People in front of a stage at the base of a defunct steel plant
We have lived in Pennsylvania for over 15 years and are still always discovering something new. From the Pocono Mountains to the historical sites of Philadelphia to the food of Pittsburgh, there so much to see and experience here.
Quick facts about Pennsylvania
Population: 12.9 million
Size: 46,055 square miles
Major cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading
Interesting note: Pennsylvania has the second largest population of Amish in the US
Before Europeans arrived, a number of Native American tribes called the area home. The Algonquian Lenape, the Iroquoian Susquehannock, and the Petun lived in different parts of the state.
William Penn, a Quaker from England, founded Pennsylvania as one of the 13 original colonies in the United States in 1681. Nearly a century later, it became a significant location for the Founding Fathers of the United States. The US Declaration of Independence was adopted at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia and other locations around the state hosted Continental Congress meetings.
During the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in Gettysburg in the south-central portion of the state. It is pointed to as the turning point of the war. Before and amidst the war, numerous locations throughout Pennsylvania were stops on the Underground Railroad, helping formerly enslaved people make their way from the South to safety in the North.
Planning a trip
It’s important to know that Pennsylvania has a lot of land area—a drive diagonally across the state from Erie to Philadelphia takes approximately 8 hours.
Most visitors will plan their trips around the state’s two largest cities—Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—since they have the most well-known attractions. Philadelphia is well-connected by train and is easy to reach from New York City or Washington, D.C.