Hershey On a BudgetOften called "Chocolatetown, USA" and "The Sweetest Place on Earth," Hershey, Pennsylvania is most known for being home to the famous Hershey's chocolates. The Hershey Company was founded in 1894 by Milton S. Hershey, and has grown to sell products in over sixty countries worldwide. Before the town was named Hershey, it was called Derry Church and was the hometown of the chocolatier. While there are now manufacturing plants in many locations, Hershey, PA, remains the location that draws the crowds. It is the place where the Hershey Company originated and is home to attractions like Hershey Park, Hershey Gardens, and Hershey's Chocolate World.
SightsWhen you come to Hershey, expect to see chocolate everywhere you go. With street names like Chocolate and Cocoa Ave, and street lights shaped like Hershey's Kisses, one cannot help but have chocolate on the mind. Of course one of the best ways to satisfy these thoughts is to visit Hershey's Chocolate World, where visitors can have an inside tour of the Hershey Company as well as access to a fully stocked factory store. The smells of molten chocolate fill the air as you have a ride through the chocolate-making process, and when you exit into the store you cannot wait to get your hands on some of the goodies.
If you need a bit of air after all the sweet stuff, the Hershey Gardens offers a 23-acre botanical garden and arboretum. First opened by Milton S. Hershey as a rose garden for the community and his wife, the place has since grown to feature perennials, herbs, an ornamental grasses collection, a Japanese garden, coniferous garden, and oak grove, butterfly house, and much more.
Another popular spot unrelated with chocolate is the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum. The museum presents exhibits of vintage vehicles with interactive talks and events for adults and children. The collection features about 100 cars, a whole floor of buses, over 30 motorcycles and motorbikes, plus more in the 20,000+ square feet of storage that the staff will use to rotate exhibits. It is both educational and fun for tourists and car enthusiasts alike.
NeighborhoodsThe intersection of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues marks the site of Downtown Hershey. With plenty of options for dining, shopping, and entertainment, as well its location adjacent to Hershey Park, the downtown area is a hub for activity. It is home to the Hershey Theatre, the Hershey Story Museum, and plenty of places to stay for out-of-towners. ChocolateTown Square is also located in Downtown Hershey, which features summertime free concerts and entertainment for the community. It is also a beautiful place to bring the family to play or relax on any sunny afternoon.
ActivitiesWhen it comes to activities, the main attraction of Hershey, Pennsylvania, is without a doubt Hershey Park. The theme park was conceived in the early 1900s by the mind of Milton S. Hershey. Starting with a Merry-Go-Round in 1908, the park's area now covers more than 100 acres with about 70 rides and attractions, plus a zoo and several pools for the summer season. Themed areas include sections like the Pioneer Frontier, Carrousel Circle, Midway American, and the Boardwalkthough the overall theme of Hershey's candy remains ever-present. Height categories for children's riding heights range from smallest to largest with Miniatures, Kisses, Reese's, Hershey's, Twizzlers, and Jolly Ranchersadding a bit of fun to the stress we all felt on tippy toes as a kid. Hershey characters also frequent the park for great photo ops.
The adjoining zoo of Hershey Park is called Zooamerica and features 11-acres of tree-lined pathways with more than 200 animals from five regions of North America. The park also holds special programs and events that are both fun and educational for all audiences. Some of the animals include bear, elk, reindeer, wolves, reptiles, birds of prey, and mountain lions.
Food and DiningIt probably does not even need to be said that chocolate is the food of Hershey. The Hershey Company has turned out many famous candies from the original Hershey bar and Kisses to M&Ms, KitKat, Krackel, Reese's, Milk Duds, York, Twizzlers, Good & Plenty, and Whoppers. The list of candy goes on, but the area of downtown Hershey has some great dining options before we get to dessert. Some of the top-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor include places like The Chocolate Avenue Grill and Troeg's Brewing Company for the more casual pub fare and brews, as well as finer dining at Devon Seafood & Steak and comfort food at the Hershey Pantry. There are also a number of pizzerias and sandwich shops for those looking for a quick meal.
TransportationThe nearest airport to Hershey, PA is Harrisburg International Airport, about 12 miles to the southwest.
Amtrak's Keystone Service provides frequent rail service to the nearby towns of Middletown (9 miles), Harrisburg (13 miles) and Elizabethtown Amtrak Station (11 miles).
Bus services are provided by Capital Area Transit (CAT) and Lebanon Transit (LT).
By car, U.S. Route 422 (Chocolate Avenue) runs through the center of Hershey, and U.S. Route 322 passes south of the center. The two highways merge at the western end of Hershey, at an interchange with Pennsylvania Route 39.