In eastern Pennsylvania, Berks County is often overlooked in favor of popular destinations like Lancaster, Hershey, and the Lehigh Valley. Even so, Berks County, PA, offers many things worth seeing.
Reading (pronounced "Redding"), one of Pennsylvania's largest cities, is located in Berks County, as well as a variety of small towns offering a variety of historical and natural attractions. This area offers a taste of both Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley, offering an excellent variety of activities.
Here are a few of the best things to do in Reading, PA, whether you are looking for something fun to do in the countryside or in town.
The Reading Pagoda might be the most visible yet unexpected attraction in Reading.
Atop Mount Penn, the Pagoda can be seen from just about anywhere in the city, and has certainly elicited many surprised reactions.
In the early 20th century, the pagoda was built to resemble an authentic Japanese pagoda. The pagoda was originally supposed to be the focal point of a mountaintop resort, but the rest of the plans fell through.
This amazing spot offers breathtaking views of downtown Reading as well as a closer look at the pagoda. On weekends, the museum, gift shop, and viewing area are open seasonally.
You should check out Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center if you're looking for things to do near Reading, PA.
Ten miles of hiking trails wind through some of the region's most beautiful woodlands at this 600-acre state park. This is an excellent place for families to visit because the trails are fairly easy.
The park is not only great for hiking, but also offers many historical spots and educational opportunities.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Hiking and bird watching are great at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in northern Berks County.
Nearly ten miles of hiking trails lead to several incredible vistas within this privately-owned sanctuary. Additionally, hundreds of birds of prey can be seen in a single day during the fall migration.
If you are not able to see the migration in the fall, this is still a great hiking destination.
Daniel Boone Homestead
Berks County was the birthplace of frontiersman Daniel Boone. There is still a remnant of Daniel Boone's childhood home at the Daniel Boone Homestead, where you can learn about his life in Pennsylvania.
Over the years, the current home on the property has been expanded several times and offers a great look at life in this part of Pennsylvania during the 18th and 19th centuries. There is also a small museum and several other buildings that do a great job offering insight into Boone and early American history.
If you are looking for things to do in Reading, Goggle Works is a great option in the heart of the city’s downtown.
Formerly, this factory produced everything from optical lenses to bras and goggles. After closing in 2002, it was repurposed as a gallery, studio, and teaching space.
There are galleries filled with works by local artists, as well as artist studios where visitors can see what creations are currently being made.
Five historic covered bridges can be found throughout the county. And if you love history, a covered bridge driving tour is a favorite thing to do in Berks County.
There are five bridges in Reading, four of which are located north and east of the city, and one of which is located west of the city. These bridges are great additions to your itinerary whether you visit all of them during a road trip or just one or two on your way elsewhere.
In addition, many of these bridges have unique faces that set them apart from Pennsylvania's other 200 historic covered bridges.
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