Carlisle is an ancient town situated within Cumberland Valley, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population in 2021 was 20,144. Carlisle is Cumberland’s County seat.
The town is renowned for its agricultural activities, streets lined with trees, and restored buildings. The town once housed prominent people of early America, including Molly Pitcher and George Washington,
This beautiful community has a bustling downtown area filled with cultural and artistic establishments, stores, bars, and restaurants in proximity to Dickinson College, the United States first college was established, and then the US Army War College.
The US Army War College is nestled in Carlisle Barracks. It features top-notch army personnel and civilians for essential leadership roles. The Barracks is listed as one of the oldest United States Army installations and the most advanced Army educational college in the US Army.
There are lots of exciting things to do here, including visiting art galleries, antique stores, museums, and farmer’s markets.
Here are the best and fun things to do in Carlisle, PA
Things to Do in Carlisle, PA
1. Visit the US Army Heritage and Education
The US Army Heritage and Education Center is situated in the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the US Army’s primary historical research facility.
It is perched on 56 acres and comprises the Military History Institute, Visitor and Education Services, Collections Management, Army War College, and Army Heritage Museum.
You will find about 16 million military items together with the most extensive collection of Civil War photography and other exhibits like the Soldier Experience Gallery, which documents the history of the Spanish American War to this day.
You can also walk on the Army Heritage Trail, which consists of helicopters and tanks.
Address: 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA, United States
2. Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training CenterKings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center occupies a land area of 1,454 acres and provides visitors with various activities for the entire family, friends, and colleagues.
The Center is a remarkable tourist destination. Visitors can go picnicking or hiking here. If you are a lover of wildlife and nature, stop by and enjoy the view of the many plants and animals here.
You will see huckleberry and Mountain laurel in the forested areas and turkeys, white-tailed deer, and turkeys. One of the favorite attractions to look out for when you visit is the Cameron-Masland Mansion.
The mansion is just four miles from the main gate, providing you with beautiful views of the Cumberland Valley. Kings Gap Environmental and Education Training Center is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Carlisle, PA.
Address: 500 Kings Gap Road, Carlisle, PA 17015, United States
3. LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail
LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail is a stunning destination to check out if you love nature. It is one place to immerse yourself in nature.
The LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail stretches through a distance of two miles. It features a trailhead situated a few miles away from Carlisle Borough’s LeTort Park Carlisle Borough.
The Trail’s name was derived from a French-Swiss trader, James LeTort, and the course is part of the most famous outdoor recreation location in this country.
Visitors can go fly-fishing here. For example, you can catch the limestone trout from the rivers of LeTort Spring Run, which is highlighted in the book “Fifty More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die.”
Besides Fly fishing, visitors who come here can enjoy the activity of hiking and watching birds, including Carolina Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, and many others. Hiking, bird-watching, and fly-fishing are among the fun things to do in Carlisle, PA.
Address: 415 Franklin Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
4. Carlisle Theater
The Carlisle Theater, popularly called the “Gem of Downtown ” is a famous destination housed in an Art Deco-themed building that originally opened for operations in 1939 as The Comerford and was later restored during the nineties.
Currently, the Theater hosts broad and entertaining events showcased by the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center and even musical concerts, family programs, plays, and musical concerts.
There is something unique for everyone to see, like the current Anne of Green Gables musical. In contrast, movie enthusiasts can see exciting movies ranging from recent international releases to independent films.
Address: 40 West High Street, Carlisle, PA 17013, United States
5. Cameron-Masland Mansion
The Cameron-Masland Mansion is a stone mansion erected by James McCorming Cameron in 1908 as a summer home. The building is about 200 feet long and is constructed from a local Antietam quartzite from a nearby bridge.
The Mansion was built like an Italian-themed villa, and the 32-room structure is available for visits to the general public on Sunday afternoons. In addition, it offers self-guided trips from May until November and tours of the Holiday Open House on the first two Sundays of December.
The Friends of Kings Gap association manages the Mansion. It regularly holds events such as Music on the Mount, Astronomy for Beginners, and Yoga on the Terrace.
It is a great structure to behold and should make up your checklist of the best places to visit in Carlisle, PA.
Address: 500 Kings Gap Road, Carlisle, PA, United States
6. The Trout Gallery
The Trout Gallery is situated in a former campus gymnasium of Dickinson College at Emil R. Weiss Center of the Arts.
The Trout Gallery serves as the college’s art museum, used by students, staff, faculty members, residents, and even visitors of Carlisle.
It has a permanent collection of about 6,000 artworks. It also has many works on paper from Europe and America and ethnographic works from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Other exciting activities to be part of when you visit include exhibitions, unique programs, and the K-12 programming held at the Mumper-Stewart Education Center, which started operations in 2007.
Address: 240 West High Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
7. Cumberland County Historical Society
Cumberland County Historical Society was initially instituted as a library in the will of a local attorney named James Hamilton, Jr, in 1873.
The Historical Society currently functions as an education and history centre. It has a library, photo archives, and a museum. They organize events throughout the year, such as lectures, walking tours, family fun programs, and lectures.
There are 16 galleries in the museum, consisting of various artifacts and art items with a history dating back 250 years.
Essential items to see include more than 30 carved animals done by Wilhelm Schimmel and original items fabricated by silversmiths and local clockmakers. Opposite the Cumberland County Historical Society is Vale-Himes park, with serene gardens and walkways.
Address: 21 North Pitt Street, Carlisle, PA 17013, United States
8. Molly Pitcher Brewing Company
Molly Pitcher Brewing Company offers ever-changing beers consisting of innovative and new liquors. You can visit this facility and the many opportunities it has installed for you.
Besides the excellent beer produced in this facility, the Tap Room provides visitors with varieties of delectable Pub food to complement your beer.
You can choose from their selection of pub foods such as wings nachos, delicious burgers or Poutine, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and pretzel bites.
The beers on the menu include pale ales: brut-style IPA, stouts, porters, and fruited sour beers. You can also get involved in something more exciting such as their music nights, Trivia nights, and many more. You can check their website to see what is currently available on tap.
Address: Molly Pitcher Brewing Company, 139 W. High St, Carlisle, PA, United States
9. Carlisle Barracks
The Carlisle Barracks is one of the most captivating and historical destinations in Carlisle, PA. There is no doubt that the Carlisle Barracks is a famous destination for tourists in this part of the country; therefore, exploring it is one of the top things to do in Carlisle, PA.
The Carlisle Barracks house the US Army War College. It acts as an Army installation for the United States Army. The Barracks is also the second oldest military installation in the country that is still functional.
The Barracks have a history stretching back to 1757, making it a long military service. Unfortunately, the Confederate Army destroyed the military site. In time, it became an abode for the Carlisle Indian School, a controversial college.
A famous athlete named Jim Thorpe and about 10,000 other American Indian students enrolled in this institution between 1878 to 1918. Despite being used by the military, visitors can tour the facility during the week.
Address: 870 Jim Thorpe Drive, Carlisle Barracks, PA, United States
10. Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Carlisle Indian Industrial School is situated around the Carlisle Barracks and currently accommodates the US War College. It was established in 1879 to assimilate why Indian kids went into colonial culture.
You will be able to find many of the school’s buildings still intact when you visit. Guided trips are provided from time to time by the Cumberland County Historical Society, or guests can pick up the self-guided walking tour brochure at History on High.
Many native children enrolled in boarding schools between 1879 and 1918. The school had a positive impact on the lives of some students and conflicted identities for many others. A cemetery on site houses 186 students who kicked the bucket while in this school.
Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA, United States
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11. Saint Patrick Church
The Church is located in the Central area of Carlisle and regions of the Carlisle Historic District; this destination has been available to the general public since it originally opened in 1779. The Saint Patrick Church is a parish of Harrisburg Diocese under the watch of Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, the eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg.
The Church occupies a land mass of about 500 square miles, with about 5,500 people. The Church manages two campuses and owns the historic campus at 152 E. Pomfret Street in the Central area of Carlisle, including the 1893 ” Shrine Church ”, parish office, and rectory.
The rectory annex is used as the parochial school classrooms, meeting rooms, and Library. Saint Patrick Church has different choirs, including a Traditional Choir, a Children’s Choir, and Handbell Choir.
Address: 152 East Pomfret Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
12. Northgate Antique Mall
The Northgate Antique Mall is part of the oldest antique stores in the Carlisle region. The Mall has been providing guests with various antiques, coins, old-fashioned jewelry, stonewares, and others for more than 26 years.
Visitors can enjoy the friendly atmosphere this place offers and explore the many merchandises showcased by over 70 dealers daily.
Visitors can get top-notch items from brands like Heisey, Fenton, and Steiff. You can also find other gems in mediums like clothing, records, old books, toys, and stoneware.
The Northgate Antique Mall is a few miles from Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and Gettysburg. Make sure to stop by for a unique shopping experience.
Address: 726 N Hanover St, Carlisle, PA, United States
13. Market Cross Pub and Brewery
The Market Cross Pub is a family-owned and operated restaurant in Carlisle, providing visitors with English and American cuisines and over 250 varieties of beer to complement their lunch and supper.
The opening of the Market Cross Pub and Brewery can be attributed to the Market Cross Square in Carlisle, England.
The Market was formally opened in 1994 in Carlisle when the owners understood the city had a twin in England.
The Market was formerly known for its burgers, beer garden, and steaks. It has been restored into a beer garden and garage brewery.
Visitors can enjoy the Excalibur Imperial Stout, Old Yeller IPA, English Red Ale, and British foods like Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers, and Mash while chatting with friends and the locals.
Address: 113 North Hanover Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
14. Bedford Street Antiques
If you are an antique lover, one of the best things to do in Carlisle, PA, is to check out Bedford Street Antiques.
The Antique store is accommodated in a building that was initially used as a church, a manufacturing clothing company, an auction house, and a flea market for many years.
The history of this Antique store is fantastic. Its recent owners purchased the 33,000-square-foot clothing company in 2003, which was formerly available for business during the year.
This local business comprises over 100 antique dealers on more than two floors. You can see items ranging from vintage toys to provincial furniture, artwork, and many more. There are lots of great things in stock for you when you visit.
Address: 44 North Bedford Street, Carlisle, PA 17013, United States
15. American Artisan Gallery
If you are an art lover, one of the best things to do in Carlisle, PA, is to check out the American Artisan Gallery situated in Carlisle, PA. The Gallery displays the works of over 90 of America’s favorite artists.
Various types of locally crafted artworks are showcased at the Gallery. You can also check out the glass tile mosaics, paintings that come in various forms, jewelry, woodwork, sculpture, pottery, and lots more.
You can also purchase gifts to take home to your friends and family, from locally made leather cases to authentic jewelry pieces. You can also enjoy hearty chocolate or gourmet brittles after your shopping.
Address: American Artisan Gallery, 35 N. Hanover St, Carlisle, PA, United States
16. 1794 Whiskey Rebellion
The 1794 Bar and eatery is located in the Central area of Carlisle, PA. There are over one hundred whiskeys available from different parts of the globe, together with native favorites such as Colonial Chicken Pot Pie and Bastille Medallions.
You can sample the best of their local beers and spirits. Visitors get to feel, taste, and experience history on a different level.
In 1974, President George Washington visited this region. He was moved to establish a restaurant called the best place for booze, making it the first time in history that a Commander in Chief joined the Army on the battlefield as it prepared to protect against the enemy.
The restaurant is an ideal place to visit if you enjoy having spirits.
Address: 10 S. Hanover Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
17. Bent Pine Alpaca Farm
Are you wondering what to do in Carlisle, PA? See an Alpaca at Bent Pine Alpaca Farm. The Bent Pine Alpaca Farm is situated halfway between Carlisle and Mechanicsburg. It is the abode for about 25 to 30 alpacas and some Llamas.
This iconic Farm has a history stretching back to 1770 and occupies a landmass area of 16 acres. The alpacas here are welcoming and love to see visitors.
You can come with the entire family, so they can also meet and have fun with these creatures. Visiting times are every Sunday afternoon from 1 pm to 4 pm.
The kids will love to visit as they get to have a close interaction with these amazing animals, and they also have the opportunity to hand-feed these animals with a carrot snack.
It also has a shop because it has a wide variety of quality locally crafted products from alpaca fleece, such as gorgeous mittens and scarves.
Address: 65 S Old Stone House Rd, Carlisle, PA, United States
18. Carl Events Car Shows
Another fascinating place to see is the Car Events Car Shows held at the Fairgrounds of Carlisle, PA, between Spain and Fall.
The various Car collectors to find here during the event includes Ford Nationals, Chrysler Nationals, Import and Performance Nationals, Corvettes, Truck Nationals, and GM Nationals.
Every event has a broad space of car collectors, including unique indoor displays, a car corral, a flea market, seminars, activities, and delicious food.
In addition, the car events are flanked by the Spring Carlisle Automotive Flea Market in April end and the Fall Carlisle Automotive Flea Market in September end. Make sure to visit to have a look at the unique trucks and cars that are displayed here.
Address: 1000 Bryn Mawr Rd, Carlisle, PA 17013, United States
19. Dickinson College
Dickinson College is often seen as the first official institution established in the United States. The College was founded on September 9, 1893, in relation to its charter. The signing of the Treaty of Paris happened some days before this date, making it the first institution to have been created in the country.
This liberal arts institution occupies a large area of 144 acres with a student population of more than 3000. The institution receives students from different parts of the state and beyond who come here to advance their studies.
Currently, Dickinson College provides students with a rich and outstanding academic experience together with sporting events where they have their hometown sports team known as the Dickinson Red Devils, and theatrical productions. In addition, visitors can tour the campus and enjoy stunning views of the environment.
Address: 28 N College St., Carlisle, PA, United States
20. Desperate Times Brewery
Desperate Times Brewery is situated a few distances from Carlisle Events Fairground and is a famous destination for beer enthusiasts.
The name of this Brewery was sourced from the dark days of Prohibition. The Brewhouse has a Tap Room that provides visitors with a broad selection of top-notch local Brereton beers on tap, with a complete food menu and non-alcoholic beverages.
The brewhouse features an outside Biergarten for bright climate conditions. Their food menu is German-inspired and has been confirmed to be suitable for all the beats produced here.
There are other foods on their menus, such as pulled pork, grilled sandwich, and a full plate of German Susan with all of its trimmings.
Address: 1201 Carlisle Springs Rd, Carlisle, PA, United States
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21. Carlisle Country Market
Carlisle Country Market is available throughout the year for locals and visitors to shop for grocery items. It is the only indoor market in Carlisle that is open throughout the year.
There are more than 30 vendors on site who provide goods and services such as baked goodies, deli, vegetables, meats, berries, pumpkins, Christmas trees, tree fruits, crafts, flowers, and others.
You can stop by to have some coffee and freshly baked pastry or visit at noon for a hot lunch or freshly made sub sandwich, homemade soup, or salad to bring back home to your family members or friends.
You can satisfy your tooth cravings by checking out their candy store. If you need a unique piece to bring home to someone special, check out locally crafted jewelry showcased by the vendors on site. There are many parking areas as well.
Address: 1446 Holly Pike, Carlisle, PA 17015, United States
22. Castlerigg Wine Shop
Casterton Wine Shop comprises varieties of splendid collections of Pennsylvania wines. The wine shop took after the name of a sacred Castlereagh megalithic ring of stones nestled in North West England.
The Wine shop provides over 50 various types of the best wines in Pennsylvania, which are available for prices ranging from $12 to $54.
The wine shop is situated in a famous old-fashioned building. An ideal place to relax is at the fireplace to enjoy their unique wines. Visitors are also welcome to participate in their wine tasting.
Address: 110 S Hanover St, Carlisle, PA, United States
23. Grand Illusion Hard Cider
Grand Illusion is an authentic cider and wine bar. Globally, it has the most expansive selection of Pennsylvania ciders on draft, with a rotating selection of eight Pennsylvania wines and five Pennsylvania beers.
They have a fun family ambiance that features fantastic dishes such as salads, appetizers, flatbreads, and even their famous Sunday Brunch.
You can also be part of the events held here, such as the popular Magic Mondays, where a house magician moves from across tables to entertain visitors with fun and magic tricks.
There are many fun and entertainment opportunities when you visit, like their paint nights and live music.
Address: 26 W. High Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
If you are searching for something unique and different when you visit Carlisle, exploring Create a Palooza should make up your bucket list of fun things to do in Carlisle, PA
Visitors get to learn and desire the creative skills of their choice at this place. This destination is a creative art centre that provides both children and adults with the platform to get creative on artworks without having to purchase many materials.
The opportunities are plenty, including canvas painting, gourd crafts, glass painting, and “paint your own” pottery.
All the needed materials to help you create that unique piece you have in mind are available here. The result is yours to bring back home to your friends and family as memorabilia.
Address: Create-A-Palooza, 11 E. High Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
25. The Old Graveyard
The Old Graveyard was formerly the first burial site in Carlisle, with a history dating back to 1757. As part of the first oldest serving graveyards in Pennsylvania, it highlights the European idea of public ownership other than private ownership. The Old Graveyard is owned and managed by the Borough of Carlisle.
This site is the resting place of 750 veterans who served in the Revolutionary War until the Korean War. The Old Graveyard is also a burial site for 550 Civil War Veterans.
This destination is also a burial ground for Mary Hays McCauly, fondly called Molly Pitcher; she is known for her massive contribution during the era of the Revolutionary War.
Local limestone surrounds the graveyard’s walls, which started in 1806 to restrict castles from entering the cemetery. There is a new section of the graveside, which was built in 1891.
Address: 273 Cemetery Ave, Carlisle, PA 17013, United States
26. Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy
Another interesting item on our list of what to do in Carlisle, PA, is to visit Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy. A visit to this candy store brings back memories of when people enjoyed candy as kids, and you could even buy many sweets with little cash.
At this store, you will find many old favorites and modern candies that children will love to eat.
This distinctive store has about 800 types of candy and over 100 varieties of glass-bottled soda drinks. You will also be able to find old candy boxes, notepads, toys, and more.
This Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy is fun and exciting for the entire family, and you can bring lots of candy back home to enjoy with your loved ones.
Address: 56 W. High Street, Carlisle, PA, United States
27. Claire’s Orchard
The Fetters family has been involved in farming practices for many years in Adam’s County, and in 2013 they established a retail market in Carlisle.
You will be able to find freshly harvested produce, including various types of fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, strawberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, blueberries, and others.
All the produce harvested at the Orchard is available at the market in its best condition to ensure all that is available tastes great.
The Orchard also has in various stock different kinds of local produce, dairy products sourced from the Misty Meadow Farm Creamery, honey, Pasture-reared meats, sauces, mustards, preserves, pickles, and more.
Address: Claire’s Orchard, 1452 Holly Pike, Carlisle, PA, United States
28. Midway Bowling
Do something even more exciting by bowling at this indoor sports and entertainment centre located in Carlisle, PA.
Midway Bowling features 32 bowling lanes located in the central area of the complex, where you can go head-to-head with family and friends.
There are lots of fun to catch with family and friends. If you are not really into bowling that much, you can try out their fascinating golf simulator, play some arcade games, and game of billiards.
The indoor sports center also features a food and bar menu, and on Friday and Saturday nights, you can be part of their famous Rock and Bowl music session complemented by rock music.
Address: 1561 Holly Pike, Carlisle, PA, United States
29. Two Mile House
The famous Two Mile House is a typical example of the Federal limestone living quarters.
This Two Mile House derived its name from its distance from the Town Square and was constructed in 1820. It was called the James Give Tavern between 1826 and 1857.
The Two Mile House features 12 rooms; ten out of the 12 rooms come with fireplaces, and five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens are around it.
In 1992, the structure was relinquished to the Cumberland County Historical Society and has since been a beautiful location for hosting special occasions such as weddings and events.
You can enjoy a tour around the house and have to call to make reservations with them. The Two Mile House gardens do not require a fee for visitations and are available daily to the general public.
Address: 1189 Walnut Bottom Road, Carlisle, PA, United States
30. Cumberland Valley Visitors Center
When you visit Carlisle, stop by the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center. It is situated next to History on High. The Center provides visitors with maps, brochures, and guides to enable tourists to unravel the charming and unique experience that Cumberland Valley has installed for them.
They offer excellent customer service, and their staff are welcoming, friendly, and always available to help visitors with hints and advice on what to expect in the borough.
Whether you need information on the restaurants around, the closest local brewery, family hangout spots, or an ideal site to capture scintillating views of the Valley, you will surely get all the answers you need at the visitor’s centre.
When you visit the Visitors Center, you will clearly understand why Cumberland Valley, over the years, has been ranked by the American Craft Week as part of the Top 10 towns in America for craft lovers.
You can go through the internal Hallway to reach the History on High and shop for various locally produced artwork and crafts unique to this region, including beautiful jewelry, metalwork, clothing, pottery, paintings, clothing, wood carvings, and lots more.
Address: 33 W High St, Carlisle, PA, United States
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Plan Your Trip to Carlisle
If you are searching for a place to have a unique getaway experience with friends and family, Carlisle is the perfect place to visit.
There are many exciting and fun activities to do here. There’s an activity and attraction for every preference. The experience is usually educative and entertaining, so plan to visit.
Have a fun trip!