The Best Things to do in Gettysburg: Why it’s an Underrated American City

best things to do in gettysburg, pennsylvania

The best things to do in Gettysburg and why it’s an underrated American city. This Pennsylvania gem has a lot more to it than just history.

When you think of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, you may have flashbacks to your high school American history class. Gettysburg was an important location to the Civil War in early July of 1863.

The Battle of Gettysburg had the largest amount of casualties than any other battle in the war, and it is thought of as the key turning point for the Union forces. In addition to the famous battle, it’s the city where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address.

The Gettysburg Address is arguably one of the most famous speeches in American history, and perhaps what makes it so great is that it’s still relevant to today’s world – promoting the idea of equality for all humans.

Even with its profound role in American history, Gettysburg is often an underrated and forgotten about city in Pennsylvania. What many don’t realize is the amount of activities there are for travelers who want to have a well-rounded all-American experience. There is a lot to discover in terms of things to do in Gettysburg.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - USA Travel
Photo by Rob Shenk

History is a big draw to the city, there’s no doubt about that, but there are quite a few other attractions to mention as well. For instance, Gettysburg has had a huge boom in its culinary scene recently, with a focus on farm-to-table dining and agritourism.

It’s also one of the top producers of apples in the US – this time of the year is only the best time of the year for warm cider! Gettysburg is also the perfect city for solo travelers and families because of its welcoming small town nature.

I want to bring the Gettysburg from your history books to life. From history to food and everything in between, there are a variety of ways to spend your time in the city. So, next time you’re wanting a unique location for a stateside trip, look into the fascinating city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

These are the best things to do in Gettysburg, from history to apples and more!

The Best Things to do in Gettysburg

History

History in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - USA Travel
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik

As I mentioned above, Gettysburg has played a huge part in American history and for that reason alone, it’s a cool destination to visit for history buffs.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects about East Coast cities is the amount of history they have. You don’t get quite the same history over here on the West Coast, and in terms of history in Gettysburg, the options for being completely immersed in it are limitless. There are guided historic tours of the city, museums in which to spend an afternoon, house tours to swoon over, and live action Civil War experiences.

Another fun fact about Gettysburg is that it was the only city where President and Mamie Eisenhower ever owned a house. That house is now a National Historic Site and you can still tour that home today.

Culinary Scene

things to do in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Farm-to-Table Restaurants - USA Travel
Photo via Flickr

One of the best things to do in Gettysburg is EAT!

I love a city that has a delicious and quality culinary scene, especially ones that focus on farm-to-table experiences. Gettysburg is all that and more.

Agritourism has taken this city by storm and it shows through with the local restaurant and food options around town. A few farm-to-table options to check out would be Appalachian Brewing Co., 1863 Restaurant, and Fidler and Company Craft Kitchen.

Gettysburg is located in Adams County, which is prime farmland in Pennsylvania. It’s known for free-range chickens, grazing cattle, and a variety of local vegetables and fruit. There are plenty of restaurants in town that focus on fresh seasonal dishes to keep that farm-to-table essence alive as much as possible.

Being the historic town that Gettysburg is, there are also a few historic and period fare spots. Farnsworth House Inn and Restaurant at Sweney’s Tavern for instance have staff that wear period dress, and the menu items even follow the time of the Civil War. The exterior of the inn has over 100 bullet holes in it. If that’s not authentic, I’m not sure what is.

Another option is Dobbin House Tavern, a restaurant that is housed in one of Gettysburg’s oldest beautifully restored homes. Or you could go for Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant that is set in a restored 160 year-old barn. The choices are numerous and these period restaurants all focus on farm-to-table dining as well.

All Things Apple   

Apples in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Photo by Fovea Centralis

And no, I’m not talking about the tech company. Gettysburg is one of the top producers of apples in the US, fourth to be exact. Because of its apple focus, there are many activities around the city that involve the fruit in some way or another.

So, if apples are your favorite fruit, you’re in luck. And even if they’re not, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a tasty way to appreciate them in Gettysburg. It could be through picking fresh apples, drinking hard cider, or even taste testing apple kimchi. Yes it’s a thing!

Hiking

Hiking in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Photo by Pablo Sanchez

And lastly, there’s much more to this beautiful city than just culture and history, there are impressive hiking trails too! Hiking or simply taking a walk can be the best way to get to know a city and its surroundings.

Sticking to its historical past, the Gettysburg Trail is the most popular trail in town that is educational too. If you want to get outside and be immersed in the history of Gettysburg, this would be the trail to tackle for a day. This moderate loop trail is 8.6 miles and has a balance of historic artifacts and lovely wildflowers to see.

If you’re looking for a shorter and easier hike the Johnny Reb Trail is a great one for scenic views and more history. The trail weaves through historic landmarks and monuments that relate back to the Battle of Gettysburg through a confederate perspective.

Other great hiking locations around Gettysburg would include Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, Codorus State Park, Caledonia State Park, and Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Have you visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania before? What would you be most excited to explore in the city – history, the culinary scene, or outdoor adventures? 

Note: This post was sponsored by Destination Gettysburg, but all opinions are my own. 

*Cover photo by fauxto_digit.

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Gettysburg - An Underrated American City - USA Travel

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
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