Summer is a busy time in Gettysburg with a lot of outdoor activities. Temperatures average in the mid to upper 80s and can feel warmer depending on humidity levels. It is recommended that you bring long pants to wear if you are planning to hike through the open fields of the National Park as southern Pennsylvania is prone to ticks.
Although Gettysburg is a very walkable city with many things to do and see within walking distance, some of you may want or need other options.
If you plan on having a vehicle at your disposal in Gettysburg: Parking is available at the Racehorse Alley Parking Garage on an hourly, daily, or multi-day basis. It is located directly behind the Lincoln Train Station and is accessible from the first block of Carlisle Street North of Lincoln Square or the first block of North Stratton Street, North York Street. There are 356 parking spaces including Handicap and van-accessible spaces.
The hourly rate is $1 per hour. Prices are listed for daily and multi-day passes and can be purchased on the ToCite Parking Permits web page. Daily and multi-day passes include unlimited access (in and out) privileges to the Racehorse Alley Parking Garage ONLY for the valid time specified on the pass. Multi-day passes expire at 4pm on the last day of the pass purchase timeframe.
Garage permits/passes are also available in person at Cashier, 59 E. High Street.
Additionally there are a number of public parking lots in the area as well as 2 hour metered parking spots on 24 well-marked streets. You are encouraged to read the signage on any non-metered street before parking to avoid getting parking tickets.
If you plan to use public transportation to get around:
Gettysburg’s public transportation system is operated by RabbitTransit.
Fares and passes can be located and purchased online in advance at (Note: you will need to allow 3 business days for passes to arrive at your location). You can also purchase in person at the Gettysburg Transit Center at 103 Carlisle Street between 10am and 5pm daily.
Freedom Transit Guide and Summer 2017 Schedules are available online.
Smartphone Apps are available to assist you in using the public transportation system.
Please note for those of you arriving at our event via airplane or Amtrak, RabbitExpress provides transportation between Gettysburg and Harrisburg International Airport as well as BWI Airport (in conjunction with Maryland Transit Administration – MTA) although this may not be a viable option if you have a lot of luggage. More info can be found on the Rabbit Express Amtrak Light Rail Regional information page.
The main attraction in Gettysburg is the National Military Park which encompasses the Gettysburg Battlefield. For those of you not taking advantage of the tracks that tour the battlefield and stops at the Visitor Center or wish to explore more on your own, the following link is a good place to start.
There is information available about Living History Programs where you can interact with knowledgeable Civil War living historians encamped on the Gettysburg battlefield, explore their camp and witness as they demonstrate the tools, tactics, and firepower of the two armies that waged war on the battlefield. Additionally there are free Ranger Programs which explore key moments and locations throughout the park via ranger led hikes, walks, and talks as well as evening campfire programs.
You can download or preview the Official Map and Park Guide or National Cemetery Walking Tour. Both are also available at the park information desk and entrance stations during the summer months. The map and guide provides information about seeing the battlefield through a self-guided auto tour, driving tips, walking trails, as well as a brief overview of the three days of battle, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The National Cemetery Walking Tour provides information for a self-guided walking tour of the cemetery.
If you are able to while you are in the park, make sure you get to Little Round Top and Devil’s Den which gives you a good vantage point to view the battlefields.
The park’s new Museum and Visitor Center brings to life the most extensive Civil War collections in the National Park Service through exhibits, interactive, and hands-on experiences that immerse visitors in the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. It features a new park Visitor Center, the 24,000 square foot Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War, a new gallery to display the restored Cyclorama Painting, two theaters for a new 22-minute film, “A New Birth of Freedom,” curatorial space, a park library, office space, classrooms, a Refreshment Saloon, and a museum bookstore.
For information about free summer programming, go to the Gettysburg Plan Your Visit website.
Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve
If you want to enjoy an afternoon of hiking, there are 10 miles of trails where you will discover wet and dry woodlands, mountain streams, ponds and a restored mineral quarry. You can check out amazing plants and wildlife – nothing ferocious though, just beautiful red-spotted newts, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers and maybe a wild turkey.
As you can imagine in such a historic site, there are a number of museums of interest in the area such as the following to name a few:
The Gettysburg Museum of History
Shriver House Museum
Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum
Jenny Wade House
Gettysburg Heritage Center
Gibson Photographic Gallery
Lincoln Train Museum
Theater and Music
Totem Pole Playhouse – for musicals, plays, and more. Tony Award winning musical, Million Dollar Quartet, will be playing from July 28th to August 20th.
22nd Annual Civil War Music Muster – On August 11th and 12th, free events featuring ballads, folk songs, popular songs of the day, field music and marches, along dances popular during the Civil War era.
Gettysburg Rocks – On August 11th to the 13th, bi-annual music festival featuring over 150 live bands across multiple venues in the Gettysburg area.
Adam’s County Farmers Market – located at the Gettysburg Transit Center, open Thursday 2-6pm and Saturdays 8am to 1pm. From the freshest fruits and produce to flowers, herbs, vineyards, artesian cheese, grass fed meats, alpaca yarns, farm eggs, pumpkins, homemade soaps, bakery, jams, jellies, kiwi berries (and more).
The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg – a short drive or bus ride away.
For a number of interesting shops within walking distance of the Gettysburg Hotel, go to the Main Street Gettysburg Shops page.
Wineries and Distilleries
It should be noted that Pennsylvania has some rather antiquated liquor laws although restrictions have been recently loosened. Liquor can only be purchased from state owned liquor stores. Wine can be purchased from the state owned liquor stores, approved grocery stores (generally a more limited selection) or wineries. Beer can only be purchased at licensed distributors.
Alcohol can be purchased at bars and restaurants with liquor licenses for on premise drinking only. For those restaurants not licensed to serve alcohol, you may be permitted to bring your own.
There are a number of wineries in the area to visit and Adams County is considered Apple Country so you will find a number of good hard ciders available as well.
Following is a small list of locations to purchase alcohol:
- Wine and Spirits Store at 1275 York Rd., Gettysburg
- Spooky Spirits at 777 Baltimore St., Ste 112, Gettysburg
- Gettysburg Beer-Mart at 646 York St., Gettysburg
- Big Jim’s Beverage/High Street Brews at 219 W. High St., Gettysburg
- Hauser Estate Winery
- Adams County Winery
- Reid’s Orchard and Winery
- Halbrendt Vineyard and Winery
- Knob Hill Winery
- Gettysburg Craft Beer and Artisan Spirits
- Old Republic Distillery
There are a number of restaurants within walking distance or a short drive/bus ride away from the Gettysburg Hotel. For a small sampling of what’s in the area, go to the Main Street Gettysburg Dining page.
Some other suggestions for the area:
Historic Fairfield Inn – President Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie enjoyed eating at the Inn when they lived in Gettysburg.
Hickory Bridge Farm. They offer farm-style meals on the weekends, ask what came from the garden.
Farnsworth House Inn for game pie or pickled watermelon rind
Crab dip at Gettysburg Eddie’s is amazingly rich and you can still eat the entire dish yourself.
Looking for big plates that you can share – you have to go to the Pub & Restaurant– they even have vegan!
More of a pizza connoisseur? Hit Tommy’s Pizza – a local staple and now a hot spot for great brews. Check their calendar to see if they are doing any tasting events. If you want some more great brews, check out Appalachian Brewing Company – they offer great pub food and their own brews including root beer.
Savor Gettysburg Food Tour for 8 stops on a culinary adventure mixed with tales of history along the way.
For the Kids
Hershey Park, Chocolate World, and ZooAmerica
Harley-Davidson Museum and Factory Tours – 1425 Eden Rd., York, PA, Two tour options Classic Factory Tour and Steel Toe Tour, Monday through Friday.
Pennsylvania’s Amish Country – the Amish are a group of people known for simple living without modern conveniences such as electricity or cars and for plain dress.