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Travel to Gettysburg PA

Updated on November 22, 2014

First Time Visitors to Gettysburg

Gettysburg is one of the most interesting historical towns to visit in the Northern U.S. It has not become too commercial, which is often the case with historical towns and villages. It is not a "historical village," as is the case with Williamsburg, VA. At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg there were but a few houses within the town, and they aren't very close together at that. Two of the more famous buildings, the Farnsworth House and the Jennie Wade House are almost a block and a half apart. The Battle of Gettysburg took place over several days at the beginning of July, and therefore many skirmishes, as well as the actual battle, are spread across miles in this town.

Visiting the Gettysburg area doesn't just mean visiting a little battlefield, taking it all in and then retiring to your hotel, mission accomplished. There is much more to see and do, from viewing the battlefield from all angles (which will give you a greater understanding of why this was the turning point of the Civil War), to enjoying museums, ghost tours and great food. The activities don't end after the anniversary of the battle each year; there are things to experience in this town year 'round.

Gettysburg Photo Slideshow

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gen. Lee MemorialSoldier's Museum EncampmentLincoln Train MuseumGettysburg Memorial Day Parade - Abe Lincoln and Uncle Sam
Gen. Lee Memorial
Gen. Lee Memorial | Source
Soldier's Museum Encampment
Soldier's Museum Encampment | Source
Lincoln Train Museum
Lincoln Train Museum | Source
Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade - Abe Lincoln and Uncle Sam
Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade - Abe Lincoln and Uncle Sam | Source

Where to Start in Gettysburg

The best place to start in Gettysburg is the new National Park Visitor's Center, located on Baltimore Pike. You'll find maps and visitor's guides to all of the local attractions here. Don't forget to spend some time here looking at all the visitor center has to offer- from movies to interactive exhibits on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. You may also buy tickets to some of the local attractions here, such as the Eisenhower Tour.

Your next stop should be to the Gettysburg Tour Center located at 778 Baltimore Street. This is where you can buy tickets to most of the main attractions at Gettysburg, such as President's Hall, the Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tour and the Lincoln Train Museum. You may also purchase tickets for the Gettysburg Haunted Trolley Tour and bus tours to Washington, D.C. here. This tour center is also a gift shop that carries many of the books written by Gettysburg residents as well as many popular historical books on the town and the Civil War.

Points of Interest in Gettysburg

If you've never been to Gettysburg, you should at least see the following attractions - some are interesting, other's are more like a rite of passage (akin to visiting the Witch Museum in Salem- you just have to do it!).

Lincoln Train Museum - a nice museum, especially for kids - lots of Lionel trains, Thomas the Tank Engine and a faux train ride with Lincoln in a train coach

Soldier's National Museum - one of the best attractions in Gettysburg. Has encampments on the front lawn during many holidays such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July. A must see when in town! Also has a huge gift shop that sells re-enactor clothing and accessories

Hall of Presidents - if you like wax museums, you'll love this attraction. Each wax figure of a president (life-size) talks about their term in office and major accomplishments. A good place for school-aged kids to visit.

Jennie Wade Museum - a definite must-see while visiting Gettysburg. The tour is short- the house is rather small. On a hot day this is an excellent place to visit - the basement is always cool!

Gettysburg Battle Theater - if you're a history buff, you'll have to visit this attraction. A good movie of the strategy leading up to the battle from both sides - north and south. This attraction also has very detailed information on all of the generals from both sides of the battle.

Pioneer Lines Scenic Railway - train enthusiasts should take a ride upon this train, located a few blocks away from downtown Gettysburg. The tour guides are informative and also have a sense of humor. Learn about the town while taking a leisurely ride in an air-conditioned coach. Dinner, Mystery and Ghost tours are also available.

Battlefield Tours - whether you take a closed air-conditioned coach or a double-decker bus, you have to take this tour while in town. The tour takes slightly over 2 hours, and it takes you through the Gettysburg National Park with stops at selected points of interest, including Devil's Den.


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  • lj gonya profile image

    lj gonya 5 years ago

    Been to Gettysburg many times and I'm always impressed. Next time, I'm definitely doing the ghost tour.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 9 years ago from California Gold Country

    Many years since I have been there. They had the 360 degree painted diaorama tho explain the battles-- and some other museum exhibits. (Plus, or course the various monuments). We did climb to "Little Round Top" on a sweltering, muggy day. All in all it was a memorable and beautiful site.

    Looks like many more enhancements have been added.