Cultural Experience | Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania: The Very Best Of

Discover all that the Keystone State has to offer for your next trip!

In my eyes, Pennsylvania is the ideal state to live in or to visit because of its incredible diversity. With each region of the state comes a unique culture and landscape. Although central PA is often referred to as “Pennsyltucky” for its southern feel (think lots of farms and camouflage print), the Keystone state has plenty to offer in terms of both rural and urban attractions!

West Chester:

West Chester, home to the University of West Chester, is a great city about an hour west of Philadelphia. It has a great little downtown area (I recommend checking out a music venue called The Note—it is a tiny place, but it was once co-owned by famous skateboarder and Jackass star, Bam Margera) but beyond that are quaint farms and—my favorite—fruit orchards!

fresh peach picking on west chester orchard pennsylvania image

There’s nothing better than fresh peach picking on a warm summer day!

Spend an afternoon at any of West Chester’s orchards picking peaches, and then spend your night getting dinner and seeing a concert downtown.

Pocono Mountains:

In my suburban Philadelphia hometown, a trip to the Poconos is extremely common, no matter what season. Roughly 3 hours north of Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains are a range of mountains that offer endless activities.

In the summer, be sure to visit the Camel Beach water park. It’s a great family activity since there are plenty of “big kid” and parent rides, like huge water slides, but also many little kid-friendly rides.

Camping up in the Poconos is another great summer activity. Whether you rent a house by the lake or just camp out and go hiking, you’ll have a great time.

Of course, the mountains generate plenty of tourism in the winter for ski season, too. Blue Mountain in particular is a super popular skiing, snowboarding, and tubing destination.

New Hope:

New Hope is an awesome little hippie town in southern PA, right at the border of New Jersey (you can literally walk across a little bridge from New Hope, PA into Lambertville, NJ).

New Hope is definitely known for its chill, hippie vibe, and the cute independent shops lining its streets. Stroll down Main Street and head into every single little store (there is a year-round Christmas shop, a tattoo and piercing place, a tie-dye shop, and an authentic Indian apparel shop, just to name a few!).

There are so many great restaurants in town, too—you can’t leave without trying Lola’s, a new, modern joint that serves amazing small plates for lunch. But if you packed a lunch, just opt for a picnic along the river!

small plate lunch lola's bistro new hope pennsylvania image

Small plate style lunch at Lola’s–perfect for sharing with friends!

Philadelphia:

The largest city in the state (and what should, in my opinion, be our state capital!) and one of the coolest cities to visit. People flock to Philadelphia for its unique blend of old world and modern cultures. Philly is an extremely historic city, but the hip art, music, and nightlife scenes might convince you otherwise.

Head to Old City to tour the famous historic sites, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, but check out Center City and beyond for something new! And don’t forget to go to a Phillies baseball game at Citizen’s Bank Park while you’re in town—you have to see for yourself how crazy Philadelphia sports fans (and our mascot, the Philly Phanatic) can be.

philly phanatic at one liberty place image

It was a freezing cold day in December, but I couldn’t pass up a photo with the Phanatic himself outside of 1 Liberty Place!

Erie:

Erie is at the very north-western most tip of the state, right at the Ohio border. Erie is best known for Lake Erie, in which you can take a swim or rent a boat.

Camping is a great activity in Erie, too, since it is a heavily forested area. But if that’s not for you, then just check out the Erie zoo, the large Millcreek Mall, or Splash Lagoon, an indoor water park!

Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh is the second largest city in PA, and is definitely a must-see. Pittsburgh sports fans might be as crazy as Philly sports fans, so try and catch a game while you’re in town. Pittsburgh is also home to the University of Pittsburgh, and the beautiful campus is worth a visit.

There are tons of things to do in the city, such as museum visits or a trip to the zoo or aquarium. And don’t forget to see the PPG Place building, which is perhaps the most well recognized building in the Pittsburgh skyline.

Johanna Gruber

Boston University | 9 stories

I am a junior at Boston University with a passion for literature, writing, the arts, and sewing. I am majoring in English with a minor in Journalism, and I hope to one day write, teach, or live as a hermit in my house with a never-ending supply of novels, Netflix, and noodles. I interned with the College Tourist during the summer of 2014 as a writer, and currently serve as a senior editor. Check out my website for more info and my portfolio: www.johannagruber.wordpress.com


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