Did you know Milton Hershey founded a successful caramel company (the Lancaster Caramel Company) before he ever mastered the art of chocolate making? That’s just one of the many morsels of history you’ll discover on a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, otherwise known as the Sweetest Place on Earth.
You’ll also learn that Hershey used his wealth to build the town everyone knows today, with schools such as the Milton Hershey School for underprivileged children, a hotel (The Hotel Hershey, an award-winning property) and an amusement park called ? you guessed it ? Hersheypark.
Nearly 80 years after Hershey’s passing in 1945, the town he built continues to blossom, with something new (and delicious) to explore each year. Read on to discover the best things to do in Hershey.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
You haven’t been to Hershey until you’ve taken the free Hershey’s Chocolate Tour. The tour ? an indoor ride in a Hershey’s Kiss-shaped car ? allows visitors to understand how Hershey’s chocolate is made and enjoy a free chocolate bar at the end. Better still is the marketplace at Hershey’s Chocolate World, where you can purchase Hershey’s candy (including treats you don’t typically find at your local food store); candy-themed souvenirs; and signature smoothies, milkshakes and pastries. You can also make a personalized treat at the Create Your Own Candy Bar station, solve a sweet mystery in the 4D Chocolate Movie and enjoy wine and chocolate or beer and chocolate pairings seasonally.
Address: 101 Chocolate World Way, Hershey, PA 17033
Hersheypark features 15 roller coasters (and counting) ? including Laff Trakk, the first indoor, spinning glow coaster in the U.S. The amusement park also features an outdoor water park and kiddie rides, plus rides and attractions the whole family can enjoy together. When it’s time for a break, order one of the park’s famous King Sized Shakes, available at Simply Chocolate. The one-of-a-kind amusement park is especially magical at Christmas, when the park hosts Hershey Sweet Lights, a 2-mile, illuminated drive-through tour, and Christmas Candylane, where guests can sip hot cocoa and meet Santa and his reindeer.
Address: 100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
The Spa at The Hotel Hershey
Melt into The Spa at The Hotel Hershey (also known as The Chocolate Spa) where treatments include a cocoa massage and a chocolate fondue wrap. You don’t have to get a chocolate treatment, though ? there are plenty of other options, from a four-handed Lomi Lomi massage to teen-specific services. An on-site salon where you can get your hair, makeup and nails done is also available. Before or after your treatment, take time to enjoy the spa facilities, which include an indoor pool, a hot tub, a steam room, a sauna and The Oasis lounge and restaurant, where you can have lunch (reservations required) and cocktails. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to take advantage of the spa, though a stay at the property is highly recommended.
Address: 100 Hotel Road, Hershey, PA 17033
The Hotel Hershey
The Hotel Hershey is an especially popular destination for romantic escapes and girls getaways. Part of the Historic Hotels of America, the regal resort offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools, golf, tennis, fitness facilities, a kids club, five restaurants and a spa. Guests can choose to stay in beautifully appointed guest rooms, suites or cottages, plus the hotel offers perks like complimentary admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. Reviewers say the staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful, and that the food is great.
Address: 100 Hotel Road, Hershey, PA 17033
MeltSpa by Hershey
Another spa option, MeltSpa by Hershey offers chocolate-infused (and non-chocolate-infused) massages, facials, manicures and the like, plus treatments designed for teens and men. Located on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey, this day spa also offers a full-service salon. Previous and current patrons consistently default to the most important word in any spa review: relaxing.
Address: 11 E Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Tröegs Independent Brewing
Known for its award-winning beers including Mad Elf, a beloved holiday ale, Tröegs Independent Brewing is headquartered in Hershey. Guided brewery tours are available, and just as good as the beer is the snack bar, where you can order everything from an Oktoberfest-style pretzel to confit duck leg. Be sure to try a scratch beer ? aka one of the brewery’s latest experiments ? when you visit, and don’t miss the merchandise store, where you can buy everything from four packs to Tröegs beer-infused soap.
Address: 200 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
Hershey Trolley Works
Go for a ride with Hershey Trolley Works, which offers narrated excursions around town. Themed tours include a 75-minute Historical Trolley Tour that’s offered year-round; the Original Trolley Show, a 45-minute family-friendly show that brings the story of Milton Hershey to life (summers only); and festive Halloween and Christmas trolley tours. The friendly tour guides get rave reviews, and previous patrons say they learned things about the area that they wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.
Address: 101 Chocolate World Way, Hershey, PA 17033
Antique Automobile Club of America
A Smithsonian Affiliate, the Antique Automobile Club of America features permanent exhibits such as the Hershey’s Kissmobile Cruiser, as well as rotating installments that have included everything from unrestored classic cars to vintage go-karts. The museum is open year-round (and makes the perfect rainy day activity in the summer). The attraction earns numerous positive reviews from recent visitors.
Address: 161 Museum Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
When planning your summertime visit to Hershey, be sure to check the schedule at Hersheypark Stadium where big-name concerts are typically hosted from June through September. The outdoor venue offers food and beverage concessions and ? the ultimate splurge ? VIP Sky Suites. Hersheypark Stadium has hosted everyone from Dead & Company to the Jonas Brothers. Reviewers say the bathrooms are tiny, but clean and widely available.
Address: 100 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
If you’re looking for indoor entertainment in Hershey, see what’s on the schedule at the Giant Center. Here you can watch a Hershey Bears hockey game or WWE SmackDown show, see a concert and catch a traveling tour such as Disney on Ice. There’s really no such thing as a bad seat at the Giant Center, as many reviewers comment that the views are good no matter where you sit (but that seats could use an update). The Giant Center is open year-round.
Address: 550 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
Chocolate Fun-Due. A Reese’s peanut butter milkshake. Caramel pretzel cheesecake. These are just some of the delectable desserts you can order at The Chocolatier, a new restaurant at Hersheypark. The Chocolatier also serves light bites, full entrees and cocktails, but you know how the saying goes ? life is short, eat The Chocolatier Cake first. Reviewers recommend making a reservation to avoid long waits.
Address: 800 Park Blvd., Hershey, PA 17033
One of the first attractions to open in Hershey, ZooAmerica was established in 1910. More than a century later, the zoo has expanded to house a couple hundred animals across a variety of species and support several wildlife and environmental conservation efforts. For an extra-special experience, book a behind-the-scenes photography or after-hours tour of the zoo. ZooAmerica is located within Hersheypark and admission to the zoo is included in your park pass.
Address: 201 Park Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Founders Hall at the Milton Hershey School
Founders Hall honors Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine, and their commitment to helping children in need. The Visitors Center is under renovations until late 2022, but when it reopens, travelers will be able to ogle the gorgeous marble interior dome and learn about the history of the Milton Hershey School. Until then, it’s worth a stop at this ceremonious monument, an iconic structure and symbol in Hershey. Reviewers say the grounds alone are worth exploring.
Address: 1201 Homestead Lane, Hershey, PA 17033
The Hershey Story Museum
Of course, there’s no better place to learn about Hershey than The Hershey Story Museum, where exhibits include Failures to Fortune, which tells the story of Milton Hershey’s childhood, apprenticeships, business failures and successes; Sweet Innovations, where you can see some of the equipment used in the original chocolate factory; and the Power of Promotion, which shows how Hershey came to be the beloved candy brand it is today. The Hershey Story Museum also offers a hands-on Chocolate Lab and seasonal chocolate tastings. Reviewers say this place is a must-see when in Hershey.
Address: 63 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Stop and smell the roses at Hershey Gardens. That’s exactly what Milton Hershey intended for visitors when he requested to “create a nice garden of roses.” Aside from fragrant flowers featured in seasonal and themed displays, Hershey Gardens offers a whimsical children’s garden with interactive play structures and a butterfly atrium where you can get up close with butterflies ? so close they might land right on your head or hands. Guided walks and gardening classes are also available. Reviewers say the gardens are not only beautiful, but also relaxing.
Address: 170 Hotel Road, Hershey, PA 17033
The Falconry Experience
Did you know you could interact with falcons in Hershey? Offered at The Hotel Hershey and available to both guests and the general public, The Falconry Experience features free-flight and simulated hunt demonstrations, and the chance to have birds of prey land right on your hand. Group and family sessions are available, and kids ages 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Reviewers say this is one of the most unique experiences they’ve ever had.
Address: 100 Hotel Road, Hershey, PA 17033
Water Works at Hershey Lodge
Hersheypark isn’t the only place with a water park in the area. Hershey Lodge has an indoor water park called Water Works, with a zero-entry pool, a spray zone, a water-dumping bucket and more. Especially fun for young kids, the water park is exclusive and complimentary to guests of the hotel. Before you book your stay, check out the hotel’s packages, which combine overnight accommodations and Hersheypark tickets in one rate.
Address: 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
Visitors to Hershey should try to catch a show at the Hershey Theatre located downtown. The performing arts center offers concerts, comedy acts, touring Broadway shows and film previews. You can also take the Hershey Theatre Spotlight Tour, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the historic theater, which opened in 1933. Plenty of parking and concessions are available. Previous patrons appreciate that they can enjoy Broadway-caliber shows in Hershey.
Address: 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Hershey Symphony Orchestra
A lesser-known yet unique thing to do in Hershey is see the Hershey Symphony Orchestra. The 80-person orchestra comprises local volunteer musicians who perform a variety of concerts throughout the year. The orchestra’s shows are held at a number of local venues, including the Hershey Theatre. Reviewers say the music is beautiful without the snobbery that may come with seeing an orchestra or opera performance.
Cullari Vineyards & Winery
The first (and only) wine tasting room in Hershey, Cullari Vineyards & Winery produces more than 35 wines. Not surprisingly, its most popular wine is a chocolate wine called Coco Nostra. It’s the perfect souvenir to commemorate your trip (along with Hershey’s chocolate, of course). Wine tastings include six wines for just $6. Wine lovers comment how wonderful the staff is.
Address: 1251 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Indian Echo Caverns
Explore underground caves at Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown (Derry Township), just outside of Hershey. Guided 45-minute tours allow visitors to explore the stunningly natural formations and how they came to be. Outside of the caves, kids can mine for mineral stones at the Gem Mill Junction, climb on the playground and visit animals at the Discovery Barnyard. Reviewers recommend bringing a light jacket and water shoes (or shoes with good traction that can get wet).
Address: 368 Middletown Road, Hummelstown, PA 17036
Rotunda Brew Pub
After you’ve had your fill at Tröegs, head to Rotunda Brew Pub to sample additional highly rated beers. Rotunda also serves cocktails and food, including exceptionally good burgers and Sunday brunch. Reviewers say the beer is unusual, but tasty, and that everything on the food menu is excellent. Takeout is available.
Address: 814 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
You might not associate outdoor adventures with a town that revolves around chocolate, but you can go fishing, tubing and kayaking at Swatara Creek, which offers five entry points near downtown Hershey. For gear rentals and guided tours, check out Cocoa Kayaks and Susquehanna Outfitters. Reviewers say both companies are great and offer all necessary gear, including life jackets.
Crossroads Antique Mall
If you enjoy all things vintage and collectibles, plan a stop at the Crossroads Antique Mall in Hershey. Housed in an old barn, the mall offers antique pieces from a variety of vendors ? including unique Hershey items from the past. Reviewers have had great experiences at the antique mall, but warn some vendors can be aggressive.
Address: 825 Cocoa Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
Pennsylvania State Police Museum
Exhibits at the Pennsylvania State Police Museum include restored patrol vehicles, crime scene forensics, vintage uniforms and more. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, though guided tours must be booked in advance. Reviewers love the gift shop, and recommend also scheduling a tour of the adjacent Pennsylvania State Police Academy.
Address: 187 E. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
Situated next to Hersheypark, Tanger Outlets offers retail therapy at stores including Disney Outlet, Gap Outlet and Yankee Candle Outlet. When it’s time for a break, you can grab a bite to eat at familiar restaurants like Red Robin. The Tanger Outlets area also offers a small playground and public restrooms.
Address: 46 Outlet Square, Hershey, PA 17033
When planning your trip to Hershey, be sure to make reservations at The Mill, where farm-to-table fare is served in a beautifully rustic setting. Everything is delicious, but the weekend brunch menu — with items including a fried chicken and waffle sandwich and chorizo huevos benedict — is arguably the best. Reviewers love the bucolic atmosphere as much as they love the food, with many saying it’s their favorite restaurant in the area.
Address: 810 Old West Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033
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