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Harrisburg

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For other places with the same name, see Harrisburg (disambiguation).

Harrisburg is the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a state in the United States of America.

Understand[edit]

The Susquehanna River runs along the western edge of the city. It is the largest non-navigable river in the eastern USA, but has numerous small islands, and is an excellent recreational resource.

The city began in 1710 when John Harris built a trading post and later his son started a ferry.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Harrisburg International Airport (MDT IATA) is located just outside of Harrisburg, in Middletown, you will need to complete the journey to the city by rental car, taxi, bus, or hotel shuttles which are accessible via the Multi-Modal Transportation Facility (MMTF).

By train[edit]

See also: Rail travel in the United States

Amtrak has more then ten daily services from Philadelphia on the Keystone Service, with some services originating in New York City. Also, the once-daily Pennsylvanian between New York and Pittsburgh serves Harrisburg. All trains calls at 2 Harrisburg Transportation Center located at 4th and Chestnut Street, which also serves as a hub for local and inter-city buses.

By car[edit]

Harrisburg is served by a rather extensive highway system for a city of its size. Interstate 81, 83 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 76 all travel through or near the city. The Capital Beltway is comprised of I-81 to the north, I-83 to the east and south and PA-581 to the west of the city. U.S. Routes 22 and 322 also pass through the city and U.S. 11 and 15 pass just to the west.

By bus[edit]

Capitol Area Transit (CAT) is the regional bus service for greater Harrisburg area. Travelers to Harrisburg from Cumberland and Dauphin Counties can travel via CAT. CAT is also a convenient means of transportation from Harrisburg International Airport (HIA)

  • Greyhound, Harrisburg Transportation Center. Direct or connecting service from around the country.
  • Susquehanna Trailways, Harrisburg Transportation Center. Service from Sunbury, Williamsport, and Elmira.
  • 3 Megabus, Harrisburg Mall parking lot (bus stop near pole 32, west of Macy's and the Great Escape). Service from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and State College. Fares start at $1 when reserved well in advance.
  • Rabbittransit. Weekday RabbitEXPRESS service from York on Route 83N and from Gettysburg on Route 15N.

By foot[edit]

The Appalachian Trail is just west of the city.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Parking - Monday through Saturday, from 8AM-7PM, meter parking is enforced. The typical cost is $3 per hour with 15 minutes increments. Parking garages charges around $4 for 30 minutes or less and then escalating beyond that. Garages and metered parking are run by the Harrisburg Parking Authority.

By foot or bike[edit]

Harrisburg is a very walkable city, especially the downtown, midtown and uptown sections which are laid out in a simple grid without much change in grade. There are many beautiful walking and biking trails that run along the Susquehanna River. You can also walk or ride your bike across the Walnut St. Bridge to City Island without worrying about safety because it is blocked off to cars.

Quiet downtown Harrisburg residential street

By bus[edit]

Capital Area Transit provides bus service in and around Harrisburg.

By taxi[edit]

  • American Taxi (717) 901-8294.

By limo[edit]

See[edit]

Harrisburg has been an important location for statewide transportation since selected as the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812. The canal system and subsequent development of railroads, highways and airlines in the early century played a key role in transforming Harrisburg into a commercial and distribution center for Pennsylvania and the East. The city is centrally located 80 miles north of Baltimore, 100 miles west of Philadelphia, and 100 miles north of Washington D.C.

  • 1 State Capitol Building, toll-free: +1-800-868-7672. The Capitol was designed in the American Renaissance Style by Philadelphia Architect Joseph-Huston (1866-1940), who envisioned the building as a "Palace of Art". Built and furnished at a cost of $13 million, the Capitol features paintings, stained glass and furnishings by some of the best artisans of the day - Extract Out of A Centennial Celebration 1906 - 2006, Pennsylvania General Assembly. The state capitol of Pennsylvania is a beautiful architectural masterpiece that encompasses many artistic designs and marvels. The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse. It includes collections of art, sculptures and large murals. On the floor of the main hallway are tiles that show Pennsylvania's history, symbols, insects and animals. The capitol dome rises 272 feet, and was modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and it's magnificent staircase looks like one from the Paris Opera. Over 100,000 people per year enjoy a free tour of Harrisburg's Capitol building.
  • Walnut Street Bridge (People's Bridge). The Walnut Street Bridge is an historic truss bridge connecting the east side of the city to the center of City Island. The bridge is a popular tourist destination even for those not interested in bridges. It has a complex and interesting history. See the Wikipedia article for more information. Because it is so popular, it gets busy frequently. For those looking to tour the bridge, either in part or in full, it is recommended that you do so during the mid morning hours (9 AM-12 PM) on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday-Saturday tend to be busier days as there are more activities on City Island midweek. Pedestrians should walk on the bridge on the steel grid grating section of the deck and bicycles should use the paved concrete side of the deck. Walnut Street Bridge (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) on Wikipedia

Theaters[edit]

  • The Gamut Classic Theatre. Located in Strawberry Square, has its own Shakespeare Festival that puts on a few plays each year for a few weeks at a time. Tickets are $25 ($17 for students and seniors), with buy-one-get-one-free discounts on Fridays and "Bring Your Own Price" discounts on Sundays. During the summer, the theatre also puts on a free production of a Shakspeare play in Reservoir Park. In 2008, the play will be "Love's Labor's Lost," June 4–14. The Gamut is also the home of the Popcorn Hat Player's Children's Theatre. Tickets are $6.
  • Midtown Cinema. A small three screen theater in midtown Harrisburg. They have a great selection of independent films, along with good ice cream, coffee, and teas.
  • Theatre Harrisburg. Established in 1926 and one of the oldest community theatres in the country. Plays in the Sunoco Performance Theater at the Whitaker center.
  • [dead link]Stage On Herr. The newest addition to Harrisburg's theater scene. A 3,500 square foot venue with soaring ceilings in a former gym, the space has been renovated and is now home to plays, concerts, comedy, art, parties and more.

Galleries and Art[edit]

Do[edit]

  • Champion Ship Performing Arts Space, 52 Rear Market St Lemoyne, +1 717 612-9306. Champion Ship is a DIY, all ages, drug, alcohol, and smoke free performance arts venue located in Lemoyne, PA right outside of Harrisburg the state capital. A great place to see your favorite band, an art show, or flea market. There is also a fully stocked independent record store primarily featuring, Punk, Hardcore, Emo, and Indie Rock CD's and records.
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Capitol Tours and Welcome Center, East Wing Entrance, toll-free: +1-800-868-7672, e-mail: . 8:30AM-4PM. Advanced reservations are suggested and required for groups of 10 or more. Group size is limited to 80. The tour is about a half hour long, and takes you through some of its most impressive rooms, including Italian in the House Chamber, French in the Senate Chamber and the English in the Governor's Reception Room. These are just a few of the capitol's over 600 rooms. The Welcome Center at the Capitol teaches about Pennsylvania's Government by displaying 18 informative exhibits allowing visitors to read, listen, touch, and interact with the displays. FREE.
  • National Civil War Museum, 1 Lincoln Circle, +1 717 260-1861, fax: +1 717 260-9599, e-mail: . W-Sa: 10AM-5PM; Sun: 12PM-5PM. The only museum in The United States that portrays the entire story of the American Civil War. Equally balanced presentations are humanistic in nature without bias to Union or Confederate causes. Open 7 days a week April 1 through Labor Day. Adults $8, Seniors $7, Students $6, *Family Pass $30.
  • Whitaker Center / IMAX, 222 Market St, +1 717 214-ARTS (2787), e-mail: . The mission of Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is to serve as the center for scientific, artistic, cultural and educational activities to enhance the region's quality of life and economic vitality.
  • Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, 1820 N 4th St, +1 717 232-8915, fax: +1 717 232-8916. Tu-F: 10AM-4PM; Sat: 10AM-4PM; Sun: 1PM-4PM. The Sights, sounds and history of firefighting come to life at The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum. Housed in the 1899 Victorian firehouse Reily Hose Company No. 10, the museum houses an outstanding collection of artifacts from the hand-drawn equipment of yesterday to the modern tools of today. Adult $5, Senior $4, Student $3, Family $15.
  • Riverfront Park and City Island. Along the banks of the Susquehanna you can enjoy a scenic bike ride, cruise the river on the Pride of the Susquehanna, or rent a canoe, paddleboat, or jet ski to experience all the Susquehanna River has to offer. Riverfront Park is also popular for afternoon lunches and provides an unbeatable view of Harrisburg's July 4th fireworks and Labor Day Weekend's Kipona Celebration [formerly dead link], which includes a street festival, chili Cook-Off, boat race, and amusement rides.
  • City Island, [1]. A unique park that sits in the center of the Susquehanna River, accessible by the east side of the Walnut St. Bridge, and is home to small shops, miniature golf, a restored carousel, train, carriage rides, and the Senators, a minor league baseball team. Home games for the Senators usually start at 6:35PM, and Sundays at 1:05PM, with box seats only costing $8 and general admission $5. The Riverside Village Park offers a variety of food from crab cakes to ice cream and is open daily from 11AM-8PM after May 13th. Water Golf, City Island's 18 hole miniature golf course costs $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for children.
  • The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, +1 717 234-6500. Harrisburg’s authentic paddlewheel riverboat is docked on City Island and offers 45 min public cruises throughout the summer for $9 for adults and $4 for children. The Pride also hosts dinner cruises once a week or you may rent the boat for a private party. City Island also gives horse drawn carriage rides that tour the island and can be reserved for special occasions. Or you can choose to tour the island on The General, City Island's Civil War-Era steam train that is located next to the carousel. Harrisburg and City Island also have two working marinas to dock your boat, a sandy beach for swimming, volleyball courts, and a multipurpose grass field for sports and concerts that is available for rent.
  • Pennsylvania Farm Show, 2300 North Cameron Street, 17110 (Exit 60 of I-81, travel ~1 mi south.). 9AM-9PM. Usually held about the second full week of January, the Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in America. See Champion Horse Pulling Contests, Sheep-to-Shawl Contest, Square Dance Contest, Arena Carriage Racing, Livestock judging and more. Many Pennsylvania Farm products are on display. Parking is offsite, often for a $5-10 fee. P.S: The best reason to go is the food! Free for most events.

Festivals and Parades[edit]

Harrisburg is known for its many parades and street festivals that take place, especially in the summer time.

Learn[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Strawberry Square, 11 N 3rd St. A major shopping complex in downtown Harrisburg, that has an open air feel with many food and specialty shops.
  • The Shops on Third. A little more upscale shopping than Strawberry Square. They include such shops as the famous Sparky and Clarks, as well as other one of a kind boutiques.
  • 2 Broad Street Market, 1233 N 3rd St. Comprised of two large historic buildings that house an array of foods from Amish produce and meats, to an international deli and cheese shop, to organic and whole foods. Located on Verbeke St and 3rd St.

Eat[edit]

During the week, you should have no problem finding a place to eat without much wait, but the weekends (especially in the summer) may require a bit of a wait at the popular restaurants during their prime time dinner crowd.

Restaurant Row and Downtown[edit]

  • Neato Burrito, 209 N. 2nd St, +1 717 232-7467. Best mission style burritos outside of California. Has 5 locations around the Harrisburg area.
  • Cragin's Brick Haus Restaurant, 229 N 2nd St, +1 717 233-4287. The Brick Haus offers authentic German and American cuisine including goulasch, sausages, seafood, and steaks.
  • Ceoltas Irish Pub, 310 N 2nd St, +1 717 233-3202, e-mail: . Ceoltas provides an authentic taste of Ireland. Ceoltas also attracts bands from all around to play at their venue.
  • The Firehouse Restaurant, 606 N 2nd St, +1 717 234-6064, fax: +1 717 234-6155, e-mail: . 11:30AM-10PM (M-Th); 11:30AM-11PM (F-Sa); 4PM-9PM (Sun). The Firehouse is the oldest standing firehouse in Harrisburg. It operated as a firehouse until 1980. It has kept most of the original architecture and made some modifications, including a fire hydrant beer tap.
  • Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N Cameron St. 11AM-11PM (Su-Th); 11AM-12AM (F-Sa). ABC serves fresh innovative cuisine to match their handcrafted ales and lagers. Brewery tours every Saturday at 1PM.
  • Passage To India, 525 South Front St, +1 717 233-1202. Passage to India serves excellent Indian cuisine, open seven days a week, with a great view of the river while dining.
  • Bricco, Corner of Third and Chestnut Streets, +1 717 724-0222. Restaurant is run by and for culinary students of the local community college. Gourmet food at a very reasonable price. Also has an outstanding wine list!

Midtown[edit]

  • Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe, 236 Peffer St (Corner of Green and Peffer), +1 717 238-1999. 8AM-6PM (M-Sa). Authentic fresh made Italian dinners, breads, pastries and desserts. An Olde Uptown neighborhood favorite. $$.
  • Anastacia's Restaurant and Bar, 1535 N 6th St, +1 717 233-2394. 8AM-2AM. Cozy, great neighborhood spot for authentic Puerto Rican food and daily specials. $.
  • Breads 'N Spreads, 1419 N 3rd St, +1 717 695-7713. 8AM-4PM. Delicious home made soups, sandwiches and pastries. Daily specials and weekend brunch. $.
  • Broad Street Market, 1233 N 3rd St, +1 717 236-7923. 7AM-2PM (Wed - limited vendors) 7AM-5PM (Th-F) 7AM-3PM (Sat). Nearly 40 vendors serving up fresh, local organic produce, meats, baked goods and freshly prepared meals.
  • Cafe Di Luna, 1004 N 3rd St, +1 717 695-9449. Cozy coffee shop with great assortment of specialty coffees, teas and pastries
  • Ciervo's Pizza, 1435 N 2nd St (Corner of 2nd and Reily), +1 717 238-5530. Pizza, subs and sandwiches. $.
  • Mercado's Pizza, 937 N 3rd St (Corner of 3rd and Boas), +1 717 238-2280. Great authentic pizza, a neighborhood favorite $.
  • Nonna's Deli Sioso, 263 Reily St, +1 717 232-6150. 8AM-8PM (M-F) 8AM-3PM (Sat). One of a kind Italian deli and restaurant. Creative menu and very popular lunch spot and BYOB. $$.
  • Uptown Chicago Grill, 2101 N 2nd St, +1 717 233-7487. Uptown Chicago Grill, formerly Da'Pits, is a Chicago-style grill is known for their delicious ribs. Everything is cooked over an open flame. $$.

Drink[edit]

Harrisburg has a small, vibrant night life for those who enjoy good food, good company, and good drinks.

  • Cafe Fresco is the only spot in Harrisburg so far that is completely smoke free. Unlike other bars in downtown Harrisburg, it has a chic modern atmosphere with Asian inspired cuisine that goes along with their extensive wine and drink menu. The music has a laid back lounge feel and on occasion Cafe Fresco has a live jazz band trio that performs in the back corner. The decor matches a sountern California look that gives the place an upscale feel. Level 2 is an upscale lounge and bar above Cafe Fresco that features DJs, drink specials and a small menu.
  • Molly Brannigans is a small chain of Irish Pubs with 4 other locations in PA besides the one in Harrisburg. They have an impressive menu that includes steaks, seafood, and salads. The happy hour crowd is older from 5-7, but later on the crowd turns younger and a band usually hits the stage, while people dance in front. It has a great authentic Irish feel.
  • The Red Door is Harrisburg's only wine bar that is situated in the heart of downtown. They feature an array of wines both in varietal and price and a cozy atmosphere for a few friends or a date.

Harrisburg's downtown atmosphere dynamically changes throughout the day. During the day, you can explore the coffee shops and quickly prepared meals designed to accommodate the government and downtown workforce. Early evening you can hop between restaurants during their happy hour specials (typically 5-7PM). Stay downtown for dinner and you can enjoy a nice sit-down meal.

Sleep[edit]

Accommodations in the Harrisburg area give you plenty of options at reasonable prices compared to larger metropolitan areas. More expensive hotels are located in closer proximity to Hershey and Baltimore.

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • 5 Wingate Inn Mechanicsburg, 385 Cumberland Parkway, Mechanicsburg, +1 717 766-2710. Offers generously oversized accommodations and upscale amenities, including complimentary deluxe hot breakfast and free high-speed Internet service.

Splurge[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Keep in mind that Harrisburg's crime rate is higher than the national average. However, most areas that tourists and out-of-towners frequent are completely safe. Typical street smarts should keep most people out of trouble.

Harrisburg is within range of Three Mile Island nuclear reactor. If you hear a siren, turn your radio on.

Go next[edit]

Nearby destinations suitable for day trips include:

  • Allentown — Explore Pennsylvania's third-largest city, with an amusement park and casino action.
  • Carlisle — Explore classic car country.
  • Gettysburg — Explore Civil War country.
  • Hershey — Explore chocolate country.
  • Lancaster — Explore Amish country.
  • York — Explore Central PA country.
Routes through Harrisburg
END  W Amtrak Keystone Service icon.png E  MiddletownLancaster
PittsburghLewistown  W Amtrak Pennsylvanian icon.png E  ElizabethtownPhiladelphia
PittsburghMechanicsburg  W I-76.svgPennsylvania Turnpike logo.svg E  MiddletownPhiladelphia
END  W I-78.svg E  Fogelsville (Via I-81.svg) → Allentown
Wilkes-BarreHazleton  N I-81.svg S  CarlisleHagerstown
Ends at I-81.svg  N I-83.svg S  YorkBaltimore
END  N I-283.svg S  MiddletownLancaster via PA-283.svg
State CollegeLewistown  W US 322.svg E  HummelstownChester


This region travel guide to Harrisburg is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.