21 Best Things To Do In York, Pennsylvania

things to do in york pa
Sowmya
Sowmya
Updated

Easily accessible from Washington D.C., York is a charming historic town in Southern Pennsylvania that’s also endowed with gorgeous natural beauty. Not many are aware that York was a prominent town during the pre-Civil War days, even acting as the national capital for a brief time period! Naturally, there’s a lot of history you can explore via historic sites and museums around the city. Well-designed and well-maintained parks abound which you can visit and appreciate the surrounding beautiful natural landscapes. Aren’t these excellent reasons to visit York? But there’s more! We present to you the best things to do in York, Pennsylvania. Apart from historic landmarks and parks, we also cover interesting local hotspots and eateries.

1. Catch live Broadway shows at Appell Center for the Performing Arts

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With its historic air and old-world charm, this popular cultural center is a wonderful setting to enjoy live performances. This venue frequently hosts national artists and top shows, so there’s always something interesting on. The complex has two theatres - The Strand is where typically Broadway shows, live acts, and concerts are held, while The Capital hosts movie screenings. Gorgeous interiors, an intimate atmosphere, and friendly, helpful staff add to its charm.

Appell Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 50 N George Street, York

Website: Appell Center for the Performing Arts

Opening hours: Box Office: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4:30pm

2. Unwind and relax at Nixon Park Nature Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Head out to Nixon Park Nature Center to get a dose of natural beauty. Located around 5 miles (8 km) away from York city, the park is spread over 185 miles (298 km) and has a range of landscapes ranging from hillsides to meadows by streams and ponds. Walk along on the woodland trails to explore these soothing vistas. The large Nature Centre on site is a highly informative and well-designed space offering in-depth exhibits and dioramas about animals and their habitats, taxidermy displays of animals from around the world, as well as interactive displays that kids particularly, will enjoy.

Nixon Park Nature Center

Address: 5922 Nixon Dr, York

Website: Nixon Park Nature Center

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 8am - 4.30pm; Sun: 12pm - 4.30pm (closed on Mon)

3. Learn about local and national history at York County History Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

York County History Center gives visitors a glimpse into the vibrant history of the city. It showcases early American years and the city’s industrial past with a rich collection of memorabilia, historic pieces, and exhibits. There are three separate museums inside - one on agriculture and industry, one related to American history and another on York firefighters. Additionally, you can explore historic sites like the Colonial Complex where you’ll find the city’s oldest building. The best way to explore these historic sites is to join one of the regularly scheduled guided tours.

York County History Center

Address: 250 E Market St, York

Website: York County History Center

Opening hours:Tue - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: Apr - Nov: 15 USD; Dec - Mar: 12 USD

4. Watch a baseball game at PeoplesBank Park

PeoplesBank Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gnome8910 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Attending a baseball game at PeoplesBank Park is a wonderful experience in itself. The stadium is the home of York’s professional baseball team, the Revolution. Along with the excitement of the game, you’ll be entertained by shows and activities between innings. Look out for the cannon that goes off whenever the Revolution strikes a home run or wins a match! Don’t miss out on marveling at Arch Nemesis, which is the tallest left-field wall among professional baseball facilities. Enjoy reasonably priced food at the pavilion and let your kids have fun at Stauffer’s Downtown Playground, the large kid’s play area inside.

PeoplesBank Park

Address: 5 Brooks Robinson Way, York, PA 17401, USA

5. Explore the lush greenery of Samuel S. Lewis State Park

Samuel S. Lewis State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nicholas used under CC BY 2.0

Spread over 85 acres (34 ha), this park sits atop Mt. Pisgah, an 885-foot-high (270 meters) ridge overlooking the Susquehanna River Valley. Offering amazing panoramic views, the park is the perfect place to spend a few enjoyable hours with your family exploring its grounds and taking in the vistas as you walk the easy hiking trail that winds around the hills. You’ll find plenty of facilities including a playground, picnic tables scattered around and even a frisbee golf area.

Samuel S. Lewis State Park

Address: 6000 Mount Pisgah Rd, York

Website: Samuel S. Lewis State Park

6. Enjoy fresh ice cream at Perrydell Farm Dairy

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Visit Perrydell Farm Dairy for a chance to not only enjoy fresh yummy ice cream but also to pet calves! A popular local farm, at Perrydell you can take a self-guided tour to get a glimpse of how a working farm functions and of course, to visit the pens with the calves. After touring the farm, get yourself to their store where you can try out their exciting ice cream flavors (and the crowd favorite, chocolate milk!). Also available are fresh produce and other dairy products, plus lunch from a pre-decided menu.

Perrydell Farm Dairy

Address:90 Indian Rock Dam Road, York

Website: Perrydell Farm Dairy

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

7. Shop for farm-fresh products at York Central Market House

Central Market York
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 57RRoberts used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A popular stop for both tourists and locals, York Central Market House is the place for amazing fresh produce and delicious food. Located inside a historic building in downtown York, this bustling farmers market is choc-a-bloc with cheerful and friendly vendors selling fruits/vegetables, meats, and baked goods alongside cafes and stalls selling local specialties. Soak in the welcoming buzz and sample some of the wonderful food on offer.

Central Market York

Address: 34 W Philadelphia St, York

Website: Central Market York

Opening hours: Sat, Tue, Thu: 7am - 2pm

8. Enjoy a picnic at Rocky Ridge County Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Rock Ridge Park offers miles of forestland largely made up of oak trees and gorgeous views of Susquehanna Valley and York Valley. Walk up to the two observational decks for vantage points to take in the breathtaking green vistas. To explore the woods by hiking or biking you can use one the many trails that go through them. Not to forget, the park has everything for a fun family outing - a large Nature Fun Zone for kids to get hands-on with nature, horseshoe pits for picnics and even a fitness zone with exercise stations. If you are around during the holiday season, be sure to check out the park’s most popular feature the Christmas Magic event wherein a walking trail is partially lit up with a spectacular light show.

Rock Ridge Park

Address: 3699 Deininger Road, York

Website: Rock Ridge Park

9. Go bird-watching at Kiwanis Lake

Kiwanis Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user davidpinter used under CC BY 3.0

Interested in fishing or catching sight of migratory birds? Then head out to Kiwanis Lake that just a few miles off North York. Here you can stroll around the lake busy with flocks of geese and ducks, and enjoy the serene surroundings, or try your luck looking for visiting birds like the great egret and black-crowned herons. Fishing at Kiwanis Lake is restricted to children below 16 years of age so if your kids are keen then that’s something you can try - the lake is supposed to have fishes like carp, catfish, and bass.

Kiwanis Lake

Address: North Newberry St., Parkway Blvd., York

10. Tour the fun and informative Agricultural & Industrial Museum

Agricultural and Industrial Museum York
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Klaus Nahr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Get to know all about the surprisingly rich agricultural and industrial history of York at this museum. Spread over two floors, the museum has more than 20 exhibits that showcase 300 years of development in transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing in York. What makes the museum more interesting for visitors is its range of interactive displays where you can get hands-on with historic objects, like sitting inside a 1916 trolley car or trying out a 1920s rotary phone!

Agricultural and Industrial Museum

Address: 217 W. Princess St, York

Website: Agricultural and Industrial Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: Apr - Nov: 15 USD; Dec - Mar: 12 USD

11. Stroll through the Old Town Historic District

York Historic District
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elisa Rolle used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A walk around the Old Town Historic District in York will take you back to the pre-Civil War days. Retaining the 19th-century character, you will come across commercial and residential buildings with exposed brickwork characteristic of the Victorian era. Stop and check out the many noteworthy buildings here including the York Water Company’s headquarters, a hotel that Charles Dickens reportedly stayed in (National House) and a colonial-era inn. First Fridays of a month are a particularly good time as the entire area gets lively with street performers, stalls and food trucks. Try taking a guided tour to get the best experience.

12. Tour the fantastic Old Republic Distillery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Get to taste some of the smoothest vodkas at Old Republic Distillery or ORD as it’s known. One of the first distilleries to come up in the area after Prohibition, this distillery today cooks up stunning flavored vodkas. Handcrafted in small batches, these high-quality vodkas are truly delightful. Vodka tastings are conducted at their bar under the expert guidance of the staff, and since the joint is BYOF( Bring Your Own Food), you can bring your own meal and enjoy the drinks. Must-try beverages include their blackberry vodka and Apple Pie Moonshine. On Saturdays, you will find the place buzzing with the bar hosting live music shows.

Old Republic Distillery

Address: 1327 N. Duke St., York,

Website: Old Republic Distillery

Opening hours: Thu: 4pm - 8.30pm; Fri - Sat: 12am - 10pm

13. Take the kids to York Township Park for a fun outing

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Kids will not run out of fun things to do at the York Township Park. This park has an incredible range of facilities for kids including soccer and baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, resting/picnic pavilions, play areas with slides/swings, a rock climbing section and much more. There is a paved walking trail for those wanting to walk or jog. The park hosts several classes and activities so look out for them on their website.

York Township Park

Address: 25 Oak St, York

Website: York Township Park

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

14. Visit York Barbell Hall of Fame

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Spread over 8,000 sq feet (743 sq meters), the York Barbell Hall of Fame traces the history of strength sports from the era of the early Olympic Games to the current highly specialized professional powerlifting and bodybuilding phase. Housed in the first floor of the famed fitness equipment manufacturer York Barbell’s corporate headquarters, the museum showcases a selection of equipment and memorabilia from 19th and 20th centuries like vintage barbells, plaques, and trophies, as well as informative exhibits featuring statues of legendary greats. The museum is self-guided and entry is free.

York Barbell Hall of Fame

Address: 3300 Board Rd, York

Website: York Barbell Hall of Fame

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 4.30pm (closed on Sun)

15. Snow-tube in AvalancheXpress

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For some fun in the snow, hit the slopes at AvalancheXpress for snow tubing and skiing. With its seven-story, 900-foot (274 meters) long tubing track, you are sure to feel the rush of adrenalin when you fly down. Fortunately, no prior experience is needed, and a lift takes you back up thus avoiding the need to climb uphill. Other facilities include fire pits to warm yourself, an ice skating rink, a pub, and a restaurant. You can also stay at the resort if you prefer a complete experience. Lines are typically long during weekends so plan ahead and book. Availability and prices vary, depending on the season.

AvalancheXpress

Address: Heritage Hills Golf Resort, 2700 Mount Rose Ave., York

Website: AvalancheXpress

16. Explore the scenic trails of Heritage Rail Trail County Park

Heritage Railroad Trail County Park Howard Tunnel
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Onore Baka Sama used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Stretching for around 21 miles (34 km), this fun ‘rail-with-trail’ starts at the Colonial Courthouse and connects the Torry C. Brown Rail Trail in Maryland. The trail runs along a rail line and through some of the most picturesque landscapes of York. As the trail is flat it is an easy hike, and includes a host of interesting sights including a tunnel and historic buildings like the Hanover Junction, making it a unique experience. You are likely to see trains crossing by which makes it exciting, but do be careful at points of crossing.

Heritage Rail Trail County Park

Address: 400 Mundis Race Rd, York

Website: Heritage Rail Trail County Park

17. Take a fitness class at ILoveKickboxing York

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Get your heart pumping by working out at one of ILoveKickboxing York’s classes. This fitness studio offers an awesome blend of high-intensity cardio and strength workouts to make the hour you spend there, fun and rewarding. Suitable for even beginners, you will have your own personal heavy bag so it is a no-contact workout.

ILoveKickboxing York

Address: 2058 South Queen St, York

Website: ILoveKickboxing York

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 8pm (closed on Sun)

18. Take your furry friend for a walk to dog park, John C. Rudy County Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Yet another well-maintained park in York with a host of facilities like a well-maintained hiking trail, playgrounds, soccer/softball fields, volleyball/baseball courts, exercise stations, horseshoes pits, and picnic pavilions. But the top highlight here is its large dog park. Split into two areas - one for large dogs and another for small ones - this dog park is heaven for dogs and for those who love to see dogs play! The dog park includes thoughtful amenities like water fountains for the dogs and benches for the owners.

John C. Rudy County Park

Address: 400 Mundis Race Rd, York

Website: John C. Rudy County Park

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)

19. Make bath fizzies at Sunrise Soap Company

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Step into this store and let an incredibly pleasant aroma engulf you. This natural body care store makes handmade products using only natural ingredients. The range is extensive including all-natural soaps, bath bombs, lotions, scrubs, lip balms and more. There’s a kitchen inside the store which is open to visitors and where soap and bath fizzies are typically made. The friendly and enthusiastic staff love explaining the process to visitors, and you can even try your hand at making your own fizzies!

Sunrise Soap Co

Address: 29 N Beaver Street, York

Website: Sunrise Soap Co

Opening hours: Sat: 8am - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm; Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm

20. Dine at Left Bank Restaurant & Bar

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Counted among the best restaurants in York, this upscale dining establishment offers great food and a classy ambiance. Featuring quintessential American cuisine you can enjoy steaks, seafood, and other classic dishes. The restaurant’s extensive wine list, superb signature cocktails, and attentive staff are what makes it a top destination for those seeking an exclusive dining experience.

Left Bank Restaurant & Bar

Address: 120 N George St, York,

Website: Left Bank Restaurant & Bar

Opening hours: Mon: 4am - 9pm; Tue - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Sat: 4am - 10pm (closed on Sun)

21. Enjoy your night with live music at The Depot

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With a dive bar vibe, The Depot is the place to take in underground music in York. Regularly featuring indie bands and performers, the place offers an intimate atmosphere that’s great to enjoy the performances. Be sure to check out their craft beer selection as well as their popular Open Mic sessions held on Thursdays!

The Depot

Address: 360 W Cottage Pl, York

Website: The Depot

Enjoy York's wide range of attractions

York Pennsylvania
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lincolnman65 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Our list of things to do in York, Pennslyvania is a great start to explore this interesting city. You’ll soon uncover more facets. For instance, the city calls itself “The Factory Tour Capital of the World” so you can go behind-the-scenes in several factories including that of Harley Davidson! Yet another new attraction is the Steam Into History which is a recreated Civil War-era train that works as a moving history museum. So here’s to having a great time in York!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Writing and travelling both bring joy to Sowmya's life. Her favourite destination so far is Bhutan. A land of incredible beauty! And her favourite style of travelling is solo backpacking!...Read more

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