A visit to the SteelStacks in Bethlehem is now the dramatic setting for music festivals and art exhibitions. And in Philadelphia, a neighborhood once dominated by the Reading Railroad and the Stetson Hat factory is now the site of Fly School Circus Arts, a trapeze training center.
But from money to motorcycles and chips to chocolate, Pennsylvania has a rich factory scene open to visitors for tours or to purchase a Made-in-PA keepsake.
BWP Bats in Brookville, Jefferson County
This boutique bat manufacturer harvests its own hard maple, ash and red oak to manufacture 35,000 bats a year, used by everyone from major leaguers to little ones. Take home your own customized, engraved bat.
Byers’ Choice Carolers in Chalfont, Bucks County
Snips of her kids’ hair and an old fur coat gave way to Joyce Byers’ first Christmas caroler figurine collectibles. Now you can watch a team of 180 artisans create them in Chalfont.
C.F. Martin Guitar in Nazareth, Northampton County
Music fans should make the pilgrimage to Nazareth, where more than 200 guitars are made daily with spruce, mahogany and rosewood. Check out rare, vintage instruments and play high-end and limited-edition guitars.
The Crayola Experience in Easton, Northampton County
Get your own personalized crayon label, pose for your own coloring page or roll, mold, swirl and sculpt Crayola Model Magic at the Crayola Experience, which recently reopened with new activities.
Daffin’s Candies in Farrell, Mercer County
Size up copper kettles with buttercream and chocolate creatures and a 300-gallon vat filled with chocolate. In nearby Sharon, chocolate reigns with the retail shop’s Chocolate Kingdom, which features statues of animals weighing hundreds of pounds, castles and a Ferris wheel - all made of chocolate.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company in York, York County
Walk the line and watch how quickly flat metal is pressed to form gas tanks, fenders and frames. For $38, take the Steel Toe Tour, a look at employees-only areas such as paint and polish.
Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Dauphin County
Create your own candy bar, embark on a chocolate-tasting adventure and follow a cocoa bean’s journey from tropical rainforest to its transformation into America’s most famous chocolate bar.
Herr’s Snack Factory Tours in Nottingham, Chester County
Follow the production line from slicing and frying to bagging and boxing. Taste a chip hot from the fryer, pick up a free bag and head into the gift shop to buy discount “oops” products and experimental flavors.
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, Lancaster County
Tour the original 19th-century bakery, get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting and learn the history of pretzel making in Budget Travel’s 2013 Coolest Small Town in America.
Pocono Candle Works in East Stroudsburg, Monroe County
From votives to tea lights and fragrance lamps, see how colorful and relaxation-inducing candles are made with demonstrations and the opportunity to make your own candle creation.
Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, Lancaster County
Design your own ice cream package, star in a TV commercial, develop your own virtual ice-cream flavor and create your own creamy concoction at the reservations-only Taste Lab.
United States Mint in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Watch from 40 feet above the factory floor as large coils of copper and nickel are fed through presses to produce 1 million coins in just 30 minutes.
Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, York County
See and smell the making of Utz potato chips during the self-guided, 30-45-minute Utz Chip Trip, which includes a look at the production process from the company's special glass-enclosed observation gallery.
Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Schuylkill County
At America’s oldest brewery, you can smell the beer in production, walk through the underground cave where kegs once cooled and grab a stool at the bar for a glass of the classic lager. Find other brewery tours in Pennsylvania >>
For more information on the locations mentioned in the article above please visit the following sites:
• Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau
• Discover Lehigh Valley
• Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
• Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
• York County Convention & Visitors Bureau