
Camelback Mountain has skiing, the only waterpark I’ve ever found to be clean, and just opened Camelback Mountain Adventures, a ziplining and ropes course facility.
37) Take in a Theme Park
I know I’m going to be in the minority here, but I find theme parks to be incredibly overrated (I feel the same way about fireworks, so do what you will with that). That being said, PA has some pretty good ones in Hershey Park, Knoebels, and Dorney.
38) Bike Inn to Inn in Wayne and Susquehanna County
39) National Collegiate Rugby Championship
40) Lose Some Money
From Mohegan Sun to Mt. Airy to Sugarloaf, to Hollywood, PA now has it’s fair share of casinos.
41) Erin Express
Erin Express happens in Philly on the weekends leading up to (and including) St. Patrick’s Day. Make sure you make it to Bonners.
43) Try Zorbing
44) Go to a throwback Poconos resort
I’d suggest Split Rock, only because that’s where Scranton has it’s senior formals and I had a blast there two years in a row.
45) Spend a Summer Evening Tasting Wine at Maiolatesi Wine Tasting Gallery in Scott Township
46) Catch a Secret Service Show
47) Tailgate a concert or an Eagles game or a Phillies game or a Flyers game at Xfinity Live
48) Be in Pittsburgh during a hockey game
I happened to be in Pittsburgh’s southside during a hockey game this January. It was insane and most of the bars have specials if the Penguins score.
49) Tube the Delaware River
50) Bar-hop in Harrisburg
Between its bankruptcy and a myriad of shootings, PA’s capital has not been making the news for anything positive lately. Despite this, it has a lively bar scene. You could do a barcrawl down 2nd street or head across the river Wormleysburg, on the west shore, for fun right on the river.
51) Rent a house or a cabin in the Poconos or the Endless Mountains for the weekend.
I might be biased. This is my hometurf (what’s considered the “endless mountains, specifically). The area is chock full of lakes and ski resorts. Get your friends together and rent a cottage or lodge for the weekend and do what we native NEPAers do best: enjoy nature and drink. Use VRBO to find a place to stay.
52) Stroll Along the Philly Boathouses on Kelly Drive
53) Visit Intercourse PA
People make a big deal about the weirdly named Amish town’s outside of Lancaster, specifically Paradise, Blue Ball, and Intercourse. Intercourse has two microbreweries and a winery and if that doesn’t get you excited, at least go to get a lame “I Love Intercourse” t-shirt, or a golf ball like this one that I recently gifted my father with. I know he’ll cherish it forever.
54) Take a Tour of the Harley Davidson Manufacturing Plant in York
55) See Gettysburg National Park
Gettysburg is one of the few historical sites that greatly exceeded my expectations. Go and spend an entire day here.
56) East State Penitentiary
Spelunking is just me being fancy. It means cave exploration. Here’s a list of all the locales offered in the Keystone State. I was surprised at how extensive this list is. Laurel Caverns north of Pittsburgh also offers rappelling underground which I would do, just to scare myself shitless.
You could dogsled right in NEPA.
59) Philadelphia Helicopter Tour
60) Ski Elk Mountain
PA has plenty of skiing options to chose from. I’m plugging Elk because I grew up close by.
61) Holtwood Dam Tour
It turns out you don’t have to go on a Vegas Vacation to go on a dam tour. Holtwood Dam, which spans the Susquehanna between Lancaster and York counties sporadically offers them. There’s also a large nature preserve around the dam with hiking and camping.
62) Northeast PA Kayak School
63) McGillan’s Olde Alehouse
McGillan’s is the oldest operating bar in Philadelphia. It’s been serving beer since 1860, the year Lincoln came into office.
PA has plenty of paintball. Skirmish in Jim Thorpe is just one of the many places you could shoot up your friends.
65) Mutter Museum
My sister used to always talk about her want to visit the Mutter Museum. Located in Philadelphia, it’s a museum of medical history that promises lots of preserves “specimens.”
66) Jimmy Stewart Museum
This is just so specific and random, and I’m a sucker for It’s a Wonderful Life.
67) Get any Cheesesteak
PA seems pretty synonymous with cheesesteaks, and while I don’t condone going to the garish tourist trap that is Pat & Geno’s in Philly, I would suggest sampling this local delicacy. There’s plenty of places to get one in Philly, and any local (or resident) will steer you to where they think actually makes the “best” sandwich. You could also try Pittsburgh style (which I’m partial too), loaded with fries. I just had some life changing cheese steak eggrolls right here in Lancaster.
68) Kegs and Eggs at Oscars
This might not appeal to you unless you’re a University of Scranton alumni, but it’s a way of life that I’ll always associate as inherently Pennsylvanian.
69) St. Ubaldo’s
St. Ubaldo’s is a quintessential NEPA picnic held in Jessup PA. I haven’t been there in years (probably since high school), but come the last weekend in May it dominates my Facebook feed. It’s a perfect example of how these local picnics transform tiny NEPA towns into giant parties and a glimpse at a cultural milestone that’s dying out.
70) Corn and Clam Slam
Another NEPA picnic, that I do manage to attend every year. It has corn, clams, cheap beer, live music, and a gong everytime a keg is kicked. What else do you need?
71) Diners Drive Ins and Dives
Is anyone else obsessed with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? This map shows you all the PA locales that have been profiled.
72) Church Brew Works
The Church Brew Works is part sacrilege part awesome, even if it smells funny.
73) Main St. Manayunk
Make sure and spend ample time in Pitchers.
74) Wing Night at the Orson
I’ve discussed The Orson in my post about the NEPA “northern tier” bar tour. It has no website (always the mark of a good dive bar), is in the middle of no where and has my favorite wings in PA. The service is a little spotty, but isn’t that what you go to a dive bar for?
75) Frank’s Place
I’m not what you’d call a “foodie” by any sense of the word, but Frank’s warrants mentioning simply because it is my favorite restaurant of all time. Order the boneless wings, Cajun clams, or Montreal Prime Rib. Even their Italian Salad Dressing is my favorite. If you really want your life changed get their personal white garlic and shrimp pizza. It changes my life for the better every time. Bonus: free popcorn.
Northeast PA is chockfull of trail systems that are perfect for snowmobiling (on those winters that we actually get some snow).
77) Barhop in NEPA
78) Paddle Boarding Exercise Class
Marsh Creek offers a Stand Up Paddle Board fitness class I’m very curious about.
79) Kennett Square Mushroom Festival
80) Drive Route 30
Route 30 is part of the Lincoln Highway which stretches from Philly to Ohio. It’s a strange ride that hearkens back to Route 66 drives and sideshows. There’s bars, Amish restaurants, small hotels that I’m not sure how they survive, restaurants shaped like boats and this shoe house.
81) Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe is often makes different publication’s lists of “cool” small towns. It’s a mecca of outdoor adventure.
82) Philadelphia Movie Site Tour
See sites from films like The Sixth Sense, Rocky, and Marley and Me.
83) Kayak the Delaware through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
My buddy Eric and I did this last year, and I can’t believe I never wrote about it! We rowed 34 miles in two days and I experienced my first time eating freeze dried camping food. Another coming soon….
84) Attend Groundhogs Day
85) Visit the PA Ren Faire
86) Go Hiking in the Allegheny National Forest
And while you’re there scare yourself with a trip over the Kinzua Sky Walk.
87) Visit the Flight 93 Memorial
88) Explore The Abandoned Turnpike
While Centralia may be PA’s most famous abandonment, a 13 mile stretch of the PA turnpike was bypassed in the 1950′s and has become something of a tourist attraction. Throughout the years the abandoned roadway was used for recreation, military training, and the 2008 movie The Road (which I haven’t seen, but the book is super depressing) was shot there. There are several access points and this stretch of highway includes 3 abandoned tunnels.
89) Explore PA’s Extensive Rail-Trail System
90) Catch a Major League Sporting Event.
91) DG’s Pizza in Forest City PA
Another self centered recommendation. DG’s is my favorite pizza of all time.
92) Museum Hop in Pittsburgh
I’m usually not a big museum fan (I think they tend to be hokey and whitewashed), but Pittsburgh seems to have quite a few that would hold my interest, specifically the Andy Warhol, Fort Pitt, and Carnegie Museums, Unfortunately there is no Heinz ketchup museum. I would be all over that, I’m a big supporter of Heinz 57.
94) Caboose Hotel
I’m not a big fan of going somewhere simply for lodging (although staying in an ice hotel is on my bucket list) but this one looked cool. It’s in Strasburg PA, so if you decide to visit, ask me for Lancaster suggestions
95) Inn at Turkey Hill
Again, usually don’t go for lodging, but this is a hotel with brewery attached.
PA’s official websites has some cool itineraries.
97) Take advantage of PA’s many Ski Resorts for some Springtime Sledding
98) All 121 State Parks in PA have free admission
99) Philadelphia City Pass
100) Celebrate the Plethora of PA Oktoberfests (Seasonally of course)