20 Things To Do In Reading PA

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Reading, Pennsylvania, is a lively city tucked away in the heart of Berks County. With a rich industrial history and a vibrant contemporary arts scene, Read is bursting with heritage and culture for visitors to dive into. The industrial roots of the city can be seen and experienced through the surviving infrastructure and landmarks, many of which have either been converted into museums or entertainment venues to be enjoyed by modern residents. Various preserved homesteads throughout the town also let you glimpse all the way back to Reading’s founding days.

If you prefer spending your time outdoors, the town is surrounded by parks and preserves where you can escape into the peace and tranquillity of the forests without even leaving the city limits. Head into Mount Penn Preserve to search for the iconic Reading Pagoda or take in the view from the Memorial Fire Tower. And, if you have more time, you can head further out to discover natural wonders like the Crystal Cave. With so much to take in around this compact gem of a town, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Reading.

Reading, Pennsylvania

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20 Things To Do In Reading

reading pa aerial view of city with mountains in the background
Looking for things to do in Reading pa? Check out our top 20 list.

1- Browse The Reading Public Museum

Start your visit to Reading by diving into the collection of wonders that is the Reading Public Museum. Founded over a century ago, the museum is full of exhibits on science, history, and culture.

Visitors can learn about everything from dinosaurs and the stars to local history.

There are even several art galleries for those who prefer admiring paintings and sculptures.

It’s the perfect place to take the whole family, with displays and activities for all ages.

With a packed calendar of events and special exhibitions, there’s sure to be something for you to get excited about.

Go to 500 Museum Rd, Reading, PA 19611, United States.

2- Wander The Reading Public Museum Arboretum

When you’re done browsing the museum and are ready for some fresh air, you can head back outside and start exploring Reading Public Museum’s Arboretum.

Spanning 25 acres, the arboretum is lush with trees from around the world nestling alongside native, local species.

The park is especially stunning in the spring, when the trees burst into bloom, but is a beautiful nature haven year round.

Visitors can pick up a map from the museum entrance and wander round on a self-guided tour, learning about all the fascinating plant species you can spot along the trails.

Head into 1218 Parkside Dr S, Reading, PA 19611, United States.

3- Explore Mount Penn Preserve

If you want a bit more space to spread out, head into Mount Penn preserve. Home to a wide array of wildlife for you to spot, the huge park is riddled with trails for hiking and biking, with tons of curious attractions dotted around for you to discover.

Look out for the huge peace symbol painted on one of the cliffsides or track down the ruins of Kuechler’s Roost.

If you just want to relax in the beauty of nature, you can enjoy a drink among the trees at the lovely Stokesay Castle & The Knight’s Pub.

Go into 2 List Rd, Reading, PA 19606, United States.

4- Find The Reading Pagoda

things to do in reading pa pagoda and view
Visiting the Pagoda is one of the top things to do in Reading.

In Mount Penn Preserve you can find one of Reading’s most iconic landmarks, the Reading Pagoda. Built around 1908, the beautiful structure is a celebration of distinctive Japanese style architecture.

The seven story pagoda towers over the surrounding trees, offering a stunning view for those who climb the 87 stairs to the top.

Inside is various displays, like a genuine Japanese bell that dates back to 1739.

There’s also a café where you can take a break and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Find it at 98 Duryea Dr, Reading, PA 19602, United States.

5- Climb The William Penn Memorial Fire Tower

Another alternative for getting a fantastic view of Mount Penn Preserve and the city of Reading is the Williman Penn Memorial Fire Tower.

Perched at the top of Mount Penn, the structure towers over 900 feet above the city, providing stunning panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.

Located right at the heart of the park, visitors can enjoy a comfortable hike along one of the many trails to reach it, taking in the beautiful scenery from ground level before heading up for a bird’s eye view.

Alternatively, you can also drive there, if you’re not feeling up to the trek.

Go to 621 Skyline Dr, Reading, PA 19606, United States.

6- Fly Over To The Mid Atlantic Air Museum

Right next to the Reading Regional Airport, you’ll find the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, an absolute gem for any aficionado of planes or transport.

The museum is home to a collection of dozens of vintage military and civilian aircrafts, including reproductions of the first ever successful planes.

Many of the aircrafts are available to board, or even fly!

Along with the planes themselves, the museum also houses a wide variety of aviation artefacts and memorabilia.

There are also flight simulators, airshows, and a busy calendar of special events to get involved in throughout the year.

Head over to 1054 Arnold Rd, Reading, PA 19605, United States.

7- Peek Through Time At The Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead

Tucked away in the Reading suburbs is a small slice of the city’s history.

Just a few minutes from the city centre, the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead offers a glimpse back into the lives of the early settlers.

The site includes the main house, which was built in the 1700s, as well as a reproduction of the original barn.

The lovingly preserved farmstead perfectly captures Reading’s Amish heritage and if you really want to immerse yourself in the history, you can even book an overnight stay.

Go to 1700 Tulpehocken Rd, Wyomissing, PA 19610, United States.

8- Head Out To The Daniel Boone Homestead

If you have the time to head a little further out of the city, then the Daniel Boone Homestead is well worth a visit.

Set right out in the countryside, a couple of miles southeast of Reading, the rural setting of this preserved homestead really helps maintain its authentic atmosphere.

Its 18th century buildings are all expertly furnished with period décor, providing an accurate look into how the people of the time lived.

Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the homestead during which you will learn tons of fascinating facts and feel even closer to the history of this charming attraction.

Find it at 400 Daniel Boone Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508, United States.

9- Look Around The Berks County Heritage Centre

The Berks County Heritage Centre is another great place to explore the history and heritage of the city.

Once a working farm, the Heritage Centre is now a charming attraction where you can learn about the early days of Reading.

Open through the summer, the grounds of the Berks County Heritage Centre are home to an array of sights like the lovely Wertz’s Covered Bridge at the south entrance or the historic Deppen Cemetery.

Head out to 1102 Red Bridge Rd, Reading, PA 19605, United States.

10- Appreciate The Gruber Wagon Works

Another of the popular attractions on the Berks County Heritage Centre grounds is the Gruber Wagon Works. Dating back to 1882, the Wagon Works started life as a humble craftsman’s workshop and is now a beloved museum that is home to over 19,000 artefacts.

As the name suggests, the Wagon Works was originally for building wagons, and many of the original tools and supplies required for that task can still be seen around the museum.

Go to 1102 Red Bridge Rd, Reading, PA 19605, United States.

11- Look Out For Der Distelfink Statue

While you’re wandering around the grounds of the Berks County Heritage Centre, keep your eyes peeled for the Der Distelfink statue.

Its vibrant colours make it stand out against its surroundings, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

The Distelfink is an icon of Pennsylvania-Dutch folk art; a popular stylised representation of a goldfinch.

This beloved statue is a celebration of Reading’s Amish heritage and culture.

Spot it at 1102 Red Bridge Rd, Reading, PA 19605, United States.

12- Browse The Reading Area Firefighters Museum

Another of Reading’s fascinating museums, the Reading Firefighters Museum is housed within an authentic old 1876 firehouse.

Their huge collection includes everything from vintage firefighter uniforms, protective gear, and equipment, to the various fire-engines from throughout the eras.

Visitors can take a guided tour or explore the exhibits by yourself.

The museum is only open on Thursday and Saturday mornings so plan your itinerary accordingly.

Go to 501 S 5th St, Reading, PA 19602, United States.

13- Visit The Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad

Train fans will definitely want to pay a visit to the Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad.

At the pretty, classic train station, you can hop aboard one of several vintage trains and enjoy an excursion through the Reading countryside.

Make sure to check the schedule and book your tickets in advance to make sure you can get on the particular train you want.
Hop aboard at 3501 Pottsville Pike, Reading, PA 19605, United States.

14- Follow The Neversink Loop

When you really want to get out of the city and into the wilds of nature, head out to the trails of the Neversink Loop.

The trail runs around the Neversink Mountain Preserve, taking you through lush woods, over creeks and rivers, and past an array of quirky sights.

Along with the manmade attractions, you should also look out for the wealth of wildlife that calls the preserve home.

Start the adventure at 91 Klapperthal Rd, Reading, PA 19606, United States.

15- Find The Witches Hat

One of the sights to spot along the Neversink Route is the Witches Hat.

The curious stone shelter is recognisable by its distinctive conical roof, from which it gets its name.

The weathered stones give it a bit of an eerie appearance, making it the perfect attraction to track down around Halloween.

Look out for it around 1996 Neversink Mountain Rd, Reading, PA 19606, United States.

16- Take In The View From The Lookout

If you want to enjoy a stunning view of the entire city of Reading and its surrounding landscape, head up to the Lookout.

To reach the Lookout, you’ll need to take a comfortable trek through the trees of Carsonia Park to the east of Reading.

A little further from the city centre than the other big parks, this trek is perfect for when you really want to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Hike up to 175 Bingaman St, Reading, PA 19606, United States.

17- See What’s On At GoggleWorks Centre for the Arts

To get a glimpse of Reading’s arts scene, head to the GoggleWorks Centre For The Arts.

The building used to be a glasses factory, which is where it gets the name.

Now, this slice of Reading’s industrial history plays host to a packed calendar of art exhibitions, stage productions, and creative workshops.

Whatever style of art you enjoy, there’s certain to be something for you to get involved in.

Head to 201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601, United States.

18- Catch A Show At Santander Performing Arts Centre

If you’re solely interested in the performing arts, then check out what’s on at the Santander Centre.

This stylish, vintage theatre presents an array of concerts, plays, dance shows, and family friendly entertainment.

They also offer several dining options for if you want to really make an evening of it.

Find it at 136 N 6th St, Reading, PA 19602, United States.

19- Relax In Dana Memorial Park

When you just need somewhere to take a break in the fresh air, head over to Dana Memorial Park.

Tucked into the curve of the Schuykill River, the leafy park boasts plenty of open lawns to relax on a sunny afternoon.

Alternatively, take a walk along the Schuykill River trail which winds through the trees at the edge of the park.

Kick back at 600 W Greenwich St, Reading, PA 19601, USA.

20- Explore Crystal Cave

If you have more time for an expedition a few miles north of the city, spend an afternoon exploring Crystal Cave.

The cave boasts some very striking rock formations for visitors to marvel at.

The visitor centre also has the option to try panning for gems, which you can take home as a cute souvenir.

Venture out to 963 Crystal Cave Rd, Kutztown, PA 19530, United States.

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.