Last year around this time I decided to “celebrate” my 100th blog post by coming up with a list of “100 Things to do in Pennsylvania.” It ended up being much easier than I anticipated, which is good considering that one of my main purposes of my site is to celebrate and explore all the things do within our own state. In fact, I remember having to cut down the list significantly so it wouldn’t become something akin to “123 Things to do in Pennsylvania,” which just doesn’t sound right.
My 100th blog post roughly coincided with about a year and a half of working on this and at that point I’d been figuring out what worked, what didn’t, etc. and made some overhauls to the ways I posted and made a conscious effort to post in a more timely and uniformed manner. At best I’ve gotten 3 or 4 posts up in a week and at minimum I post one every Monday. An additional 123 posts later and here we are, so I’ve decided once again to resurrect the concept of “100 Things” and create this 100 additional things to do in PA.
This time it ended up being a little trickier. For one, there were plenty of items on last year’s list that I’ve done since publishing. While I really wanted to include things like mopeding Lancaster and attending the Mummer’s Parade because of my now first hand experience, I didn’t want to host any repeats. I also want to only include things I’ve done and enjoyed or would actually consider doing. Even thought there’s plenty of antiquing and craft fairs in Pennsylvania, you won’t see them here. The same goes for Duck Boat Tours (because they kill people. Finding an additional 100 things I’d enjoy doing was tricky. However, I’m very happy with the list and if I’m being completely honest almost, feel overwhelmed now by all the new things I need to do.
So without further ado, because a list of 100 things is already long enough to read without me rambling, here is my second (annual?) list of 100 Things to do in PA:
1) Do a Bicycle Tour of Pittsburgh
2) Go on a Scranton Ghost Tour
3) Go on a Philly Bike Tour
This May I participated in a the Philly Bike Tour’s beer tour. I had a great time and think I might actually enjoy biking again. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground and see the city from a local’s perspective. They have a few tour options if beer just isn’t your thing (and if it isn’t, why are you reading this blog?).
4) Check out the Lehigh Valley Ale Trail.
5) Take a “Ride” on the Susquehanna Ale Trail:
Pennsylvania has an awesome (and quickly expanding) craft beer scene, and you could argue that Lancaster and York Counties are the epicenter of this (I say argue, because you could make the same case for Philadelphia or Pittsburgh), as Lancaster County has more breweries then any other. This “trail” stretches from Intercourse to Hershey to Hanover.
6) Take a Western PA Mine Tour
7) Visit a Pennsylvania Distillery:
Brewery tours and beer tasting is old news (lies, it will never be old news). The newest Pennsylvania alcohol trend is the return of the distillery. Pittsburgh’s Wigle Distillery offers tours and whiskey tasting and Lancaster has recently become home to Thistle Finch Distillery. Additionally, there’s Philadelphia Distilling Company and The Old Republic Distillery is just south of York (and could be a fun addition to your Susquehanna Ale Trail itinerary).
8) Catch a Professional Soccer Game:
I know soccer doesn’t get much love, but it’s World Cup Time! PA does have several places to go watch soccer, and even if futbol isn’t your first pick, all of these games are played in pretty scenic locations. The Philadelphia Union plays in Chester’s PPL Park, which is a gorgeous stadium right on the water. The Harrisburg City Islanders play on City Island in the middle of the Susquehanna and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds play in Station Square.
9) Have a Mad Men Inspired Weekend in Hershey:
If you’re a fan of the show, then you know it was a pitch to the Hershey company that caused Don Draper to lose his shit at the end of last season.
10) Tour the Western PA Beer Scene With PA Brew Tours
11) Visit the Shoe House:
It’s exactly as weird as it sounds.
12) Check Out the Haunted Sites of Jim Thorpe:
13) Tour the Laurel Hill Cemetery:
Hear me out. The Laurel Hill Cemetery is located in Philly’s East Falls neighborhood overlooking the Schuylkill River. It’s now home to many once-prominent Philadelphians (including Adrian Balboa…yes, there is a fictional gravestone there) but what’s interesting about this cemetery is that it’s operated as an open air museum and place of cultural/historical significance. It holds interesting tours on subject like ghosts, medical quackery from the 18th century (that would be super gross and awesome), and a history of its most notable residents. The cemetery also hosts weekly horror movie screenings all through the month of October.
14) Grab a Bite at the Firehouse Restaurant in Harrisburg:
I enjoy restored old buildings and this restaurant is housed in, you guessed it, a refurbished firehouse.
15) Find a Nearby Ski Resort in the Summer and Hike to the Top:
16) Hang Out on Harrisburg’s Westshore:
Directly across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg is the small town of Wormleysburg, and a trio of restaurants, Dockside Willies, Duke’s, and Rock Bass Grille, right on the water. It’s a cool place to eat, literally right in the middle of PA, and get the feeling of being at a beachside seafood restaurant.
17) Go Hiking on Both Sides of the Susquehanna on the York/Lancaster County Line:
18) Visit the Famous Penn State Creamery:
Fun fact: did you know that during home football games State College becomes the 3rd most populated city in PA?
19) Visit the Johnstown Flood Museum:
I was a very strange child who was obsessed with natural disasters of all kind. Because of this I know way too much information about the Johnstown flood, and would still like to see the museum there someday.
20) Eat at Deke’s Barbeque in Manayunk:
Deke’s is an awesome southern style bbq joint located in an old garage right off Manayunk’s Shurs Lane. It’s hidden enough to feel cool, has great bbq offerings and I’m officially in love with their cornbread.
21) Hike Mount Davis:
This is the tallest mountain in the state.
22) Give Couch Surfing a Whirl:
I have to say I had a very preconceived notion of what couch surfing was (and what couch surfers were) but after meeting up with some local Lancaster surfers to chat with them about a post, my mind was completely changed. Although I’ve yet to get around to trying this (mostly because I seem to travel with a pack these days), it seems like a unique and inexpensive way to see somewhere new and meet some cool people in the process.
23) Stay in a Pennsylvania Hostel:
24) Visit Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park:
At 9,200 acres, Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in the world and counts the Philadelphia Art Museum, the boathouses, The Please Touch Museum, Schuylkill River Trail and Philadelphia Zoo as residents.
25) Visit a Lighthouse:
I love lighthouses and Pennsylvania has four of them (mostly on Lake Erie).
26) Eat at Cooper’s:
Operating since 1948, Cooper’s Seafood, with its recognizable lighthouse and tiki deck, is a Scranton icon.
27) Oktoberfest Year-Round in Philadelphia.
28) Visit a Farmer’s Market:
Lancaster’s Central Market is the oldest operating farmer’s market in the country (I really love the German Deli, Mr. Bill’s Seafood and the Maplehofe Dairy). Philly’s Reading Terminal Market has not only fresh Amish produce, but also hosts a variety of stands the epitomize Philadelphia food and York’s Central Market has a brewery attached.
30) Visit Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory Museum:
31) Stargaze at Cherry Springs State Park:
Cherry Springs State Park is one of only sixteen “International Dark Sky Parks” in the world (and the only in the Eastern portion of the US). It’s known as the last best refuge of natural night sky in the eastern part of the US and the Milky Way here is so visible that it actually casts a shadow.
32) Camp at Kittatiny:
Even though I always go in New York, Kittatiny does have a campground on our side of the river.
33) Visit All 50 of the Best Bars in Philadelphia:
I really enjoy this list put together by Philadelphia Weekly, and in fact, the author and I might just have the same criteria for what makes a truly great bar.
34) Bike Gettysburg’s Battlefields:
If you visit Pocono Action Sports on Lake Wallenpaupack, you could paddleboard, jetski and parasail.
34) Get a Great Sandwich in Philly:
35) Hear the Rocks at Ringing Rocks County Park:
There’s a 7-8 acre field of boulders in this park, that when struck, ring as if they are some sort of musical instrument. Bring on the unexplained natural phenomenons.
36) Rent a Boat at Nockamixon State Park.
37)Pretend You’re Fancier Than You Are at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta:
I enjoy pretending I’m richer than I actually am, and what better place to slap on some Sperries and pretend to be a pompous jackass then a regatta on Philly’s boathouse row?
38) Attend a Music Conference:
PA has a pretty cool musical scene (and history) and several music conferences where you can not only see some on the rise bands, but also learn a little bit more about the music industry. Lancaster city’s Launch and Scranton’s Electric City Music Conference are just two you could check out.
39) Attend Delaware County’s Riverfront Ramble:
40) Go to the Army-Navy Game:
41) Attend the Manayunk Bike Race:
The Philly Cycling Classic is more commonly known as the “Manayunk Bike Race,” probably because it starts and ends its 12 mile journey on the Manayunk wall. What makes this race so special though, is that Manayunk turns into a giant party the Sunday of the event, with bar specials, block parties, bands, and revelers crowding Manayunk’s porches.
42) See the New Big Cat Trail at the Philly Zoo:
This spring the Philadelphia Zoo opened its newest exhibit, “Big Cat Crossing.” This consists of aerial walkways that allow the zoo’s big cats, tigers, lions, pumas, jaguars and snow leopards to wander around a larger portion of the zoo, and hopefully means that visitors can see them more. I’ve always been a fan of the Philly Zoo, specifically the big cats, so am excited to see this in action. It’s also worth noting that the Philadelphia Zoo (the 1st zoo in the USA) is one of the first zoos to pioneer this new type of exhibit, which may end up changing the way modern zoos are structured.
43) Tour Hershey’s Chocolate World:
Hershey’s Chocolate World is cheesy as hell, but I feel like it’s something of a rite of Pennsylvania passage, that like The Rocky Steps, you just have to do.
44) Attend a Class at the Philly Beer School:
45) Pedicycle in Philadelphia:
46)Explore the Laurel Highlands:
47) Rent a Snowmobile:
48) Wine Taste in Central PA’s Colorful West Shore Region:
Last year I went to a winery in Central PA’s Perry County. The “west shore” knows how to throw down in the best/weirdest way.
49) Hike the Appalachian Trail:
50) Hike the Mason Dixon Trail:
51) Visit Shenk’s Mare:
Shenk’s Mare is an outdoor outfitter located in Wrightsville, PA on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Shenk’s Mare has a retail store, but also kayak and SUP rentals, cross country ski rentals, canoe rentals and also leads classes and more specialized expeditions such as hiking combined with beer tasting.
52) See a Show at the Tower Theatre:
The Tower Theatre in Upper Darby is a famous music venue just west of Philadelphia that has a very interesting history. I’m including it on my list because it’s the venue where one Bruce Springsteen introduced the world to his brand new E-Street Band.
53) Take a Ghost Tour of Erie:
54) Take Paragliding Lessons in Pittsburgh.
55) Explore Erie’s Presque Isle State Park.
57) Pittsburgh’s Toonseum is the Only Museum in the Country Dedicated to Cartoon Art.
58) Dine Under the Stars in Media.
59) Wander Around Pittsburgh’s Strip District.
The Strip District, located on the bank’s of the Allegheny River, was once a center of industry (factories, mills, warehouses, etc). Today its filled with food wholesalers, restaurants, bars and many specialty stores.
60) Do an Irish Pubcrawl in Philadelphia.
61) Participate in FoodStruck York:
Foodstruck York is a free admission food truck gathering where over 50 foodtrucks descend on York city and close down an entire block. They have trucks from Central PA, Philly, Pittsburgh and Maryland and the next event is scheduled for August 31st.
62) Visit Seven Springs:
This ski resort has stuff to do year round and I hear the Foggy Goggle is a pretty fun spot to get your drink on.
63) Take Some Time to Revisit the History of Your Part of PA.
64) Take a Ghost Tour at Bube’s Brewery in Mt. Joy.
65) Visit the Town of New Hope:
66) Take a Pittsburgh Food Tour.
67) Create a “Haunted” Itinerary of Philly.
68) Rent a Houseboat on Raystown Lake:
69) Take a Cheese-Filled Romantic Getaway on Lake Wallenpaupack:
Yes, I picked 69 to be the romantic number on purpose: it’s called being an adult and having class.
70) Take a Slide Down Ohiopyle’s Meadow Run Waterslides.
71) Visit Pennsylvania’s First Private Wild Plant Sanctuary.
72) Check out the Vineyard (and Brewery) at Hershey’s Decked-Out Music series Fridays in the Summer.
73) Hike the Endless Mountains:
74) Learn How to Curl in Wilkes Barre.
75) Try the NEPA Ale Trail:
Author’s Note: this is not an official ale trail (like the Susquehanna or Lehigh), but rather one I made up.
76) Go to One of PA’s Many Restaurant Weeks:
77) Take an International Food Tour of Lancaster.
78) Go Tubing in Reading.
79) Tube the Delaware River in Bucks County:
Make sure to make a stop at the Famous River Hot Dog Man.
80) Visit the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading.
81) Eat at Southside Pittsburgh’s Famed Fatheads:
They’re known for their beer selection and “headwhiches”, sandwiches roughly the size of your head and have a burger that has pierogies on it.
82) Get Scuba Certified or go Scuba Diving.
83) Explore the Pioneer Mine Tunnel.
84) Visit Bethlehem’s Dutch Springs Resort:
You can learn to scuba dive and do an aerial course here. So random.
85) Visit Philadelphia’s City Tavern:
The City Tavern is a replica of the 1773 tavern where the first 4th of July celebration was held. Go visit and get a flight of Yard’s “Ales of the Revolution.”
86) Stay at Haunted Jean Bonnet’s Tavern.
87) Check Out Some of the Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh.
88) Check Out PA’s Historical Marker Program:
89) Eat at Steve & Irene’s:
It’s a real shame this Mayfield, PA hoagies shop has never been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
90) Get Your UK On at The Whip Tavern.
91) Eat at the Pierogie Kitchen:
I know most of you think of cheese steaks, water ice, Tasty Cakes and fries on everything (looking at you, Pittsburgh) when you think of Pennsylvania cuisine. Coming from NEPA, the food I most associate with home is the pierogie, and this restaurant in Philly’s Roxborough neighborhood revolves around them.
92) Attend the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department UFO Festival:
Legend has it that a UFO landed in the town of Kecksburg on December 9, 1965, a legend the town still celebrates with a UFO themed festival. This year they’re also hosting the “Mysterious Pennsylvania UFO and Creatures Encounters” conference. This has to be great, if only for the people watching.
93) Bike the Great Allegheny Passage.
94) Check out Lancaster’s Tellus 360:
Tellus 360 is a reclaimed wood shop, a yoga studio, art gallery, café, music venue, travel outfitter and most recently, an Irish pub.
95) Do an Informal Pizza Tour of NEPA:
People always say its New York or Chicago in a battle for the best pizza. I say throw Northeastern PA into the ring.
96) Attend the Sly Fox Brewery Bock Festival and Goat Race (yes, goatrace) Held the First Weekend of Each May.
97) Take a Grim Philly Tour:
Grim Philly tours are unlike most other “haunted” tours you hear about. They don’t just give you ghostly tales, but rather focus on anything considered dark or seedy. The company is also headed by a historian and college professor and so makes sure that everything is historically accurate, not just speculation and hearsay.
98) Visit a Buffalo Farm:
My dad worked in Binghampton when I was growing up and whenever we’d go up and visit when I was little I’d get very excited if we took a shortcut that went past Elk Trails Ranch, a buffalo farm outside of Clifford, Pennsylvania. I mention this because recently buffalo meat has become somewhat trendy and there are several PA buffalo (or bison) farms where one could go look at this strange creatures, buy some products and possibly take a tour. Backyard Bison is in Bucks County, Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm is in Edinboro, Hillside Farms is in Telford and The Buffalo Shoppe is in Lake Ariel.
99) Visit PA’s Only Man-made Whitewater Park.
100) Do Your Best Winter Olympian Impression.
Is it just me or is this way too light on the Scranton? I’ve failed my alma mater, which sadly isn’t the first, and probably won’t be the last. I got you next time Electric City.