When most people hear Hershey, they immediately think of the famous chocolate. Growing up in Hershey, PA, has been pretty fun, especially since there was always so much to do around the small, quaint little town. After living there for my entire life thus far and attending school in Hershey, the town did become old after a while, but I am still so happy that I had the opportunity to live in “the sweetest place on Earth” throughout my childhood and years after until I headed off to college this past year.
Spending a year away and now a summer away from Hershey is making me realize how much I miss it at certain points, and not primarily because I miss my parents, brother, dog and friends. It is much more than that. I miss being able to smell chocolate every time I go outside, take in the beautiful weather and enjoy all that Hershey has to offer all throughout the year while I am currently residing in State College.
1. Adventure Sports
When I was younger, I would always love to go to Adventure Sports. There is mini-golf, an arcade, water sports, a race track, laser tag and a baseball hitting cage. It is perfect for family fun!
2. Antique Automobile Club of America Museum
If you’re into antique cars, motorcycles, buses and other automobiles, a visit to the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum is a must. I had my sophomore prom in this beautiful museum. It is right across the street from King Kone, which is a great place to get delicious soft- serve ice cream. The museum itself has automobiles from the 1890s to 1980s.
Hershey has been expanding rapidly over the past 10 years. Even though Milton Hershey, who helped build the community, wanted his town to remain a historic downtown, the community has decided to make some changes while still giving Hershey an old town feel. There are plenty of shops downtown such as Knock-Knock, Embellas, Simply J Boutique, Adrienne’s Herbals, Crossroads Antique Mall and the Shops at the Hotel Hershey, just to name a few. There are also some delicious places to eat in downtown Hershey. My personal favorite is Devon Seafood + Steak, but there is also Houlihan's, Chipotle, Chocolate Avenue Grill, Au Bon Lieu, Fenicci's, Phillip Arthur’s Cafe, The Mill, Duck Donuts and many more to explore while visiting Hershey.
4. Founders Hall at the Milton Hershey School
Founders Hall is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Hershey. Located by the Milton Hershey School, it was dedicated to the Hershey’s for all of their hard work in creating such a beautiful and successful town. The monument took three years to build in the 1960s and it currently has a visitors center open to the general public where you can take tours of the monument. They even host high school graduations here!
5. Giant Center
The Giant Center is home to so many great performances. From watching Hershey Bears hockey to the Harlem Globetrotters and Jim Gaffigan to various musicals and other huge performers, you are sure to find an act you like. I have been to various hockey games, shows and performances over the years and have loved all of them. Overall, the Giant Center has 10,500 seats.
6. Hershey Park
Hershey Park has millions of visitors annually and has had many expansions throughout the years. Currently, there is a water park, plenty of rides and a theatre to watch shows. The park has six themed areas: Midway America, The Boardwalk, Founder’s Way, Kissing Tower Hill, The Hollow and Pioneer Frontier. Whether you’re into thrilling rollercoasters or if you’re anything like me and are into the mellower rides, Hershey Park has something for everyone.
7. Hershey Park Stadium
The Hershey Park Stadium serves as more than Hershey High School’s football team's home field. Each year, so many famous performers come through. I have seen One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Pentatonix and Kelly Clarkson in the beloved Hershey Park Stadium. I even got to meet Pentatonix and have a talkback with 5 Seconds of Summer!
8. Hershey's Chocolate World
“The great American chocolate bar” song can be heard while on the ride at Chocolate World. That was one of my favorite parts of Chocolate World when I was little because I got to see how chocolate was made and learn about how Hershey decided to make his chocolate. Chocolate World also sells the largest Hershey bar which is five pounds. There is also a food court with the best cookies and milkshakes. It is also really fun to make your own personalized Hershey’s chocolate bar or cupcakes! Everyday, there is a 4-D movie being shown about the mystery of chocolate which is really intriguing.
9. The Hershey Gardens
If you go visit the Hershey Gardens, be ready to explore 23 acres of beautiful flowers, a children’s garden, butterfly house and a newly opened conservatory. There are various themed parts of the gardens. There are even butterfly shaped benches. A lot of the flowers, trees and shrubs at the gardens are rare, so it is always super cool to look at them. I love to look at the rose garden, as it always takes my breath away when it is in full bloom.
10. The Hershey Story
You can learn all about the history of Hershey at The Hershey Story museum. There are two floors and a fun cafe you can eat at. I used to volunteer here and I learned so much about the history of Hershey in addition to helping customers. You can even go to the chocolate lab and create your own chocolate which is so fun! My favorite part about volunteering was teaching all of the visitors how chocolate is made through a presentation with actual chocolate ingredients from other countries.
11. Hershey Theatre
The Hershey Theatre will always have a special place in my heart. It is where I saw my first concert in elementary school which was Aly and AJ and where I have had my dance shows for years. In addition to concerts and surrounding area dance shows, the Hershey Theatre has some huge name performers come through along with various shows and musicals. I would also enjoy seeing the Hershey Symphony Orchestra around the winter holidays.
12. Hershey Trolley Works
What could be more fun than learning about the history of Hershey while simultaneously riding a trolley through the town? One unique aspect of Hershey is that trolley tours are offered daily. Hershey Trolley Works is located at Chocolate World and all tours start at on of the entrances to Chocolate World and then end there as well. You will be able to pass Highpoint Mansion, which is where Hershey grew up, the Milton Hershey School that Hershey created and so much more.
13. The Hotel Hershey
Sitting atop a huge hill, The Hotel Hershey is one of the original landmarks that Hershey built. It is Hershey’s most upscale hotel, offering a spa where you can get chocolate facials, various restaurants, an indoor and outdoor pool, conference rooms, segway tours, an outdoor skating rink, campgrounds and much, much more. To top it off, the hotel overlooks the Hershey Gardens in addition to Hersheypark, which is such a cool sight, especially at night!
14. Tanger Outlets
Formerly known as the Hershey Outlets, this outdoor concept outlets has just about any store you could imagine. It is every avid shopper's dream. The outlets can get really crowded during any day of the week. I know that from previous experience from working at Justice in the outlets during high school. With 55 stores and five places to get food, it is a great way to spend a day while visiting Hershey.
ZooAmerica is such a fun place to visit if you like to see animals and plants! This 11-acre area is home to over 200 animals and various plants that you can see. The animals and plants represent five regions of North America. These regions include Big Sky Country, Eastern Woodlands, the Great Southwest, Northlands and Southern Swamps. There is even a gift shop where you can purchase various animal related trinkets from ZooAmerica.
If you ever visit Hershey, now you have an idea of some places to visit and activities to try! There are also plenty of other things to do that I didn’t list here, but this should be a great start. Enjoy your time here and I hope you have tons of fun visiting!
Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons