Savannah Marie searches for the best restaurants, wildlife and attractions that Harrisburg has to offer.
Fort Hunter Mansion is one of a number of local seasonal things to do in central Pennsylvania.
As a recent transplant to Harrisburg, I've been pretty impressed with the vast amount of activities here. With Christmas quickly approaching, I've found a lot of great events to get me in the spirit of the season; so I've decided to share my great finds with you. It’s pretty easy to find fun, seasonal things to do, but it can be hard to narrow things down! Here’s just a sampling of holiday happenings in Harrisburg.
Christmas at Fort Hunter
The Fort Hunter Mansion, located along Front Street in Harrisburg, is a beautiful riverfront mansion that dates back to 1725. Every year, volunteers deck the halls with fresh greens, fruits, flowers and other holiday decorations for a beautiful display. Take a guided tour of the mansion, and be sure to visit the gift shop for last-minute ideas.
Also on the grounds of Fort Hunter, the Centennial Barn hosts a Toy Train Exhibit on December 14, 15, 21 and 22. The Keystone Model Railroad Historical Society will exhibit HO gauge trains in a large, walk-around layout that both children and adults will love.
This beloved holiday ballet comes to the Sunoco Performance Center, located at the Whitaker Center, on December 14, 15, 21 and 22. Central PA Youth Ballet puts on a memorable performance of George Balanchine’s’ The Nutcracker, complete with gorgeous costumes and stunning sets. This is an annual tradition in Harrisburg that many families regularly put on their calendars. Get ready to be transported to the Land of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker prince!
Cars & Christmas Celebration
The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum has been transformed into a winter wonderland! In addition to cars from the earliest models to the newest Mustang models, the museum is filled with Christmas trees adorned with period decorations and toy displays that are guaranteed to enchant. In addition to cars, there is a massive model-train layout and even a gigantic snowplow, which is located outside.
Wheatland Chorale Holiday Concert
Lancaster’s Wheatland Chorale will put on its “mystery to Joy” Christmas concert on December 14 at Market Square Presbyterian Church. The Chorale is in its 27th season and has put together an impressive and varied list of choral works for its upcoming concert. The concert is free and is sure to put you in the holiday mood.
Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
Hersheypark is not just a summer vacation destination. In December, the park is transformed into Christmas Candylane, complete with twinkling lights, festive decorations, fun rides and chocolate characters all decked out for Christmas. Watch the Rockin’ Music Box Christmas show, visit Santa’s reindeer and even see Santa himself. It’s a treat the whole family will enjoy!
Christmas Day Dinner
If you don’t feel like preparing a big holiday feast, head to downtown Harrisburg for a fabulous and decadent brunch. Hilton Harrisburg is offering Christmas brunch at its Raspberries Restaurant, featuring fruit-stuffed roast goose, maple-glazed ham, roast beef and smoked seafood. There are also Christmas brunches at Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey and The Hershey Lodge.
New Year’s Eve Celebration
Harrisburg puts on a great New Year’s Eve party and brings the year to a fun-filled conclusion! Enjoy live music, children’s performances and crafts, the dropping of the strawberry at midnight and a stunning fireworks show. Make a night of it by starting off with dinner at one of the many restaurants in town. It’s a festive, free and family-friendly way to ring in the new year with pizazz.
While i'm not sure i'll be able to hit each and every event on my list, there is no doubt that the Harrisburg area offers a vast array of holiday activities you and your family will love. Pick your favorites and be prepared to get into the holiday spirit!