The industrial heartbeat of Pennsylvania continues to beat strong thanks to Central PA’s city of York. In a town sitting on a bed of history and railroad tracks laid across the country, this city is full of tales of the region’s industrial boom. York, Pennsylvania is ready to tell a new tale for visitors: from being a one-time capital of the U.S. to Snack Food Capital. From the Industrial Revolution to modern venues dawning industrial chic, and historic buildings offering a glimpse into its rich history.
All aboard for a journey into the top things to do in York PA!
CATCH VIEWS ATOP SAMUEL S. LEWIS STATE PARK
Views of the Susquehanna River, the longest river on the East Coast, is the best view in Pennsylvania. It’s a rewarding view after trekking the 1.6-mile Hilltop Trail through the Samuel S. Lewis State Park.
Trek through the shaded trees sitting on the mountain ridge cutting through the Kreutz Creek Valley and East Prospect Valley. The trail ends at the top of Mt. Pisgah, the park’s highest point at 885 feet. The summit is an inviting grassy space with prominent views of the river and surrounding mountains. You’ll be accompanied by other hikers gawking at the views and civilians flying colorful kites overhead.
The trail is moderate, so everyone has a chance to witness the mountaintop viewpoint. Plan for about an hour to finish the loop trail.
CATCH A GAME AT PEOPLESBANK PARK
Batter up! Strike! Play Ball! Umpires shout commands for the home games at PeoplesBank Park. The York Revolution is named after the city’s role in the American Revolutionary War, but you can just call them the ‘Revs’ for short.
PeoplesBank Park is home to the local York Revs, a major contender in the Atlantic League. It’s easy to scoop tickets for a game when they’re in town. The modest brick house-style stadium gets packed with excited fans during game day.
Big games fill up 7,500 seats with fans dressed in their finest game gear — polos and dad hats embroidered with the Y Eagle logo, retro jerseys thrifted from local shops, and vintage tees commemorating the team’s three past world championships.
TAKE IN THE PAST AT YORK COUNTY HISTORY CENTER
Did you know that York was briefly the capital of the country? Or that it’s the site where the Articles of Confederation was made and the term ‘United States of America’ was coined in the first place?
In a city established in 1741, you can expect centuries of rich history dating back to the first days of the nation. The York County History Center takes you down the rabbit hole of York History.
Three museums comprise the York County History Center. Explore vintage trolleys, automobiles, and tractors inside the Agricultural & Industrial Museum. Engage with thought-provoking exhibitions about York history with topics such as African Americans and Suffrage movements. Exhibits in the Fire Museum ignite your curiosity for 250 years of firefighting heritage with vintage trucks and preserved artifacts.
GO HORSEBACK RIDING AT RIDGE MEADOW HORSE FARM
It’s cliché to say that you wanted a pony growing up. However, the Ridge Meadow Horse Farm lets you live out your childhood fantasies. Whether you’re a first-time rider or a self-proclaimed cowgirl, this horse farm will cater your ride to you.
York County is known for its diverse landscape. Drive 30 miles south of York to reach the massive horse farm sprawled across 200 acres. You’ll have miles of trails to gallop across the grassy meadows and trot through lush forests. It’s an enchanting ride that lets you explore the wonders of nature.
The Ridge Meadow Horse Farm welcomes equestrians of all skill levels. Sharpen your skills with horse lessons or challenge your jockey skills on the Olympic-sized obstacle course.
TOUR PERRYDELL FARM AND DAIRY
Taste the farm-to-cone flavors of ice cream that have made Perrydell Farm and Dairy famous. This dairy farm welcomes visitors to see behind-the-scenes of managing the tasks of running a farm and producing signature products like milk, butter, and other dairy products.
Celebrate the century-long and running success of the Perrydell Farm and Dairy. It passed down its secrets of fresh taste for three generations. Become part of the farm family during your visit when you tour the farm grounds, feed young calves during the springtime birth season, and of course, taste the end products.
The homemade ice cream tasting at the end of the farm tour saves the best for last. It has signature flavors like chocolate and strawberry. You might luck up with a scoop of one of its seasonal flavors.
TAKE THE HARLEY DAVIDSON FACTORY TOUR
Don’t forget to pack your leather outfit because the Harley Davidson Factory tour is a ride you don’t want to miss. The long-anticipated reopening of the factory tours in 2023 is worth the excitement.
Speed into the history of one of the great American brands that changed the way we road trip. Rev up your engines for The Classic Tour to learn about the history of Harley Davidson, creating the iconic brand, and see a film about the factory in its heyday. Make a hairpin turn into the 90-minute Steel Toe Tour for a walk along the assembly line, see material testing, and how the bikes achieve that glassy shine.
Recreate images of heritage Americana with photos on the back of vintage bikes and modern hot rods displayed throughout the factory. Don’t forget to peek into the gift shop for a souvenir model of your favorite bike.
NOSH AT YORK CENTRAL MARKET HOUSE
The best way to keep a pulse on York is by going to the heart of downtown to the York Central Market House. Public markets have long been a place of gathering, gossip, and shopping in York. Join the local buzz at the local market days. It’s almost like a permanent farmers market here, and you’ll find plenty of vendors selling fresh, local products.
The historic gabled roof and red brick building housing the York Central Market dates back to 1888. Today, the market is a hotspot on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when local vendors set up with their latest produce, crafts, and news waiting to be told through the grapevine.
Bring your travel tote to fill with fresh fruits and vegetables. No one likes shopping on an empty stomach. There are restaurant vendors with ready-to-eat meals to satisfy your cravings.
Visiting York Central Market House is truly one of the best things to do in York PA!
CATCH A SHOW AT AT THE APPELL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Some crowds will laugh. Other crowds will listen. And other crowds will cry. But with every show at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, each spectacular live performance deserves a standing ovation at the end.
Thrust yourself into the cultural center for live performances in York. The Appell Center for the Performing Arts is a two-theater complex — The Strand and Capitol Theatre. The biggest tour acts in music, comedy, and Broadway shows perform on the legendary theater stages.
Take your seat in plush red velvet chairs and admire the decorative Italian Renaissance-inspired auditorium before the lights dim and the curtains open for an evening of entertainment.
BRING THE KIDS TO ALPACAS OF YORK
Warning: your kids will get jealous of all the attention you give to the furry residents at the Alpacas of York Farm. You’ll get Pinterest-perfect pictures playing with the friendly alpacas, always excited to meet new visitors.
Alpacas of York provides boarding for alpacas and spins off the abundance of fur into their own products. Take a farm tour to encounter alpacas on the green pastures. They’ll eat out the palm of your hand with treats provided by the farm. See the process of washing, weaving, and wearing alpaca fur. If the natural methods are impressive, stop by the farm shop to purchase a fleece to take home.
It’s hard to say goodbye to the cuddly faces of the alpacas. Thankfully, the farm also sells alpacas. So, if the price is right, you could take your favorite home.
JUMP ABOARD THE GOOD LIBATIONS TRAILS
Three people walk into a bar — a beer enthusiast, a wine lover, and a cocktail connoisseur. In a tale that fails to convince the others to change their mind, the Good Libations Trails is one place where they’ll finally come to an agreement. It shows that all spirits are superior with combined tours and tastings at wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Sip reds and whites on the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, stopping at Moon Dancer Vineyard and Balla Cloiche Vineyards. Indulge in ales from Swashbuckler Brewing Company and stouts from Mudhook Brewing Company on the Susquehanna Ale Trail. Drink your way through the Keystone Craft Spirits Trail to see grain turn to whiskey at Stoll and Wolfe Distillery and the immigrant history distilled in every sip of Cross Water Distilled Spirits.
BIKE THE HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL
York is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who need a gateway to the diverse Central Pennsylvania landscape. Get an intimate look at local rail history by following the abandoned tracks along the Heritage Rail Trail.
Rent a bike for a few hours during the afternoon and set off on a journey along the 21.1-mile route. You’ll kick off in York at the Colonial Courtyard. Then, your urban views will fade into the natural scenery. A tunnel of trees becomes a colorful display of fall foliage during the fall season. Pedal through the 370-foot historic Howard Tunnel, built in the late 1800s.
Take a moment to enjoy the views from New Freedom point, the highest point on the trail. After, make your descent towards the Maryland border, where the trail meets with the Torry C. Brown Rail Trail.
HIKE, BIKE AND EXPLORE ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK
Your York outdoor adventure begins at Rocky Ridge County Park, the first of 11 York County parks established in 1968. Multi-use trails criss-cross the park’s 750 acres. You’ll find everyone from hikers to mountain bikers, so choose your tribe.
Take a nature walk on the undeveloped trails. Shade from the mature oaks cools you down while passing through the woodlands. Step to the soothing sounds of the forest and keep an eye out for fallen limbs and forest wildlife. If the forest obstacles are too advanced for fast-action cycling, take the Sue’s Trail route. This ridge-top pathway sits above the canopy for unobstructed views of Susquehanna Valley during your ride.
HIKE AROUND LAKE REDMAN
Lake Redman is York County’s favorite waterway for enjoying time out on the water or exploring the shore. Located in the William H. Kain County Park, it is considered a “sibling lake” to the smaller Lake Williams. Thanks to a dam built by the York Water Company, Yorkers have yet another place to enjoy the outdoors.
Cruise every inch of the 290-acre water surface in a paddle boat for views of the tree-lined coastline reflected in the water. Cast your line from the rocky beach shore to catch largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish swimming abundantly in these warm waters.
Bring your dog along the pet-friendly Lake Redman Loop Trail. It extends for 8.8 miles around the lake for scenic views from every vantage point.
JUMP ABOARD THE NORTHERN CENTRAL RAILWAY OF YORK
During the golden years of the Midwest industrial revolution, train travel was reserved for the society’s most affluent members. Step into the upper class with a heritage trail ride on the Northern Central Railway. You’ll be in good company since it’s the same route that carried President Abraham Lincoln en route to deliver the Gettysburg Address.
Wander the halls of the antique Northern Central Railway of York station to see museum exhibitions covering the history of the railroad. A vintage train whistle bellows from the platform. It’s time to climb aboard and settle in for a scenic heritage ride full of historical and forest views in replica train cars dating back to the 1800s.
DAY TRIP TO HERSHEY PA
Visiting York is your golden ticket to the land of chocolate because you’ll be just a day trip away from Hershey, PA. Of course, the mere mention of Hershey makes you salivate with thoughts of creamy chocolate treats and tasty kisses. However, there are other local things to do before returning to York at the end of the day.
You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store when browsing the chocolate-filled aisles inside Hershey’s Chocolate World. Give yourself an adrenaline rush on screaming roller coasters towering over Hersheypark. Even treat yourself to a sophisticated evening of music with the Hershey Symphony Orchestra.
Hershey is only 36 miles away from York, so it’s an easy full-day or half-day trip.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO PENNSYLVANIA
- YOUR PENNSYLVANIA VACATION
- THE POCONOS: 30 Things To Do In The Poconos You Can’t Miss
- SCRANTON: 14 Fun Things To Do In Scranton PA You Have To Explore
- HARRISBURG: 16 Things To Do In Harrisburg PA You’ll Adore
- PHILLY: 28 Things To Do In Philadelphia You’re Gonna Love
WHERE TO STAY IN YORK PA
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