city in and county seat of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States and Pennsylvania federated state capital city

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

Harrisburg is the capital and 4th-largest metropolitan area of Pennsylvania, with a metro population of 592,000 people in 2020. Harrisburg is known as the host city of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest free indoor agriculture exposition in the United States, the largest annual outdoor sports show in North America, an auto show, which features a large static display of new and classic cars, and Motorama, a two-day event consisting of a car show, motocross racing, and remote control car racing.

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

View of Harrisburg from across the Susquehanna River, summer 2015

By plane edit

  • 1 Harrisburg International Airport (MDT IATA). Just outside of Harrisburg, in Middletown. You can get to the city by rental car, taxi, bus, or hotel shuttles which are accessible via the Multi-Modal Transportation Facility (MMTF).    
  • 2 Capital City Airport (HAR IATA). Across the Susquehanna river, in New Cumberland. You can get to the city by rental car, taxi, bus, or hotel shuttles. This is a general aviation airport with no scheduled flight, so you have to charter or fly your own plane into it.    

By train edit

See also: Rail travel in the United States

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 the 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.
  • 4 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 - meter parking is enforced M-Sa 8AM-7PM. 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.

Residential street in downtown Harrisburg

By bus edit

Capital Area Transit provides bus service in and around Harrisburg.

By taxi edit

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 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. 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. 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.    
  • 2 The State Museum of Pennsylvania (William Penn Memorial Museum), 300 North St, +1 717-787-4980.    
  • 3 National Civil War Museum, 1 Lincoln Circle, +1 717-260-1861, fax: +1 717-260-9599, . W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-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. Adult $8, senior $7, student $6, family pass $30.    
  • 4 Whitaker Center / IMAX, 222 Market St, +1 717-214-ARTS (2787), . 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.    
  • 5 Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, 1820 N 4th St, +1 717-232-8915, fax: +1 717 232-8916. Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1-4PM. 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.    
  • 6 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 (9AM-noon) 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.    
  • 7 Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (TMI), 3 Mile Is, Middletown (travel down the PA-441 S and look right). Reservation only. The worst commercial nuclear accident in the United States happened here on March 28, 1979, when Reactor #2 suffered a partial meltdown. Look for the historical marker and take some memorable photos before the remaining reactor shuts down in 2019.    
  • 8 Cathedral of Saint Patrick, 212 State St. Roman Catholic cathedral and mother church of the Diocese of Harrisburg. The Baroque Revival style cathedral was completed in 1907.    
  • 9 Salem United Church of Christ, 231 Chestnut St. An historic Reformed church dating back to 1822.    

Galleries and art edit

Do edit

The Pennsylvania State Capitol decorated with the rainbow flag during the Pride Festival

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. The Gamut is also the home of the Popcorn Hat Player's Children's Theatre. Tickets are $6.
  • 1 Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St, +1 717-628-3827. 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.
  • 2 Stage On Herr (Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center). 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.    

Other edit

  • Appalachian Trail
  • 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, which includes a street festival, chili Cook-Off, boat race, and amusement rides.
  • City Island, . 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 (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. 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.

  • July 4th Food Truck Festival & Fireworks. Riverfront Park and City Island, Harrisburg's Fourth of July celebration
  • Kipona. Riverfront Park and City Island, a three day festival of food, arts and family fun around Labor day.
  • Arts Festival. Riverfront Park,
  • Italian Lake Concert Series. Italian Lake, Sundays throughout the summer.
  • 3rd in the Burg. Downtown and midtown, the third Friday of every month Harrisburg's art galleries and shops stay open late and serve entertainment.
  • Pride Festival of Central PA. Downtown and Riverfront Park, Central Pennsylvania's LGBT Pride Festival, held the last weekend of July    

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.
  • 3 Midtown Scholar Bookstore and Cafe, 1302 N 3rd St, +1 717-236-1680. Large bookstore and cafe, also contains largest academic used bookstore between New York and Chicago.

Eat edit

Breeze Hill Mansion at 21st and Bellevue Sts.

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

  • 1 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.
  • 2 Palumbo's Italian Eatery, 104 N 2nd St, +1 717-233 7700. M-W 10:30AM-8PM, Th 10:30AM-9PM, F 10:30AM-midnight, Sa 1PM-midnight, closed Su. Serves pizza, subs and other Italian dishes near the center of town for a reasonable price.

Midtown edit

  • 3 Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe, 236 Peffer St (Corner of Green and Peffer), +1 717-238-1999. M-Sa 8AM-6PM. Authentic fresh made Italian dinners, breads, pastries and desserts. An Olde Uptown neighborhood favorite.
  • 4 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.
  • Broad Street Market, 1233 N 3rd St, +1 717-236-7923. W 7AM-2PM (limited vendors), Th F 7AM-5PM, Sa 7AM-3PM. Nearly 40 vendors serving up fresh, local organic produce, meats, baked goods and freshly prepared meals.
  • 5 Ciervo's Pizza, 1435 N 2nd St (Corner of 2nd and Reily), +1 717-238-5530. Pizza, subs and sandwiches.

Drink edit

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

  • 1 Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N Cameron St, +1 717-221-1080. W-Sa Noon-10PM, Su Noon-7PM. ABC serves fresh innovative cuisine to match their handcrafted ales and lagers. Brewery tours every Saturday at 1PM. 
  • 2 Cafe Fresco, 215 N 2nd Street, +1 717-236-2599. 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.

Sleep edit

John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, constructed c. 1766 at 219 South Front St.

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

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   E  MiddletownLancaster
PittsburghLewistown  W   E  ElizabethtownPhiladelphia
PittsburghMechanicsburg  W    E  MiddletownPhiladelphia
END  W   E  Fogelsville (Via  ) → Allentown
Wilkes-BarreHazleton  N   S  CarlisleHagerstown
Ends at    N   S  YorkBaltimore
END  N   S  MiddletownLancaster via  
State CollegeMifflintown  W   E  HummelstownChester

This city travel guide to Harrisburg is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.