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15 Best Things To Do In Carlisle, Pennsylvania

What are some of the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania?

After all, when we think about the township of Carlisle in Pennsylvania, what typically comes to mind?

Well for starters, the township of Carlisle is a borough in and the county seat of Cumberland County of Pennsylvania. It’s conveniently located inside of the Cumberland Valley, which is a highly productive agricultural region of the state.

The township of Carlisle itself is actually a pretty small-sized area. In fact, the entire area of this township is estimated to be around 5.43 square miles. But even though it is small, there are still people who live in this area. According to the 2019 Census, the population is estimated to be around 19,198.

Aside from that, the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is also fairy well known. Established back in 1751, Carlisle became home to Dickinson College, which is the first college to be created since the United States was formed.

Plus, it’s also one of the best tourist destinations to visit here in the state of Pennsylvania.

Visitors who visit Carlisle, Pennsylvania will find that it offers so many amazing things for people to see or do. Some of the highlights includes places like U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Dickinson College, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle Theatre, Cameron-Masland Mansion and more.

And with an array of delicious restaurants, cute cafes, fun galleries, historical places and awesome attractions, the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one of the best places to visit for some fun and excitement.

Which is why, if you’re wondering exactly what you are able to see or do here in the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then you are in luck.

In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

So if you’re ready, lets get started!

Things To Do In Carlisle, Pennsylvania

In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

1. U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

If you’re a fan of the United States military, then one place you would absolutely love to visit is called the “U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center”.

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is located here in the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and is actually part of the U.S. Army War College. This center serves as the main historical research facility for the U.S. Army.

Being set on over 50 acres of land, the center is made up of the Army Heritage Museum, Military History Institute, Historical Services Division, Visitor and Education Services, U.S. Army War College Library and Collections Management.

Because of this, visitors who come here will find that it offers so many amazing things for people to see and explore.

For instance, here on-site there is an impressive collection of 16 million military items on display, including the world’s largest collection of Civil War photography for people to see and enjoy.

But not just that, along with those items, there are also exhibits like the Army Heritage Trail with tanks and helicopters, and the Soldier Experience Gallery that follows the U.S. Army from the Spanish-American War days to present time.

With so many things to see or do here, it’s no wonder the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is always regarded as being one of the best places to visit here in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

2. Dickinson College

Dickinson College

One of the most popular and historical attractions ever found here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one known as “Dickinson College”.

Dickinson College is famously known as being the first college to ever be built following the creation of the United States.

This is true because Dickinson College was actually first officially chartered back on September 9, 1893. This date is important because it happened only a few short days after the famous Treaty of Paris signing, which officially makes it the first College to be built after the forming of this country.

This college spans a whopping 144 acres in size and is a college that categorizes itself as a liberal arts college. It is still going strong to this day as many locals and out-of-state students still come to this college to study.

Today, this college is an institution of higher learning and offers students a rich and fulfilling academic experience, complete with theatrical performances and even sporting events with the hometown team being the Dickinson Red Devils.

Visitors who come to this college are able to explore it in its entirety. From walking around on the fields to checking out the amazing architecture of this building, it’ll truly give off a sense of historical presence.

Overall, visiting Dickinson College is definitely one of the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

3. Molly Pitcher Brewing Company

Molly Pitcher Brewing Company

One of the best things about traveling to a new state and visiting its town or cities is that you’ll get a chance to try out all the amazing beers that they might have to offer.

And here in the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one of the best places for you to visit where you can try some amazingly good beer is one known as “Molly Pitcher Brewing Company”.

Molly Pitcher Brewing Company is a locally-owned and operated brewery and taproom that is located in the historic district of downtown Carlisle. Here visitors can find them offering a constantly changing selections of both new and innovative beers for them to enjoy.

For instance, some of the most popular beers you can here at this establishment includes drinks such as “Black Currant Wheat”, “American Blonde Ale”, “Cannonball Kolsch”, “Pina Colada IPA”, “Independence IPA”, and more.

Plus, just like many other breweries in the country, this place also has some delicious foods for people to eat as well. With both vegan and vegetarian options, guests can enjoy things like Pretzel Bites, Nachos, Fried Wings, Poutine, Molly Tots, Crab Cake, Chickpea Cake and even Salads!

With all of that being said, if you are ever in the mood to drink some really delicious beers in a quiet and friendly environment, then Molly Pitcher Brewing Company is definitely the place to be.

4. Issei Noodle

Issei Noodle

Who doesn’t love Asian food?

If you’re ever going to be visiting the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania and want to eat some amazing foods, then one restaurant you absolutely must visit is called “Issei Noodle”.

Issei Noodle is a popular restaurant that specializes in serving up delicious Asian style dishes for people to enjoy. Locals and tourists all love to rave about this place for all that it has to offer.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Visitors who come to this restaurant will find that they have so many amazing food choices for people to choose from. Some of the highlights include foods like Shrimp Tempura, Shoyu Ramen, Chicken Pho, Egg Roll Vermicelli, Issei Pad Thai and more.

Best of all is that the staff who works here are all amazingly nice and will go above and beyond to make sure your dining experience is absolutely exceptional.

Plus, the portion sizes are also really generous and the pricing for all the foods here are all affordable. Which means you definitely won’t go broke eat at this restaurant.

So if you’re ever in the mood to eat some delicious Asian food here in the area of Carlisle, then look no further. Issei Noodle is definitely one of the best restaurants for you to visit.

5. Cumberland County Historical Society

Cumberland County Historical Society

One of the most interesting and unique places you can ever visit here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one called the “Cumberland County Historical Society”.

The Cumberland County Historical Society was originally established as a library due to the will of local attorney James Hamilton, Jr. back in 1873.

However many years passed and today this library has also become sort of an education center and features things such as a library as well as a museum and has photo archives as well.

Because of this, visitors who come here will find all sorts of interesting things to see and explore.

For instance, there are 16 galleries featuring a wide range of arts and artifacts that span over 250 years. Some notable highlights include over 30 carved animals by folk art carver Wilhelm Schimmel and original items by local clockmakers and silversmiths.

Plus, all throughout the year, this center will be host to a whole bunch of events for the public to enjoy. From things like lectures to workshops or even walking tours and family-friendly programs are all available for people to experience.

And if that’s not enough, adjacent to this Historical Society, visitors can find Vale-Himes Park which features beautiful walkways and gardens for people to explore.

Overall, it’s a really interesting place and one that the entire family will love to experience.

6. Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center

Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center

One of the best places where you can surround yourself with nature and beautiful scenic views here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is a place known as “Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center”.

Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center is a state park that spans a whopping 1,454 acres and is one of the most popular places for people to visit. It is one of four environmental education centers operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Visitors who come to this state park will find that it offers so much in terms of what they are able to see or do. For instance, it’s a popular recreational spot where many people love to come here and hike around the trails or even have a picnic.

And if you love wildlife and nature, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll find an abundance of plants and animals living in this area. Wild blueberry, huckleberry and mountain laurel can all be found in the woods while gray squirrels, turkey, and white-tailed deer are all roaming around in the area.

But one of the most iconic attractions of this state park has to be the Mansion. The mansion is located about four miles from the entrance and provides a sweeping view of the entire Cumberland Valley.

Whether you are here for a hike, a picnic or maybe even just sightseeing, this state park is absolutely one of the best places you can ever visit here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

7. Carlisle Barracks

Carlisle Barracks

One of the most amazing and historic places you can ever visit here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is called the “Carlisle Barracks”.

Carlisle Barracks is a very historic attraction that many people love to visit. The barracks here are home to the U.S. Army War College and also acts as a U.S. Army facility.

And the reason why it is historic is because it is considered to be the second-oldest active military base in the entire United States. The barracks here date back all the way to 1757 and have a storied past about them.

Most notably, the site was burned by the Confederate Army back in 1863 and later was the home of the controversial Carlisle Indian School. Famed athlete, Jim Thorpe, and 10,000 other American Indian children were able to attend this school from 1879 through 1918.

In todays age however, even though it is still an active military facility, visitors are still able to come visit and tour around the entire place. For instance, during the week, from Monday through Friday, visitors can come between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and take self guided tours.

Although one thing you should know is that if you do not have a federal government ID on you, then you will most likely be subjected to a background check.

Other than that, it’s a really cool place to check out as you’ll learn all about the U.S. Military as well as what events these barracks have been through. Definitely one of the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

8. Redd’s Smokehouse BBQ

Redd's Smokehouse BBQ

Who doesn’t love barbecue? And here in the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one of the best restaurants you can ever visit for some good ole barbecue is one known as “Redd’s Smokehouse BBQ”.

Redd’s Smokehouse BBQ is one of the most popular restaurants you can ever visit. Here they specialize in serving up delicious Southern style barbecue for people to enjoy. Locals and tourists who come here all love to rave about their amazingly delicious foods they have to offer.

Here they smoke their meats daily which means they only have the freshest and best quality meats available for you to try. Plus, with their own specialty dry rub that is a home-made family recipe, the foods come out looking and tasting better than ever.

Visitors who come to this restaurant will be able to find so many amazing food choices for them to choose from. For instance, they have things like Beef Brisket, Wings, Baby Back Ribs, Bunswick Stew, Pulled Pork and more all made fresh for you to enjoy.

Best of all is that the portion sizes here are amazingly generous as it can easily fill the bellies of two people. Not to mention that the staff who works here are all amazingly nice and caring and will go above and beyond to make sure your dining experience is absolutely top-notch.

Plus, the food that is being served here are all being served at affordable prices. Which means you definitely will not go broke eating at this establishment.

So if you’re ever in the mood for some amazing barbecue here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then Redd’s Smokehouse BBQ is definitely the place to be.

9. Cameron-Masland Mansion

Cameron-Masland Mansion

One of the most iconic attractions you can ever visit here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one known as the “Cameron-Masland Mansion”.

The Cameron-Masland Mansion is located inside of the Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center. It is one of the most popular attractions to visit here as there are simply so many things to see and explore.

The mansion itself is a stone mansion and was used as a summer home by local James McCorming Cameron starting back in 1908. It was modeled after an Italian Villa and consists of 32 rooms and a beautiful garden.

Visitors who are wanting to explore this mansion can come on Sundays between the times of Memorial day weekend and running through November. It is here where visitors can get a self-guided tour around the first floor of the mansion.

But alongside the tour of the mansion, this place also regularly hosts a wide range of events for people to participate in. For instance, some of the most popular events includes things like Yoga on the Terrace, Music on the Mountain and even Astronomy for Beginners.

It’s truly a beautiful and interesting place to visit. You’ll hardly find another one just like it anywhere else. So if you have the time to spare, this is one attraction you should definitely try to check out.

10. Carlisle Theatre

Carlisle Theatre

If you’re wanting to take your family some place fun and exciting, why not take them to the famous Carlisle Theatre located here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania?

Carlisle Theatre is famously known as being the “Gem of Downtown”, as it is one of the best places which you can visit where you and your entire family will be entertained for hours on end.

Plus, the building itself is also quite historic as well. For instance, this venue is located inside of an Art Deco-style building that was first established way back as “The Comerford” in 1939. It wasn’t until the nineties where it was renovated to keep up with the times.

Today, visitors are able to come to this theatre and enjoy all kinds of fun and entertaining things. For instance, throughout the year, the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center will present events like plays, musical concerts, films, and family programs for the public to enjoy.

For example, some of the past events that were held here include things like “Tusk, The British Invasion Years, Top of The World: The World’s Premiere Tribute To The Carpenters, Almost ABBA, Foreigners Journey” and more.

And because they also show movies here, visitors who come can also watch some interesting films like independent films or even the latest and greatest foreign releases.

With all of that being said, if you are looking for something to do on a night out with your family or friends, then visiting this theatre is definitely one of the best things to do in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

11. Bedford Street Antiques

Bedford Street Antiques

If you love antiques, then one of the best attractions you must visit here in the city of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one called “Bedford Street Antiques”.

Bedford Street Antiques is a very popular place where people come to visit and find all sorts of cool and interesting vintage items for them to buy.

They are conveniently housed inside of a historic building that has actually served as quite a few things. For instance, the building first served as a church and then became a clothing manufacturing company, flea market, and auction house over the course of many years.

And finally in 2003, that all changed when the current owner bought this 33,000 square foot garment factor and transformed it into this loving antique store people know and love today.

Visitors who come to this antique store will find that it features more than 100 antique dealers that span over two floors. Here they can find all kinds of things including stuff like furniture, artowork, glassware, kitchen items, toys, clothes, signs and more all being for sale.

But that’s not all that they have for show.

In fact, all throughout the year, this venue will be host to a wide range of events which features various antique shows which set up shop here in this store as well. This offers people a chance to see and buy even more items that they never thought was possible.

With so many things being put on display for people to buy, visitors will have the time of their lives exploring every single inch of this shop that it has to offer.

12. LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail

LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail

If you love being surrounded by nature as well as seeing some beautiful scenic views here in the area of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then one area you would absolutely love to visit is called the “LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail”.

The LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail is a popular rail-trail located here in Carlisle and spans a whopping two miles long from Carlisle Borough’s LeTort Park and a trailhead about two miles from South Spring Garden Street.

The trail itself was named after French-Swiss trader James LeTort, and is one of the most popular places for people to visit if they are wanting to do some fun recreational outdoor activities.

For instance, one of the most popular things to do here is to go fly-fishing. After all, the limestone trout swimming in these waters are abundant and amazing. Plus, this place was even mentioned in the book “Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die”.

Aside from the fly-fishing aspect, visitors who come here can also hike along the various trails located throughout the area where they can see so many beautiful things. Not to mention that birdwatching is also a popular thing to do here as there are an abundance of birds who roam around here.

With all of that being said, if you want to get out into the outdoors and just relax around in a peaceful setting while also enjoying everything that nature has to offer, then the “LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail” is definitely the place to be.

13. Momma Spriggs

Momma Spriggs

If you’re ever feeling hungry and want to eat some really delicious foods here in the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then one restaurant you would absolutely love to visit is one called “Momma Spriggs”.

Momma Spriggs is one of the most popular restaurants for you to visit. Here they specialize in serving up delicious American style comfort foods for people to enjoy. Locals and tourists all love to rave about this spot for how good their food really is.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Visitors who come to this restaurant will find a whole bunch of delicious foods for them to order. For instance, some of the highlights from this restaurant includes foods like Chicken Cobb Salad, Chicken Wings, All American Burger, Fish Sandwich, Beef Tips and more.

Best of all is that the quality and taste of all the dishes here are absolutely amazing. Plus, the pricing for all of the foods here are really affordable. I mean, where else can you find steak for as low as $12.95?

So if you’re ever in the mood to eat some really delicious American style comfort foods here in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then this is one restaurant you absolutely must visit.

American Artisan Gallery

If you love your arts and crafts, then one popular attraction you would love to visit is one known as the “American Artisan Gallery”.

The American Artisan Gallery is a locally-owned gallery located here in the area of downtown Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It’s a popular spot to visit as there are simply so many amazing things for people to see and buy.

For instance, visitors who come to this gallery will find that it contains an unique assortment of arts and crafts fashioned by American artists from all throughout the country. Most of the works here are actually created from members of a guild and are the best in their respective fields.

Just by roaming around, visitors will be able to see and buy all kinds of interesting things. Some of which includes stuff like Ceramics, Fiber, Glass, Metal Fine Art, Jewelry, Leather handbags, Nightlights, Photography, Wood and more.

And best of all is that aside from the artisan arts and crafts, they also sell some delicious chocolates too. They carry a selection of Artisan chocolates and gourmet brittles that are handmade at “Brittle Bark”.

So if you ever want to look at some amazingly crafted arts and crafts, then a trip down to American Artisan Gallery might just be something you’ll want to do.

15. Saint Patrick Church

Saint Patrick Church

If you’re a religious type of person, then one place you might want to visit here in the city of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is called the “Saint Patrick Church”.

Saint Patrick Church is located in the downtown area of Carlisle and is part of the Carlisle Historic District. Many locals and tourists love to come to this place because of how beautiful and amazing this place really is.

For instance, this church is a very historic church as it was established way back in the year of 1779. And ever since it’s opening, it has been welcoming millions of people people through its doors each and every day.

Visitors who come here will find that this church is part of the Diocese of Harrisburg, the “Shrine Church” which features the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, a library, parish office space, and classrooms. All of which are able to be seen and explored.

Plus, alongside those things, Saint Patrick Church also has quite a few choirs inside. Some of which includes the Traditional Choir, Contemporary Choir, Handbell Choir, and a Children’s Choir.

And best of all, everyone who comes here are all amazingly nice and friendly. Which means if you are wanting to interact with the local community or maybe even get some tips and advice on places to visit or things to do, then this church is absolutely perfect for that.

Overall, it’s a really great church to visit and one where you and the entire family will have a lot of fun and excitement.

FAQS About Carlisle, Pennsylvania

What is Carlisle PA famous for?

The township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is famously known for being the resting site of famed Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher (real name Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley). Not only that, it is also home to the oldest college in America known as “Dickinson College”.

How far is Carlisle PA from Philadelphia?

The distance between Carlisle, PA and Philadelphia, Pa is about 123 miles or about 198 kilometers.

How far is Carlisle PA from Pittsburgh PA?

The distance between Carlisle, PA and Pittsburgh, Pa is about 148.19 miles in the West direction or about 183 miles if driving by car.

What airport is closest to Carlisle, PA?

The nearest airport to Carlisle is Harrisburg (MDT) Airport which is located about 23 miles away.

Visit Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Overall, the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania is one of the most beautiful and scenic places you can ever visit. With so many things to see or do, visitors who come to Carlisle will have the time of their lives enjoying everything that this place has to offer.

So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In Carlisle, Pennsylvania” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the township of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.

Also, if you’re going to be traveling around to the state of Pennsylvania anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Pennsylvania related posts:

Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.

Hope you have a safe and fun trip~

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