From the award-winning “With Love, Philadelphia XOXO” to the state’s “Pursue Your Happiness” tourism mantra, Pennsylvania is noted for its creative branding and integrated marketing campaigns.
Other examples include the self-guided Fred Rogers Trail, a curated collection of Pittsburgh-area venues and experiences associated with the life and career of the beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood founder.
In 2018, the state promoted events commemorating the 50th anniversary of director George A. Romero’s 1968 zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, which was filmed in Butler County north of Pittsburgh.
From Hershey, the “Sweetest Place on Earth,” to the Poconos Mountains Visitors Bureau’s brand pillars of “ease, authenticity and refreshment,” group destinations around the state leverage strategic messaging—and defining venues and experiences—as strong calls to action.
Eastern Pennsylvania's Historic Attractions Are Met With New Developments
With three business development divisions focused on verticals that draw upon key destination assets—PHL Life Sciences, PHL Sports and PHL Diversity—the Philadelphia CVB pioneered leveraging local and regional knowledge capital for the benefit of convention and meeting clients.
Signature attractions include UNESCO-designated Independence National Historical Park, “America’s most historic square mile,” where groups can tour Independence Hall and hold events at the newly expanded Independence Visitor Center.
Neighboring Valley Forge is another seat of American history, offering group programs at Valley Forge National Historical Park and prime meeting venues such as the Valley Forge Casino Resort and landmark IACC-certified Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center.
Bucks County standouts include Doylestown’s “Mercer Mile” trio of the Mercer Museum, Fonthill Castle and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.
Fonthill Castle, BUCKS County
Groups answering the call to “Discover Lehigh Valley” will find 730 square miles of heritage draws, including the luxurious 282-room Sands Bethlehem, offering 12,000 square feet of convention space and a 14,000-square-foot Event Center, and adjacent SteelStacks, at the former Bethlehem Steel site.
Nearby, historic Hotel Bethlehem Hotel sits amid 20 preserved circa-1741 Moravian landmarks with rental options that include the Colonial Industrial Quarter and Burnside Plantation.
ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem
With four-season visitor appeal as its brand bedrock, the Poconos are in major growth and enhancement mode.
At press time, Mount Airy Casino Resort was readying for the May 2019 unveiling of a multimillion-dollar expansion that includes 100 new guest rooms and new 16,000- square-foot ballroom and events center.
Designed by the world-renowned Friedmutter Group, known for its work at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the new venue complements its 27,000 square-foot outdoor concert pavilion from May 2018 and boosts total group space to 20,000 square feet of multifunctional space.
Slated for later this year, the new Mount Airy Pittsburgh will offer gaming and eateries, with future Phase 2 development plans including a full-service resort hotel and convention center.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is adding 105,000 square feet of convention space to its Poconos location. Scheduled for late 2019, the expansion more than doubles available space to 205,000 square feet.
The project will include a 38,000-square-foot ballroom and a 12,000-square-foot junior ballroom, which will join up with the facility’s existing 25,000-square-foot and 9,000-square-foot ballrooms.
It will also include 18 additional meeting rooms, for a total of 33 meeting rooms. This project is the second expansion to the Poconos location since it opened in July 2015.
Northeastern Luzerne County preserves the region’s coal mining and industrial past with attractions such as the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton and nearby Lackawanna Coal Mine, offering “black diamond” tours of abandoned mines.
Central Pennsylvania Offers a Glimpse Into the Country’s Past
Pennsylvania is a seat of education. Chartered in 1855, Penn State is among some 500 Keystone colleges and universities. The main State College campus features two top-class group venues, the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and Nittany Lion Hotel.
In Hershey, the town that chocolate built, Hersheypark is sweetening visitor arrivals and other experiences with the new $150 million Hershey’s Chocolatetown.
Slated for summer 2020, this 23-acre expansion includes a new year-round restaurant and bar with a second-level outdoor patio; a new kitchen where delegates can watch candy making; a 2,200-square-foot Starbucks; and a 10,000-square-foot flagship store.
Seated amid rich Amish heritage, Lancaster City’s historic downtown offers 90,000 square feet of meeting space at the Lancaster County Convention Center and adjoining 299-room Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.
The 1730’s Lancaster Central Market is America’s oldest farmers’ market building.
Amish Farm House Tour, Credit: Discover Lancaster
Railroads are integral to Pennsylvania life. Historic Altoona is home to the circa-1854 engineering wonder; the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark is an engineering marvel for the ages. Constructed in 1854, this still-active mountain pass is a mecca for rail enthusiasts, with groups welcome at the event-friendly museum and visitor center.
In historic Gettysburg, site of President Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address, the event-ready Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center transporting groups back to this pivotal American moment.
Harrisburg attractions include the National Civil War Museum, Pennsylvania State Capitol and State Museum of Pennsylvania.
York County, the “Factory Tour Capital of the World,” tempts groups with visits to famed brands ranging from Harley-Davidson to Utz Quality Foods.
Western Pennsylvania's Past: The Jeep, Warhol and Steel
The stars are aligned for memorable meetings in Pittsburgh and its regional neighbors.
Pittsburgh-born Pop Art icon Andy Warhol’s namesake museum is one cultural magnet for tours and events in the Steel City, along with sibling institutions Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Science Center.
Carnegie Museum of Art Exterior Sculptures, Credit: Jeff Heilman
Group-ready venues on the Fred Rogers Trail include the Smithsonian-affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center, Pennsylvania’s largest history museum, which features the largest collection of original items from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Once polluted Pittsburgh made a major statement in 2003 when the David L. Lawrence Convention Center became the world’s first green convention center. The riverfront carries the added distinction of achieving dual LEED Gold and LEED Platinum certification. Other eco-havens include the circa-1893 Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Pittsburgh International Airport is planning a $1.1 billion overhaul, scheduled for 2023.
Founded in 1800, scenic Butler County’s diverse draws include the Saxonburg Museum, which showcases the works of John Roebling, founder of suspension bridge technology and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Another Butler County original is the Jeep, invented here during WWII by the American Bantam Car Company and celebrated each June at the popular Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival.
Armstrong Farms is one of several agritourism options county-wide. Sustainability-focused North Country Brewing Company serves 100-plus different brews at its historic brewpub.
Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces such as iconic Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob are among the highlights in the scenic Laurel Highlands, where the stellar Nemacolin Woodlands Resort headlines a diverse collection of meeting venues.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Laurel Highlands, Credit: Jeff Heilman
Rural Indiana County is forever associated with native Jimmy Stewart and his namesake event-capable museum.
Former steel city Johnstown features the world’s steepest vehicular inclined plane. In nearby Patton, former coal miners lead deep explorations of the Seldom Seen Mine.
In 1859, Colonel Edwin Drake launched the modern U.S. petroleum industry by drilling a commercial well in Titusville in Pennsylvania’s northwestern Great Lakes Region. Exhibits at the Drake Well Museum and Park include a replica of Drake’s original rig.
World renowned for its sunsets, Presque Isle State Park is among the waterfront attractions in Erie, along with the Erie Maritime Museum and the restored U.S. Brig Niagara, the sole surviving tall ship of the War of 1812 and now the official Flagship of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania CVB Contact Information
Destination Delco (Delaware County)
Discover Lehigh Valley
Luzerne County CVB
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board
Visit Bucks County
Central Pennsylvania CVB
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
York County CVB
Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau
Greater Johnstown/Cambria County CVB
Indiana County Tourist Bureau
Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau
Washington County Chamber of Commerce