We did it: we survived another year. You may have a list of resolutions for 2016, but have you planned out your fun for the year? Here are 17 must-do attractions and events in Pennsylvania for you to enjoy this year! (And for more, be sure to check out our
Ultimate Bucket List for Everyone in Pennsylvania.)
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Start the year off by going to the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.
Every January 1, the Mummers Parade takes over Philadelphia. It is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the country, and is without a doubt one of the most famous.
2. Admire the birds at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
You will find the biggest collection of birds on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. Here you can enter rooms where birds from different climates fly free: a jungle, a desert, wetlands. There are also penguins, Harper's sea eagles (pictured), and more. The National Aviary is a must-visit place.
3. Visit the Zippo/ Case Museum in Bradford.
This is an often overlooked stop, but one worth making. Zippo lighters and Case knives are two indispensable products, and here you can learn all about the craftsmanship that goes into their designs.
4. Celebrate Groundhog's Day at the source.
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania's big claim to fame is its clairvoyant groundhog, Phil. Why not make a day trip and take part in the February 2 festivities at Gobbler's Knob?
5. If you have kids, take them to the Crayola Factory in Easton.
Learn how crayons are made and get to experiment with some of Crayola's products. No childhood is complete without a trip here.
6. Visit the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville.
The memorial commemorates the events of September 11, 2001, when airplanes hijacked by terrorists felled the World Trade Center in New York. A third airplane, United Airlines Flight 93, crash landed in a field in Somerset County after its passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft. The beautiful memorial pays tribute to the events of this day.
7. Take a train ride in the town where the oil industry was born.
Titusville, Pennsylvania is home to modern oil drilling practices and thus is a historic stop. The passenger railroad here is also a fun activity.
8. Go to the largest street fair in the state.
The 98th Ephrata Street Fair will be taking place from September 20-24. Everyone loves a good street fair, so why not enjoy one of the most historic and the largest in Pennsylvania?
9. Visit Fallingwater, the coolest house in PA.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater as home to the Kauffmann family, who owned the famous department stores. Today, it is open to tours; just be sure to call about two weeks in advance to schedule your visit.
10. See top acts perform at Musikfest.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania holds Musikfest each August: this year, from August 5-14. Come see some international musicians or just enjoy the festival for itself.
11. Get in touch with your inner Irish at Celtic Classic.
Bethlehem also hosts Celtic Classic, the festival of Irish Heritage. This year it's from September 23-25. Listen to traditional Irish musicians perform, eat some delicious food, or browse craft vendors' booths.
12. Ride some roller coasters at Knoebels.
Knoebels is one of the premiere amusement parks in Pennsylvania, for its old-timey, woodsy feel. It also has free admission, so grandma won't feel like she's wasting money on a ticket if she wants to accompany you but doesn't want to ride any roller coasters. Instead of paying a flat admission, you pay by attraction.
13. Ring some rocks at Ringing Rock State Park.
A unique chemical composition causes the rocks at Ringing Rocks State Park in Bucks County to emit a ringing sound like bells when you strike them with a hammer. What a bizarre place to visit.
14. Stargaze at Cherry Springs State Park.
Cherry Springs State Park has some of the darkest skies on the eastern side of the United States. Their expansive camping ground and the gorgeous night sky will give you a lasting impression, whether or not you're an astronomer.
15. Go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh.
This ten-day festival takes over the area around Point Park every June, this year from June 3-12. The performers for this upcoming year haven't been announced yet, but each year the festival guarantees amazing, free, live music, and endless aisles of artist and craft booths to peruse.
16. Walk the gardens at Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in the country, replete with numerous indoor and outdoor displays. While you're in Kennett Square, be sure to have some mushrooms, as well; the town produces a million pounds of mushrooms a week and is known as the mushroom capital of the world.
17. Go underground at Laurel Caverns in Wharton.
Caves are always a fun, quirky day trip. Enjoy your trip through the deep underground caverns at Laurel Caverns.