Free Things To Do

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Downtown Hershey

Free Things To Do In Hershey

 

Take the Chocolate Tour at Hershey's Chocolate World Attraction

Let your nose lead you through Hershey’s chocolate tour, an immersive ride where you’ll see, feel, hear and smell the process of making Hershey’s famous chocolate – from cocoa bean to bar. Plus, there’s a free sample for everyone at the end!

Chocolate World Tour Ride

Hollywood Casino Horse Racing

Watch a Horse Race at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course

If you can keep your wallet in your pocket, it’s free to watch a live horse race Wednesday through Saturday, plus simulcast races from around the world seven days a week. Guests under 21 are permitted in the racing area and at the Skybox and Mountainview Dining restaurants.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventure

Fresh air is always free! Hershey has a variety of trails to walk, hike or bike in any season. Spring through fall, you can escape to the Swatara Creek for a kayak adventure. See some highlights below and explore all-things-outdoor on the Hershey Harrisburg Adventure Trail.

  • Hershey Medical Center Trail – features 10 trails for hiking, biking, or walking
  • Swatara Creek – features a calm and scenic route for kayak adventures

Kayaking on Swatara Creek

Play at Cocoa Castle

Just a few blocks from Chocolate Avenue you’ll find an impressive community playground called Cocoa Castle (605 Cocoa Avenue) that’s perfect for burning a tot’s energy before or after a long car ride!

Browse Vintage Goods at Crossroads Antique Mall

This impressive collection of antiques includes china, furniture, toys, dolls, and thousands of memory-inducing knick-knacks. See who can find the most unusual item in this two-story treasure trove.

Harrisburg City Island Aerial

Free Things to Do in Harrisburg

Wildwood Boardwalk Family Walking Dog - Free Things To Do

Enjoy More Outdoor Adventure

Downtown Harrisburg’s riverfront location and peaceful wooded areas just outside the city make it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts! Morning walk along the Susquehanna River? Free. Afternoon hike at Wildwood Park? Free. Mountain biking on the Rattling Creek Trail System? Say it with me – FREE.

If you didn’t click on the Adventure Trail link above, now’s the time!

Take a Tour of the Pennsylvania State Capitol

Heralded by President Teddy Roosevelt as the “handsomest building he’d ever seen,” the Pennsylvania State Capitol is filled with art, architecture, and history. Hop on a free 30-minute tour offered daily by a knowledgeable tour guide.

Learn About Legislation at the Welcome Center

Kids will love the interactive exhibits that both entertain and educate in the Capitol’s Welcome Center, located in the East Wing.

PA State Capitol - Free Things to Do

 

City Island Free Things To Do

Have Some Fun on City Island

Take a stroll around City Island for panoramic views of the Susquehanna River and Harrisburg. The kids can play at the Harbourtown, a little village playground where imagination can run wild.  There are several paid activities like 18 holes at Water Golf or a ride on The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat, City Island Train, or the Carousel.

Explore the Olewine Nature Center at Wildwood Park

The Nature Center educates children (and parents, too) about the wonderful world of nature and why it’s so important to conserve our natural resources. It’s located at Wildwood Park, a city-center nature oasis with 90 acres of walking trails, wetlands, and wildlife. It’s a photographer’s dream location to capture wildlife images and stunning sunrises and sunsets on the lake!

Wildwood Lake - Olewine Nature Center - Free Things To Do

 

Midtown Scholar Book Store - Free Things To Do

Get Lost in the Midtown Scholar Bookstore Cafe'

This expansive independent bookstore houses aisles of new, used, rare, academic, and discount books. Check their events calendar for free live music, author talks, and book signings.

Browse the Broad Street Market

As the oldest continuously operated market house in the country, history runs deep here! During the Civil War, farmers at the Broad Street Market helped feed the 300,000 Union soldiers stationed at nearby Camp Curtin. Today, the sense of history – and the sense of smell – are free. But with so many sandwiches, produce counters, treats and more, we can’t guarantee you’ll have the willpower to avoid buying the mouthwatering munchies!

Picnic at Fort Hunter Park

Enjoy the day at Fort Hunter Park, stopping for lunch at one of the riverfront picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, or swings. You might even see a train crossing the Rockville Bridge, the longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world.

Check Out the Everhart Covered Bridge

Pennsylvania has more covered bridges than any other state, and you can walk through one at Fort Hunter Park. The Everhart Covered Bridge was originally built in 1881 in Perry County but has since been relocated, restored, and preserved for visitors to admire.

 

Fort Hunter - Free Things To Do

 

Spring Gate Tasting - Free Things To Do

Pose for a Pretty Picture on the Bridge at Italian Lake

In the center of Uptown Harrisburg at 3rd & Division Streets, you’ll be awed at the beautiful Italian Lake Park, with its greenery, blooms, fountains, and waterfowl. Search “Italian Lake” in our Events Calendar to see if any free concerts are in the works!

Taste Free Samples at Springgate Winery & Brewery

Sip some free samples at SpringGate Winery. Relax on the covered porch on Saturdays and Sundays, 12 noon to 6pm to enjoy two wine flavors, plus a sample from the brewery and distillery.

Visit the Art Association of Harrisburg

This gallery is Harrisburg’s oldest and largest, located in the historic Governor Findlay Mansion overlooking the Susquehanna River. Their exhibits change every five weeks so you can enjoy new art each time you’re in town.

Admire the Galleries at the Millworks

In addition to farm-fresh food and beer, The Millworks houses the creative studios of approximately 30 area artists. Their paintings, sculptures, and crafts are on display in the halls and galleries, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to see them in action.

 

Art Association of Harrisburg - Free Things to Do

 

Bike the Greenbelt - Free Things To Do

Plan for 3rd In The Burg

Book your trip to include the third Friday of the month when Harrisburg hosts special events, exhibits, shows, concerts, lectures, and more to showcase the culture of the city. 3rd in the Burg is generally free, and prices vary at each participating venue.

Bike the Capital Area Greenbelt

This 22-mile trail of on-road and dedicated paths is perfect for visitors who like to sightsee and exercise. You'll pass by landmarks like Wildwood Park, Riverfront Park, Five Senses Garden, and Reservoir Park. Be sure to stop for a few photos! Check out our biking guide for more treks including road cycling routes and mountain biking trails.

Explore the Susquehanna River

Water sports enthusiasts should have no issues with the Susquehanna River’s calm waters, which are great for kayaking, fishing, pontoon boating, and creating your own adventures!

Each Saturday in the summer, The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat transforms into a floating classroom for River School. It's free for kids to ride the 75-minute cruise where they'll learn about plants, animals, and insects, the geology of the river, and more. (Tickets for parents are $15 each)

 

Pride of Susquehanna River School - Free Things to Do

Murals In Harrisburg - Free Things To Do

Get Your Picture Taken In Front of a Mural

Throughout Harrisburg, you’ll find impressive frescos that transform bland buildings into canvases. We recommend a postcard-worthy photograph in front of the "Harrisburg" mural on the corner of Reily Street and Green Street in Midtown. Check out the Harrisburg Mural Trail map from Sprocket Mural Works.

Catch Some Fireworks Over the Susquehanna River

 Throughout the summer months, you might get to enjoy some fireworks over the river, set off from City Island after select Harrisburg Senators’ games and during summer holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day). Best places to include Riverfront Park or along the Walnut Street walking bridge.

Fireworks over the Susquehanna - Free Things to Do

Admire the Architecture of Cathedral of Saint Patrick

One of Harrisburg’s most prominent skyline landmarks, the Cathedral atop the Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick is beautiful, inside and out.

Browse the Works at Rose Lehrman Art Gallery

Located on the campus of Harrisburg Area Community College, the Rose Lehrman Art Gallery has rotating exhibits from national and international artists, as well as occasional faculty pieces that showcase local talent.

Free Things To Do Around the Region

Hawk Rock - Free Things To Do

Hike to Hawk Rock 

Known to trail enthusiasts as one of the Appalachian Trail’s most beautiful overlooks, the hike to Hawk Rock is refreshing and the view from the top is breathtaking. Check out our hiking guide for more treks around the region.

 

Visit the Petting Zoo and Playground At Indian Echo Caverns

Above ground at Indian Echo Caverns, visitors can say hello to a collection of friendly, trained farm animals, including goats, alpacas, chickens, and peacocks. The playground area features slides, swings, monkey bars, and a climbing wall. Unpack your lunch at one of their free-to-use picnic tables.

Indian Echo Petting Zoo - Free Things To Do

Spot the Mini Statue of Liberty

Standing 25 feet tall on a perch in the middle of the Susquehanna River is our own Lady Liberty, who is one-sixth the size of the one in New York. She appeared overnight in 1986 as part of a prank, but she quickly captured the hearts of the locals. When she blew over in 1992, her fans rallied to erect a permanent replica. Catch a glimpse of her while driving north along the Dauphin Narrows on 322.

Check Our Events Calendar

We’ve included a lot of incredible attractions and activities on this list, but there’s always more! From complimentary museum admissions and book talks to free concerts and festivals, search our calendar for limited time events during your visit.

You don’t always have to pay to play!