Pennsylvania has some of the best small towns to visit for Happy Travelers! Stroll the main streets and discover all that their shopping and historical districts have to offer. Expand your horizons beyond the big cities to experience the most charming small towns in Pennsylvania.
Quaint Towns in Central Pennsylvania
With its friendly shops and taverns and idyllic street scenery, Bedford is a must-visit for travelers seeking quaint towns in PA. This walkable town with its historic towne square is filled with landmarks reminiscent of your favorite Hallmark movie set. Venture down Pitt Street to find delicious local eateries such as LIFESTYLE Next Door; then continue downtown to find unique clothing, art, antiques, and KJ Shea Seasonals and other boutiques to take home a piece of Bedford. From May to September, stop by the town center to enjoy a variety of fresh finds from local farms at the Bedfored Farmers Market.
Walk, shop, eat, and explore the wonders of historic downtown Carlisle. Whether you’re looking for books, candies and chocolates, antiques, jewelry, clothing, local art, or one-of-a-kind finds, the downtown offers a unique shopping experience from block-to-block. When not shopping, dine at cute cafés or exceptional eateries such as The Whiskey Rebellion. Afterwards, stroll along the tree-lined streets immersed in the town’s history as you pass Dickinson College, founded in 1783 by Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the historic Carlisle Theatre, featuring live music concerts and theater productions, films, and programs for children and families.
Stroll and shop in historic Gettysburg’s downtown connecting history, shopping, and culinary treasures all in one place. Boasting a variety of boutiques, art lovers will enjoy Body and Soul Silversmith where every piece of jewelry is handcrafted. Find new closet staples at stores such as Rosie’s Collection and A Lit’le Irish Too. Reminders of our country’s past are around every corner in this charming town in Pennsylvania where some of its most historic sites include the Shriver House Museum, the 19th-century eatery Dobbin House Tavern, and the Children of Gettysburg 1863® museum located in the historic Rupp House.
A quaint small town and home to Bucknell University, Lewisburg‘s downtown shopping district and adjacent historic neighborhoods are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rich in culture and the arts, Lewisburg invites visitors to stroll their tree-lined, lamp-lit streets while shopping at more than 40 specialty shops including Dwellings Boutique where you’ll find unique clothing, jewelry, and fun trinkets and gifts. Catch a show at Campus Theatre, a beautifully restored authentic Art Deco movie palace, and for dinner and drinks, go to Hungry Run Distillery or Trevina, an upscale self-pour wine and beer bar.
Continuously dubbed the “Coolest Small Town in America,” downtown Lititz delivers one of the best small-town experiences in Pennsylvania. See the town at its best during Second Fridays when stores are open later and offer special sales and events the second Friday of every month. Stop in The Main Street Peddler to find an eclectic mix of folk art, quality antiques, unique gifts, and vintage collectibles. Grab a snack, take a tour, and learn how to twist pretzels at America’s First Commercial Pretzel Bakery, the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. Browse the other shops in this charming town, then take a stroll in the beautiful and scenic Lititz Springs Park.
Originally settled by German immigrants, Mifflinburg has the unspoiled charm of a 19th century Pennsylvania town with its spectacular shops, museums, and historic homes. Today, Mifflinburg invites you to amble into its downtown to visit Made in Mifflinburg local shops and businesses, including Pompeii Street Soap Co. & Aromatherapy, Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, and 45W Arts and Cafe. Grab a drink, enjoy a delicious dinner, and stay the night at the destination brewery, Rusty Rail Brewing Company.
7. NEW OXFORD
Another cute little town to visit near Gettysburg is New Oxford, the Antiques Capital of Central PA! The town’s brick sidewalks, tree-lined streets, and stately homes adorn a beautiful town square that simply beckon visitors to experience and enjoy. Explore this quaint town by taking a self-guided walking tour or antiquing tour. Mark your calendar for June 29 the 67th Annual Market on the Square event, a fun-filled day where you can browse vendors selling vintage and handmade goods, farmers market items, and enjoy delicious local food.
Home to Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove is one of the best towns offering small town charm in Pennsylvania. Walk around and see historic buildings, specialty and antique shops, quaint eateries, and a seasonal farmers market. Enjoy a microbrew at Selin’s Grove Brewing Co., housed in the historic mansion of PA’s only three-term governor, Simon Snyder. Walk to the Commons in downtown Selinsgrove for a free outdoor concert featuring a wide variety of live music from blues to jazz to rock courtesy of the annual Rudy Gelnett Music Series.
9. STATE COLLEGE
In desperate need of a little retail therapy?! The shops of downtown State College offer the perfect solution. After admiring Old Main, pop into a variety of specialty shops offering everything from jewelry to art. Find a great gift for even your pickiest foodie friend at Kitchen Kaboodle—a favorite of both locals and visitors alike. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop into one of State College’s many restaurants for a bite to eat, such as Sowers Harvest Café with its extensive menu of delicious, local, and ethically sourced foods. Of course, no visit to State College is complete unless it includes a delectable ice cream treat from the Penn State Berkey Creamery!
Historic Downtowns in Northwest PA
Treat yourself to something special in downtown Kane in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest. Shop small for local artisan creations at a variety of stores along the main strip, such as Artworks on the Summit, The Laughing Owl Press, and Homespun Treasures. Foodies will be floored by the abundance of local, fresh produce and meats at Jack Bell’s Meat & Poultry. Afterwards, wash your feast down with a free wine tasting at Twisted Vine.
Stroll through Clearfield‘s lovely Old Town Historic District with its large concentration of Victorian homes, most unaltered and built between 1860 and 1890. Next, visit the historic downtown and stop in the Historica Plus Antique Gallery, a co-op featuring three floors of shop-till-you-drop fun with a wide variety of antiques and collectables, including postcards, furnishings, jewelry, coins, tools, and glassware. Less than a block away is Lefort’s Sweet Shoppe with scrumptious coffee beverages, a variety of stuffed-to-the-gills French bread pizzas, and other hearty items. Their quart-sized Grande Milkshake is almost a meal in itself, complete with fudge and candy toppings!
Bustling with activity, historic Coudersport is one of the many picturesque small towns in PA. From Coudersport‘s small stores along Route 6 to nearby museums, here you’ll find hospitality is abundant. Sneak a peek at the local artist scene at the Potter County Artisan Center, a juried collective home to 35 of the area’s finest artists and craftsmen. In business for more than a century, Hauber’s Jewelry Store is a must-stop for unique jewelry and other great gift finds. After a long day, enjoy a meal at Olga Gallery, Café, and Bistro. They have drinks, live music, and arts and crafts workshops, too!
Cute Villages Near Lake Erie
The charming town of Bradford provides a welcome respite from crowded streets, heavy traffic, and long lines. Put the fun back into shopping as you discover inspired, creative, imaginative gifts for your family and friends — and maybe a little something for yourself. Take a walking tour of the town’s historic and unique buildings. Stop in the Zippo/Case Museum and Store where you can shop for a classic gift, learn the fascinating history of these two iconic American products, and watch their famed Zippo Repair Clinicians at work. Feeling hungry? Enjoy a meal served with a side of nostalgia at A Slice of the 80's pizza and sub shop, where its name says it all!
Corry‘s downtown is home to gift shops, cafés, and specialty stores, including Before the Barrel Distillery, Painted Finch Gallery, and Epiphany’s Emporium. Once a railroad boomtown, Corry’s downtown is lined with buildings heralding that earlier era and dating back to the 1900s with its well-preserved streets featuring historical markers, interpretive panels, and period lampposts attesting to those earlier days. After a day of shopping, unwind at the Cobblestone Inn and Suites and grab a seat at the onsite beer and wine bar.
15. NORTH EAST
Known for its Victorian-style architecture and charming small-town feel, downtown North East has inviting shops, picturesque Gibson Park, and the historic McCord Memorial Library, built in 1910. You’ll find something for everyone on your list at Grape Country Market, showcasing all things synonymous with the Lake Erie Grape Belt including juices, jams and jellies, candles, cards, driftwood and beach glass art, and featuring the work of more than 70 artists, authors and artisans. Shop for unique and fun educational (don’t tell the kids!) toys, games, gifts, puzzles, and other fun stuff at The Apple Basket. Stop for lunch at the Skunk and Goat Tavern for a unique and funky take on American cuisine and artfully crafted cocktails.
Charming Towns in Southwest PA
Recognized by Country Living Magazine as one of “The Most Charming Small Towns in America,” Ligonier is home to more than 60 specialty shops and restaurants that line the streets of this quaint and historic town. Main Street circles around the town’s stately bandstand and simply adds to the charm while serving as the hub for the town’s special events. Book lovers will love Second Chapter Books featuring used and new options, while Annalynn Boutique is stocked with little surprises and fabulous gift ideas for every occasion!
The past meets the future in a beautiful way in Somerset. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the old buildings in the uptown Somerset Historic District retain the beauty and character of their historic time periods, all while housing today’s modern storefronts. Find unique stores such as Jar the Zero Waste Store, which sells eco-friendly products including bulk food and soap refills. After a full day of walking around downtown, grab a classic panini or breakfast sandwich from Heirloom Pines Farm, or relieve your stress at Mystic Moonlight Yoga.
Charming Towns Outside of Philadelphia
Located just outside the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia, Doylestown provides heaps of local charm to city dwellers. Named for a 1700s innkeeper by the name of William Doyle who operated Doyle’s Tavern (now a Starbucks) on today’s Main Street. Walking around modern-day Doylestown, discover other beloved destinations, such as the quaint, award-winning Hargrave House Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Doylestown’s historic district, Maxwell’s on Main, offering delicious craft beer and tasty craft meals, and Fabby-Do (Kids) Creativity Crafts-Café.
19. KENNETT SQUARE
The shops and stops in historic Kennett Square, the Mushroom Capital of the World, offer far more than just fresh fungi. Their small-town main street is filled with unique shops and purveyors of clothing, gifts, art, tea, books, and, of course, delectable dining featuring their number one export — the mighty mushroom! At Clean Slate Goods, you’re bound to find the perfect picks for everyone on your gift list — all made with care and quality by fair-wage artisans from around the world.
20. NEW HOPE
Featured in The New York Times as Bucks County’s “Most Popular Main Street,” New Hope features the winding brick paths to Peddler’s Village where you can browse more than 60 small, locally owned businesses for apparel, toys, and collectibles. Try farm-fresh foods and tasty treats from the vendors at Ferry Market. After an action-packed afternoon, stay for the nightlife at the famous Bucks County Playhouse or dance the night away at Havana.
A cute, small town near Philly, Swarthmore is just an easy 20-minute train ride away from city life. The home of Swarthmore College and the college’s Scott Arboretum, outside of the campus visitors can enjoy stellar shops and eateries, including the Ship Bottom Brewery, or catch a show at the local theatre company, Players Club of Swarthmore.
22. WEST CHESTER
In the heart of the Brandywine Valley, the picturesque town of West Chester offers small-town charm with a bit of cosmopolitan flair. With more than 65 boutiques, West Chester is a fashionista’s paradise and the perfect place to shop until you drop before retreating to one of their many restaurants for a bite to eat such as the popular upscale American restaurant, Andiario. Whether you love vintage jewelry and accessories or are in the market for some trendy new clothing, you’re sure to find it at the Green Eyed Lady boutique and vintage jewelry store.
Picturesque Towns of Western PA
Downtown DuBois many specialty shops and restaurants offer everything from clothing and jewelry to delicious candies and treats. Find comfortable and stylish clothing for both gals and guys at Guzzo's & Co., a locally owned specialty boutique. After finding some ‘fits, grab a slice or two of your favorite pizza at Firehouse Pizzeria. In keeping with its name, the restaurant features fire department-themed decorations and equipment along with great food.
Indiana is one of the best small towns to visit near Pittsburgh with downtown streets brimming with charming and quaint shops. Along with its beautiful historic district, the town is famous as the hometown of famed actor, Jimmy Stewart who starred in the beloved holiday flick, It’s A Wonderful Life. Visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum, a must-see for film buffs and Jimmy fans alike! Afterward, stroll along Philadelphia Street for unique restaurants and dining experiences. Visit The Artists Hand Gallery & Espresso Bar where, along with a wonderful selection of works by local artists, you’ll find a menu filled with delicious coffees, teas, Italian sodas, paninis, and tantalizing baked goods.
The beautiful, historic town of Zelienople has locally owned businesses, chic boutiques, gorgeous historic homes, delicious dining options, and a popping art scene. Stop in Stocking Stuffers Plus any time of year, where you’ll find a wide selection of beautiful crafts for your favorite Pittsburgh sports fan or treasured relative or friend.
Small Town Destinations In the Pocono Mountains & Lehigh Valley
Looking for exceptional shopping and dining experiences? Then Bethlehem is the place for you! The town offers one-of-a-kind stores with everything from unique home décor to fine jewelry. Get into your groove at the SouthSide Arts District, filled with hip, edgy places to shop — from the latest in furniture and design to skater fashion. Be sure to stop by the Moravian University Book Shop, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world. Celebrate all your great finds at the end of the day with a mighty meal and award-winning craft beer at Fegley's Brew Works.
If you’re looking for cute places to visit near Allentown, don’t miss the charming riverside city of Easton. Home to the oldest continuous open-air farmers market in the country, Easton Farmers’ Market is a Saturday morning tradition. Stroll the streets of this quaint town in PA and find trendy restaurants, art galleries, specialty shops, and antique stores. Families can enjoy the Crayola Experience or catch a show at the State Theatre before grabbing a bite to eat at Easton Public Market. Easton's Centre Square hosts several festivals throughout the year such as Garlic Fest, PA Bacon Fest, and Easton Winter Village.
Nestled along the Delaware River, dense forests and beautiful lakes surround the town of Milford. From cozy antique stores to cigar shops, there’s a variety of stores to explore. Find unique gifts at Earthly Treasures, a metaphysical shop selling gifts with meaning such as jewelry, oils, crystals, and statuary. In between shopping, explore the town’s delicious eateries like the Sparkomatic Café and Talkhouse, which features locally sourced ingredients and an eclectic vibe.
Stroudsburg shines with a striking mix of small-town glamour, modern appeal, and a beautiful, walkable downtown where the charm speaks for itself. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt at an art gallery, trendy boutique, or craft and specialty shops. Be sure to stop by the American Ribbon Outlet, a dream come true for any crafter. The city also boasts numerous restaurants ranging from pubs and cafés to ethnic eateries serving up Thai, Italian, and French cuisine.
To learn more about small towns with shopping and walking experiences in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on the best small towns in PA. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.