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Fun Things to Do in Gettysburg

Gettysburg is one of our favorite places on the East Coast. The city has been popular for decades not only because of its role in the Civil War but for its attractive downtown teeming with shops, great restaurants, and attractions. Whether you like history, good food, or just hanging out, there is plenty to entertain you here. No matter how many times we return, we always uncover new, fun things to do in Gettysburg.

Shops along a street in downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Shops in downtown Gettysburg

The city’s downtown is compact and highly walkable. From one end to the other is only about one mile, so you can see many of the main places of interest on a day trip. But that would mean missing out on the welcoming bed and breakfasts, the fun craft beverage spots, and many of the historical and natural attractions that are within just a short drive.

There’s so much to choose from here that we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite things to see and do in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, whether you’re visiting for a weekend or longer.

Statue of President Lincoln and a tourist.
StLincoln meeting a visitor referred to as “Perry Como,” thanks to his clothes
Table Of Contents

See Sachs Covered Bridge

Red covered bridge over a creek.
The Sachs Covered Bridge

Just a few miles from downtown, the Sachs Covered Bridge isn’t only pretty–it’s historic, too. Built in 1854, the bridge was used by both the Union and the Confederate armies during and after the Civil War. As a result, local lore says it’s the most haunted bridge in America.

Ghost stories aside, the pedestrian-only bridge is a popular spot for photos. You’ll also see people out walking, picnicking, and otherwise enjoying the peaceful setting.

Take a food tour

Cup of cucumber soup and bread.
Delicious cucumber soup and fresh bread

This is a foodie town. A tour with Savor Gettysburg is a perfect introduction to the delicious bites here, highlighting a variety of local specialties from homemade ice cream to the best soup we’ve ever tasted.

There are several tour options, including the historic downtown tour, seasonal tours, and a market visit and cooking class. The experiences last about three hours and involve less than a mile of walking, which is good since someone may need to roll you home. Guides can also provide personal recommendations, so a food tour is a great way to start a trip if you’ll be in town for a couple of days.

Visit the Shriver House Museum

Civil War-era quilting room with desk and map.
The quilting room at the Shriver House Museum

The Shriver House Museum transports you directly to the 1860s and delivers a look into the life of the Shriver family as the Civil War arrived in town. This unique perspective makes it one of the most interesting places to visit in Gettysburg, even for people who aren’t Civil War buffs.

The rooms at the Shriver House tell the story of George, Hettie, and their two young daughters as they made a life and then faced the realities of death that war brings. A guide dressed in a period costume provides details of civilian life and talks about how the town—and the Shrivers, specifically—coped during and after the Battle of Gettysburg. You’ll learn about everything from George’s downstairs saloon to the house’s time as a sharpshooter post and hospital.

The owner of the Shriver House gives regular tours herself. We were fortunate to have her as our guide and learned about the house’s restoration and all the artifacts that have been uncovered in the process of bringing the Shrivers’ story to life. Photographs trace the process of preserving this uncommon look at the impact of the war.

To learn more about how the lives of average residents were changed by the war, take this top-rated downtown walking tour.

Take a cooking class at Hollabaugh Bros.

Supplies for making apple dumplings on floured cutting board.
An apple dumpling in process at Hollabaugh Bros.

Adams County, where Gettysburg is located, is the heart of apple country. You can tour different orchards and farms where you can even pick your own fruits like apples, peaches, and blueberries. Consider a stop by Hollabaugh Bros., which hosts fruit festivals throughout the year and offers cooking and canning classes on many weekends. We loved trying our hand at making apple dumplings, and they were delicious!

Sample the wares at local breweries

With more than 10 craft breweries and cideries in the area, you’re spoiled for choice. There are lots of easy-to-reach choices downtown, including Battlefield Brew Works and Appalachian Brewing Company. We particularly enjoyed Fourscore Beer Co., which brews unusual offerings like Creamsicle Blueberry Cobbler and Four S’mores Imperial Stout. They also have a full menu of burgers, sandwiches, and other tasty items.

Full beer glasses and a "Pour Tour" booklet on table at the Thirsty Farmer.
Some of the brews at Thirsty Farmer

Just outside the city, check out Center Square Brewing and Thirsty Farmer Brew Works, which has regular trivia nights and special events at their tasting room in Biglerville. One of our favorite cideries in the country–Atomic Dog Hard Cider (formerly Jack’s)–is also located nearby.

Stroll through downtown

Just wandering is one of the most fun things to do in Gettysburg. Downtown is home to over 100 stores selling everything from clothes to Civil War artifacts. We love Lark for its thoughtful and unique gifts, the jewelry and handcrafts at Gallery 30, and the games and creativity kits at Nerd Herd.

As you walk through the area, you can also see a number of buildings from the Civil War with damage from the battle that partially took place in these streets. When you’ve had your fill of shopping and taking in the history, give your feet a break at one of the many restaurants or tasting rooms.

Stop at the Gettysburg Chocolate Market

Wooden bar with inlaid stained glass panels and a display case for chocolates.
Gettysburg Chocolate Market

Styled like an antique soda bar, the Gettysburg Chocolate Market has a wide variety of offerings just a few steps off Lincoln Square. If you’re in a hurry, grab some treats to take with you like gourmet truffles, fudge, or candy. If you want to linger for a while, check out their classic sodas, espresso drinks, teas, ice cream, and delicious chocolate concoctions. It’s hard to go wrong with any choice here.

Visit Jennie Wade House

Brick house with a statue of Jennie Wade in front.
Statue in honor of Jenny Wade

Despite the number of casualties seen on the battlefield, only one civilian died during the fighting–Jennie Wade. She was at home kneading bread when a bullet shot into the kitchen and killed her.

The Jennie Wade House (which actually belonged to her sister) is preserved now almost as it was when Jennie died in 1863. Tour guides tell the story of the Wade family on that day and shed light on what it was like to be a civilian when the war came to town.

Shop at the Round Barn

White round barn.
The unique Round Barn

Stop at the 110-year-old Historic Round Barn and Farm Market just a few miles away for fresh produce and milk along with great products–like jam, salsa, and pickles–made from the bounty of the spring and summer fruits and veggies. The Round Barn holds periodic events and celebrations throughout the year, including a kids’ market featuring local entrepreneurs, a make-your-own bouquet event for Mother’s Day, and fun fairs. It’s one of our favorite places in town for delicious treats.

Try Mr. G’s Ice Cream

Red brick building with a sign for "Mr G's Old Fashioned Ice Cream."
Outside Mr. G’s

Mr. G’s Ice Cream is one of the most popular places in Gettysburg. They feature 16 homemade flavors, often incorporating local featured ingredients like fruit from Hollabaugh Bros. It’s nearly impossible to choose between the red velvet, Snickers, salted caramel, and other fabulous flavors.

Fans drive a long way for a taste of Mr. G’s, so don’t miss it when you’re in town. Check their Facebook page for current flavors.

Get creative at Board and Brush

Painting supplies and painted wooden sign.
One of the winter sign options at Board and Brush

Board and Brush is the perfect place to bring out your inner artist, even when you’re not sure you have one. If you’re wondering what to do in Gettysburg when the weather doesn’t cooperate or when you’re looking for something different, visit this fun sign workshop. You can choose from hundreds of patterns and colors, and the staff will help you with selecting finishes, stains, and flourishes to make the sign completely personal.

I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but with the guidance of the staff, I made a sign I loved. Lance even got into it and made his own creation–proof that people of all interests and creative skill levels can have a great time here.

Explore the Gettysburg Battlefield

Statue of a Civil War soldier holding a gun.
One of the many soldier statues on the Battlefield

Gettysburg is most well-known as the location of the famous Civil War battle that took place over 150 years ago and as the site where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address just four months later. Today, the battlefields are a national park full of monuments to the fighting that took place there.

The best way to see the battlefield and understand the significance of the battles is to take a guided tour. There are lots of options, including a bus tour, a self-drive route, a walking tour, and even a Segway tour.

A guided coach tour is a great way to see the battlefield. Check details, prices, and reviews here. For a self-guided driving tour with great narration, check out this popular option.

See the Gettysburg Address Memorial

Stone memorial with bust of Abraham Lincoln.
The Gettysburg Address Memorial with a bust of Lincoln

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches ever given. Still, it’s easy to be confused about the site where President Lincoln delivered his famous oration expressing his hope that a, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Memorial (pictured above) is just inside the gates of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. An accompanying plaque notes that the actual location of the address is 300 yards away at the site of the Soldiers’ National Monument–a large white statue with a pillar and several seated figures. Unfortunately, that location isn’t correct either, as Lincoln was standing the in the civilian cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery, which is separated from the soldiers’ cemetery by a fence.

Tour Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center

Large red brick building with a front porch, staircase, and cupola on top.
The 4-story Seminary Ridge Museum and its famous cupola

The Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center provides a unique look at the Battle of Gettysburg by focusing in on its first day, July 1, 1863. From the building’s cupola, Brigadier General John Buford watched the battle begin and used the vantage point to direct the movement of Union troops. In a matter of hours, the building became a major field hospital, treating soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

A visit to the museum is packed with information, including films, murals, and four floors full of exhibits and original artifacts. Life-size dioramas show ailing soldiers in the exact spots where over 600 patients were treated during and after the battle. The museum highlights some of the conflict’s lesser-known stories.

This self-guided walking tour provides an even deeper dive into the fighting at Seminary Ridge.

Visit Gettysburg National Military Park Museum

Stone building beside a sign for "Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center"
Exhibits at the Visitor Center set the stage for the war

For a great education about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, head to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. Three main exhibits there discuss the implications of the War and the city’s role in it.

At The Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War, visitors can see one of the largest collections of Civil War artifacts in existence. The nearby Cyclorama painting will make you feel like you’re immersed in Pickett’s Charge, the climax of the battle. The third exhibit is a film, “A New Birth of Freedom,” narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, which sets the stage for the conflict.

Grab a drink at Mason Dixon Distillery

Cocktail in front of sign for Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
A cocktail at Mason Dixon is a good idea in any season

Mason Dixon Distillery is one of the best distilleries we’ve visited, not just in Pennsylvania but in our travels around the US. Everything here is done with care. Owned by a father-son team, Mason Dixon focuses on local ingredients whenever possible from the grain to the pears that graced a recent limited batch of brandy.

The Distillery offers vodka, white and aged whiskeys, gin, rum, and genever, which are all highlighted in a lengthy cocktail menu. Beyond the great drinks, what really sets Mason Dixon Distillery apart is its full-service restaurant. Not only do they have great burgers and BBQ, but the menu goes well beyond that to include dishes like shrimp and grits, goat cheese brulee, and other unexpected specialties. You can visit for a tour, a drink, a meal, or all three.

Visit Eisenhower National Historic Site

Exterior of a white brick house and snow on the ground.
Outside the unassuming Eisenhower home

The big white house at the end of the Norway Spruce-lined drive is the only home ever owned by President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife Mamie. During his presidency, Eisenhower hosted world leaders such as Winston Churchill and Nikita Khrushchev at the house, which now welcomes visitors and school groups year-round.

The Eisenhower National Historic Site looks much as it did when the President’s family lived there, with furnishings from the 1950s and ‘60s. We visited during the holiday season, and it was fun to see the house decked out in retro 60s decorations. In addition to the surprisingly modest house (not all presidents have mansions), the historic site includes 700 acres of open space and animal habitats just minutes from downtown.

Eat at the Dobbin House

Dating from 1776, the Dobbin House is the oldest building in town. Its 250 years of history–including its role as a stop on the Underground Railroad and as a Civil War field hospital–are covered in the free tours that happen here each weekend.

Exterior of a stone house decorated with Christmas wreaths.
The stone Dobbin House is the oldest building in town

If you can’t fit the tour into your schedule, make a point to visit for dinner or a drink. There are two restaurants on property–the Springhouse Tavern and the Dobbin House Tavern. The Springhouse Tavern is a casual pub with a lively bar where you can still see the original springs used to keep food cool long before refrigeration. Next door, the Dobbin House Tavern is a fine dining colonial-inspired restaurant where you feel like you’ve taken a step back to the times of Benjamin Franklin.

Dinner by candlelight at the Dobbin House Tavern is excellent. We love the baked King’s onion soup, the crab cakes, and the oddly-named Rum Bellies cocktail–it’s a must-try, but pace yourself. The restaurant is popular, so make sure to book ahead.

Visit a local museum

There are lots of good museums related to the Civil War and beyond. The Gettysburg Diorama shows the whole 6000-acre battlefield in miniature with hand-painted figures and a light and sound show detailing the fighting over three days. At the Gettysburg Museum of History, you’ll find artifacts from the Civil War as well as both World Wars, pop culture, and more. For something completely different, check out the Gettysburg Fire Museum where you can see the city’s first “non-hand power” steam fire engine that dates from 1886.

Go wine tasting

Wine bottles on a counter at Adams County Winery.
Adams County Winery offers a wide assortment of wines

The area boasts a handful of wineries producing red and white wines, primarily from estate grown fruits. Some have tasting rooms in the heart of the city and others have vineyards just outside of town. They’re all connected on the Adams County Pour Tour, a local beverage trail where you collect stamps and win prizes for visiting wineries, breweries, and more (though we didn’t really need an incentive for that).

Downtown, stop by Reid’s Winery or the Buddy Boy Winery tasting room for a large selection of white, red, and sweet wines (plus cider at Reid’s). Just a few miles away, you’ll find gorgeous views at Halbrendt Vineyard & Winery or Adams County Winery where you can take a tour of their production facilities or just enjoy a glass on their porch.

Browse the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg

Front of Tommy Hilfiger store with parked cars.
One of the many outlet stores

Everybody loves a good deal and there are lots of those available at The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg. Just 3 miles from downtown, the shopping center houses nearly 50 stores and specialty shops from Michael Kors to Old Navy. It’s worth a stop whether you’re ready to shop ’til you drop or you’re just passing through.

Check out the Christmas festival

Christmas tree and buildings lit up for Christmas.
Lincoln Square at Christmas

Christmas in Gettysburg is magical. Throughout the season, there are concerts, plays, special events, and lots of Christmas lights to get you in the holiday mood. But the best weekend to visit is during the Christmas festival.

The first weekend of December, downtown is filled with shoppers and revelers attending the festival. There are food trucks, street performers, and live music all over town. You’ll find stores and attractions hosting unique events, the annual Christmas parade, magnificent gingerbread creations, and more.

Flags flying in front of a 6-story building with rows of windows and a sign: Gettysburg Hotel.
Gettysburg Hotel

Where to Stay
Gettysburg Hotel: History and comfort in the heart of everything
Brickhouse Inn: Top-rated B&B with a killer breakfast
Federal Pointe Inn: Boutique hotel in a renovated 19th-century schoolhouse

Where to Eat
There are so many great places to eat that it’s hard to narrow it down.

Garryowen Irish Pub: Casual, friendly spot serving authentic Irish dishes
One Lincoln: Comfort food with great drinks

We were the guests of Destination Gettysburg. All opinions of the fun and historical are our own.

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Tuesday 9th of May 2023

My favorite thing about Gettysburg, besides how rich in history it is, is how beautiful the landscape is! Seeing the open fields with flowers, historic stone buildings sitting on beautifully landscaped properties, farmlands filled with corn and lovely barns, and the battlefield with the tall monuments never gets boring for me. The whole atmosphere is friendly, quaint and alive with thriving businesses. I love it here!!!

Debi & John

Sunday 6th of November 2022

John and I are very much looking forward to our weekend there. Going with best friends from college. Reading your posts gave me great idea of places to go. Thank you for the great insights. You had me at ice cream.

Lance Longwell

Sunday 6th of November 2022

Hope you have a fantastic time! We think you'll enjoy it.

Cindy Miller

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

We love Gettysburg. Been there in February and June. Stayed at the Inn of Cemetery Hill. Love it cause it is pet friendly. Intend to go back again.

Kenneth Cole

Saturday 15th of October 2022


I have been a resident of Gettysburg and Adams County for 86 year. As a former battlefield guide I want to congratulate you on your tour guide masterpiece. You covered a wide range of things to do and see. I as still playing tourist and enjoying the many treasures we have to offer. Many Thanks

Laura Longwell

Saturday 15th of October 2022

Thank you for your kind words. We love your town and showcasing all it has to offer for people with different interests.

Robin Brennan

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

My husband and I have visited Gettysburg for over 18years. He proposed to me there, and we never had a boring time there. So much to see and do! You hit on many of our go-to's . Just love Gettysburg ❤️

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