What do crayons, guitars, chocolate, violins, chips, brews, and baseball bats all have in common? You guessed it! All are made right here in Pennsylvania. So, stop by, take a tour, and perhaps even snag a free sample or two.
1. Martin Guitar
Whether you love the sweet sounds of classical guitar, the soulful music of a country music or blues player, or some rollicking rock ‘n roll, Martin Guitar in Nazareth invites you to see firsthand how their magical instruments are crafted. Take the free factory tour or opt for a truly in-depth, behind the scenes tour. Afterwards, head to the Pickin’ Parlor where you can summon your inner Ed Sheeran or Dierks Bentley (both who play Martins) and try out some of the high-end and limited-edition models.
2. Utz Quality Foods
Craving snack food? You’ll want to an “Utz Potato Chip Trip” at the Utz Quality Foods factory in Hanover. There, you’ll perch high above the manufacturing process in a special glass-enclosed observation gallery and get to watch the production process from start to finish on the free, self-guided tour. Afterwards, go to the Utz Outlet Store for some free samples and where warm chips, pretzels, chocolate covered chips, and gift items await.
3. Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory
If you’ve ever pictured yourself flying down a deserted highway atop a Harley, this is the tour for you. Watch Touring, Trike, and CVO™ model motorcycles being assembled on the free Classic Factory Tour at the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory in York or sign up for the Steel Toe Tour for a true behind-the-scenes experience of some of the factory’s “employee only” areas. Sorry, no free samples! But you will get a chance to sit on some current production motorcycles.
4. Zippo/Case Museum
Come see why Zippo lighters and W. R. Case and Sons handcrafted knives are recognized throughout the world as two true Made-In-America icons at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford. You’ll be able to watch Zippo repair technicians fix all but the most mangled Zippo lighters, honoring the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee "It works, or we fix it free, ™” as well as see hundreds of Zippo lighters from the past 85 years on display.
5. Martin's Potato Chip Factory Tour
For an up-close-and-personal factory tour, the Martin’s Potato Chip Factory Tour in Thomasville can’t be beat! Donning hairnets and closed toes shoes a must; the guided tour will take you right onto the factory floor. You’ll get to see every aspect of the chip manufacturing process – from the moment the trucks arrive and are lifted off the ground to gently dump their load of potatoes onto a conveyor belt to the peeling, slicing, frying, cooling, salting, and packaging. Best yet: you get to sample the fresh, warm chips right out of the fryer!
6. Straub Brewery
Do you consider yourself a beer aficionado? Then you’ll definitely want to make a pilgrimage to St. Marys for a tour of the Straub Brewery where for close to 150 years the Straub family has been making its small-batch beer. You’ll get to see the entire brewing process up close and personal, so closed-toe shoes are a must especially as you climb the three flights of metal stairs of this gravity-fed brewery. Your tour ends at the Eternal Tap, where if you’re at least 21, you’ll get to taste two free samples.
7. Byers' Choice Ltd
You’ll experience the joy and wonder of the winter holidays all year round with a trip to Byers' Choice Ltd. in Chalfont. Your holiday spirit is sure to be rekindled as you watch 80 skilled artisans craft the company’s signature Carolers® Figurines from start to finish. Make a day of it and stroll down a cobblestone street scene reminiscent of Dickens’ London, tour the award-winning flower and sculpture gardens, or visit the gift shop for that one-of-a-kind special find.
8. Chandler Bats
Imagine yourself standing at the plate ready to hit the ball out of the park as the umpire yells, “Play Ball!” Head to Chandler Bats in East Norriton for a tour of their brand new, state-of-the-art baseball bat crafting facility. Here, you’ll not only watch as Chandler artisans handcraft baseball bats from long cylinders of maple known as “billets,” but also learn the science behind the craft and why each Chandler bat has a signature black ink stain on its handle.
9. Callie's Pretzel Factory
Nothing can beat a warm pretzel fresh from the oven and a trip to Callie’s Pretzel Factory in Cresco does not disappoint! You can watch the pretzel making process from start to finish and then enjoy some free samples. A stop in their shop features soft pretzels on sticks, wrapped around hotdogs, stuffed with various cheeses, topped with bacon, and so many more, you’ll find it hard to choose your favorite.
10. Highland Chocolates
Does your sweet tooth need satisfying? Would some melt in your mouth, truffle-filled peanut butter cups fit the bill? How about mint Oreos smothered in chocolate? Or Cinna-Grahams, Fluff, and Pretzel Bark S’mores coated in rich milk or dark chocolate? Then head to Highland Chocolates in Wellsboro where you can watch as workers handcraft chocolate confections. A stop in the shop is guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooth's!
11. BWP Bats
Batter up! Visit BWP Bats in Brookville to see firsthand how this most essential tool of the game is created. You’ll get to watch the entire 14-step process, including how “double dipping” is not only encouraged but an essential part of the process in transforming a rough forest log into a finely crafted baseball bat used by players from the major leagues to little tykes just learning the game.
12. Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour
Ever wonder which potatoes make the perfect chip or how cheese curls get their curl? Even if you haven’t, Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour in Nottingham is fun, educational, and mighty tasty. Book a tour on Monday through Wednesday and you’ll get to follow the entire production line through three buildings – from slicing and frying to bagging and boxing. Everyone gets a free bag of chips and a chance to sample a chip hot from the fryer. Check out the gift shop to buy some hard-to-find flavors and super-discounted “oops” snacks.
13. Tröegs Brewing Company
Scratch beers are the specialty at Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey. You and your entire family can take a self-guided tour open to all ages. Or, if you’re at least 21 years of age, you can book a true behind-the-scenes, closed-toe-shoe guided tour. You’ll start out with a welcome beer, then see all the works – from the Splinter Cellar where the beer is wood-aged through the mill room, hop cooler, brewhouse deck, fermentation cellar and packaging lines. Bonus: You’ll get to sample a few beers and take home a souvenir glass of your Tröegs adventure.
14. Bluett Bros. Violins
If you love the sound of stringed instruments, a tour of Bluett Bros. Violins in York is a must for your bucket list. There, you can watch Master Luthier Mark Bluett and his small team of apprentices expertly transform the wood into world-class violins, mandolins, cellos, guitars and other stringed instruments, all by hand. Mark himself will show you around the shop, walking you through the entire process – from how he chooses the finest wood from around the world to carving, “tap toning,” and the finishing. This is a small working shop, so reservations are required.
15. Snyder’s of Hanover
Take a walking tour of Snyder’s of Hanover and you’ll find out why it has been known as America’s Pretzel Bakery for more than 100 years. You’ll get to see all aspects of the pretzel-making process – from the raw material warehouse and oven room to the finished goods warehouse (where you’ll get to see robotics at work) and the state-of-the-art packing room. The tour ends at the factory store where you’ll find loads of your Snyder’s favorites and be treated to a free bag of pretzels.
16. United States Mint
Ever wonder where all those coins jangling in your pocket come from? Chances are they were produced at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. In fact, for more than 225 years the production of U.S. coins has taken place in Philadelphia and you’re invited to see the process in action with a self-guided tour of the facility. Watch the actual production process as coils of copper and nickel are unwound, pressed, and turned into the coins. No free samples here, but you will get to see the nation’s first and original coin press!
17. Wendell August Forge
Come watch the pride and workmanship of the craftworkers of the Wendell August Forge, the nation’s oldest and largest forge, as they work their magic, hand hammering designs in aluminum, copper, pewter, bronze and silver during a free tour of the workshop at the company’s Flagship Store in Grove City. Look closely at the finished products to see if you can find the signature of the master die engraver hidden within the design. Bonus: children can create their own work of metal art for just $2.
18. Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
Take a step back in time to learn how pretzels were made back in the 1850s with a trip to the original Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz. You’ll get to see the original ovens built by Julius Sturgis himself in 1861, get to try your hand at pretzel twisting with your own piece of dough, and learn the history of pretzel baking in the U.S. Bonus for history buffs: the building is one of the original structures in Lititz, built in 1784 from stones dug from the street itself and timber hewed from the surrounding forest.
19. Crayola Experience
Learn how crayons are made in a fun and entertaining way with a trip to the Crayola Experience in Easton. During a live theatre show, a resident “Crayonologist” along with Scarlet & Turk (Turquoise), two animated crayons, offer a colorful, educational tale. You’ll want to make a day of it and get to name and wrap your own Crayola crayon, star in your own coloring page, and loads of other creative and fun activities.
20. Hershey's Chocolate World
Hershey’s really doesn’t employ singing cows on its assembly line, but you’ll still come away with a great understanding of how those delectable treats are made on the free chocolate-making tour at Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey. You’ll get to see, feel, hear, and smell the transformation of cocoa beans and the many steps it takes to produce a chocolate bar. Everyone gets a Hershey’s treat at the end!
To find even more factory tours in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don't forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.