Philadelphia

The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Pennsylvania

Get some fresh air.

Stef Ko/Shutterstock
Stef Ko/Shutterstock
Stef Ko/Shutterstock

Put all that outdoor gear you impulse bought over the summer to good use! Just because temps are low, doesn’t mean you can’t hike to great heights and spot some beautiful sights in the process. Rather than spend another winter cooped up inside, grab a mask, bundle up, and enjoy all the natural eye candy that Pennsylvania has to offer.

Delmas Lehman/Shutterstock
Delmas Lehman/Shutterstock
Delmas Lehman/Shutterstock

Valley Forge State Park

Valley Forge
The site where George Washington and the Continental Army troops were stationed in 1777 and 1778 is now a park featuring tons of historical goodies like Washington’s headquarters, rebuilt log soldiers’ huts, and 30 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Keep an eye out for photo-worthy sites and scenes like the National Memorial Arch and the dozens of species of birds that call the park home. (Bonus points: It’s accessible by bike from Philly via the Schuylkill River Trail.)

Brian Youchak/Shutterstock
Brian Youchak/Shutterstock
Brian Youchak/Shutterstock

New Hope-Lambertville Bridge

Lambertville, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania
Connecting the towns of Lambertville and New Hope, this bridge spans the width of the Delaware River and is available to both pedestrians and motorists. Especially lovely during the evenings, catch golden hour over the river as you stroll back and forth between the riverfront towns, equally picturesque with their antique shops, restaurants, and boutiques.

Hickory Run State Park
Hickory Run State Park
Hickory Run State Park

Hickory Run State Park

Carbon County
Home to Boulder Field, a 720,000-square-foot area full of boulders (accessible via car or a six-mile out and back trail), Hickory Run State Park also boasts 40 miles of trails. Hike out to Hawk Falls (one mile), check out the overlook of the Lehigh River and Lehigh Gorge State Park along the Fireline Trail, or take a dip in Sand Spring Lake during warmer months.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap

Bushkill

Although the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area spans more than 200 miles, in the southernmost part of the park near Stroudsburg is where the Delaware River cuts through the Kittatinny Ridge, creating the water gap itself. This scenic natural phenomenon is covered in trees, providing a stark contrast between the sky above and the river below. There are a number of hikes that lead to overlooks on both the NJ and Pennsylvania sides of the river, including the difficult, one-mile Mt. Tammany Trail.

Sherman Cahal/Shutterstock
Sherman Cahal/Shutterstock
Sherman Cahal/Shutterstock

McConnells Mill State Park

Portersville
About 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh is this 2,546-acre park, featuring its namesake mill and covered bridge, both built in the 1800s. (Park at the Kildoo Picnic Area and hike down some stairs to check it out.) With 11 miles of trails that traverse the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge, you’ve got a variety of options if you want to peep the mill and covered bridge, waterfalls, and creeks.

Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr
Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr
Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr

Pine Creek Gorge

Wellsboro
Colloquially known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, this 47-mile gorge provides a number of overlooks offering supreme views of the canyon up to 1,400 feet below at its deepest point. For the most scenic overlooks, make your way to Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks where you can hike short lengths to reach primo viewing spots. Pitch a tent and camp, or in the winter months, traverse the 177 miles of snowmobile trails.

Jim/Flickr
Jim/Flickr
Jim/Flickr

Delaware & Lehigh Trail

Bucks, Carbon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton Counties
For a scenic bike ride, the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail follows the Lehigh River for up to 142 miles. Either BYO bike or rent your own and ride along old train tracks and feast your eyes on waterfalls, overlooks, canals, and other wildlife. Since the trail is so expansive, there are many entry points and segments, so you should be able to avoid crowds.

Brook Ward/Flickr
Brook Ward/Flickr
Brook Ward/Flickr

Ricketts Glen State Park

Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia Counties
Over the course of 13,193 acres, you’ll encounter 26 miles of hiking trails, ranging from less than one mile to just over seven, and 22 waterfalls. The seven-mile hiking trail, while the most difficult, gets you views of nearly all of said waterfalls. The sprawling park has over 100 campsites, so start a fire and spend the night under the open sky.

Jackie Allen/Flickr
Jackie Allen/Flickr
Jackie Allen/Flickr

Worlds End State Park

Forksville
In the valley of Loyalsock Creek, Worlds End State Park is picturesque, surrounded by mountains and forest. There’s a small swimming area off of the creek if you need a quick cool-off while on your 59-mile hike on the Loyalsock Trail, which follows the mountain ridges and streams. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of much, much shorter trails.) The creek is open to kayakers and fishers, too.

Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

Bushkill Falls

Poconos
Dubbed the Niagara of Pennsylvania, this collection of eight waterfalls does require a minor admission fee to view, but the site offers plenty to do including four trails of varying difficulty, ranging from 15 minutes to two hours, birdwatching, and fishing. Just over a two-hour drive from Philly, the falls make for a scenic day trip from the city.

Daniel Hartwig/Flickr
Daniel Hartwig/Flickr
Daniel Hartwig/Flickr

The Pinnacle Trail

Berks County
This 10-mile out-and-back trail on the Pennsylvania stretch of the Appalachian Trail features some of the best views of the Lehigh Valley. While it’s a little steep to get to the top, the effort is worth the bird watching and nature gazing at the top. While this trail can sometimes draw crowds, hikers commented on the easy ability to practice social distancing.

Random Michelle/Flickr
Random Michelle/Flickr
Random Michelle/Flickr

Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle
Located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, right near the West Virginia and Maryland borders, Ohiopyle is one of the most visited state parks in the Keystone State. At Ohiopyle, visitors have their choice of outdoor activities — including camping, hiking trails, and hunting — but the park is probably best known for the 14-mile stretch of the Youghiogheny River that contains some of the best whitewater rafting on the East Coast. Try riding your bike along the river for some scenic views.

Jaime Dillen-Seibel/Flickr
Jaime Dillen-Seibel/Flickr
Jaime Dillen-Seibel/Flickr

Presque Isle State Park

Erie
Not many people think of heading to the shores of Lake Erie for vacation, but when you see the views at Presque Isle State Park, a 3,200-acre peninsula that juts into the lake, you might think twice about heading east next summer. At Presque Isle there are all the things you would associate with a trip to the shore — sandy beaches, tons of outdoor activities, and that one person that has been in the sun for way too long.

Yayad/Flickr
Yayad/Flickr
Yayad/Flickr

Cook Forest/Clarion River

Cooksburg
Two hours north of Pittsburgh sits Cook Forest, an 11,500-acre state park filled with mountainous hills, white pine and hemlock trees, and the Clarion River. It’s one of the lesser-known state parks, which doesn’t make it any less beautiful. While you could always take a hike, one of the best ways to experience Cook Forest is to take a kayak, canoe, or tube out for a leisurely float down the river.

Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association
Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association
Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association

Cherry Springs State Park

Coudersport
Unfortunately for most of us living on the East Coast, light pollution is a serious problem when trying to stargaze — that is unless you head to Cherry Springs State Park in Northern PA. The park is one of the only “dark sky” areas on the East Coast, and the location is so isolated that you see tons of stars, asteroids, Venus, the Milky Way, and more with the naked eye during optimal conditions. So keep that in mind the next time the blood moon shows up in 2032.

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

Kinzua Bridge

McKean County
Prior to the 2003 tornado that took out the middle section of the structure, the Kinzua Bridge was a 300-foot-tall, 2,052-foot-long trestle bridge that was a connection point for the local railroad across Kinzua Creek. Sensing that it wasn’t economically viable to rebuild the bridge, the state has turned the site into a tourist destination where visitors can walk to the end of the bridge and view the expansive surroundings from the glass-floored observation deck.

Allie Volpe is a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter @allieevolpe.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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