I had been to Pennsylvania a couple of times, but never got to explore the East side of the rectangle before – aka Philly. So, as I crossed the state border on my 48 state solo road trip, I was ready to see all things Punxsutawney Phil [he’s so fluffy!], pretzels [and now I’m dreaming of Philly preztels], Ben Franklin [one of the greatest] and hairy icebergs [let me explain]…
In 5th grade my teacher had us do a memory exercise for the state capitals. For Pennsylvania, she had us draw a hairy iceberg with a large pencil full of veins stuck on top. Although quite ridiculous to me at the time, I have never forgotten that Harrisburg [hairy-iceberg] is the capital of Pennsylvania [veiny-pencil]. #brainsareweirdandgreat
Woo hoo! I made it to the 23rd state of my U.S. road trip…good ol’ Pennsylvania! After exploring Pittsburgh, Gettysburg & Philly, here are my 5 MUST DOS when visiting Pennsylvania:
#1: Visit Old City Philly
Old City Philly is definitely worth checking out. It is a historic district with Independence National Historical Park [home of Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell], City Tavern [Set in the 18th century complete with costumes, craft ales and recipes from the 1700’s including Colonial Beef Pie and Braised Rabbit], Elfreth’s Alley [the Nation’s oldest residential street] and more.
Did you know? The crack in The Liberty Bell is 24 1/2″? This is what I call U.I. #uselessinformation
Make sure to walk around Independence National Historical Park where you will find Independence Hall, you know just the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created and signed. So. Much. History!
#2: Eat Your Way Around Philly
Oh my goodness, the food in Philly is soooo tasty! Make sure to visit Reading Terminal Market [enclosed public market in downtown] to get your grub on! Also, nearby is the oldest continuously operating tavern McGillin’s Olde Ale House.
Philly’s Chinatown has tons of delish restaurants too BUT obviously, you MUST eat a cheesesteak [and a soft pretzel] while in town. Here is a video on how to order a Philly cheesesteak properly:Top 10 Philly Cheesesteaks
#3 Stop At My Fav Philly Photo Spots
The John F. Kennedy Plaza in Philly is home to the cute must-take-a-photo love statue that symbolizes the city. Stop at the Love Park in any season for a great photo opp!
And have a famous movie moment of your own with the nearby Philadelphia Art Museum aka the Rocky Balboa steps. The view from the top [once you catch your breath teehee] isn’t too shabby!
And then be SURE to visit the colorful Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Created by Zagar, this outdoor art installation [and indoor galleries] creates colorful art out of nontraditional items. A must see!
#4: Drive The Battlefields of Gettysburg
Gettysburg is home to the National Military Park of Gettysburg where you can do a driving tour of the battlefields. It is a 24 mile self-guided drive which you can do at your own pace but it is recommended to give yourself at least 2-3 hours. Get your map here.
I did this years ago and it was an eerie, yet fantastic, experience that I will never forget. It’s crazy to look at a beautiful, peaceful landscape and know the violent history that took place there.Such a great learning experience for the whole fam!
On the way to Gettysburg we got a bit distracted by this teddy bear barn and HAD to stop to see what all the hype was about. If you love teddy bears make sure to stop by Boyd’s Bear Country.
#5: Ride the Incline in Pittsburgh
Ride a century-old cable car up to gorgeous views of Pittsburgh. The Duquesne incline and the Monongahela incline both take you to the top of Mount Washington. At the top, be sure to visit the Mount Washington observation deck for awesome photo opportunities and a bite to eat [or drink] at the Summit restaurant.
For more Pennsylvania travel inspiration, check out this awesome video of Philadelphia:
Have any favorite spots in Pennsylvania? Any must dos that I missed? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Read about Amy’s solo 48 state road trip [on a small budget] here.
Amy’s 48 state road trip route [starting @ home = Southern California] to: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming [again], Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada & UTAH!
Shop Amy’s Pennsylvania Inspired Favs Here: