Street in downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

19 Things to Do on a Weekend in Gettysburg

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In the middle of southern Pennsylvania stands Gettysburg — a small town with a big past. In easy reach of larger cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., 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. No matter how many times we return, we always uncover new, fun things to do in Gettysburg.

Downtown Gettysburg is compact and highly walkable. From one end of town 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 visitor to Gettysburg
Statue of Lincoln meeting a visitor referred to as “Perry Como,” thanks to his clothes

Things to do in Gettysburg

Whether you like shopping, history, local distilleries, or just hanging out, we’ve got you covered.

Sachs Covered Bridge

Sachs Covered Bridge, a red covered bridge over a creek in Gettysburg PA
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.

Food tour

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

You may not think of Gettysburg as a foodie town, but you’d be wrong (we were, too). A food tour with Savor Gettysburg highlights a variety of local specialties from homemade ice cream to the best soup we’ve ever tasted.

There are several food tour options to choose from—the historic downtown tour, seasonal tours, and others—plus a cooking class and other food experiences. The tours last about three hours and involve less than a mile of walking, which is good since someone may need to roll you home.

In addition to the delicious bites you get to try on the tour, you’ll have a chance to discover some of the best restaurants, cafes, and pubs in town. Tour 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.

Wondering where to stay in Gettysburg?

History on Lincoln Square: Gettysburg Hotel

Charming B&B with excellent breakfast: Brickhouse Inn

Renovated 19th-century schoolhouse: Federal Pointe Inn

You’ll find more details about where to stay in Gettysburg at the end of this article.

Shriver House Museum

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

Hollabaugh Bros.

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

Adams County, where Gettysburg is located, is the heart of apple country. Just a few miles away, you can tour several 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! It’s one of the best things to do near Gettysburg.

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 numerous unique 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–Jack’s Hard Cider–is also located nearby. As of January 2020, it’s in a temporary location at the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg while their new cider house is under construction. They still offer their whole product line, including our top choices, Helen’s Blend and Fireside, a seasonal offering that tastes like Christmas in a glass.

Downtown Gettysburg

Just wandering is one of the most fun things to do in Gettysburg. Gettysburg’s downtown is home to over 100 stores selling most anything you could be looking for.

From antiques to clothes to Civil War artifacts, the variety of things available is extensive. 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 that show 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.

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.

Round Barn

White Round Barn in Gettysburg PA
The unique Round Barn near Gettysburg

So many different kinds of vegetables and fruits are grown on the farms that dot the landscape of the Gettysburg area. Within just a few miles, you can find road-side stands and full-fledged markets selling all manner of fresh produce and milk along with great products–like jam, salsa, and pickles–made from the bounty.

Do a little shopping and marvel at the brightly-colored veggies, or consider stopping at one of the markets like the Historic Round Barn and Farm Market that holds periodic events and celebrations throughout the year.

Mr. G’s Ice Cream

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.

Board and Brush

Painting supplies and painted sign at Board and Brush in Gettysburg PA
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 just when you’re looking for something new and different, visit this fun sign workshop. You can choose from hundreds of different patterns and colors, and the staff will help you step-by step with painting and selecting different 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.

Gettysburg Battlefield

Statue of a soldier on the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
One of the many soldier statues on the Gettysburg Battlefiled

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 Gettysburg battlefield. Check details, prices, and reviews here. To visit as a day trip from Washington, D.C., consider this popular option.

Gettysburg Address Memorial

Stone memorial with bust of Abraham Lincoln at site of the Gettysburg Address
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.

Mason Dixon Distillery

Cocktail in front of sign for Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg PA
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’s goal is to make sure “Adams County is in every bottle.” That means focusing on local ingredients whenever possible from the grain to the pears that graced a recent limited batch of brandy.

Mason Dixon Distillery offers vodka, white whiskey, gin, rum, and an excellent aged rum, 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.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

White house and snow on the ground at Eisenhower National Historic Site
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, decorated in furnishings from the 1950s and ‘60s. 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 Gettysburg.

Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg

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

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 more than 50 stores and specialty shops from Brooks Brothers to Coach to Old Navy. It’s worth a stop whether you’re ready to shop til you drop or you’re just passing through.

Dobbin House

Dating from 1776, the Dobbin House is the oldest building in Gettysburg. 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.

Stone exterior of the Dobbin House decorated with Christmas weaths
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 loved 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.

Museums

Gettysburg has 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 course of 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.

Local wineries

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

Gettysburg 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.

Gettysburg Christmas Festival

Lincoln Square lit up at night with  Christmas tree and buildings
Lincoln Square at Christmas

Gettysburg comes alive at Christmas. If your travel plans allow, make a beeline here at the holidays. 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 Gettysburg is filled with shoppers and revelers attending the Christmas 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. It’s a great time to experience the charm of Gettysburg.

For more about visiting Gettysburg at Christmas, see our article here.

Cannon on the Gettysburg Battlefield covered in snow
Snow-covered cannon on the battlefield

When to Visit Gettysburg

There really is no bad time of year to visit Gettysburg. There are plenty of things to do in every season, which is one of the top reasons it’s one of our favorite weekend getaways. In fact, the most popular month, July, is likely the time when the weather is hottest. But it’s also the time for re-enactments, summer celebrations, enjoying the bounty of the farmers’ markets, and eating all the ice cream you can get your hands on.

In the spring, the orchards are filled with peach, cherry, and apple blossoms. It’s the perfect time for golf, checking out one of the music festivals, or enjoying the warming weather. The fall brings gorgeous leaves as well as food and wine events and the National Apple Harvest Festival. In the winter, Gettysburg is filled with the holiday spirit in the form of a light parade, the annual Tuba Carol Fest, and decorations all over town.

Where to Eat in Gettysburg

Chicken dish on plate
Roasted chicken at the Inn at Herr Ridge

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

Garryowen Irish Pub — We love the casual, friendly vibe at Garryowen Irish Pub. The owners (from Ireland) have created the same inviting spirit here that you’d find in Ireland with regular live music, the perfect pint of Guinness, traditional Irish fare, and much more.

Inn at Herr Ridge — The Inn at Herr Ridge has two distinct restaurants for different dining experiences. The fine dining restaurant is upscale American with steaks, seafood, and a sage roasted chicken that’s to die for. The casual Livery Grill serves upgraded bar fare with great burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.

One Lincoln — In the Gettysburg Hotel, One Lincoln is conveniently located in the center of Gettysburg. It serves fabulous food and spirits with a focus on “casual comfort.” Our favorites include the brûléed onion soup, shrimp and grits, and their delicious crab mac and cheese.

Where to Stay in Gettysburg

Gettysburg Hotel
The Gettysburg Hotel in Lincoln Square

Right on Lincoln Square, the Gettysburg Hotel is in the heart of everything. The regular rooms are very comfortable, and the suites come with fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. (Read reviews and book a room)

An award-winning bed and breakfast, Brickhouse Inn is the top-rated B&B in Gettysburg. Their charming historic buildings make for a perfect weekend getaway. Service is personalized and the food is out of this world. (Read reviews and book a room)

The Federal Pointe Inn is a popular 23-room hotel with modern amenities in a renovated 19th-century schoolhouse. (Read reviews and book a room)

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


What is your favorite thing to do in Gettysburg?

From picking your own apples to visiting an historic battlefield, there are so many fun things to do in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

20 thoughts on “19 Things to Do on a Weekend in Gettysburg”

  1. Carmen @ CarmensLuxuryTravel

    I haven’t been to Gettysburg in a few years, but I love the idea of taking a food tour which I haven’t done there. Great post!

  2. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

    Gettysburg was on my agenda for college tours with my son in the spring. Looking forward! (and pinning your story, thanks for sharing:)

    1. If you can stay at the Farnsworth inn bit pricy but worth the experience! We love Gettysburg and staying there was awesome. Walk Baltimore pike in the evening too

  3. Love the food tour idea! My husband will now look forward to visiting the battlefield when I tell him the food tour will come next.

  4. I highly recommend the Brafferton Inn if you want a great B n b experience. The breakfast was awesome. Original section of the house is from 1786. Great location.

  5. Laura, you’re absolutely right about the Foodie tour.

    You’ll get VERY full! I did the “Dessert Tour” last fall — unfortunately, Savor Gettysburg isn’t doing that one anymore — and although we had a small helping at each stop, it didn’t take long for us all to feel we couldn’t eat any more.

    I plan to do the “Historic Tour” through Savor Gettysburg. I’m really looking forward to it.

    Come with an empty stomach!

    1. We stayed at a house which is a block from S. Washington St. Walking distance to attractions and downtown. Two story brick home, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths sleeps 10. Garage in back, fenced in back yard. Televisions in all bedrooms, wifi connection, full kitchen. Go to HomeAway.com and put in Gettysburg. Rental number is 395422. Average $275 a night. Might look a bit pricey but consider the fact that you can cook all or some of your meals . Also the kids will have alot of room to play. Michele is a very nice lady to deal with.

  6. Great article a few things that I would suggest. If you have kids The Land Of Little Horses is a must. It’s a great day for the young and young at heart. If you are visiting the round barn it is only minutes away. As for Wineries, I was sad to see Adams County Winery was not listed on there. It is by far the best in my opinion in the entire area.

  7. I’m in love with Gettysburg… some additional recommendations are James Getty Hotel and DOBBIN HOUSE. I can’t say enough good things about those 2 places!

  8. I am visiting Gettysburg over the fourth of July weekend, attending the re-enactments and looking for great food at a reasonable price. We are definitely going to Garryowen and are open to other suggestions. We are also going to do a paranormal tour one night. Do you have any recommendations for off the beaten path places as we will be in town for several days

    Thank you, in advance, for your response

  9. My name is Joe I’m the activity director for a local church . Most of the folks are older and have a hard time walking. I would like to know where I could set up a great trip with in 150 miles of Lancaster Pa we went to flight 93 amazing time now I need one for this October 2020 9th and 10th I looked into Jim Thorpe in October but it’s to crowded for older people do you have any place you would recommend? Thank you for your time

  10. Our favorite thing? Visit the Battlefield and the many fascinating museums at Gettysburg! (When touring the Battlefield, be sure to look for the statue of Sallie Ann Jarrett, canine mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry! Many visitors like to have their photo — or their dog’s photo — taken with her. And don’t be surprised to see that some visitors have left small “gifts” for her! She continues to be fondly remembered even 150+ years after the battle.)

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