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Harrisburg has been a transportation hub since riverboats plied the Susquehanna in the 1700s. One of the most important commercial centers and distribution points in the mid-Atlantic region, it also became the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812. The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse featuring large murals and collections of art and sculpture. The vaulted dome was modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Free tours are offered nearly every day; reserve a space by calling the General Assembly's Office of Capitol Visitor Services at 1-800-868-7672.

Nearby, the free State Museum, opened in 1905, offers ...

Harrisburg has been a transportation hub since riverboats plied the Susquehanna in the 1700s. One of the most important commercial centers and distribution points in the mid-Atlantic region, it also became the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812. The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse featuring large murals and collections of art and sculpture. The vaulted dome was modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Free tours are offered nearly every day; reserve a space by calling the General Assembly's Office of Capitol Visitor Services at 1-800-868-7672.

Nearby, the free State Museum, opened in 1905, offers visitors four floors of exhibits and activities, including a multi-media planetarium, archaeological artifacts, minerals, paintings, decorative arts, animal dioramas, industrial and technological innovations and military objects representing the Commonwealth's heritage. The National Civil War Museum tells the story from both sides, from the issues straining the nation through the war's conclusion at Appomattox Court House. Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts offers three floors of exhibits, an IMAX theater, performance hall, and KidsPlace, a special gallery for toddlers and preschoolers. Susquehanna Art Museum occupies the first three floors of the Kunkel Building, includes three galleries, and other public spaces are devoted to the presentation of works by internationally recognized artists.

Twenty miles east of Harrisburg, the village of Hershey is a destination with its own lodging, amusement park with thrill rides, zoo and gardens.

Joanne Miller
About the Expert

Joanne Miller is the author of several Moon guidebooks, including Pennsylvania Handbook, Chesapeake Bay Handbook, and Maryland/Delaware Handbook.

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Joanne Miller for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Pennsylvania capital, located in Dauphin County approximately 100 miles west of Philadelphia
  • Research: Harrisburg, PA | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring through early autumn; HersheyPark is open memorial Day through Labor Day.