14 Must-See Attractions in Gettysburg

10 must-see attractions in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.

If you’re looking for the best things to see and do in Gettysburg, you’re in the right place!

The setting sun illuminates the Pennsylvania Monument on the Gettysburg battlefield.
The setting sun illuminates the Pennsylvania Monument on the battlefield.

Perhaps no small town in America has been defined by a singular event more so than Gettysburg, which found itself at the epicenter of the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, from July 1-3, 1863.

Multimedia exhibit at he Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg.
Multimedia exhibit at the Seminary Ridge Museum.

Out of respect, out of curiosity, or out of the desire to walk on legendary ground, people began flocking to Gettysburg nearly as soon as the guns there fell silent, and battle-related tourism continues to be a huge part of the Gettysburg story in modern times.

Early tourism exhibit at the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Early tourism exhibit at the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum.

And catering to the modern-day Gettysburg tourist are dozens of museums, tours, restaurants, and Civil War-themed attractions, all putting their own spin on the legacy of the battle.

Ghost tours are a popular activity in Gettysburg.
Ghost tours are a popular activity in Gettysburg.

What follows is a list of what I feel are 14 of the best things to see and do in Gettysburg, based upon my own personal experiences visiting the town.


Simply click on the blue text links inside each map pin above or in the descriptions below to read more in-depth information about each destination.

Some of the artifacts and interactive exhibits at the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War.
Some of the artifacts and exhibits at the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War.

1. The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center

There is no better place to begin your visit to the battlefield than the The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

This beautiful facility is privately owned & operated by the Gettysburg Foundation (in partnership with the National Park Service), and provides visitors with a broad-based overview of the Battle of Gettysburg via three separate but complimentary attractions.

The 3 main attractions at the Gettysburg battlefield visitor center.
The 3 main attractions at the battlefield visitor center.
  • “A New Birth of Freedom” is a 20-minute film, narrated by Morgan Freeman, that provides context as to the causes of the Civil War and how the Battle of Gettysburg helped shape the outcome of that war.
"A New Birth of Freedom" is an orientation film shown in the visitor center at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
“A New Birth of Freedom” is an orientation film shown in the visitor center at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
  • The Gettysburg Cyclorama is a 360-degree, hand-painted canvas created in 1884, depicting Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Cyclorama is a 360-degree, hand-painted canvas depicting Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Cyclorama is a 360-degree, hand-painted canvas depicting Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

Originally displayed in Boston in 1884 and relocated to Gettysburg in 1913, the cyclorama was the IMAX of the late 1800s, and the Gettysburg Cyclorama continues to be a popular attraction to this day.

Detail of the Cyclorama at Gettysburg.
Detail of the Cyclorama at Gettysburg.
  • The Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War features 12 exhibit areas, 9 short films, and artifacts from one of the largest collections of Civil War relics in the world.
Exhibit inside the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War at the battlefield visitor center.
Exhibit inside the museum at the battlefield visitor center.

Taken together, these three attractions at the Visitor Center will provide you with a better understanding of what you’re looking at as you tour the sprawling Gettysburg battlefield.

One of several short films at the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War depicting different days of the battle.
One of nine short films at the museum describing different aspects of the battle.

2. The Gettysburg Battlefield

There is no larger or more important site in Gettysburg than the battlefield itself.

Facing Little Roundtop from the Devil's Den on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Facing Little Roundtop from the Devil’s Den on the battlefield.

The National Military Park at Gettysburg covers roughly 6000 acres, and contains more than 1,300 monuments.

Monument denoting the "high water mark" of the Confederacy along Cemetery Ridge on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Monument denoting the “high water mark” of the Confederacy along Cemetery Ridge on the battlefield.

There are lots of ways to tour the battlefield, from taking a guided bus tour, to hiring a private guide, to simply driving around and exploring it on your own.

Information about the various options for touring the Gettysburg battlefield.
Information about the various options for touring the battlefield.

The battlefield and roads are open daily thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset.

Sunrise over a monument dedicated to a division of the First Pennsylvania Cavalry at Gettysburg.
Sunrise over a monument dedicated to a division of the First Pennsylvania Cavalry.

3. Soldiers’ National Cemetery

The Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg is some of the most hallowed ground in Pennsylvania.

Looking out across the National Cemetery in Gettysburg towards the Soldiers' National Monument.
Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Cemetery Hill, near the site from which Union forces repelled Pickett’s Charge on Cemetery Ridge, was in the months after the Battle of Gettysburg transformed into the final resting place for over 3,000 fallen Union soldiers.

Unknown Union soldier's graves at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Unknown Union soldier’s graves at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

At a ceremony dedicating the newly-created cemetery on November 19, 1863 (4 months after the Battle of Gettysburg), President Abraham Lincoln delivered what is considered to be one of the most iconic speeches in American history, what later became known as the “Gettysburg Address”.

Lincoln Address Memorial at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Lincoln Address Memorial at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

4. The Seminary Ridge Museum

The former Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, now the Seminary Ridge Museum, served as both an observation post and a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.

The former Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, now the Seminary Ridge Museum.
The former Lutheran Seminary, now the Seminary Ridge Museum.

Several floors of interactive exhibits and artifact displays highlight the role the seminary played in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Exhibits inside the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Exhibits inside the Seminary Ridge Museum.

The Cupola Tour takes you up into the very top of the Seminary, where you can experience the same commanding view that made it a valuable observation post during the battle.

A docent on the Cupola Tour points out features on the western horizon where Confederate forces approached Gettysburg from on July 1, 1863.
A docent on the Cupola Tour points out features on the western horizon where Confederate forces approached Gettysburg from on July 1, 1863.

5. Downtown Gettysburg Walking Tour

The town of Gettysburg itself was a warzone during the Battle of Gettysburg, and taking a guided walking tour of the town is a great way to learn about the civilians’ experiences before, during and after the 3 day battle.

A licensed Town Guide describing some of the history of Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
A licensed Town Guide describing some of the history of Gettysburg.

In addition, you’ll learn more about President Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg for the dedication of the National Cemetery.

A Gettysburg Licensed Town Guide describing the significance of this Abraham Lincoln statue in Gettysburg.
A Licensed Town Guide describing the significance of this Abraham Lincoln statue in Gettysburg.

Walking tours can be tailored to cover a variety of subjects, from the Colonial Period in Gettysburg up to the current time.

Taking a guided tour of downtown Gettysburg is a great way to learn about the town's history and the civilians’ experiences during and after the 3 day battle.
Taking a guided tour of downtown Gettysburg is a great way to learn about the town’s history before, during, and after the 3 day battle.

6. The Shriver House

The Shriver House gives you a unique perspective on how the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War affected the Shriver family, who built this beautiful brick home in Gettysburg in 1860.

The Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg.
The Shriver House.

Some of the rooms are decorated as they would have been prior to the war reaching Gettysburg.

How the formal sitting room would have looked at the Shriver House prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.
How the formal sitting room would have looked at the Shriver House prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.

While other rooms show what the house looked like after it was commandeered by Confederate soldiers and used for, among other things, a sniper’s nest.

Confederate sniper position in the attic of the Shriver House in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Confederate sniper position in the attic of the Shriver House.

If you want to get an intimate look at the Battle of Gettysburg from a civilian perspective, the Shriver House is a must-see.

The Shriver House Museum depicts the experiences of one family living in Gettysburg before, during, and after the Civil War.
The Shriver House depicts the experiences of one Gettysburg family during the Civil War.

7. The Jennie Wade House

The Jennie Wade House is a shrine to the only civilian casualty during the Battle of Gettysburg, 20 year-old Jennie Wade.

The Jennie Wade house in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
The Jennie Wade House.

Guides in period attire recount the story of how Jennie was kneading dough in the kitchen when a rifle bullet pierced two doors and claimed her life.

Tour guide depicting Jennie Wade's mother tells the story of Jennie's life and death.
Tour guide depicting Jennie Wade’s mother tells the story of Jennie’s life and death.

Jennie Wade is laid to rest across the street from where she was killed, at Evergreen Cemetery.

Jennie Wade's gravesite at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg.
Jennie Wade’s gravesite at Evergreen Cemetery.

8. Children of Gettysburg 1863 Museum

The Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum does an admirable job tackling the formidable task of explaining the Battle of Gettysburg in terms children can understand.

The Children of Gettysburg 1863 Museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
The Children of Gettysburg 1863 Museum.

Kids can literally see themselves in the shoes of children during the Civil War, and many of the exhibits incorporate touchable elements to keep them engaged.

Union and Confederate uniforms exhibit at the Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Union and Confederate uniforms exhibit at the museum.

The museum doesn’t gloss over anything, but it does present the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath in terms that would not be scary to a majority of children.

Exhibit about children gathering relics on the battlefield at the Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Exhibit about the dangers facing children gathering relics on the Gettysburg battlefield.

If you have kids in your group, the Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum should be a must-see during your visit.

Field hospital exhibit at the Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Field hospital exhibit at the museum.

9. Gettysburg Beyond the Battlefield Museum

Gettysburg’s newest history museum tells the stories of local residents before, during, and after the epic Civil War battle that took place there.

Exploring the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Scenes from the Beyond the Battle Museum.

The Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum is an engaging collection of exhibits, artifacts, short films, and immersive experiences that illustrate the history of Adams County, as well as insight into what the townspeople of Gettysburg dealt with during the battle and in the days, months and years afterwards.

Civil War artifacts on display at the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Civil War artifacts display at the museum.

10. The Gettysburg Museum of History

The Gettysburg Museum of History is home to thousands of unusual artifacts and atypical antiquities from American history, and admission is FREE!

A photo collage from the Gettysburg Museum of History in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Top left shows the museum's street sign featuring an eagle and proclaiming 'FREE MUSEUM'. Top right depicts an exhibit with Civil War artifacts, including portraits and a chair. Bottom left is an interior view with various memorabilia and a large presidential seal. Bottom right presents military uniforms and World War memorabilia. Each image displays a part of the rich historical collection of the museum.
Scenes from the Gettysburg Museum of History.

This remarkable museum, nestled in the heart downtown, offers an intimate look into the past three centuries of the American narrative through its extensive collection of incredible historic finds and personal effects from some of the world’s most famous political and military leaders.

Historical artifacts on display at the Gettysburg Museum of History, including Confederate money purportedly found on Jefferson Davis when he was captured in 1865. Accompanying the money is an explanatory note and provenance information. Also visible are stacks of Confederate bills, photographs of historical figures, and a monogrammed item belonging to General Robert E. Lee. These items are carefully preserved under glass, capturing a moment in American history.
Money found on the person of Confederate President Jefferson Davis when he was captured in 1865.

11. Dobbin House

The Dobbin House is a dining tradition in Gettysburg, located in a building constructed in 1776!

The Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg is a colonial-style restaurant housed in a structure built in 1776.
The Dobbin House Tavern is a colonial-style restaurant housed in a structure built in 1776.

The basement of the Dobbin House is where you’ll find the Springhouse Tavern, featuring casual dining in a colonial atmosphere.

The Springhouse Tavern is located in the basement of the Dobbin House in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
The Springhouse Tavern is located in the basement of the Dobbin House.

Upstairs you’ll find the Alexander Dobbin Dining Rooms, featuring a fine dining experience in six historic rooms.

The Alexander Dobbin dining rooms offer a fine dining experience at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
The Alexander Dobbin dining rooms offer a fine dining experience at the Dobbin House.

You can also take a free tour of other areas of the Dobbin House, including a secret space that served as a hideout for runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad.

A secret space in the Dobbin House that served as a hideout for runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad.
A secret space in the Dobbin House that served as a hideout for runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad.

I’ve eaten at a lot of colonial-themed restaurants in PA and around the country, and I can honestly say the Dobbin House in Gettysburg is one of my favorites!

Touring the Dobbin House in Gettysburg with owner Jackie White.
Touring the Dobbin House with owner Jackie White.

12. The Gettysburg Diorama and History Center

The Gettysburg Diorama & History Center recreates the famous Civil War battle using one of the largest military dioramas in the United States.

This collage features four images from the Gettysburg Diorama and History Center. The first image shows the stone-clad exterior with the center's signage. The second image provides an overview of the extensive battlefield diorama with visitors observing the scene. The third image is a close-up of the diorama, depicting a battle with miniature soldiers. The fourth image displays a life-size exhibit with a mannequin soldier in Union uniform standing beside a horse, enclosed by a white picket fence. Together, these images capture the educational and immersive experience offered by the center.
Scenes from the Gettysburg Diorama and History Center.

Combined with a light and sound show, along with day-by-day narration, the result is an immersive journey through one of the most pivotal moments in American history.

A close-up of the Gettysburg Diorama at the Gettysburg Diorama and History Center, showing a detailed section of Seminary Ridge. The miniature landscape includes replicas of historic buildings, roads, and meticulously painted soldier figurines representing Union and Confederate troops in formation. The scene captures the strategic positioning and environment of the area during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Scale model version of Seminary Ridge on the diorama.

Beyond the diorama, the History Center offers a range of exhibits that delve deeper into the Civil War era.

A Civil War exhibit at the Gettysburg Diorama and History Center featuring a variety of artifacts. In the foreground stands a mannequin dressed in a Union soldier's uniform, next to a large leather satchel marked "1 ST. PA. C CO." Behind glass, a collection of rifles is mounted on the wall, alongside other period weapons and equipment. A miniature cannon, round cannonballs, and a pair of boots are displayed on the lower shelf, set against a green felt background.
Civil War artifacts on display.

Whether you’re a history buff, a student, or just curious about this critical moment in American history, the diorama provides an exceptional overview of this famous battle.

In the Gettysburg Diorama and History Center, an illuminated projection of General Meade is displayed on a wall above a detailed diorama of the town and battlefield of Gettysburg. The diorama is lit under a dimmed ambient light, allowing visitors to focus on the illuminated historical images and the miniature scene below, which features buildings, roads, and tiny military figures. Framed artwork and a Confederate flag are also visible on the walls surrounding the projection.
The diorama provides an exceptional overview of the Battle of Gettysburg.

13. The Civil War Tails Museum

Civil War Tails is a distinctive museum where Civil War dioramas come to life with an intriguing twist: every soldier is depicted as a cat!

A close-up of a diorama at the Civil War Tails Diorama Museum in Gettysburg, PA, illustrating Kemper's Advance during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. The diorama shows cat-like figures arranged in two lines of shoulder-to-shoulder infantry, with officers and file closers behind them. A descriptive label in front of the diorama explains the battle formation and notes that this scene includes 306 cat soldiers, representing part of two regiments of General James Kemper's Confederate brigade as they moved through Colonel E.P. Alexander's artillery on their way to the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge.
Civil War Tails: a diorama museum where every soldier is depicted as a cat.

This creative approach offers a fresh perspective on the historic battles of the Civil War, combining educational content with a touch of whimsy.

An intricate diorama at the Civil War Tails Diorama Museum in Gettysburg, PA, vividly portraying the battle at the Angle on Cemetery Ridge. The scene is bustling with cat-like figures in Union and Confederate uniforms amidst a chaotic battle, with some charging forward and others lying on the ground. Puffs of cotton simulate gun smoke, adding to the realism of the miniature battlefield. In the background, the museum's interior includes a window with curtains and a display case with additional artifacts. This diorama captures a crucial moment in Civil War history with a whimsical twist by representing the soldiers as cats.
Diorama depicting The Angle on Cemetery Ridge.

The dioramas are crafted with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that each scene realistically portrays the events of the Civil War, albeit with feline participants.

A close-up view of a diorama at the Civil War Tails Diorama Museum in Gettysburg, PA, depicting Mosby's Raid. Cat-like figures, representing Confederate guerrillas under Colonel John Singleton Mosby, are shown attacking a Union wagon train. The figures, in detailed Civil War-era attire, are on horseback surrounding a covered wagon. A description card in front of the diorama provides context to the historical event being portrayed by these feline sculptures.
Confederate raiders depicted as cats in gray uniforms.

Civil War Tails is housed in a building originally built in 1869 as part of The National Homestead, a school for the orphans of soldiers killed in the Civil War.

The front entrance of the Civil War Tails Diorama Museum in Gettysburg, PA, captured during the day. The museum is housed in a charming, historic two-story building with green shutters and a mansard roof. A sign in front of the building reads 'Civil War Tails at the Homestead Diorama Museum LLC' with an 'Open' flag beneath it. There's also an information board at the sidewalk's edge, introducing visitors to the museum's unique concept. The museum's exterior and signage invite guests to explore its distinctive exhibits featuring cat-like figures in Civil War dioramas.
Civil War Tails is housed in a former dormitory at the National Homestead school for Civil War orphans.

14. Sachs Covered Bridge

Sachs Covered Bridge was crossed by both Union AND Confederate troops during the Battle of Gettysburg, and was designated “Pennsylvania’s most historic covered bridge” in 1938 by the PA Department of Highways.

Exploring Sachs Covered Bridge in Adams County Pennsylvania.
Scenes from Sachs Covered Bridge.

Sachs Covered Bridge was built around 1854 and spans Marsh Creek just south of Gettysburg.

Sachs Covered Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1968, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Sachs Covered Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1968, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

So there you have it – 14 of the best things to see and do in Gettysburg!

Looking east towards Seminary Ridge from the Gettysburg battlefield.
Looking east towards Seminary Ridge from the battlefield.

And if you didn’t see your favorite Gettysburg destination on this list – don’t worry.

Sunrise over Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Sunrise over Cemetery Ridge.

I’ve got LOTS of other Gettysburg-related attractions yet to write about in the coming weeks and months!

Observation tower on Culp's Hill on the Gettysburg battlefield in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Observation tower on Culp’s Hill on the Gettysburg battlefield.

Nearby Attractions

The Christmas Haus near Gettysburg is a one-of-a-kind marketplace for German-made Christmas ornaments, decorations, and accessories!

Exploring German Christmas Traditions at the Christmas Haus
Scenes from the Christmas Haus near Gettysburg.

The historic Round Barn near Gettysburg is one of the most interesting and beautiful barns in Pennsylvania!

Exploring the Historic Round Barn near Gettysburg Pennsylvania
The Round Barn.

Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium near Gettysburg just may be the best elephant-themed roadside attraction in Pennsylvania!

An elephant-themed water garden in front of Mister Ed's Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium.
Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium.

10 Must-See Attractions in Franklin County is your guide to some of the best things to see and do just west of Gettysburg.

The best things to see and do in Franklin County Pennsylvania.
Scenes from Franklin County, PA.

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Rusty Glessner
Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and a frequently-cited authority on PA's best travel destinations.