Lebanon is the quintessential Central Pennsylvania town known for Opera Fudge and the unparalleled New Year’s Eve Bologna Drop. With our proximity to a wide variety of natural and cultural experiences, it’s no wonder that more people are choosing to spend their recreational time in Lebanon. Less than an hour’s drive from popular tourist destinations in Hershey/Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading, Lebanon can be a respite, perfect for a weekend getaway or solo travel excursion.
While there are certainly more adventurous spots in the county such as Swatara State Park and Governor Dick Hill, Lebanon offers visitors the opportunity to go at their own pace. With walking and biking to suit all skill levels, the Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails Trailhead on South 8th Street has ample parking and is a great place to start your journey. Whether you’re simply throwing on a pair of tennis shoes to clear your head, or sporting your favorite cycle kit and tracking your ride with the Strava app, you’ll feel right at home on the LVRT.
For fishing and nature walks, Stoever’s Dam Park is a local treasure. The best place to start your walk around our 23-acre lake is near the parking area on Theatre Drive with a nearby pavilion and plenty of benches to take in the waterfront view. Worth mentioning is South Hills Park with its Disc Golf course and winding walking/running path, as well as Basketball, Tennis, and Beach Volleyball Courts.
Art lovers should know three things about Lebanon, Pennsylvania:
1. Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery. Whether you need something custom framed or you’re browsing for your next showpiece, this gallery needs to be on your itinerary.
2. Our local theater groups and performers are more talented and passionate about what they do than they get credit for. Watch our Events Calendar for opportunities to enjoy shows at the Lebanon Community Theatre and performances at the bandshell in Coleman’s Memorial Park. And check out the Lebanon Arts Council for First Friday Events throughout the year.
3. Lebanon has numerous fun and vibrant murals tucked in alley ways and side streets throughout the city. It’s a fun, Instagram-worthy treasure hunt.
Food & Drink
Good food is a love language for any traveler and Lebanon will not disappoint, however our variety might surprise you. Treat yourself to popular Puerto Rican pastries at Ceballo’s (quesitos while they’re still warm are a must), or a made-from-scratch stuffed baked oatmeal at The Timeless Cafe.
Enjoy a lively atmosphere and one of the best hamburgers around at Lebanon’s singular operating brew pub, Snitz Creek Brewery. (Although, stay tuned! Another brewery is slated to open Summer 2021.) Or, check out what’s on tap at our popular sports bar, Downtown Lounge as well as their appetizing specials each week.
Every visit to Lebanon should include at least one dinner from Trattoria Fratelli (affectionately known as Trat Frat). Popular for their mouth watering Italian fare and wood-oven pizzas, and specialty cocktails. Make sure to save room for dessert.
Local treats can be found throughout Lebanon. Wertz Candies is a third-generation Downtown Lebanon business which boasts specialty chocolates including hand dipped Opera Fudge. Shuey’s Pretzels is a time-honored maker of pretzels, both soft and hard. But get there early. The line has been known to extend out the door and down the sidewalk. When you’re looking for the best Spanakopita and Dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves) around, make sure to stop at The Aegean Table.
History & Culture
Immerse yourself in the history of Lebanon, Pennsylvania with a visit to the Lebanon County Historical Society. Call ahead for a guided tour covering three floors full of exhibits, archives, and a gift shop.
Walk through Union Canal Tunnel Hill Park and see the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States. Narrated canal tours are available seasonally (weather permitting), check their website for details.
Our Downtown Lebanon Architectural Walking Tour introduces you to Downtown Lebanon’s most notable buildings. One of which is said to be haunted!
While you’re here, take some time out for some self-care at Cooper Spa. They have a warm and welcoming space with indulgent, and professional services.
Golfers will love Lebanon’s course options but before you schedule your tee time, you may want to schedule some time with Sean Behney of Your Swing. He offers golf club tailoring and repair including fittings, club adjustments, re-gripping and more.
Farmers Markets may not be exclusive to Lebanon, but we’re pretty proud of them. And if you haven’t had a cow-to-cone experience, make sure to visit Patches Family Creamery for some of the best ice cream you’ll ever have.
With a resurgence in the popularity of thrift-shopping, it’s worth noting that Lebanon is home to four great options. The Salvation Army, The Goodwill, and two additional shops supporting local non-profits; The Humane Society Thrift Shop, and Jubilee Ministries which boasts 2 full floors of clothing, furniture, and housewares.
Camping & Lodging
The greater Lebanon area offers unique B&B, Camping, and Airbnb options, as well as newer hotels including Hampton Inn Lebanon, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lebanon.
Camping at Stoever’s Dam Park is described as “rugged” with optional electrical hookup. Camping permits can be obtained from the city’s Department of Administration during regular business hours.
Moving to Lebanon
If you’re considering a move to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, you can look forward to a slower paced, small town atmosphere with all the conveniences of a modern urban lifestyle. We boast a diverse population that genuinely prioritizes family and care for others above politics.
Lebanon is home to two school districts, a wealth of medical resources, and plenty of job opportunities. We recommend reaching out to one of our many area Real Estate professionals for additional information.
About the Blogger
Becky Woodhouse is a Lebanon City resident and Downtown Lebanon business owner. She lives with her family in their Northside home that dates back to the 1880s.