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Pennsylvania combines history, heritage, and culture with striking scenery, wildlife, amusement parks, and some of the best-known and oldest cities in the United States.
The state’s largest city, Philadelphia, is where the Declaration of Independence was drawn up and signed; it also served as the capital of the United States between 1790 and 1800. The Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most famous and important battles of the American Civil War, took place around the southern Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg. As a result of this heritage, Pennsylvania enjoys some of the most fascinating historical attractions in the US, and the numerous museums and tours offer visitors unique and detailed insight into this rich history.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, along with many of Pennsylvania’s other cities, are cultural, economic, and educational hubs in the state and wider America. They have an excellent range of restaurants, cafés, and bars, and the larger cities are home to a lively club and arts scene.
Away from the cities and museums visitors can explore some of the state’s natural beauty, and particularly popular areas are the lake-side Presque Isle State Park, where water-skiing, swimming, and fishing draw people from around the country; and French Creek State Park, which is a favourite for campers and hikers. The amusement parks found across the state are also renowned for drawing the crowds, and are popular tourists and locals alike.
Pennsylvania experiences four full seasons, but with varying severity depending on the area. Generally, the south-eastern corner is warmer, with the interior regions noticeably cooler. The diverse climate means many outdoor destinations remain popular throughout the year, with the swimmers, boaters, and campers of the warmer months becoming snowboarders, skiers, and snowmobilers in winter.
The best way to get around the state is by car, with the network of state and federal highways providing both scenic and direct routes to most major destinations. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are both serviced by international airports, and have train services to other major cities in the United States.