Welcome to Altoona, Pennsylvania, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie in search of culinary delights, Altoona offers a myriad of attractions and activities to explore. From historic landmarks that tell the story of the city’s rich heritage to charming eateries that tantalize the taste buds, there’s something for everyone in Altoona. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the best things to do in Altoona, PA.
Understanding Altoona’s Rich Heritage
Altoona’s history is deeply intertwined with the development of the American railroad industry. Originally founded as a railroad town by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 19th century, Altoona quickly grew into a thriving hub of commerce and industry. Today, remnants of its railroad heritage can be seen throughout the city, from its historic landmarks to its vibrant cultural scene.
1. Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark
- Address: 2400 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Altoona, PA 16601
- Website: Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark
The Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark stands as a testament to American ingenuity and engineering prowess. As one of Altoona’s most iconic attractions, it offers visitors a mesmerizing glimpse into the past. Here, the rhythmic chug of locomotives echoes through time, showcasing the evolution of transportation. Witnessing trains navigate the curve is a breathtaking experience, steeped in the rich history of American railroads. Exploring its significance illuminates the pivotal role it played in connecting the nation, shaping industries, and fostering progress. For history enthusiasts and curious minds alike, the Horseshoe Curve is an awe-inspiring journey through time and innovation.
2. Railroaders Memorial Museum
- Address: 1300 9th Ave, Altoona, PA 16602
- Website: Railroaders Memorial Museum
The Railroaders Memorial Museum invites visitors to delve deep into the captivating world of railroad history. With exhibits meticulously chronicling the rise of the railroad industry, guests embark on a journey through time. From the clattering wheels of vintage locomotives to interactive displays about railway workers, Altoona’s past is everywhere. The museum honors the transportation pioneers and provides an immersive experience for all ages. It illuminates railroaders’ legacy and their impact on Altoona and beyond for enthusiasts and curious minds.
3. Baker Mansion
- Address: 3419 Oak Ln, Altoona, PA 16602
- Website: Baker Mansion
Nestled amidst the picturesque streets of Altoona lies Baker Mansion, an exquisite Victorian estate steeped in history. Once the residence of one of Altoona’s most prominent families, it offers visitors a rare opportunity to step back in time. Guided tours lead guests through the mansion’s elegant interiors, adorned with opulent period furnishings and intricate architectural details. Each room whispers tales of bygone eras, offering a glimpse into the lives of Altoona’s elite. Baker Mansion’s parlor and family quarters evoke Victorian opulence, inviting visitors to experience it.
4. Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
- Address: 1210 11th Ave, Altoona, PA 16601
- Website: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
At the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, immerse yourself in a vibrant world of contemporary artistry. This cultural hub celebrates the diverse talents of local and regional artists, showcasing their creations in a dynamic array of exhibits. From vivid paintings to intricate sculptures, the museum offers a captivating journey through the creative landscape of Central Pennsylvania. Each brushstroke and sculpture speaks volumes, reflecting the unique perspectives and artistic vision of the region’s talented creators. As a seasoned art lover or a curious newcomer, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art will enrich your experience and celebrate human creativity.
5. Castle Halloween Museum
- Address: 2028 Broad Ave, Altoona, PA 16601
- Website: Castle Halloween Museum
For those intrigued by the eerie and the mysterious, the Castle Halloween Museum beckons as an essential stop. Within its walls lies an extensive collection of Halloween memorabilia, ranging from vintage costumes to chilling artifacts. Delve into the captivating history behind one of America’s most beloved holidays as you explore the museum’s eclectic exhibits. Each item tells a story, offering insights into the evolution of Halloween traditions and the enduring allure of the macabre. The Castle Halloween Museum offers an unforgettable experience for fans of darkness and delight.
6. Knickerbocker Tavern
- Address: 3957 6th Ave, Altoona, PA 16602
At the heart of Altoona’s social scene lies the Knickerbocker Tavern, a beloved establishment renowned for its convivial atmosphere and exceptional libations. Step inside and prepare to indulge your senses as you savor the rich flavors of Altoona. From carefully curated craft beers to fine wines and spirits, the tavern has something for everyone. Although the Knickerbocker Tavern’s drinks are popular, its warm hospitality and welcoming atmosphere are what make it stand out. The Knickerbocker Tavern promises laughter, camaraderie, and unforgettable flavors for locals and visitors alike.
Embracing Outdoor Adventure in Altoona
Beyond its urban attractions, Altoona offers a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.
1. Canoe Creek State Park
- Address: 205 Canoe Creek Rd, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
- Website: Canoe Creek State Park
Nestled amidst the verdant landscapes of Altoona, Canoe Creek State Park beckons as a tranquil oasis, offering respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Embrace the serenity as you wander along winding trails, enveloped by the splendor of nature’s tapestry. Pause for a scenic picnic by the glistening lake, where the soothing sounds of rippling waters provide the perfect soundtrack to your reprieve. Keep watchful eyes as you traverse the park’s lush terrain, for here, wildlife thrives in its natural habitat, offering glimpses of beauty and wonder at every turn. Whether seeking adventure or solace, Canoe Creek State Park welcomes all who seek to commune with the great outdoors, offering boundless opportunities for exploration and rejuvenation.
2. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
- Address: 110 Federal Park Rd, Gallitzin, PA 16641
- Website: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
Step into history at the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, where echoes of pioneers and explorers resonate through time. Here, amidst the rugged terrain of the Allegheny Mountains, early settlers embarked on a journey of discovery and perseverance. Follow in their footsteps along the very paths that once bore the weight of their hopes and dreams, as they sought passage through the untamed wilderness of the frontier. Gain insight into the monumental challenges they faced, from treacherous terrain to unforgiving weather, as they blazed a trail of westward expansion. At the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, history comes alive, offering a poignant reminder of the indomitable spirit that shaped the course of American history.
3. Thrills and Excitement at Lakemont Park
- Address: 700 Park Ave, Altoona, PA 16602
- Website: Lakemont Park
No visit to Altoona would be complete without a trip to Lakemont Park, home to some of the region’s most thrilling rides and attractions. From the gravity-defying loops of the Skyliner roller coaster to the refreshing splash of the waterpark, Lakemont Park offers fun and excitement for visitors of all ages.
Indulging in Culinary Delights
Altoona’s culinary scene is a melting pot of flavors, with a diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and eateries serving up delicious dishes to satisfy every palate.
1. Boyer Candy Co. Inc.
- Address: 821 17th St, Altoona, PA 16602
- Website: Boyer Candy Co. Inc.
Indulge your sweet tooth at Boyer Candy Co. Inc., Altoona’s premier purveyor of confectionery delights. Step into a world of sugary splendor as you sample an array of tempting treats, each crafted with care and precision. From velvety chocolate bars to sumptuous peanut butter cups, Boyer’s offerings are a testament to the artistry of fine candy making. Discover the secret behind Boyer’s enduring popularity as you savor the rich flavors and decadent textures that have delighted generations of candy enthusiasts. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a curious newcomer, a visit to Boyer Candy Co. Inc. promises an unforgettable journey into the sweeter side of Altoona’s culinary heritage.
2. Railroad City Brewing Company
- Address: 3231 Pleasant Valley Blvd, Altoona, PA 16602
- Website: Railroad City Brewing Company
Raise your glass to local craftsmanship at Railroad City Brewing Company, where passion and innovation converge to create an unforgettable drinking experience. Nestled in the heart of Altoona, this brewery embodies the spirit of community and creativity, inviting patrons to savor the flavors of the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene. From crisp lagers to robust ales, each brew is a testament to the artistry and dedication of the master brewers. Step into the laid-back atmosphere of Railroad City Brewing Company, where laughter flows as freely as the beer, and unwind as you immerse yourself in Altoona’s rich brewing heritage. Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or a curious newcomer, a visit to Railroad City Brewing Company promises an adventure for the senses and a celebration of local craftsmanship.
3. Jack & Georges
- Address: 2400 4th Ave, Altoona, PA 16602
Embark on a culinary journey at Jack & Georges, where sophistication meets flavor in the heart of Altoona’s dining scene. Here, gastronomy takes center stage as chefs skillfully craft gourmet dishes using the freshest local ingredients. From farm-to-table delicacies to inspired culinary creations, each bite is a symphony of flavors that tantalizes the palate and delights the senses. Step into the elegant ambiance of Jack & Georges and prepare to be transported on a culinary adventure through Altoona’s thriving restaurant scene. Whether you’re seeking an intimate dining experience or a feast fit for a celebration, Jack & Georges promises an unforgettable culinary escapade that celebrates the richness and diversity of Altoona’s culinary landscape.
Rediscovering Altoona’s Hidden Gems
In conclusion, Altoona, PA, is a city brimming with excitement and adventure, offering a treasure trove of experiences for visitors to discover. From exploring historic landmarks to savoring the flavors of local cuisine, Altoona invites you to immerse yourself in its rich culture and heritage. Whether you’re strolling through picturesque parks or delving into the vibrant arts scene, every corner of Altoona has something special to offer. So, plan your visit today and uncover the countless wonders that await in this charming Pennsylvania town.