Eating (& Drinking) our Way Through Harrisburg

Harrisburg mural at Zero Day Brewing

My favorite way to see a city is eating my way through it, which is exactly what we did on a trip to Harrisburg last month. Harrisburg probably isn’t on your list of must-see destinations, but, just like my trip to Tampa, these days our destinations are determined by which friend we’re missing.

It turns out that Harrisburg, which is an easy 5-hour drive from Buffalo, has more to offer than you might think. We easily filled a weekend – mostly with good food and locally crafted drinks.

After a Friday night that ended early Saturday morning, we needed a big brunch to get us ready for a day of exploring. We opted for Cafe 1500 for their mimosa carafes, rating as one of Harrisburg’s best brunches, ability to seat a group of 9, and location within walking distance of our Airbnb.

Walking into Zeroday Brewing

We happened to be in Harrisburg for the first few days of Harrisburg beer week, which meant tons of cool events at local breweries. Our first stop after breakfast tacos washed down with mimosas was Zeroday Brewing Company.

The taproom was packed and their The Office-themed trivia was in full swing, so we ordered drinks at the bar and headed outside to sip them in the sun. After the longest Buffalo winter everrrr, the sun felt incredible. I honestly could have stayed for hours soaking up those rays and listening to some of my oldest friends laugh together.

When our drinks ran dry, it was time for our next stop, also a short walk away, Millworks. What was once a lumber mill is now a bohemian downtown oasis. A brewery and restaurant, artist studios, rooftop space and eclectic event calendar make this feel like you’ve left Pennsylvania for somewhere much, much cooler.

Gose at Millworks Brewery in Harrisburg

We grabbed drinks and wandered through the works resident artists had for sale. There were earrings, cards, wall art and coasters I seriously considered bringing home, but this weekend was the epitome of experiences over things, so I kept my wallet safely closed.

By this point, we’d burned off our huevos rancheros and chicken and waffles, so we walked across the street to Broad Street Market for lunch. Just like good markets everywhere, this was a melting pot of fresh produce and every cuisine imaginable. I opted for a simple hearth-fired pizza from Knead HBG and drip coffee from Elementary Coffee Co.

Broad Street Market sign in Harrisburg

Pizza from Knead HBG in the Broad Street Market

Our last stop before a pre-dinner nap was Midtown Scholar, an independent bookstore with a reputation. Seriously. The New York Times called it “an essentially religious experience.” Let me say that this giant building, filled from floor to ceiling with beautiful books, lives up to its reputation.

Midtown Scholar's shelves of books greet visitors

We walked home, full of market goodies, books in hand and a little sunburned. Our first order of business after that nap? Dinner. Duh. We took a Lyft to SpringGate, a farm vineyard and brewery just outside the city. This was the one place we couldn’t walk to, which is pretty impressive considering we didn’t have an itinerary when we booked our Airbnb.

SpringGate is a little paradise, with beer, wine, food trucks, string lights and fire pits. It was the perfect place to hang out for a couple hours as the sun set. Their huge selection of wines, varied draft list and food truck lineup were exactly what we were looking for. My pulled chicken sandwich from Piper Belle’s BBQ sure hit the spot.

On Sunday morning, we prepared for our drive home with a classic diner breakfast from Roxy’s Cafe. It was exactly what we needed before saying goodbye and hitting the road!

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